Lucy wasn't Phoenix. She didn't know what people would do before they did them. She couldn't make scientific weapons by thinking.
But Lucy knew Phoenix. And the New Archivist. And Professor Cognis, and the Dark Detective, and Alex Star, and Acme. And all of those people were with her.
But it was hard. Imagining all those people helping her. She could imagine how the New Archivist would command Acme. Sometimes, Lucy could imagine how Professor Cognis would keep his resolve. But she couldn't imagine what Phoenix's idea would be. It was too hard. And Lucy really needed help. She looked at the diadem still in her hand. She couldn't do it.
"This is Phoenix, requesting permission to help you kick some Fortarian ass."
Phoenix! Lucy told Acme to let him in. Phoenix came to the command center.
"So, you need someone who can operate a Multiproton Cannon. I think I can help with that."
"Hold on," Acme said. "I'm not about to strap a human into that kind of weapon."
"How fortunate, then, that I am not a human."
"We can trust him."
"Before I go an operate a weapon of mass destruction, is there anything else you need?" He looked at the diadem. "You can do this, Lucy. You can do this without the alien."
Lucy was confused. That didn't quite fit with Phoenix. He didn't like the New Archivist, but he wasn't... encouraging... like that. Maybe it was a change from being a cyborg?
Impressive, Vafnir though.
Yeah. I do a great Phoenix impression. It's almost like I used to be part of a transcendent union with him.
Well, you were able to fool Lucy.
I wouldn't count on it. She can practically read minds. She's definitely suspicious.
Well, regardless, we got to see her. We confirmed that she wasn't wearing the diadem. Now, we just kill Acme, go in there, kill her, and take control of the Archives.
By 'we,' of course, you mean the intelligent machine that's managed literally your entire life ever since we met.
Not my entire life.
I'm the one keeping oxygen flowing to your cells.
Well, I'd say we're out of earshot.
Well, I wish you'd phrased that like a command, because you're wrong. Neurotron paused for about a half of a second. NOW, we're out of earshot. But I'm sure you'll pilot this ship into a rock soon enough.
Well, take Acme down now then, oh wise computer. Unless- he added quickly- there's something else I should know.
There are a lot of things you should know. But none of them make it less advantageous for you to beat the crap out of Acme.
Vafnir's body turned to face Acme.
"What," the android said, belligerently.
Vafnir responded by creating a wall of black material. He engulfed Acme.
Acme created nanobots. Tried to find some tiny crack in his prison.
Then, he tried to make a tiny crack in his prison. Or a large one.
He made small capsules of deuterium. Nuclear explosions, carried along wire of graphene, forced carbon fullerenes deep into inky wall.
Vafnir applid pressure. He was stronger now, with Phoenix's power boosting his own. He could feel it. Didn't hurt to have Neurotron pumping in chemicals, boosting his concentration. I'll find a way to distract you soon enough.
Soon, Acme had been reduced to a cube. The machine wasn't dead. At least, not permanently. But he wasn't going to come back swinging any time soon.
I bet we could put him back together, Neurotron said. The computer automatically began to plan the process.
So, we were able to study Acme in that amount of time?
I was, yes. You were able to bask in the glow of borrowed victory like the ape you are. You do realize that you are just a pawn of Dr. Demented. A human pawn. Neurotron reconsidered. If we're being generous, you're a bishop.
The pair of them bickered all the way back to Lucy. Lucy saw the cyborg walk in. "What is wrong with you?"
How does she do that?
"And where is Acme?"
Even before she had finished the second sentence, a dark tentacle had ripped the diadem out from her hands. "You aren't Phoenix."
"That's right. I'm Vafnir."
"Vafnir. Alternate version of Phoenix from another dimension. Took control of his powers, and apparently also got a copy of his memories thanks to some abortive attempt at self-preservation."
Lucy went after him with a pair of glowing katanas. And while blade weapons are ideal for battles with tentacles of darkness, Lucy was out of her league. She shot fire from her hands. Vafnir wasn't effect. She cut at his arms. He ripped the blades from her hand.
Then, she ran. The cyborg was faster.
"Is Phoenix dead?"
"Yes. I killed him."
"Are you going to kill me?"
"Eventually, probably. But you will be interesting to study at some point." Vafnir considered all the complex ways he could constrain Lucy. Then, he broke her legs.
You can reconfigure my brain.
You can upgrade it.
That's how Phoenix became a true cyborg.
Do the same to me.
It's a complicated process. What exactly do you want. Some limited version of what Phoenix had?
Everything that Phoenix had.
Neurotron began pumping his subject full of anesthetic. Before Vafnir reached complete unconsciousness, Neurotron made one clarification. You wanted everything Phoenix had. I assume, by that, you meant his mental powers, brain structure, memories, personality, ambitions, and identity.
That was the last thing Vafnir heard before Neurotron tore his brain apart.