Be patient, both of you. The torture scenes will happen soon enough. *shakes head*
As for the multiverse thing, eh, that's close enough to the truth for current purposes.
It was a time of peace on RAF. For the first time after the events leading up to Pootang's attack and the destruction of the Swiss facility, there was really nothing much to do. Almost nothing at all that needed to be done, except for the RAFians to enjoy the gifts they had been given. Be it their powers, or their technology, or even just the chance to spend time among friends.
Most RAFians hadn't quite let go of what had happened in Switzerland. Those memories were still too fresh. And, at least it seemed, like they might always be. But the RAFians were still willing to live their own lives. Not forgetting, just moving on, anyway.
Those months were not devoid of action, of course. RAF had never been, and never would be, a completely calm place.
The forum had, over the course of the past few months, suffered several attacks from the Banned, who somehow kept creeping their way into the forum, time and time again. Mostly, the troubles came from Yorick, Aloth, and even the notorious Chimichanga. Curiously enough, never Queen, though. Not once had she ever attacked the forum, despite the many legends of her intense burning envy of RAF. Thus far, no RAFian had even seen her.
Those RAFians who had noted that strange inconsistency, however, generally kept it to themselves, writing off the unsettling oddity as mere paranoia. She was probably just scheming, behind the scenes, or something. Scheming, that was the sort of thing Queen might do, right?
The remainder of the Banned, of course, were generally easy enough to repel. The three of them were little match for most RAFians, at least directly. A few of their schemes had taken the forum by surprise, that much was true. But, thus far, they were still easily a manageable threat.
Even the Banned, though, had more recently begun to retreat in their prevalence from the forum. Once again, it was an oddity that few RAFians noticed. They'd never been a big deal, so who really cared if they were suddenly keeping to themselves?
More troubling, by far, were the divides that were slowly but ominously growing between the RAFians themselves. Newer RAFians, those who weren't considered 'true' RAFians somehow, were often derided by those who had long-ago made a name for themselves within the forum, back when RAF was just a website. Derided, and occasionally even bullied. Or worse.
The true root of the problem, it seemed, was the fact that some RAFians had powers, while others did not. It was difficult for any two people to look at one another as 'equals' when both sides innately knew that they weren't.
Most RAFians were kind-spirited enough that the differences between them didn't really matter. Estelore and Cloak, the two RAFians who could stand unopposed if they ever wanted to, both hated the thought of ever bullying the less-powerful.
Other RAFians didn't really have hurtful intent, of course. But many still had an unsettling tendency to bring up the subject of their powers in the case of minor arguments. Some idle comment that they might think of as a harmless quip. Like, "You realize I could just take
your stuff if I wanted to, right?" or "Dude, you only got to do that because I let you." They simply never considered how it felt from the other side.
A feeling of powerlessness. That was all it took. Whether or not the other side actually used their powers, that was unimportant. It was like having a gun held to your head. You didn't need to feel the bullet to get the message.
Richard had drafted laws, of course, to halt any outright transgressions. "A RAFian cannot use their powers or technology to harm, or threaten to harm, another RAFian." "A RAFian cannot use their powers or technology to take, or threaten to take, the property of another RAFian." "A RAFian cannot use their powers or technology to alter, or threaten to alter, another RAFian against their will." And so on.
Richard's laws were enforced most often by Cloak and Estelore, but Richard would occasionally step in if need be. He still had the power to ban users, but, fortunately, it had never come to that. Nobody knew what would happen if he did actually ban someone. The Banned that existed in the Bannedlands were programs, manifestations of fiction, not users. Nobody knew what had happened to the actual users, Yorick and Aloth and Chimi. If they had ever even been innerworlders at all.
Richard had taken another measure, in case of the very most extreme emergencies. With help from Goom, and by studying the strange glitch that was known to occasionally duplicate a RAFian's account, he had found a way to create back-up files of every RAFian. Essentially, copies, held in a dormant state of virtual reality, of all of RAF.
The system had never been tested yet, thank god. But, in the event of a RAFian's death, it was hoped, they could be recovered and brought back. Nevertheless, they all hoped that they would never have to find out.
Nobody had ever really voiced it out loud, but most RAFians knew the true reason behind Richard's laws, and the backup system. The once-monstrous, now unpredictable, child of Anna and Ken. Po was growing at a rapid rate, already a toddler when he should still have been an infant, at only three months. Although, who knew how fast a half-human half-Pikachu creature was supposed to grow? He was about as 'normal' as anybody on the forum.
It was clear, young as he was, that Po had very little understanding of the difference between right and wrong. Which was, admittedly, somewhat normal for a child his age. Still, he was far too quick to want to destroy, to take, to hurt. As though he took some amount of pleasure, in causing chaos.
It wasn't that he was evil, though. It didn't seem to be that simple. When he was scolded for his actions, he was sincerely contrite, as though he had simply not understood that what he had done was bad. And he did desperately want to be like these people he looked up to, these gentle people who loved him, these RAFians. But he just didn't quite know how.
No matter how many times he was told that horrible word "no" by the ones he adored, those destructive, malicious instincts would flare up within him, again and again. Wires within Phoenix's time machine were frayed, bearing the bite marks of tiny teeth. Seal was missing patches of fur where Po had pulled it out. And Terenia was almost afraid to go back to the Yeerk pool to feed, for fear of being kidnapped and used for play-doh, again
"Enough is enough," Goom muttered to himself as he worked on Phoenix's time machine. His sonic screwdriver, a near copy of Aquilai's except that its light was tinged yellow instead of blue, buzzed and whirred as he fitted a new wire into place.
Goom had been spending much of his time apprenticed to the Time Lord, learning whatever Aquilai had to teach him about the workings of mechanical devices beyond the standard laws of physics. He already had an instinctive knack for such things, and so it had not taken long at all to catch up to, if not perhaps even surpass, the Time Lord.
Goom was in his human form now, preferring the manual dexterity of fingers for this kind of work.
"He doesn't really mean it," Phoenix offered gently, as he watched Goom work. "Po's just a little kid, he doesn't know what he's doing."
"He still should be contained," Goom said reasonably. "He's putting the rest of us in danger because
he doesn't know what he's doing. What do you think will happen when his powers start to develop? We have enough trouble with overpowered RAFians. Let alone whatever he is."
a RAFian," Phoenix countered. "He's the child of RAFians, so, like it or not, he's one of us."
"So, what do we do when he finds out about his past?" Goom put forth. "What do we do, when he finds out he's actually . . . a monster?"
Po didn't always understand everything people said. He was young, and still learning about words. And a lot of times adults used big words. But he liked to hide and listen anyway, and sometimes he would catch enough for it to be interesting.
The fire-bird-man and the other one, the one who was sometimes a mushroom, they were talking about him. That was interesting, so he hid and watched and listened.
But his face fell, as he heard what Goom had to say about him. No. No, it wasn't fair. Po had never wanted to put RAFians in danger.
"I'm not a monser," he mumbled to himself, his young voice barely able to choke out the whispered words, and took off running. The sound of his pattering footsteps attracted Goom and Phoenix's attention, but by the time they looked in his direction, Po was already gone.