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Operator     Funky's helicoptor eventually reaches a tiny spit of land out in the Great Ocean. It's immediately obvious that this is the place, given that Donkey Kong's face (or is it a young Cranky perhaps?) is carved into the great volcano that dominates the landscape. The rest of the island is mostly untouched jungle, with some signs of a swiftly destroyed attempt at industrialization scattered here and there.

    A massive cargo ship has beached itself on the shore, this no-doubt being Cranky's method of getting home. A crude graffiti depiction of Cranky is tagged on the side with an arrow pointing deeper into the jungle. Funky brings the helicopter down on the beach and turns to flash a hang-ten at his passengers. "I'll wait here to give you a ride back. Take care okay? That old coot still has it!"

    It's a short hike through the jungle in the intended direction, aided by the trail of banana peels to reach a treehouse amidst a clearing. Here lays DK on the ground beside a massive mound of bananas, methodically working through it one at a time, peeling from the bottom rather than the top and waving to the arriving group. Cranky himself is dozing lightly in a rocking chair, but perks up at the sound of approaching footsteps.

    "About time! I was about to die of old age waiting for you." He hops from his chair and walks over to DK cane-assisted. "Okay you big lug. Gimmie the works." The large gorilla takes the older one by wrapping his massive hands around their offered arms and legs, and proceeds to pull, as if trying to rip his grandfather apart.

    But that doesn't happen. A staccato of snaps, cracks, and pops emanate from the old ape as ancient muscular kinks are stretched out. With one final crunch, Cranky exhales a sigh of relief and is set back down. His posture is immediately straighter, and he's no longer leaning on the cane. "There we go. That should keep me going long enough to deal with these whipper-snappers."

    He twirls that cane fast enough to make the air hum, and beckons with his free hand. "The first volley goes to you. This will be the nicest thing I do today."
Tina Natsumi With the promise to face Cranky Kong finally being fulfilled, Tina joins the crew riding with Funky Kong to head towards the island bearing Cranky Kong's visage from what she can only assume are his glory days. She whistles lightly as they pass by the destroyed machines scattered around the island, gawking here and there to soak in the sights.

"Don't worry. I've seen old folks really put a hurtin' on kids half their age, so we'll be careful." She reassures Funky with a quick tap of her fingers against her head, waving once before heading towards the trail. "Fifty fifty odds someone's gonna pull something outta place by the time we're done, though!"

Heading further in, Kong junior and senior are both greeted with a broad wave and a brief flash of light from Tina's phone as she snaps a candid shot of the pair during their preparations. "Hey there! Psh, like we'd really leave ya waiting around that long." She's dressed for the location, too, wearing a rather loud Hawaiian shirt tied up in the middle rather than buttoned along with beige shorts made of that water-repellant material that's suitable for both warmer weather like this and cooler weather if the lower legs are attached.

DK aids CK with his preparations, and Tina looks just a smidge concerned at the apparent force behind all that pulling. It's only when it's finally over that she finally breathes a sigh of relief, then turns her phone towards herself. "Coulda given me a heart attack just doing that... Sheesh. Well, a promise is a promise."

The camera light flashes, and the roaring machine Persona appears behind Tina. She crosses her arms over her chest, seemingly content to stand there as the metallic lizard rushes ahead to engage the aged gorilla at close-range. "You did ask for it, so... Show us your moves, gramps!" Godzilla swings itself to the right first as it nears Cranky, apparently mimicking something Tina's seen on TV before dashing in with a sweeping punch towards the left side of Cranky's face, size-difference be damned!
Ioanna Langstrom      This is her job.

     That's what Ioanna tells herself - lies to herself - as the boat breaks from the dock. Her blue sundress and white hair swirl about her in the wind as she stares forward, trying to justify it in every way she can but the truth.

<J-IC-Scene> Cranky Kong says, "Heheheh! Bold! Got something to prove, or did I just get under your skin?"


     But she won't say it. She won't admit it. Not even to herself. Admitting it to herself meant that, once again, she felt she wasn't up there with the Elites. Once again she didn't feel she had the right to stand among the people who made these sorts of decisions on a day-to-day basis. That's just a step backwards. Just another step backwards.

     As they start hiking through the jungle and Ioanna once again is thankful that the MCM compensates even for the high heels it produces, she's eyes-front, keeping her attention on the whole jungle at once. She doesn't expect an ambush from Cranky - he doesn't seem the type - but finely-honed not-dying instincts are finely-honed not-dying instincts nonetheless.

     They arrive. Her fingers are digging into her palm from the strain of not acknowledging the truth. When Cranky awakes her hands relax, and when Cranky stretches her eyes widen behind her sunglasses.

     Good. That's good.

     She'd actually sort of have felt bad about beating on an old man.

     When Cranky offers the first volley Ioanna takes the offer. She goes running forward, a straightforward attack right up until her hands swing forward and she goes into an acrobatic front-flip over the summoned Persona. Her feet push off the Persona's leg as it takes a swing, sending her higher up into the air, dress whirling around her.

     Then she comes down on Cranky with the classic Goomba Stomp.
Operator     cranky just watches as Godzilla lumbers forward, juking to the side before launching a meaty hook. The fist connects with his face, but the feedback is mostly just wrinky flesh and bristles, not bone. The wily old ape has turned his head with the blow, spinning to the side to minimize damage. When Ioanna comes down on him with the classic, the cane comes up to intercept he heel, pushing him down but avoiding the painful stab that would have been.

    "Hah! Coming at me with HIS techniques huh?!" He pushes back to get the solider away before starting to bounce on his cane. "Sorry lady, you don't have the purity to make that kind of thing work. You don't even know why you're here. At least the other one knows she's just here for fun."

    His bounces get faster and faster, and he blurs. Ricocheting between the trees, the air streaks with brown and grey as he whirls around the duo, before suddenly rushing them from the front, holding his cane horizontal to catch them both in the gut and launch them back into the thick jungle!
Tina Natsumi "His techniques? You two got some history I don't know about?" Tina asks Ioanna and Cranky, unable to help but laugh at the idea of either of them even possibly knowing each other. Then again...

"Your family doesn't have a history of fighting talking gorillas, does he?" It can't hurt to ask, especially when Cranky Kong starts moving far faster than an old coot should be able to. "Because now'd be a pretty good time to use that if you do!" Recalling the Persona back to her, Tina's arm visibly grows metallic scales from her shoulder down to her hand as she braces herself for impact, although actually seeing where that impact will come from is another story entirely.

Cranky comes from straight ahead, and she digs her feet in to no avail as that strike flings her back several yards back into the trees. Tina's clawed hand digs into the earth as she slows herself down, glancing around rapidly to try and get a bead on Cranky. "You holdin' up okay there, Io? It's fine to just not think about stuff sometimes. Time and place for everything, y'know?"

Tina straightens her posture, and she starts to steady her breathing as electricity crackles along the side of her arm. "I mean, we're fighting an old gorilla with ninja-moves that just got Shiatsu Powered Up by his son that's wearing nothing but a tie. How many people you know could say they ever did that?"

The energy shifts from her arm to her body, and then she lunges forward as she catches a glimpse of Cranky. "Might as well enjoy it!" Throwing her head back, Tina belches out a white-hot fireball at Cranky before surrounding herself in the rest, still rushing forward to try and compensate for his agility and experience by turning herself into a moving projectile.
Ioanna Langstrom      'Don't even know why you're here.'

     He's not wrong, at least about that. Uncertainty may not be written on her face but the old man can read her like a book anyway. He's got more experience than she does by years and years and years. But that's why he's survived, right? It's not some arbitrary purity. It's because he's experienced. The world doesn't work on absolutes. People used to claim it did, and those people are gone, now, their legacy spread across the multiverse for everyone to see, great scars in the landscape. That era of false absolutism is gone.

     "My purity is none of your concern," Ioanna says flatly as she lands on the other side of the man. She draws a line with her feet in the jungle dirt as she takes a stance.

     Is that why she's here?

     She'll think about it later. For now she slides backwards, whipping her feet around with several kicks. Each kick produces a ball of a different element - fire, ice, lightning - that bounce towards Cranky. She can't really help the armament she's been given, after all.

     She just shrugs at Tina. "No. The suit chose the armament."
Operator     "No, stupid girl," Cranky says in response to Tina, his voice warbling due to his high-speed manoeuvrers. "That jump! That stomp! She's emulating Jumpman! That suit of hers certainly knows how to pick them. But I'll have you know, that stomp didn't work on me back in the day. You'll have to try something else!"

    Tina tries something else. That is, becoming a fully body projectile. Cranky is fast, but this kind of rapid bouncing doesn't really allow for sharp turns. Tina catches him out of the air and sends him sprawling into a tree, the trunk flexing to hold his weight. As he struggles to get up, Ioanna launches her elemental barrage, forcing him to quickly twirl his walking stick to clumsily deflecting them, his hands charring and freezing and then paralysing, causing him to fumble the stick.

    "It is my concern actually," Cranky says conversationally, leaning back on the tree and causing it to bend. "You still didn't answer my question; why do you want this fight? Don't misunderstand girlie, this is my charity here. If I don't get an answer, you can buzz off." He keeps leaning and leaning, bending the tree more and more...

    And then leaps up, grabbing the top of it and pulling it all back, letting go to make it snap forward, sweeping across the forest floor and whipping at the duo to launch them back towards the shore!
Ioanna Langstrom      Cranky hits back hard. He snaps the tree and Ioanna finds herself swinging backwards, crashing into the sand.

     'Why do you want this fight?'

     As she stands, shaking herself, checking the suit's integrity (fairly major damage sustained), she bites the bottom of her lip.


     "Because I lived through that era of 'purity.'"

     Ioanna starts moving forward, carefully. Who knows what the old man has up his sleeve? "I lived through the era when people were 'pure' good or 'pure' evil. I lived through that time."

     "It was awful."

     Ioanna breaks into a run, arms pumping. She slides past Cranky, flanking him with Godzilla. "That time was one where people would fight over nothing. No matter who was in the way. No matter what was in the way."

     "I'd..." She bites her lip again as she leaps into one of the trees. "Be lying if I said I wasn't doing this to prove something to myself."

     "I'd be lying if I said I didn't still want to hit you for calling me bland."

     "But at the end of the day, I've decided that I need to fight you because you're a remnant of that era, and during that era, I never had the power to make a difference."

     She leaps down and stomps on the ground. "Now I do."

     She starts spinning. It's exactly that attack - the spinning whirlwind punch that sends her flying into, and past, Cranky, a barrage of fists against the old man's fur.
Tina Natsumi "The guy you fought way back in the old days? Ah, yeah, that explains the... All of that." Tina murmurs with an understanding nod, glancing at her own feet briefly as she contemplates her next method of attack and observes Ioanna's. It'll have to wait until after she's launched back at the shore, though, as Cranky goes right back on the offense even after she slams right into him.

There's a brief moment where she might actually feel bad about all this, but that moment quickly passes once he shows that he's more than capable of bouncing back from it both figuratively and literally. When he questions Ioanna, Tina actually remains quiet, intent to let her speak for herself. That silence is only broken when a tree comes snapping right at her. With little time to even think about evading it, she just braces her arm in front of her and hopes for the best.

The best, in this case, is not getting knocked right off the island entirely. She does find herself tumbling further back towards the shore, though, with the sand slowing her down somewhat as she stomps one foot forward to arrest her backwards momentum. "At least we're not in the jungle anymore... Now I don't gotta worry about burning your house down!"

That flame surrounding Tina flickers back to life as she makes for Cranky again, although she's not running towards him or doing anything to actually hurry her pace. In fact, she's actually taking her sweet time to just stroll on up towards him as the Persona pops right back out, doing the moving for her as it gets some impressive air time while leaping towards Cranky's position. It comes down with a great roar as it starts spinning during its descent, spewing flames all around to try and pin the cranky Cranky down instead of letting him just run amok like he's been.
Operator     Finally, Ioanna lays it all out. Cranky is the face of the Union, the Confederacy. A period of dull, simplistic morality. Cranky emerges from among the trees and listens, patiently. For a moment, he almost looks like a regular grandfather. And then he scoffs. "That time wasn't pure good vs. pure evil. It was self-righteousness vs contrarianism. But that's okay. Use this to deal with your issues. That's something, instead of nothing. Put every face you would have liked to punch over mine, and punch it!"

    He dashes towards Tina and Ioanna, and gets slipped behind by the latter, and then crushed by the former, leaving him wide-open to being struck by the drilling corkscrew blow of Ioanna. It sends him sprawling into the sands of the beach, whereupon he gets back up slowly.

    "Hehehehe... okay, now we're cooking. I'm glad I lead you out here so I can take this seriously." The shadow of that beached cargo ship is cast over the beach as Cranky hurls his cane at it, causing a massive section of the hull to fall apart, collapsing to the sand to reveal what exactly the ship was transporting.

    Barrels. Hundreds and hundreds of barrels.

    "The jungle is my home, but iron and barrels is my true element!" Cranky crows, leaping through the gap and sending a barrage of barrels flying at Tina and Ioanna before vanishing inside!
Tina Natsumi "You've definitely got flair for the dramatic. Sandy beach, fightin' someone trying to find themselves while you show off the power of experience and being..." Don't say old, Tina. Don't say old. "... Old."

Dammit, Tina. "Not like there's anything wrong with being older, though. Gives you good perspective on..." She glances over at Ioanna, then tips her hat down slightly. "... Don't suppose you've got any advice for someone trying to break into politics without a head for that kind of stuff, would ya?"

She's not expecting an answer, and she's certainly not going to let an answer prevent her from ramping up her defenses. When Cranky reveals his reason from coming out to the shore, she calls Godzilla back to her side once again.  Using the Persona as a shield, it starts spitting fireballs at those oncoming barrels while she draws her revolver to shoot them out of the air, whittling down their numbers at least a little bit.

It's not enough to stop the barrage from rolling right over her and the Persona, but it's better than being outright buried in them. Tina's looking a fair bit worn down compared to earlier, taking some time to straighten out her outfit and brush some dirt and gunk off her face before heading towards the ship to follow Cranky right on in.

Burning the ship down would be going overboard. She's not quite stupid enough to wreck the entire thing, and she even pulls Godzilla back into her (arm) to give herself room to maneuver as she heads on into the ship. When she spies movement, however, she doesn't hold back nearly as much in trying to punch the shit out of whatever's moving in the hopes of catching Cranky off guard by smashing right through the wood itself. If she can get a hold of him, meanwhile, she'll aim to drag him through and out of the ship outright, leaping down hallways and trying to wrestle him into position for Ioanna's next move all the while.
Ioanna Langstrom      "Call it what you like. The era of people like you is over. For the better."

     The barrels come out. Ioanna spins to face them. They're rolling, rolling, an avalanche of murder. An avalanche of iron and barrels. An avalanche of Cranky's true power.

     She could brace. She could try and weather the storm. The only option is to stay on her feet.

     Or, more accurately, off it.

     It's not the suit doing the work here. Yeah, it makes her stronger, but the timing is all Ioanna as she bounces between the barrels, jumping over them at every chance. (The suit makes little 'bing' noises each time. Some numbers go up somewhere.) Another jump, another jump, another jump. Every jump is a little bit closer. Every jump is a little bit further. As Tina moves to smash through the wood and grab hold of Cranky, Ioanna wrenches a piece of the ship's support free. A big, heavy bar of wood.

     And she swings it as hard as she can at Cranky while Tina holds him down.
Operator     Cranky clearly had a plan. Escape into the ship, make it ambush tactics with barrels being rolled down long hallways. But Tina is upon him instantly, grabbing him, and dragging him through a wall, holding him down. "Heh! Nice chase girlie, but it'll take more than tha-"

    The hammer comes down. And Ioanna gets the momentary satisfaction of seeing a glimpse of PTSD in Cranky's eyes before his whole face is smashed in. His struggles in Tina's grip intensify, before a sharp CRACK echos from his form.

    "Ooouughh... my back!" he groans, going limp. Funky pokes his head into the hold and winces. "Oooff. Looks like you got him good! Here, I'll take him back." The big funky friend hoists the grump old man, who points a shaking finger at Tina. "Yeah... some advice for an aspiring politician; don't. Politics is doing what you want to do, but slower, and involving more people who will compromise your vision. Just be a regular tyrant if you have to."

    Next, he points to Ioanna and says, "Well missy, you did it. Hope it worked something out inside of you... but just remember. You want a world of greys. And that means you're never wholly good either. Just make sure you're the shade of grey you want to be. After all, you must have joined the 'good' side for a 'good' reason back in the day."

    And with those words, the two are left with his words and their thoughts as they wait for Funky to get back to take them home.
Tina Natsumi Panting lightly as the fight comes to an end, Tina breathes a heavy sigh as she taps on her phone quickly and that metallic scale covering fades from her arm. "Was gettin' worried for a second there... You. Uh. Sure you're okay?" She looks from Cranky to Funky, eventually furrowing her brow when she gets a more concrete answer to her question.

She actually wasn't expecting such a direct answer. "Compromise, huh? That's..." What would her ideal society even look like? It's clear she's thinking about the tyrant angle, although she doesn't look too excited about that. "Then again..."

She doesn't reject the idea outright.

"Wonder if anyone's ever wholly anything..." Even Cranky's words to Ioanna seem to strike a chord within Tina. "Even a tyrant might have... Ech. As if anyone's ever heard of a noble tyrant. I mean... That'd be pretty dumb, right?"

Tina laughs, but her heart's not in it. She's still deep in thought even on the way back.
Ioanna Langstrom      The moment of shock and flashback is *satisfying* as hell. Ioanna purses her lips as she lands gracefully off to the side, discarding the makeshift mallet and sending it thumping into the sand. She checks Tina, as is her usual habit of making sure the rest of the squad is alive, then turns her attention to Cranky.

     "...yes," she says after a moment, "I suppose I did."

     Cranky walks off, leaving Ioanna to her thoughts. She frowns. What color grey, huh?

     Something to consider for the future.

     There's a beat.

     "If you want to get very technical about it, that's just an autocrat. There's no reason you couldn't be a benevolent autocrat."

     "Aside from the truism about absolute power, but if you're going into politics, it doesn't matter either way."