MachinstThe Saga of Velvet Sheathe and Ultraamann

((Originally posted 21 June 2005, on the City Of Heroes forums in the “Are you talking about U-Mann? I know U-mann …” thread.))

An amazing man, our Ultraamann.

Have you met Velvet Sheathe? You know, the seven foot tall, fearless, mostly naked sword-wielding blue cat-girl who claims to be his queen, yet is never seen in his presence? Have you heard the story of how she came to be here and why?

Now, this is all based on a conversation or two I’ve had with Ultraamann, and one or two with Velvet Sheathe herself, but I’m not 100% sure of the details. I’m not sure how good Velvet is with our language, and I think Ultraa had been drinking, so I may not have good information… if I have anything wrong, it is surely my misunderstanding, and you must keep in mind that it’s quite likely I have some details confused.

As I understand it, Ultraamann was farting around alternate universes, by threatening the guys at Portal Corp, or getting them drunk, or singing to them until they begged him to stop, to find places where he’d be challenged because he’d gotten bored here. Or where he was a woman, so he could date himself. Or where he never had super powers so he could go spy on his own family there and see how his kids would have turned out. Or where the world was ruled by giant lasagna men, because he was hungry. Or where Myrmydon would date him. Or something, there was some confusion, and reluctance on my part to press, as I rather value the integrity of my skeleton.

The reason not being all that important, Ultraamann found himself in an alternate world filled with cat-people. Not that strange, apparently, as there’s a lot of those floating about Paragon City anyway. This world, however, seemed to be ruled by the strongest of them all, in a very direct hierarchy of who could beat who in a fight.

Never let it be said that Ultraamann refused a good fight!

So, after a very short time of almost casually defeating the lower-level champions of this world, Ultraamann found himself squared off aganst the King. The head honcho, the ruler, the single strongest cat in this world of martial fighting cats.

I’m sure Ultraamann was looking forward to a good fight, and both he and Velvet sang the praises of the Cat King, as being strong, wily, and fast, as well as deadly with both a blowgun and a sword. Both of them also tell me that it was a truly epic fight, lasting days, eventually breaking out of the (now badly-damaged) arena and running through the streets of the capital.

To those of us who know him, and are lucky enough to call him an ally or even perhaps a friend, it should come as no surprise that eventually Ultraamann wore down the Cat King, and won the fight. Now, as we all do know, Ultraamann is fearsome in a fight, but he is also a kind and gracious winner (having much practice, I assume), and as soon as it was clear that he had the Cat King beaten, he let him go, ending the fight. He told him, “You’re one tough sonofabitch, and your people need a strong leader. I can’t stay, so you stay here and keep doing the good things you already do.”

This answer did not satisfy the Cat King, leaving him knowing he could be beaten, and worried that his own people would know the same. He threw himself recklessly at Ultraamann, trying to goad the great golden hero in to a further fight. Ultraamann backed off, saying, “Dude, chill.” and signaling the Portal folks to open the portal out.

Perhaps it was being too hung over, or too deaf to hear the signal, or busy saving a different hero who needed a lift home, or just gently pissed at the earlier antics, but for whatever reason, the scientists at Portal Corp. did not open the gate. They left Ultraamann there, being attacked by an angry Cat King.

The Cat King left the rules of fair combat behind, passed the bounds of dirty infighting, and went straigt for the all-out angering factor. Took him a while to get there, but eventually, he said something foolish, and Ultraamann lost his temper.

(Neither Ultraamann nor Velvet Sheathe would tell me what that was. Velvet said something about “butter” and Ultraa something about hot dogs and condiments, but I could not get anything clear. Velvet was too awed by the reaction, and Ultraamann still to agitated about it. Remember my comments about my value of my skeleton? That motivated me to urge them to move on to another part of the story, and quickly.)

Apparently Ultraamann shouted some sort of epic challenge, I suspect along the lines of, “YOU TAKE THAT BACK!” It could be heard for twelve miles in every direction, and caused the concrete of the street they were standing on to shatter. The Cat King’s reply was nearly as fierce, simply, “Never!”

The reprisal was swift and devastating. Ultraamann threw the Cat King two miles, and when he landed he crashed through three buildings, finally coming to rest in the ruins of a bank. Having landed on his feet, the Cat King leapt back to Ultraamann, snarling and spitting, only to be knocked away again. And again. And again.

After the fourth knock back, and the fifth building destroyed, the Cat King got up no more. It is unclear if it is the huge handclaps and footstomps that the golden man unleashed upon him, or if it was the fur salon that crashed down on top of him, or if it was simply the hugely epic rage of the Ultraamann himself that fnally snuffed out the King’s life.

That did not matter, for the cat-people had seen this devastation and destruction. They surrounded Ultraamann, silently watching him. He turned slowly, watching this crowd gather, and worried that he’d have to kill them all to get out. He pressed the Portal summoning button again, to no avail.

This circle of these cat people gathered, almost wordlessly, a quiet murmur spreading through then, as more and more came out and joined the crowd. They stopped a dozen yards from him, and he turned and looked slowly at them, uneasy, and unsure of what to do.

At this point, Ultraamann stopped and told me that he really didn’t want to kill any of them. He seemed truly horrified at the idea of having to fight his way past an entire race, and mortified at the idea of having to kill any of them, much less all of them as it was looking more and more like. It is rare for anyone to see any kind of weakness or fear from Ultraamann, but apparently the idea of genocide of a race of strong and good, well-intentioned people is enough to shake even his mighty heart.

When enough of the cat people were present, nearly three hundred of them, they knelt to him, and said, “Show us, our leader, show us how to be strong, and how to best our enimies, as you have done.” It had the sound of a ritual, and the feeling of intensity behind it, and Ultraamann said it both relieved him that he would not have to hurt these fine people, and filled him with a feeling of awe at that profound of a sense of respect.

He did stay a while, to show them things they didn’t know, and to help them find a new leader from among their own ranks. A council of leaders was formed, and they practised and fought together, bringing teamwork and cooperation to this already formidable group, and making them even more unified and strong.

While he did this, he met Velvet Sheathe. She was the daughter of the Cat King… or the Queen… or the King’s concubine… or the female champion… I’m not sure… again, the two of them were somewhat confusing and I felt it best to be able to relate any of the story than to have this detail correct, so I did not press. Whatever her position had been, she stayed with Ultraamann. She, and the others there insisted that this was right, and she fought off several others who wanted to be where she was, skillfully and with the fearlessness that she is known for here in Paragon City.

As soon as teamwork was understood, and the leading council working well, Ultraamann told them he was leaving. In shock and horror, they cried, “No! Please stay, and be our King! We need you!” and he shook his head, and told them that they didn’t need him, and that they were strong on their own now, and others did need his help.

He turned and left the Council chambers in pandemoneum. He headed outside to where a Portal Corp. portal could fetch him more easily, and was met at the door by Velvet Sheathe. She was carrying her sword, and a small pack, and said, “I am coming with you.”

Ultraamann tried to convince her that she couldn’t go, and she simply refused to believe him. Ultraamann tried to scare her off, a futile attempt. He told her he wasn’t coming back. She said, “I know. I am coming with you. It is right, and I will do so.”

How could even Ultraamann argue with that?

So, Ultraamann came home, and brought Velvet Sheathe with him. We, as heroes in Paragon City, are lucky to have them as allies, some of us even as friends.

((OOC: The roleplayer in me strikes. Apologies for any important details of the story I misremembered or got wrong. Hope it isn’t too much, and that I haven’t angered Velvet by expanding on her story.))

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