5760/Shadow Boxing

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Shadow Boxing
Date of Scene: 22 March 2018
Location: The System - Locus
Synopsis: A spate of disappearances, lead to an entire legion of the LDF being corrupted by a Trojan Horse virus.
Thanks to: Carna, Lexicon and Asterios for coming
Cast of Characters: 1103, Lexicon, 1137, 974

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Charta has put out a general call. Diamond Soul is currently busy with a viral outbreak in the eastern sector, but a growing problem has occured at the LDF's main barracks. Diamond Sister has been sent to investigate and any other assistance will be appreciated. A standard Locus Relief Package is offered to anyone that responds.

    Meeting responders at the System Bus is a young looking girl with dark green hair, offset by a bright orange hairclip. Dark eyes look around nervously as she idly plays with a deck of cards, shuffling them, cutting the deck, then shuffling them again, hands moving with a practiced grace.

Lexicon has posed:
    Arriving via the System Bus, it's a familiar (if tired-looking) face. Lexicon disembarks with a more distant, half-lidded expression than her usual, pausing to glance up at the Locus skyline. Eyes closing, she lifts her hands to slap her cheeks twice in succession, looking more alert when she opens them again. Hands disappearing back into her sleeves, she approaches Arcana with steady steps.

    "Stylono passed me a message that there was trouble brewing and Theurgus was already occupied." Straight and to the point. Perhaps a bit more direct than usual. When she seems to realize she's forgotten something, the Silver DCC straightens, "Ah, and good afternoon. It's been a while, hasn't it?"

    She was probably up all night writing, again.

Asterios (1137) has posed:
Asterios is here!

Asterios looks considerably more well rested than Lexicon, despite the fact that his eyes are /actually/ black. How does that even work? Maybe it's because he's almost perpetually radiating pure, elemental fluffiness.

And he is...

Staring at this unfamiliar girl. Tilting his head one way. Then the other. "...Aa?" Beat. "Hmn. I do not... recognize you. I am Asterios!" Beat. "Hi! I am here to help!"

Carna (974) has posed:
    Carna and Enark have absolutely no familiarity with this world, or its problems. They only know Theurgus from the radio, and probably don't know the person they're coming to meet. But soon a zombie-ghost and a normal ghost are here in this strange new world, with the latter doing his best to keep up following the recent change in his... Health? Can dead people be said to have health? No one knows!

    But Enark looks much more wizened. His hair has gone quite gray, his face has deep lines carved into it by supernatural aging, and he moves like an old man, even if his eyes still have the same youth, and his voice has not changed at all except to gain constant weariness.

    The robed scholar is helped along by a red-haired woman with crimson eyes in the finery from some victorian court, though she appears to be wearing the male version of such. Asterios serves as a sign post for navigating to the person they are here to meet, more than the girl herself, and soon enough Carna and Enark have joined the walking landmark.

    "Asterios..." Enark calls in greeting. "Good to see you here." Lexicon is less familiar. Have they even met? But Enark nods his head in greeting to her and Arcana as well. "I am somewhat less than caught up on the details of the job. What do you need help with?"

    Carna says nothing at first, instead scanning the surroundings, both out of curiosity and for signs of danger. "I am Carna. I apologize if we have met before and I do not remember you. I have memory issues." she says as though reciting from a script. She doesn't sound all that convinced of what she says, or at least not that she is who she says she is. But Enark doesn't contradict her, so whatever.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana puts the deck back into the holder on her belt. She bows politely to the arrivals, before speaking in a meek tone. "Ah, Lady Silver Soul, thank you for coming... a-and Sir Asterios. Big Sister has spoken highly of your strength and tenacity. I pray we have little use for the former today, though I have my fears." She fiddles with her hands, wringing them as she looks at Enark and Carna. "W-Well... um... the Locus Defense Force, our Drive's home defense group, has been reporting some... strange disappearances in their upper ranks at the primary barracks... I've been tasked with investigating this, as Big Sister is occupied elsewhere with the secondary team."

    Arcana then gestures to a nearby airship. It's got large crystal 'wings' and looks much like some kind of magitech bird. "Please, I arranged transport to the barracks." She then boards the airship, waiting for the others to board before instructing the pilot to set off.

Lexicon has posed:
    Lexicon turns slightly, fixing a neutral expression on Asterios. After a moment, she nods once, "You'll be reliable no matter what. I can count on that." When greeted by Enark, though, she turns a bit more to examine the newcomers. Neither one rings a bell, and she lifts a hand to cradle her chin in thought. "No, I can't say we've met before. Welcome to the System, if this is your first time here." Hand lowering, she nods once, "I'm Lexicon, the Drive Core Controller of the neighboring Drive, Britannica."

    Turning back to Arcana, she accepts the invitation and boards the airship, finding a railing to lean on, "Tell us everything you know about what's going on in the barracks. I imagine it's a bit more serious than theft or vandalism if you're asking for help with it."

Asterios (1137) has posed:
    "Enark! And Carna also." Asterios says, turning to face the mage with a smile, only to stop part way through his pivot. "...Why are you..." Beat. "...Pruned?"

Did he spend too much time in a bath, or something?

What's going on!?

"Lexicon is here too!" He chirps, thumping a fist aganst his chest. "Don't worry! As always, count on me." The enormous minotaur is nothing if not reliable as clockwork. Arcana seems to have been informed of this. The minotaur nods, takes a step forward, and then...

...Pats her head.

This is going to be a thing with all the little proteges, isn't it?

"Nice to meet you. Arcana. We will be good friends!" As he is to all children! But for now... It's up onto the airship, and to their destination. Wherever that may be...!

Carna (974) has posed:
    Enark nods as he listens, not fully understanding, but getting the gist of it. So this world is some sort of... Computer system? That sounds distressingly similar to what just transpired with Emblem and everything, but it seems this is 'normal' for here. "Well, hopefully we can find these missing individuals swiftly."

    He waves his hand tiredly towards Asterios at the inquiry regarding his appearance. "It is a long story. Suffice to say, I gave up something vital to help another, and this is the price I pay for it, apparently. It will hopefully not interfere with rendering aid. ...Are you certain you will be able to fit on this vessel, by the way?" He boards the transport, squinting at its dimensions, with Carna in tow, the latter a bit more leery of flying.

    "What are the circumstances of their disappearance? Were there signs of violence? Strange behavior before they went missing? Anything that links them beyond their rank? Are there any enemies you can think of with the means and motivation to abduct your leadership?" Seems dying and coming back as someone else has earned Carna a rank up in critical reasoning skills and investigative instinct.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    At Lexicon's request for more information, Arcana lifts her hands, pressed together as if in prayer. Then then pulls them apart, opening a holographic screen then makes some gestures, cutting the larger screen into smaller ones, 'tossing' one to each of the others. They float nearby, and show images as the girl speaks. "Recently, a spate of disappearances has been reported, starting with Captain Lumiar, the leader of the LDF Taskforce that engaged the Trojan a few weeks ago." Images appear, a male in a uniform, stat sheet filling in. Height, Weight, Hair colour, Eye colour, Name, Rank, Base Code-type(This is: Alpha Positive). Then a few stills from the aforementioned battle. Large mechanical things clashing with what look like large blobs of blue goo with a dog face. A large dragon with railguns on its shoulders. The pictured captain getting into a large mechanical walker suit. "All high rank members of the Primus legion have gone missing, only to return again some time later, heavily decompiled and delerious. Nothing useful has been gleaned from their mutterings before their deresolution... Lieutenant Floria contacted Charta yesterday, and that's when the Viral outbreak happened to draw Big Sister away... We have some idea that these two happenstances are interconnected, but that is why we are investigating."

    The headpat from Asterios does make the girl flustered, wringing her hand again after the hand moves away, before she fusses with her hair a little to get it back into place.

    To Carna's questioning, Arcana turns. "Well, the latest one to go missing is the Lieutenant that reported the incidents. She hasn't returned yet... and, as for enemies, I doubt the other Drives would stoop to such things..." she looks over to Lexicon at that. "And the Viruses, though rather intelligent, aren't really known for such intricate plans..." this does make the DCC Candidate look pensive, as the airship comes in to dock at a mooring platform at one of the outlying islands. The 'Barracks' isn't so much that as an entire military base, taking up the entire floating island with a large building surrounded by smaller ones, radiating out in a geometric pattern. A male program dressed in combat fatigues approaches, saluting the DCC-C and the others as they disembark. "Corporal Gravis, acting commander of Primus Legion... we are expecting you, please, follow me." The man has a strange red spider-web pattern mark on his neck, it pulses oddly.

Lexicon has posed:
    Lexicon cradles her chin once more, in thought as she studies the information Arcana presents while she speaks. Eyes narrow slightly while she pours over the images in particular. That guy is definitely familiar. He's the one who rallied the troops and kept pressure off while she and the others were dealing with the Trojan Horse.

    Eyes wander towards Asterios, and she nods once, making room for him. The headpatting thing is... it's a thing she keeps seeing him do. Eyes closing, Lexicon sighs. She then glances towards Carna and her line of questions. That hand returns to her chin, and she glances back towards the images presented.


    The neutral placement of Lexicon's eyebrows shifts into fierce determination. A ring of code shoots out around her, enveloping the DCC in a column of light. When it fades, she's changed-- Vibrant blue-white hair, a white bodysuit in place of her dress coat, and red eyes marked with glowing sigils of power.

    "I hope I'm fuckin' wrong, but in case I'm right you'd better get ready to deliver an asskicking."

Asterios (1137) has posed:
Headpatting is /justice/ Lexicon. IT IS RIGHTEOUSNESS and it is most good.

Enark's answer incites a deep frown from the depths of the Minotaur's heart. "That is. Sad. We should try to find a way to fix this. Maybe find youth potion? Hmmmn." Asterios scratches at his great mane. "...Must be a way. Somewhere."

But that's a problem that can be dealt with later.

For now, there is more pressing work to be done.

Asterios barely fits on the transport. Only by bending over and eventually sitting down does he manage to squeeze in without punching holes in the ceiling. It's with great relief that he disembarks and steps into a languid, joint-poppingly satisfying series of stretches.

He stops as soon as he's confronted by...


Asterios pauses and glances towards the DCC. "...Isn't red like that... Corruption? Viral?"

Carna (974) has posed:
    Names. Organizations? Individuals? All unfamiliar. But it sounds like the usual suspects aren't on the list. Or if they are, they're doing something unusual. When they arrive and are met with someone who is expecting them, Carna cautiously disembarks while Enark is looking around with interest at such a strange new world. When Asterios mentions corruption... Well, they just got done dealing with an assload of primordial corruption, and it seems that same corruption isn't done with them. That it has followed them here and is attacking this world, since it has already seen fit to abduct Elites from other worlds, seems perfectly plausible.

    Of course, just hearing that this person might be an enemy who is likely leading them into a trap seems like a much bigger reason for Carna to act, not wasting time drawing logical conclusions when a threat is right in front of her. So her a sword seemingly made of solidified blood, attached to a deep black chain wrapped around one arm, appears in the Lantern's hand, and then she tries to ram it through the Corporal Gravis's back and out his front, before Enark can bring up the fact that he has gained a lot of experience with purging corruption recently and since healing his forte, maybe let him try to fix this.

    Instead, the unnatural aged ghost lets out, "DEAR GOD!" as he jumps at the sudden violence before he has finished processing the news of a MAYBE infection. A MAYBE. NOT EVEN CONFIRMED YET, CARNA. COME ON. "Stop! Stop! Maybe I can cure him! ...And heal his injuries! Carna, please!" he pleads, while also not getting close enough to get caught in the violence himself.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Gravis, to his credit, lets out a scream of agony, as that blade punches through his midsection. When the blade is pulled back, it shows a pulsing red hole, showing broken code as the man crumples to his knees... He drops to his hands, then begins to chuckle unhingedly. >"HAHA... The Master will be pleased with more pawns."< come a /very/ familiar voice to Asterios and Lexicon... it's the voice of that damned Trojan Horse virus.

    The spiderweb cracks seal up, and vanish, causing the Corporal to keel over, then shatter into voxels, his code returning to the Drive.

    Arcana stands, open mouthed with her hand resting just over her sword. She's staring at Carna's sudden outburst... then grits her teeth and, with a similar pulse of light as Lexicon, transforms to her HDD form. "What the hell was that!? You just deresolved one of my citizens! Infected or not this is unexcusab--" a holoscreen appears in front of the angry face of the DCC-C, breaking her rant... it propogates to the others, showing a blonde woman with those same spiderweb cracks on her exposed shoulder, and up her neck. "Lady Diamond Sister... I don't have much time before he overrides my cognitive functions... The Trojan has the entire base under his sway... trust noone... The Captain is the key... the Cap---"

    The screen cracks and shatters... and then a report like a large cannon echos across the large courtyard. "... They even got the prototype... SCATTER!" calls Arcana as her silver processor wings spread and she rockets into the air, as a very large shell comes arcing over to slam into the dock, spreading ice across the ground.

Asterios (1137) has posed:
Carna suddenly does the vicious/smart thing and straight up decapitates their guide. To nobody's surprise, Asterios doesn't look particularly bothered. His crimson eyes are instead locked on that viewscreen-- and the woman appearing within it.

He has little time to consider her words when the corrupted soldiers unleash the might of their prototype weapon. A shell is loosed, the spent round smashing into the dock and covering the land with frost-- Or, that is exactly what the prototype would have done.

If it were not for the Minotaur standing right there.

The shell descends and, rather than impacting the ground, instead smashes into Asterios' open embrace. The Minotaur snarls, his roar tearing through the air as he's pushed back. Back. Back. But not over.

He... has grabbed hold of the round.

...And has begun sprinting /toward/ the direction it came from. Carefully, precariously, he juggles the shell into the air, turning it over in his arms. Once, twice, finally on the third he gets a decent overhead grip. With another yell, he pivots and throws, sending the projectile soaring over the horizon in the vague direction of its source.

...And follows shortly thereafter.

Search and Disable were his orders, after all.

Lexicon has posed:
    Apparently echoing Lexicon's unease in a much more visible and literal way, Carna takes out the soldier that had come out to meet them. She'd caught a glimpse of that red marking before, though wasn't in nearly the position to do anything about it. The red-eyed Drive Core Controller tenses, teeth bared, when he mutters his unsettling last words. Eyes shift towards the screen, and an apparent survivor. For a few seconds, anyway. When the screen breaks, she shifts her eyes back to the compound.

    "Motherfucker, I thought we had him last time. Slippery puppeteer bullshit--" Asterios catches an artillery shell, and that's odd enough for Lexicon's train of profanity to derail. She stares at him for a moment, as he Return-To-Senders the shell and charges after it.

    Processors wink into being around Lexicon's hips, feet, and shoulders. Wings of light trace a vague square shape behind her before the panels fill in, and she ascends. Thrusting a hand out, the techno-magical haft of her weapon appears in a flash of pixellated sparks, which erupts with the blazing silver-white axe blade of light a second later, "Time to install my FOOT up every ASS that gets in my way! Arcana, watch my back, between Asterios and me, don't worry about those fuckers paying any attention to you!"

    The axe is swung back in a ready position and, with a roar of her own, Silver Soul dashes after Asterios. Where there's a tank, there's soldiers. And where there's soldiers, there's bound to be a captain. Hopefully, for their sake, it'll be the RIGHT captain.

Carna (974) has posed:
    Well, now this is happening. But better that is be happening now than when they're surrounded, right? A sentiment that Carna expresses in response to both Arcana and Enark. "Would you have preferred that I wait until we had followed him into a trap we may have been overwhelmed and corrupted in the same manner? It was a matter of our safety. If Enark wishes to try to purge the corruption from others as we encounter them, I will attempt to dismember them instead from now on. But our survival comes first."

    When someone appears on a screen, informing them of who they need to seek, she does not just assume this information is on the up-and-up, but takes it under advisement. They have no way of knowing that they are not being mislead, that this isn't some misdirect with a conveniently still-fighting-the-mind-control 'insider' to tell them where to go that totally isn't another trap or anything.

    But she isn't a leader, and decides to leave that to those who know this place better. She'll speak up (or simply act) when the time comes. For now... She dodge rolls to try to evade the incoming shell, but it turns out to be unnecessary. Enark, lacking dodge rolling capabilities, opts to strain himself to place shields of protective water over everyone, himself included, that act like a layer of liquid armor, absorbing damage as reducing anything that gets through, while self-replenishing.

    The two dead people will be following along once that's done, though Enark is probably the slowest one present, and Carna is going to stick with him as best as she is able while still contributing to the mission.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana blinks a bit, watching the juggling and then toss back of that shell. She then looks over to Silver Soul, and nods. "R-Right!" melancholy broken, she summons her sword. A stadard looking long sword, but the blade is split into three, making it look like a fork with three extremely long tines. These are interconnected with energy lines. In her other hand, she pulls the stack of cards, making them float around her in a little halo ring. They glow in all the colours of the elements shown in The System, and she keeps a fairly high altitude.

    Carna and Enark take the back, and would likely see the buildings coming alive first. Many shapes appear, humanoid, carrying what look like large crystals strapped to some kind of gun mechanism. Their purpose is made clear, as lances of 'laser' light come flashing out, firing out at Asterios, Silver Soul and Arcana as the three most prominent targets.

    GEtting into the main base, past these perimeter guards, leads to a large courtyard, filled with mecha suits, including a (albeit corrupted) Captain Lumiar's personal mech, still sporting the damage it received, and tracered with those big red spiderwebs. >"Good of you to join us. Lay down your weapons, you are outnumbered."< comes the Captain's and Trojan's voices overlaid in perfect sync from the mecha. Nearby, a large tracked vehicle with a turret sporting large cannons rumbles, emitting sparks from a large crystal mounted to the rear of the chassis. It certainly LOOKS like a prototype, not a full production model. A lot of components are exposed or poorly armoured... but the cannons are functioning perfectly. They level and fire another shell, this one glowing with the orange light of Flame.

Asterios (1137) has posed:
It's true. They are outnumbered. Beams of light tear across the interim, scything long arcs of boiling water into Asterios' barrier. The vapor expands, bursts, carving steam burns into Asterios' tremendous bulk. Under ordinary circumstances, numbers like these would be intimidating. Under normal circumstances, they have the overwhelming numbers; they have an army.

But it's okay.

They have an army. We have a minotaur.

And also two literal goddesses and whatever the heck Carna and Enark are.

Beams pound into the berserker. The revolting stench of overboiled meat floods the air as more and more firepower concentrates on the charging bull. But he does not stop. He tears through the pain, through the damage, and surges to leap the resto f the distance just as the cannon opens fire.

Asterios... Grabs the chassis with both arms... and goes to lift the tank right off the ground.


Is he... planning to throw it, too? Or does he have something /else/ in mind?

Lexicon has posed:
    Lexicon soars, rather than runs, and this gives her a good position to inspect the enemy formation. Locus Defense Force mechs, a tank, and some foot soldiers with rifles. Oh. Rifles. She swings her axe forward, presenting the flat of the blade as a shield braced by her free hand as she ascends. At least until enough shots hit her to remind her of the water shield Enark blessed her with. The wide eyes of surprise narrow, and she bares her teeth in a savage grin.

    Lexicon's already unusually tough for a Drive Core Controller, and she knows it. Giving her this kind of additional defense... that's just not fair. What would be beams digging into her form are just scarring the surface, blunted.

    And Asterios is already dealing with the tank. She also thinks she has a pretty good idea of what he's going to do with it, given the mechanized infantry also present. Sweeping her axe aside, Lexicon thrusts a hand out, gathering Resources into a blue-white ball around her fist, "I've been developing some new moves. Here's my top tier closer, let me know what you think of it, fuckers!" She thrusts her hand down, creating a sheet of ice beneath her. Hefting her axe, the DCC dives right through it.

    She comes out the other side wreathed in freezing energy, axe held ready to strike when she impacts the center of the infantry formation, "BRULLENDER KOMET!"

    On impact, the ice magic bursts out in every direction. Not as spikes like her distinctive Latent Katastrophe, but as a wave of chill that hinders movement and jams exposed machinery.

Carna (974) has posed:
    Carna and Enark arrive a bit after the others, but upon hearing that the one they seek is potentially here before them (or at least that is what is assumed by the mech being here, Carna decides to use some of the tools she found out she has after 'coming back from death' as a different dead person. She doesn't remember the battle that led to their acquisition, but there are detailed notes in the old Carna's journal. The old Carna may have been a mad woman, but she was very specific in her documentation.

    And now the new Carna draws her crossbow, takes aim using more muscle memory than the trained skill of her previous self, and loads a shaft inscribed with runes, with a jagged shard of metal on the tip, into the weapon. After drawing the string and fixing it in place, she checks her aim again, as all around her, chaos reigns.

    Then the Lantern launches a bolt that seems to burn the air around the scavenged shard of a destroyed Holy Grail, the curses of billions of years of humanity's tormented dead and their hatred woven tightly into it. The bolt streaks towards the captain's mech. And if it lands, it first pierces as though the material were mummified flesh. And then the crumbling decay and graying will spread from the impact point, rotting everything it touches in hyper fast-forward, and leaving the captain within with only two options: Get out or go down with the ship.

    The former, of course, leaves him exposed to the Elites who have come to put a stop to all this, and have him as a priority target for doing so.

    Enark is huffing and puffing and trying to keep his head down as lasers rake the area, looking like a medieval librarian caught in the middle of a sci-fi war of some kind. As many times as he has envisioned himself in works of fiction, this is not how he expected it would turn out. Thankfully, right as the stops, hands up in surrender, about to be shot by infantry, Lexicon comes zooming in and slams the foes with ice and axes, sparing him yet more painful injuries. He begins running again, trying to get close enough to start casting his equivalent of Remove Curse/Purge Corruption on the captain once he's exposed. He has no clue if it will work, but if it's a virus, surely some curative magic will prevail!

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    The Minotaur charges through the corrupted LDF troopers ranks. Their formation breaking like water being carved through by a very large, angry rock. The T.A.N.C. crew panic as the vehicle is grabbed and lifted. Even under influence, some things like self preservation win out. They leap off the vehicle, scampering away to get away from whatever Asterios is about to do with his new toy.

    Arcana, meanwhile, comes to a stop in the air. The lasers reflecting from the water shield, some light piercing and scoring across her body, leaving scorched trails and little red traceries of damage from the scintilating beams. She brings her sword up before her face, eyes closing as she begins to incant. "A banquet of Flames, Burning Crimson red. White Heat. White Light. My Divine Flame. BURNS ALL! Concerto Infernus!" Five 'cards' deal themselves from the swirling deck, forming before the DCC-C. Diamond Sister then slashes through these cards, imbuing her sword with crackling orange flames. She then slashes two lines, creating a large 'V' of flame that cuts off a good portion of the courtyard from the fighters and their opponent. A few riflemen, the T.A.N.C. in Asterios' hands, and the Captain.

    Carna's bolt flies true, and the Captain tchs as he leverages the eject function, before the mech crumbles entirely. He lands, summoning his weapon from inventory, a modified rifle with a large blade underslung it.

    The Captain himself looks much like Artifex once did. Corrupted 'veins' covering his body and clothes, his eyes burning that unholy white that the Trojan had. The possessed Program looks almost feral, as he opens fire on Arcana! Knocking the young Goddess out of the sky with a girlish shriek, the pulsed blast punching clean through the water shield.

Lexicon has posed:
    Silver Soul wrenches her axe from the ground with an arc of light off the blade. With soldiers scattering, she wheels around on the crumbling Defense Force Mech and the pilot ejecting from it. Just in time to see him take a shot. With a blurt of "--Shit!" she dismisses her axe in a flurry of pixellated light.

    Asterios doesn't have to tell her twice. Lexicon isn't furious enough, yet, that she's completely abandoned her senses. And like hell she's going to let Theurgus' adopted little sister get seriously hurt on her watch. Especially when it was Lexicon who promised to protect the blade-mage in the first place.

    Moving low on an intercept course, Lexicon thrusts her arms out in an attempt to catch Arcana mid-fall. Conspicuously placing her body in the way of any follow-up attacks in the process. Even if Lumiar's weapon can pierce Enark's shield spell, Lexicon's a tough nut to crack...compared to these squishy Magicians, as she once called her old friend.

Asterios (1137) has posed:
The good thing about having good allies is that you don't have to necessarily abandon one objective in pursuit of another. Lexicon speeds off to rescue the fallen DDC candidate. Asterios... Asterios focuses on a more immediate problem.

Steel groans and whines as Asterios hoists the enormous tank up and into the air. He gives it a firm shake, wrenching several of its supplementary cannons clear of their housing. The minotaur roars, pivots and swings left, then swings right, sweeping the surrounding area clean of lingering militants. But they're small fry. The real target is the one with eyes ablaze with that terrible crimson light. Asterios lunges, swinging the tank around a full 360 degrees before going to slam it right into The Captain like he were some kind of living T-ball.


Well. As gently as a minotaur can possibly swing a gigantic tank. Enark needs at least a chance to try and purify the guy, at least. Until then, Asterios has a new club with which to mete out justice with! And to clobber a few corrupted heads with.

Carna (974) has posed:
    Enark stops when he hears Arcana's cry. He doesn't know durable she is, but his water shields have stood up to a lot of things. Blows from embodiments of despair and fear, from gods, from his own crafted mimics, from the teeth and claws of Unlit, and from all manner of other things. They have never truly been penetrated, even if at times damage as gotten through. Like a layer of armor as durable as plate mail hovering just a fraction of an inch above one's skin and clothing and such, they have held fast.

    Now, in his weakened state, it seems even his ability to protect has been made lesser. Arcana is now suffering for that failing of his. He looks to the captain, who has left his mech behind -- or the crumbling pile of dust that used to be a mech -- and the one whom, if cured, could end this entire conflict. Maybe. Assuming Enark can cure him.

    Lexicon has caught Arcana, at least. Enark inquires on the radio if her condition is critical... If she will survive if he does not stop to heal her. He is torn between potentially saving many lives by endin this, and saving one by abandoning the larger threat to deal with what his wretched conscience tells him to take care of... Just like always.

    "What are you waiting for!?" Carna yells across the battlefield to Enark as the scholar hesitates.

    The reply from Arcana, that the 'greater good' is greater than her own life, is not helpful to Enark's decision making abilities. He continues to hesitate.

    The dead don't change. Not really. All they can do is lose something, or make others lose by taking from them.

    Those words echo in his head again, his mouth dry. His mind tells him he must deal with the threat or there may be more casualties than Arcana. His heart, the heart he physically removed to save another, tells him even now that not saving a life that he has the capacity to would be another unforgivable sin atop a mountain of them, and that he must act to save this life, even if he doesn't know her.

    He can't fail to help yet another. Like the necromancer in Ariamis. Like the Blue Scholars, wiped out by Unlit. Or like Carna herself, her old self lost to them forever.

    He clenches his fists, and then he yells, "TO HELL WITH THAT!" as he takes off running. "LADY CARNA, YOU CARRY HEALING WATER! GO USE IT ON LADY ARCANA WHILE I PURIFY THIS OAF!"

    The dead CAN change. He'll prove it. Step one: Stop trying to take the entire goddamn Multiverse's problems on his shoulders alone to assuage his guilt, and start WORKING with his allies. "SOMEBODY PLEASE COVER ME SO I DO NOT DIE AGAIN BEFORE I EVEN GET THERE!" he yells further, expending all the air his dead lungs have, and all his stamina in sprinting into the midst of the fire and chaos of battle, while whispering mutterings of echoed voices chanting the same words, previous casters of this same spell incanting with him, as he reuses the reanimation of dead magic. His Murmur is unleashed the moment he is close enough to the captain to do so, sending a wave of water spiraling from his finger tips to try to flow over and THROUGH him... And carry the corruption out of him in the process.

    Carna does not need to be told twice, and sprints towards Arcana, her own flask of healing waters drawn and ready to be poured down their local guide's throat, even if she has to force it.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana is trailing smoke from the impact. Her back processors askew, causing her to corkscrew slightly as she falls. Lexicon's dive catches her before impact, though she does seem to be in slightly better shape than Theurgus would have been in the same situation. "Th-Thank you..." Enark asks a question, and is answered. The young Sword Mage then eases out of Lexicon's grasp, a large red 'splotch' on her midriff showing where that pulse blast hit her. The shield did hold, but the sheer force, focussed so tightly overwhelmed it just enough to punch in and deal some decent damage. She alights on the ground, lifting a hand to stave Carna off just a moment. "Gravity Pulls, Force Pushes. Upon a Sacred Throne, doth Justice preside. Until this corrupted existance, I call upon thee. Lo, doest the pallbearer sing. Sepulcher Lullaby!" Cards, so black that calling them such would be a disservice, form up from the spinning halo. A slash through them coats the young DCC-C's blade in that same energy, which she uses to form a 'bubble' around Enark and the Captain, sealing them in together. The others can easily enter this bubble, but the few riflemen that open fire on the old ghost, find their shots simply refracting harmlessly, turning into so much fireworks. Arcana then collapses, her transformation ending and her cards raining down like little paper snowflakes.

    Asterios keeps the smallfry at bay, smacking a brave mech that tries to break through the firewall surrounding the combat area with the tank, knocking the mech sprawling and causing the pilot to eject, before the mech overheads and explodes.

    Enark's advance, within that darkness bubble, lets him get close enough to use his powers. Lumiar doesn't seem able to 'see' inside that bubble, firing blindly, his own position given away by the glowing corruption lines, and those inhuman white eyes. "COWARD! STAND AND FIGHT ME!" the Captain, unhinged from the possession, screams... the billious form of the Trojan looming over his shoulder, hissing harshly in a tongue unknown to any but itself.

Lexicon has posed:
    Once Arcana demonstrates she's able to stand on her own again, Lexicon lets her, whirling in place to face the Captain once again. With a flicker of pixels, her axe rematerializes, blade and all, and she swings it up into an offensive position while the Candidate casts her spell. More on the defensive, though, she's running through her options with Enark getting so close when Arcana actually seals both the Scholor and Captain in a sphere. Pausing, an eyebrow lowering, she frowns.

    The axe is lowered while she considers the shouting inside the bubble and what her next move should be. And then Arcana collapses. Starting, Lexicon blurts, "Ah, shit..!" before leaning over her charge, "Don't lose it just yet, come on."

Carna (974) has posed:
    So all he can do is expose the corruption. That hideous thing that chitters at him now, that begs to be squashed by its very nature. His power isn't enough to cure it outright. He begins chanting again, his water shield getting clipped by the shots as he tries to stay on the move, the darkness within the sphere and good luck more of a factor in not getting hit than his weaving attempts to evade by moving in a serpentine pattern like that one movie he saw so long ago when he was still alive. What was its name again? DOESN'T MATTER, NOT THE TIME. The exhaustion must be getting to him.

    Eventually, relying on his resistant to corruption, even a pure manifestation of such, right as he is about to complete his Mumur he simply tries to physically tackle the viral manifestation while releasing his curative magic in a bubble of water to encapsulate it, so that his momentum might tear it free and imprison it in a shell of something antithetical to its very existence.

    Then he devotes all his thought, all his remaining energy, all of his will, on upping the level of purity within the sphere, the corruption-erasing properties of it, until the water glows as bright as the ocean beneath the sun at its zenith. Shimmering and blinding.

    He honestly has nothing else he can do if this doesn't work.

    He just hopes that the water Carna gave Arcana healed her.

Theurgus (1103) has posed:
    Arcana, as Carna gives her that water, seems to recover somewhat. The damaged code reknits just slightly, but not fully, a tiny wisp of black smoke being forced out of the wound, before it closes up. The wisp shrieks... and the reason becomes clear as the purifying light dispells the Darkness Bubble.

    The Captain has collaspsed into a heap, Enark is pinning down a rapidly shrinking bubble of purifying water, the Trojan thrashing around, trying to escape... until it is no more. The Core has been destroyed, and all the aggressive LDF troops, all collapse in a wave, as if hit by some invisible shockwave.

    It seems to be over now. The formerly corrupted LDF members all losing those red 'veins' as the begin to recover, groaning, holding their heads or just curling up on the floor.