I haven't done very much with the CYOA crossover since those initial chapters unfortunately but I have put a little thought in on and off. I don't know what mechanism might defeat the enforced truce dynamic, but I like to dink around with action scenes so I have thought about ways to give the underdogs some sort of chance.
Augment vs Metahuman in extremely specific circumstances:
The 'party' is on a boat, some altercation happens between Lisa and Sarah. Lisa ensures that it starts outside on deck.
“That tears it!” Sarah screams with a charge forward.
Lisa sidesteps Sarah's charge, allowing Sarah to simply rip through the outer hull. Sarah turns around and runs at Lisa again, throwing wild swings. Lisa steps back and sways side to side just enough to deny any connection.
“Too slow kiddo,” Lisa says with a smirk as she moves back away from Sarah faster than the metahuman can keep up with.
Sarah stomps her foot into the deck with such incredible force that it causes the deck plates to ripple in the face of her power. Steel bends and warps in a circle away from her foot. Lisa hops over one wave of buckling steel but the next seems to throw her footing off and she hits the railing with her back. Sarah charges forward at her opponent, awkwardly pulling herself back up from the bent and distorted rails. At the last second just before her fist connects Lisa vanishes from sight and she hears a solitary “heh” as something taps her in the back.
Lisa's kick was technically capable of punching through a few inches of steel in its own right but the blow would be laughably useless against Sarah's durability. If she was trying to hurt the tiny girl anyway. The force was just enough to add to Sarah's momentum that she stumbled forward and broke through the weakened rails.
Sarah felt panic well up in a rush as she found herself looking at nothing but water beneath her. She stopped in a sudden jolt with one foot barely still touching the deck. She felt some pressure on her hair as she was pulled just ever so slightly back by her pigtail. It didn't hurt but it felt condescending somehow. She turned to grab for the arm holding her but the grip on her hair relaxed and she pitched forward again. She let out a yelp before the grip resumed and one leg spun about in the air in front of her a second. She pulled it back to try to get better footing, but her angle was just bad.
“Only warning. You're too dangerous to give any chances to.”
“DO YOU THINK...”
“That you can't swim? Your reaction confirms that theory well enough on its own. Now, let's have a little talk where you see things my way. Or...well, I think even you get the gist here.”
“You might be thinking you'll take your chances with sinking, but let me tell you about the sea floor here, it's quite a lot of silt. Even if you make it down with some breath left you'll sink into it rather than finding stone to kick off of. I'd advise against chancing it.”
“Maybe I can catch the side of the boat before I hit water, think of that?”
“Of course I did, don't insult me. I'm tireless and can hold my breath for a few hours. A little swim doesn't bother me, but, it seems it's an impossibility for you. Now I suggest behaving.”
Sarah grit her teeth but she really didn't have a chance, “Fine! FINE! You're right, we'll do it your way? Ok?”
Sarah felt a brief tug on her hair again just before she flew back onto the boat and landed on her but just in front of the wall she'd torn into a moment ago. She glared at Lisa as the taller girl walked away and told her that was all she needed to hear, but there wasn't any reason to think attacking her would go any differently as long as they were on the boat.
“You've been staying on deck through the night every night... What are you going to do when the boat docks?” some other character asks of Lisa.
“I'm working on that...”
Augment vs. Mage
“Does human life mean nothing to you?”
Estella smirked back at Lisa, “That's almost funny coming from you.”
“Don't lump my attitude in with your mass murdering.”
“Point I suppose, but are you really going to risk your life to stop me from killing the nobodies? Think that's worth throwing your life away for?”
Lisa tilted her head and let her left eyebrow twitch a bit, “You just implied I can't do something. Let's see!”
An average human could close in on another with a holstered gun pretty quickly resulting in variations of a rule that a gun user had to be far away. A flick of Estella's wrist unleashed something significantly more powerful than a bullet with about as much speed, but Lisa was no average human. An athletic sprinter could handily double or more the standard distance rule and Lisa could easily more than double that. Forty feet was closed nearly instantly leaving Estella's blast sailing by Lisa and destroying most of an abandoned car as she was already inside the mage's arm's length.
Lisa grabbed Estella by her silken outfit straps and pulled her down and forward enough to bring her face into easy reach. She hammered Estella's face with punches for a few rounds before letting go and backing off. Estella looked surprised and touched her lip with the hand she'd used to fire a blast at Lisa. She pulled her hand back to look at the slight line of blood that had come off her face. She looked angry for a moment before grinning and turning to Lisa.
“How's your hand?”
Lisa's fighting stance tried to hide her hitting hand from Estella's view, obscuring the torn up skin and bleeding knuckles. She'd just hit the woman with her full strength several times and hurt herself worse than her opponent. It wasn't the best start but she wasn't about to give up. She decided she wasn't going to give Estella the satisfaction of banter and charged her again. It turned out Estella had been charging an attack with the hand further away from Lisa and brought it across her side under her breasts to essentially fire from the hip.
Had Lisa not figured out that was the best reason for Estella to keep her side turned to her and far hand hidden she might have been ended right there. She dove down and sprung back up, grabbed Estella's arm and twisted and pulled to force it out away from her body and up. The long lasting power beam that fired from Estella's hand that time kept going as Lisa did her maneuver, pulling the blast up through a pair of skyscrapers in the distance. The sections of building above where the beam hit started to slide off, indicating clearly that the beam had sliced straight through.
Estella used her considerable brute force to overcome Lisa's leverage and take a swing at her head. Not wanting to take the blow and still a lot faster than the mage Lisa simply wasn't there to take the hit. Estella felt a blow across the back of her knees and she wobbled but didn't fall, turning back to fire another blast. Lisa actually used her extended arm and shoulder to pull herself up and do a flip over Estella. This time Lisa's attack to the back was met by the extending shield of one of Estella's bracelets. Lisa's hand went numb and the sensation spread up her forearm quickly, starting to move up her body. She jumped away this time before it started affecting her mobility.
Estella brought her wrists together to activate the full body shield function they had. She took a number of steps back to increase her distance from Lisa while she had her barrier up. Lisa couldn't touch her while she had that up but it only lasted so long and she couldn't focus on the shield spell and building power at the same time so that gave her some time. Not that she needed it for anything more than getting into the ideal place.
“You are fast, but you don't have anything else greater than me do you? You'll beat yourself to infirmity before seriously hurting me. Just admit you lost and maybe I'll let you walk away with that shame.”
Estella wasn't really interested in conversation though as she moved her hands apart but only just, forming a loose triangle with her fingers. The spell she summoned was more about spraying a large area with relatively light power, meant more to wound and disorientate than kill. It wasn't anything to sneeze at though as things like clothes and paint caught fire in the flash.
Lisa threw an arm up over her face for a moment as she ran forward ignoring the pain across her body. She dodged to the left and right allowing nearly human sized balls of destruction to sail by her, destroying whatever they hit. Just as she reached Estella she ducked low, using Estella's sheer rack to her advantage by letting it conceal her next move. She moved right in front of Estella, ducked low and tensed and then jumped into a headbutt straight into Estella's midriff.
Estella grunted as Lisa's head collided with her stomach and she fell a step back but she was more angry than hurt and lashed out into Lisa with a kick. Lisa flew through the air, hit the asphalt and rolled until she came to a stop with her back to Estella. Estella flicked her long hair with a contempt filled gesture and put her palms together as she started to charge power.
“Let's see you dodge this you little monkey.”
“Have you ever heard of the Xanatos gambit?”
“Guess not,” Lisa stood up with the smoking gun she'd just picked up.
Estella was surprised enough at the pain that she dropped her charging power to assess the damage. She hadn't felt any source of magic power of the blank, void and unsettling sensation of anti magic. It seemed as though these strange little worlds had managed a mundane weapon that could get through her spell. Her hand came away from her shoulder with about as much of her own blood as she'd seen since she'd gotten the iron skin spell.
“What the fuck?”
There was a click of the tool as Lisa pointed the discharging point up against Estella's jugular.
“It means that you create a situation where you win no matter what the other does. Either the headbutt worked and you were winded enough that I could use grappling moves on you and restrain you in spite of your greater strength, or it would fail and you'd hit me. Your arms can't get in front of you easily so that leaves your feet. I just made sure your kick would be angled so it sent me towards the gun. Given how still you are I'm guessing you know just how fast you'd bleed out if I shot you now.”
“You don't kill as many people as I have without experimenting a little.”
“Morally speaking I'd probably be in the clear to just do you in now.”
“You're right here, with nothing left to lose from the effort I'd drain your life to restore myself.”
“I'm pretty fast but I admit the chance you'd catch me before expiring is non-zero... and don't even think of powering up into any kind of all-direction blast, I'll shoot.”
“Seems we've hit an impasse then.”
Metahuman vs. Magic
The cars were nothing new to Circe, she deflected them with pulses of magnetism and her shield as she'd done so often before but things just seemed to keep escalating somehow. Buses and heavier things still. Now she just could hardly believe what she was seeing.
“COME ON!? AN ENTIRE BUILDING?!”
She wasn't sure her shield could deflect that, and anything else was risky but just standing still – or even running – would be surefire splattered Circe. She channeled as much power as she dared into her wand and chain before letting them go, enveloped in plasma. Her wand took the shape of a great sword in its fiery aura and her chain the shape of a wyvern. What she was about to do was technically a war crime, but she was on another world so hopefully the Arcane Council would never get word of it.
A few thousand tons of concrete, glass and steel flew at Circe in seemingly slow motion, but it wasn't slowing. It looked like a scene out of too many action movies – she'd seen photos of movie scenes and even TVs from a distance – as it kicked up a cloud of smoke and debris as it tore a great swath of destruction on its way to her.
The magic items flew through the air, the sword around her wand in wide, semi-circular swings and the dragon of her chain followed it, together cutting a path through the building and allowing Circe to run through the gap behind them.
“Don't you think that's going a bit far?”
“You're still talking so obviously not!”
Barely believing that Sarah was so mad she'd go for another freaking building Circe realized she really didn't have an option. The chant was a bit longer than most of her spells, air was one of her better elements but she wasn't in the habit of practicing war crimes. With a shout and effort of will a bubble of vacuum surrounded Sarah as Circe forced the air away from the super powered girl.
Sarah grew annoyed at first, flinging whatever she could Circe's way and smashing anything that wouldn't be thrown. It made keeping the spell up difficult, but her tokens acting autonomously were able to keep vaporizing and cleaving their way through the improvised projectiles. Then Sarah started to jump around like crazy and that was a lot harder to keep the focus on.
Sarah got away from the airless bubble when Circe was clipped by shrapnel, unable to afford the power for her defensive barrier. But she was left bent over gasping for breath, maybe just maybe... Circe ran at the super powered girl and drew her tokens back to herself to reclaim what was left of the power she'd poured into them. As she reached Sarah she slapped her hand down on her invulnerable back and threw down all the lightning power she could, not with the intent to harm directly because that would be useless, but...
“Anything will break if you hit it with itself enough.”
She sent all the electrical power she could muster down to specific points to trigger the right muscular responses and against Sarah's will her own hand reached up and slapped her across the face. Circe hadn't anticipated just how much force that would entail. The clap was so loud it was like an explosion in its own right, throwing Circe down the street and wrecked her hearing altogether. Sarah's eyes looked unfocused a moment until she touched her cheek and made quite the face.
“SWEET MONKEY JESUS!” Sarah poked at her face but jerked her hand away quickly, “god damn but I just about forgot what pain feels like...”
Circe picked herself up slowly, dizzy and scraped from the blast. She started to get frantic as she realized she couldn't hear until she finally found Sarah, looking very sulky.
“Ok, ok... that...owww... how are you even getting up looking like that?”
“WHAT? I CAN'T HEAR YOU.”
“I'm done. Whatever I was mad about, not worth it,” Sarah lay down carefully.
Circe thought it looked like Sarah had just given up entirely, but decided to get as far away as she could anyway. She'd just have to stop in a store somewhere and get enough stuff to mix up some kind of healing potion.
“I hate admitting it but I'd need about nine more of me to match Estella in raw power,” Circe muttered to herself as she pondered her options. A straight on battle might not be over right away but the best she could do would be delay the inevitable in one. She couldn't try to do anything to Estella physically either as the woman could just tear her into however many pieces she wanted. That left planning and preparation, pulling on the things her magic could do that Estella's couldn't.
Estella's necklace cued her in to magic power, but it didn't seem to do more than give her a general sense of where things with magic power were. She could have her chain summon the earth element into some kind of lizard or something and create a decoy. Possibly the same with her wand if she used ice or something. She did so and sent them off in different directions as she kept walking. Of course there was still that one in three chance Estella would end up following her anyway.
Wards weren't all that strong, and it seemed like there was a good chance Estella would sense them. Explosions in her face didn't seem to do much to her anyway. Something did occur to her though, Estella was vulnerable to light themed magic to the extent she didn't even like bright light. Circe's light magic was limited and might not have that weird 'super effective' element against Estella that her own world's magic did but it was worth a try. The low power of her light spells might make them harder to notice and interfering with an opponent's vision was a valid enough strategy in its way.
Head to head anything Circe launched against Estella would just be deflected or absorbed, even her lightning which was just infuriating. If she could be caught off-guard though that might make a difference... She pulled out her compact and opened it to look at the mirror, it essentially doubled as a magic phone service with the added benefit of being able to send spells through it. If she rigged another mirror with a communication spell it wouldn't last for that long, probably burn out with one spell, but if that spell was a Thor's Bolt to Estella's backside it might do some damage. There was just the question of how to place it and lead Estella to the right point.
Meanwhile Estella was thinking darker versions of similar thoughts. She could sense she had a handy power advantage over Circe but the girl's versatility was just about up there with the fledgling prismatic sorceress. It wouldn't do to underestimate how long she could draw out a fight. The magic of her world was also quite different from any one school of magic Estella had been exposed to. She could make her magic tokens operate semi-autonomously, which was an outright ridiculous feat for someone so young. Century old masters slaved away making the parts of that kind of spell for years to make a carriage that could kind of come to its owner provided the way didn't have that many obstacles in it, and here this girl just told her ornaments to 'go do x' and they would go do x.
A straight battle was the simplest way to go with magic, but that might get Lisa and Sarah involved and that was more variables than she wanted to be planning on. Something sneaky like a knife in the back or poison could do the trick... of course she could just break the girl with her own hands if it came to it but she preferred to use other methods and Circe was careful to keep far enough away to raise that barrier of hers if she thought she needed to.
Estella stopped at a doorway into a building one of the others felt everyone should be taken to, “Would you like to go ahead young one?”
“Me? I hardly think I should go ahead of someone in line for such a prestigious position. It would be altogether too forward on my part,” Circe tried to sound sincere but couldn't keep all the sarcasm out of her voice.
“Think of it as announcing me then.”
“I wouldn't presume! Unless you want to put me on your official pay roll. How much paperwork does this world have for that?”
Estella gave her a tight little smile for a moment before folding her arms, “do you think we'll fight first or rage fuck?”
“Hah, you do look like a friend of mine I'm kind of into, but you have like the exact opposite personality.”
“You want to team up?” Lisa asked drawing the words out slowly.
“Sure, Estella's a murderous psychopath and Sarah's...”
“The tiny girl version of the incredible Hulk” - they finished together.
“You must be worried you'd lose a fight with one of them,” Lisa said.
“You'd be crazy not to think that! Anyway, one's completely evil and one's a potential natural disaster in a china shop. You're obnoxiously arrogant but you're...”
“The best available huh? You sure know how to sweet talk someone don't you?”
Circe didn't bother answering Lisa settling for a long glare.
“Hey, I can do it, I just don't bother.”
“Come on, we should make an arrangement. If you're really as smart as you keep bragging about surely you'll make the terms and conditions favor you.”
“Oh I love it when someone thinks they can play me.”