11132/A Cheetahs Resolve

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A Cheetahs Resolve
Date of Scene: 27 February 2020
Location: LexCorp Laboratories - LexCorp Tower
Synopsis: Lex puts Cheetah through a series of tests. He runs into her usual nature... but manages to provoke her into being useful to his plans.
Cast of Characters: Lex Luthor, Cheetah

Lex Luthor has posed:
With no magical answers forthcoming from members of the Light, Lex had gotten back in contact with Barbara. If she was going to remain as her current form, he strongly recommended a series of test to determine what, exactly, she was capable of.

Lex had prepared a series of escalating tests in various rooms in the laboratory section of the tower. Normally, most of the lab section would been isolated; blast and sound proof tends to be the standard here.

Today? Lex has ordered over half the department to be converted for these tests. Giving Cheetah plenty of room to move around, hit targets, and test endurance, strength, agility, etc.

In the middle of all of this is the main control room, where Lex and the monitoring team watch from.

Cheetah has posed:
Minerva hates to sweat. She has mentioned this at several points today. And yet here we are. She is in her feline form and wearing a form-fitting 'catsuit', which was provided by Lex's team. The color clashes with her eyes and she hates it. Thankfully, there are only a few, very discreet, wireless sensors attached to the suit at various points. She is standing in one of three empty running lanes some distance from the main control room. Behind and in front of her loops a respectable running track. How Lex's engineers managed to squeeze such a beast (the track, not Minerva) into this building is a marvel in and of itself.

"Lex, this is ridiculous. You know I don't run." It's true. She's been known to Uber her way to the end of her driveway. Minerva folds her arms and glares at Luthor.

Lex Luthor has posed:
Lex is looking over some of the controls when he flicks a switch, and the main entryway slides open. "Barbara. If you're going to be remaining in this form for a while, it's best for everyone -including yourself- if you know what you're capable of now. Do you agree?" Lex finally glances in her direction, and waits.

Cheetah has posed:
Cheetah stares Lex down for a good 15 seconds before grumbling darkly and turning 'down track.' She mutters rhetorically, "How do you even do this? Should I bend over or..?" This is not the first time she has asked this question. After some fussing, she settles into something vaguely resembling a sprinter's starting position. It was not an accident that her backside was facing Lex and his team. Serves them right. Louder now, "Fine. Now what? Should I just go...or?" As god is her witness if any evidence she was ever in this absurd condition /EVER/ reaches the Internet...

Lex Luthor has posed:
"This isn't a formal race. Just do what comes naturally to you." Comes the voice of Lex via the loudspeaker inside the control room.

"This is about testing what you can do, not about training. The lab can handle it."

Cheetah has posed:
"...lab can handle it." Before Lex can finish vocalizing 'it', Minerva - the Cheetah - is gone. What remains is an unbroken, calico-colored blur hovering near-noiselessly just above the entire length of the track. Instruments in the control room spring to life. More than a few exceed their respective failure thresholds almost instantly. The phenomenon persists for only a few seconds. Then, as suddenly as she vanished, Minerva reappears not far from her original position. Not so much as a hair on her head is out of place. "There. One round. I'm not doing another." She sniffs. One round? The track's sensors would suggest she's off by an extreme order of magnitude.

Lex Luthor has posed:
If it were anyone else, There would be gasps, shock, and other various degrees of 'WHAT THE FUCK?!"

Lex? He just casually watches the monitors... before he snaps his finger, "I had a feeling the extreme speed sensors would be useful." Lex looks over to a wall, point, and looks to one of the scientists... who remains still, in shock. "I'm not paying you to sit around. DO YOUR JOB!" Lex barks at the man, before he turns back to the intercom, and presses the transmit button, "One moment. We have to make some adjustments. We'll need you to do another for accuracy in about thirty seconds."

When you make it your lifes work to discredit and eventually kill a godlike being from another world... this is fairly low on the 'holy shit' meter.

Cheetah has posed:
Cheetah lets out an ostentatious sigh. When you make it your life's work not to work, this is the sort of direction that can really ruin you day. "Oh, for heaven's sake, Lex! I'm sure whatever you have," she waves a furry hand in no particular direction, "is perfectly fine."

This is a weak argument and Minerva knows it. She doesn't press the point. This is the most anyone has done to investigate her 'condition' since this nightmare started.

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Trust me. This is for the best." Lex continues, before he depresses the button. "Is the advanced sensor matrix online?" Lex asks one of the nearby scientists. "Yes, Mr. Luthor. We'll need a cover story for the power spikes, but we can probably handle this level of output for about thirty minutes."

Lex presses the intercom button again as he looks at the scientist, "Another lap please. We have the more advanced system running."

The more advanced version of the system he used to document The Alien.

Cheetah has posed:
Legend has it, on his second visit to Niagara Falls, Winston Churchill replied to a reporter's question thusly, 'The principle seems the same. The water still keeps falling over.' Much the same can be said about *this* natural obstacle.

Minerva mutters dark epithets under her breath while leaning into her ad hoc sprinter's position. As before, the muscles in her legs tighten, she starts easing forward, and then suddenly flutters out of view - replaced by a semi-solid blur that courses noiselessly around the track. Luthor's monitors spring to agitated life. Terabytes of data are recorded in an instant. Seconds later the whole affair is over. Barbara-Ann re-appears, mid-rant.

Lex Luthor has posed:
He watches the data... then he presses the intercom button again. "Dear. I need you in here. You need to see this to understand why you need to trust me." Lex depresses the button, then looks over to the scientist again. "Put up a full slow motion video of her lap, as well as the raw numbers I'm seeing here."

By the time Cheetah is inside again, she can see both on the big screen... the video says 'slow motion'...

The reality is that 'slow motion' looks like she's going at Flash level speeds, almost. "We only have thirty minutes to get a baseline, dear. If you want to understand yourself, I need less complaining from you, and more compliance." Lex gestures to the big screen, "do you understand?"

Cheetah has posed:
Cheetah stares at the screen. It's not the first time she's been enraptured with her own image, though this marks the first time since her return from Africa. In her defense, the video has a certain allure: the economy of movement, the grace -- it all lends a certain elegance.

Minerva whispers in surprise, "It's...beautiful." A nearby scientist gives her a sidelong glance but has the good sense to remain silent. Lex's words are processed in due course and the spell is broken. Compliance? Those are fighting words. Brace for an explosion. "As you say, Lex." Is the purred reply. Cheetah links her hands behind her back and sways ever so slightly back and forth in coquettish fashion. Her tail lightly brushes the floor.

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Thank you." Lex knows better than to press it further. Instead, he points to another scientist, "We're going to need the upper tier dummies brought up, see to it."

By upper tier, he means the Superman level punching bags.

The man immediately heads out to order them, before Lex looks back to Cheetah, "Your condition has given you some... fairly extraordinary speed. I daresay you're in the upper echelons of power, now. We'll test your endurance while the strength test is being prepared. Are you ready?" Lex inquires.

Cheetah has posed:
Too late. Barbara-Ann's attention has been diverted back to her favorite subject: herself. Her gaze is glued to the screen and the slow-motion recording. The reams of data cycling around on the neighboring screen is largely meaningless to her. "How fast would you say I am, Lex?" That imaginary whirring is the sound of gears a-turning inside Minerva's covetous little mind as it cycles toward nothing good. If she did catch Lex's question, it has been pointedly demoted to 'not as important as mine' and an answer is not immediately forthcoming. What was this talk of compliance earlier?

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Barbara." Lex notes, almost pointedly, "The system is still calculating all the variables for that, and we don't have much time to get the most out of this." Lex looks back out the window into the testing area, where technicians were already bringing the heavy duty equipment out of the warehouse and over into the strength testing section.

Once he looks back to Barbara, he keeps a carefully neutral smile, "I ask for your patience and understanding in getting this moving." Back to Damage Control, as it were.

Cheetah has posed:
Cheetah frowns slightly. 'Strength testing' sounds unnecessarily butch. She wanders closer to Luthor but not without her usual griping. "What do you mean we don't have time? You own the building." Minerva aimlessly waves her hand around the room. "Anyway, what could possibly be more important than me?"

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Your tier is in the upper end of current understanding, putting you somewhere closer to The Alien than a normal human when you're in this form. That requires a whole different set of sensor suites... and those draw a lot of power. The technology involved will only be operational for about a half hour before we need to recharge it all for another round in a day or two." Lex explains.

Seems like he's cvompletely ignoring the second question. For now.

Cheetah has posed:
Luthor's reticence is noted but quickly tossed aside as Cheetah's ego is salved by mention of her newfound abilities being in proximity to Superman's. You know who else is in 'proximity' to Superman? Wonder Woman.

Minerva peers through the control room window as the testing area is set up. A sour expression takes hold as she gets an eyeful of what's in store. "Oh, Lex. You can't be serious." Her right hand alights to her cheek while the other supports her right elbow. Why does she keep asking that question? She's never known Luthor to joke about anything.

Lex Luthor has posed:
"If you want a well done test, we need to do it all at once and ramp it up." Lex continues, he himself leaving the control booth and starting to leave for the testing range."

His hands move behind his back and fold at the knuckles as he continue, the earpiece broadcasting his voice into the control room now. "When it comes to evaluations, I don't joke." Lex notes over the comms as he heads for one of the 'lower tier' stations; a set of adjustable barbells from 50 pounds to a ton.

Cheetah has posed:
Is there a 15-year old girl in the room? Because 'someone' makes an audible sigh of overwrought exasperation and then follows Lex out of the booth and down to the testing range -- stomping on the metal floor as she goes. Not that he ever would, but If Lex were to turn around, he'd only see Cheetah trailing behind him. How odd.

Barbara-Ann follows Lex over to the barbells. Her mouth curls in such a way as to suggest she'd recently ingested a bar of soap. Every fiber of her spoiled, former-model, former-debutante person tenses in protest. Her pointed ears even seem to flatten out and pull away from the sides of her head.

Lex Luthor has posed:
Stopping just in front of the varied barbells, Lex turns around to her... and gestures to one. "Start at whichever setting you'd like. The system will compensate for you if you can't handle the load."

Cheetah has posed:
Can't handle the--?!? Cheetah's ears snap back into place. "Stand aside." She purposefully waves Lex out of the way. Seriously, does Lex have a diagram of Minerva's wiring stored somewhere?

Barbara-Ann stands before a selection of weights with her fists planted firmly on her hips. As though she has any idea how to do this. How hard could it be? She takes hold of one without looking at how much it weighs and holds it out awkwardly as though strangling Iron Man's little brother with one hand -- the weighted ends pointing at the ceiling and floor. Well, that wasn't so bad. Barbara-Ann peers at the remaining weights searching for a second. "They're all so drab looking." she muses thoughtfully. It's true: there's not a brightly colored object in the bunch.

Lex Luthor has posed:
"Barbara." Lex -once again pointedly- states, gesturing wordlessly to the numbers on the side of the barbell, "You're lifting a five hundred pound set like it was a toy." Lex states, letting the reality sink in.

Cheetah has posed:
She's no gym rat, but Barbara knows five hundred pounds is...inhuman. Lex's words are absorbed in short order. Barbara turns the weight slightly so she can read the indicator. What follows can most succinctly be described as a SQUAWK followed by the sound of a very heavy weight being dropped to the floor. "LEX!" Cheetah stares at her open hands, "I've become some kind of freak!" One wonders what the first clue was.

"I'm a >CREATURE< like those..." a pregnant pause as an unseen gear snaps into place within Minerva's devious brain, "...Amazons." An odd example to pluck out of thin air given what else is available but the point still stands. "Perhaps you're right." Slowly, Barbara-Ann's figure starts to relax and she returns to something approximating a normal posture, "Perhaps more testing is in order."

Lex Luthor has posed:
"You're a sentient human who can transform into something more." Lex accurately reads her situation, "however unwillingly she came into that power."

Then, he turns around, and starts walking over to one end of the complex, "Keep going through the barbells. I'm going to get into something to help move this along."

With that, Lex disappears around a corridor.

Cheetah has posed:
Cheetah watches Lex go. Even inside this expansive and noisy facility she can hear his footsteps after he's disappeared. Tentatively, she starts moving the weights around at random. She isn't doing anything remotely as scientific as these tests would likely require; merely picking up a weight, noting it's mass, and moving it around. Before long, it's apparent she's closer to the upper end of what these instruments were designed to measure than not. "I could probably throw a car." Minerva mutters under her breath.

Lex Luthor has posed:
It's about ten seconds later that Cheetah can hear the sounds of elevator gears moving, before Lex disappears from her earshot.

About two minutes later, and a section of the floor slides open... and up comes a platform. A green purple and black suit that looks suspiciously like power armor 'stands' in the dead center of the testing range.

The yellow eyes of the helmet look directly at Barbara... and the figure slowly starts to walk forward, directly towards her with clanking armored feet.

Cheetah has posed:
At the sound of the floor opening, Cheetah abruptly stops what she's doing and turns around as this robotic monstrosity rises into view. "...Lex?" As the mechanoid approaches, Minerva starts to back away wincing at its every clanking step -- super hearing has its disadvantages, too. "LEX?!" The short hairs on the back of her neck spring to life.

Lex Luthor has posed:
There's no answer immediately. But then, from the speakers around, comes his voice, "Just a bit of something to get this moving along. Don't worry about damage. It can take what you can put out. The pilot is an employee."

A lie, of course. Lex himself is piloting that suit and is using the building comm system to sell the lie that he's elsewhere watching.

Nonetheless, the suited figure doesn't stop. He, in fact, audibly triggers the thrusters on the armor... lifts off the ground smoothly... and reaches out with both hands and starts firing bursts of repulsor blasts at Barbara.

Time to see what she can do in a 'real' fight.

Cheetah has posed:
"LEX!!" This is followed by a series of colorful epithets that, sadly, are lost to history and the loud drone of the thrusters. Long before today's test, Barbara-Ann noticed she had developed the innate ability to detect nascent movement in other people before they had fully committed themselves. Sadly, as Lex's power-suit lacks the usual organic trappings of muscle and sinew, this isn't much help. As the repulsors flash Barbara-Ann does what comes naturally. She makes for the nearest exit at blinding speed. Unfortunately, she wasn't paying that close attention when she arrived and, by now, panic has set in. Cheetah comes to a halt some distance behind the armor.

"LEX!! THIS IS INSANE! STOP THIS IMMEDIATELY!!" Not wanting to take her eyes off the rampaging machine, she spares only quick glances at the surrounding walls. Seriously. Where *is* that exit?

Lex Luthor has posed:
It's a fairly lage cylinderish room... which means that no matter where Barbara goes, the armor has pretty good line of sight unless she moves around the control booth built into the far wall... but all that man has to do is fly back some distance to get good angles on both ends.

"insane is stopping this test when we can get a good idea of what you're capable of in a dynamic setting."

Dynamic setting is one way to put it.

As for the pilot? He stops dead center... and simply starts sending barrages of repulsor blasts at Barbara, occasionally mixing it up with blasts from the chest projector.

There is literally nowhere for Barbara to go to get away from the assault unless she makes an exit herself.

Cheetah has posed:
The sad thing is Barbara is likely capable of creating her own exit. She really should have been paying attention to the results of these tests. "LEX!!!" A subtle note of fury creeps into Cheetah's hysterics as though a tiger, having been poked, is slowly rousing itself. She flits around the room forcing the power-suit to (rather leisurely) rotate this way and that. If anyone is still analyzing data in the control room, they will note a sharp decline in the time it takes Minerva to go from one extreme point in the room to the other.

Minerva's heart rate starts to increase as adrenaline courses through her body. At length she affixes herself, Spider-Man like, to one of the rounded 'walls'. Her body is supported by her claws, which have torn into the side of the room. A hellish glow burns in her eyes and she lets out the trademark snarl of a cheetah. A half-second later and she's circling the power-suit in a tight arc, clawing wherever she can and pausing only to spring away from the chest projector and the repulsors when they (slowly) rotate in her direction.

Lex Luthor has posed:
Cheetah will find that her attacks hit a force shield barrier of some kind that persists over the entire suit... and occasionally a gauntlet mounted shield as well, when the person inside has time to bring it online. It is likely rather infuriating for Barbara, whom would need to do a sustained assault in order to have a chance of getting through that shield.

Being nice didn't get these results... and Lex is willing to risk Barbara being angry at him for weeks over this if it means accurate results to show to her for a 'I told you so'.

"is that all you've got?" Comes the wholly synthetic voice from the powered armor. A fully mental construct with no voice being used from Lex himself, there's no voice to analyze behind it for clues.

Cheetah has posed:
Cheetah's ability to analyze is, in any event, suspended. Still snarling and driven to new heights of rage and frustration she begins raining down hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of blows on the exterior of the suit (shield and all) as her coursing arc around it grows tighter. Minerva is approaching the upper ceiling of her speed now to say nothing of the outer limits of her humanity. The taunting voice doesn't help.

Lex Luthor has posed:
There's definitely signs of being thrown about like a ragdoll in Cheetahs attack. It's impressive, really, how much that suit can really take. There's a slight shimmering here and there as the shield takes a particularly nasty blow, but Cheetah isn't using the upper end of her new strength... and so it's more or less attempted death by a thousand cuts.

Still, if this doesn't show Cheetah she's capable of some serious damage, nothing will.

Evenually though, Lex has had enough, and decides to switch it up. The suite sensor package is one of the most advanced on the planet, and unlike the building, Lex spared no expense in building the suit. There's no upper power limit relatively compared to what his employees are using, so using the sensors, compared with his incredible intellect, Lex processes the relative speed and course that Cheetah is using, building a prediction model on the fly...

Within about ten seconds, Lex finds a point where he *believes* Barbara will be... and charges and aims the chest projector to time it nearly perfectly so he full blasts Cheetah back into a wall.

Cheetah has posed:
Cheetah is hit full on by Lex's broadside. She's driven like a nail straight into the back wall -- not precisely where Lex had calculated but very close. A small tendril of smoke wafts from the smoldering point on her chest where she was clipped. This, at least, seems to have knocked a few things back into order. Cheetah slowly rolls away from the damaged wall and onto all fours. A rather dazed-sounding half-snarl catches in her throat.

Lex Luthor has posed:
The suit stays where it is, letting Cheetah get her bearings again; this is after all a test, not a no-holds barred fight to the death.

The suit leisurely flies slightly up to the roof, and hovers, as Lex starts to collect the data and analyze it, using the supercomputers in the Tower itself to supplement his own brain.

She's practically feral in this state, to be sure... but at least he has an idea of what she's capable of. A moment later, and the suit 'drops' back down to the ground.

"Run at the suit and hit it with everything you've got, Barbara." Lex states over the test room intercom, still giving that lie that he isn't inside of it. "let's see your upper limit."

Cheetah has posed:
"Run at the --" Before Lex can finish speaking Barbara-Ann has bolted from her resting place and is flying, dagger-like toward the suit. At this range it takes less than a nanosecond for Cheetah to close the gap between her and her tormentor. A startling, inhuman snarl gives voice to the silent screaming of her body as she courses forward. She will feel the pain of this final exertion for days to come. There's nothing else to give beyond this one, last, earth-shattering, push.

Lex Luthor has posed:
it's an armor built to take on the likes of Superman... but that blow still sends the green power armor straight backwards with terrifying velocity right into the wall... and it actually *dents* the wall slightly.

Where there was a sleek advanced composite material designed to withstand seriously massive forces... there is a slight pothole in it, and the armored figure remains still.

That's going to smart for a few days, even with the armor.

"Very good." Lex states over the intercom, "Pilot, you can come in now, we have all the data we need for now." Lex stands up, and slowly moves back over to the platform.

Unless Barbara stops Lex, he's going back into the assembly chamber to get the armor off.

Cheetah has posed:
Barbara lies in an exhausted heap on the floor not far from the point of impact. Her ribcage rises and falls rapidly. Her hair is a spent, crimson storm sprawled across her face from within which one can make out a somewhat muffled reply, "Glad...to be...of service." Her tone sounds rather dazed. She likely didn't mean to appear so helpful. Within a few moments she drifts into a restless sleep. Someone is going to get an earful when she wakes up...