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Aptom      It was a quiet night in Tokyo, or at least, it was a quiet night. Unfortunately, a years-long grudge match has completely driven the brink of chaos as buildings collapse and clouds of dust and smoke creep down the abandoned streets.

     Various groups of what can be assumed to be some sort of response team usher citizens into armored vehicles for safety, but it becomes quickly apparent that whatever sort of battle is happening, they feasibly can't get everyone out before casualties eventually happen, if they haven't already. Which is probably why Cronos has put out an emergency broadcast for help, given how thinly stretched they've been.

     With a Warp Gate leading right into the middle of the city, getting there proves little difficult. Neither does finding the source of the conflict, given that they currently seem to be fighting overhead. It's a short lived altercation however, as one of the zoanoids seems to have the upperhand, blasting them with a beam of energy that sends them hurdling down.

     The trail of smoke is more than enough to lead even the most blind to the fallen monster's location, an abandoned construction site packed tightly between two buildings.

     Nestled in a pile of rubble lies what is best described as a beetle-man, or at least what remains of one. A huge, smouldering hole from where the beam hit them has completely eradicated most of the left side of their body, leaving them gasping and panting as they weakly try to pull themselves out.

     The other Zoanoid descends to the spot not long after, his appearance strikingly similar to the injured one, though noticeably larger and more bulked out.

     "End of the line, freak."
Cantio It's Tokyo! The nightlife, the sounds, the lights, all manner of things that Cantio's heard about from her subjects back home and assorted viewers and fans outside of it are just like what she had seen on the postcards and read about on various message boards. She's dressed for the slightly cooler air, too, with a long beige coat and coat and red scarf on to keep her warm enough that even her skirt and stockings combo is enough for the weather. Sadly, she can't really enjoy the sights much tonight, as she's arrived in response to some kind of battle going on within the city.

Spying the clash overhead, she takes to the rooftops, bounding off a wall to give herself that bit of extra distance needed to actually start leaping from roof to roof, following the battle with one hand clutching her Concord-branded carrying case and the other aiding her in vaulting over various waist-high obstacles. As she's about to get close enough to start calling for a  stop to the fight...

The strange-looking things bring the battle right back down to the ground, with one standing seemingly victorious over the other. Cantio lands not far behind the still-standing Zoanoid, flicking the lock of her case open but not quite revealing its contents just yet.

"Are you finished? You're causing a disturbance here, so I'm going to need you to stop all of... This. Do you understand?" She sounds like she's trying to make a demand of the larger Zoanoid, but being five foot nothing and not carrying so much as a (visible) weapon might not help that too much.
Remee Halcyon Oh hey, disaster reports, emergency broadcast, sounds like she's needed, or at least it sounds like something worthwhile to do on a wednesday night.

Remee arrives through the warpgate just as the fight goes down overhead. She picks up the pace.

"Ah, here we go..." she says to herself, reaching into her bag and pulling out a weighted net. "More like scavenging than hunting..." she comments to herself again.

Then the other one comes down. "Oh - nevermind," she says, tossing the net to the side, and unslinging the rifle. "Hi! You just destroyed, like, a bunch of peoples' homes!" she says, brightly. "Killed a bunch of people too, probably! Need you to not do that, and I'm pretty much fine taking your head back home if you are gonna insist on still doing that."

She glances over at Cantio. "(Ah, do you... need one of my spares?)" she whispers.
Rita Ma      Rita makes her way towards the ongoing fighting by running along the rooftops, just like Cantio: when you can clear a twenty-foot gap with a running start, it stops being terrifying and starts being convenient for its lack of obstructions.

     En route: "Oh! Ms. Cantio! Did you have any kind of plan yet? I really don't, but... I'm not sure just asking them to stop fighting will work, if they didn't care about the city being ruined."

     At her destination, Rita takes a deep breath, drops several stories to the ground, and looks relieved when her body lands in a perfect crouch. While the others address the bigger zoanoid, she hurries over to the smaller one with a little girly jog. It's not clear what her intention was at first, but when she hears the larger one speak, her eyes widen and her hand reaches for her medical supplies.

     "Ah-! You're a person, aren't you?" Her tone is kind as she fishes out some ointments and painkillers from her bag and tries to help him out of the rubble, but she can't hide the grimace on her face, and only partially at his horrific injuries. "Here. Take these, and then hold still..." It stings at first, but in the long run, it'll help.

     But her motives are only mostly humanitarian. Rita dabs at the wounds with a piece of gauze before bandaging them as best she's able.

     When she thinks nobody is looking, Rita turns her back to the group, drops the piece of bloodstained gauze into her mouth, and swallows.
James Bond      "My thoughts exactly."

     The V8 grand tourer behind Bond is still warm. Its classic lines, and the professional cut of Bond's suit, strike a certain imposing image when taken together. "Minus the 'freak' part, I suppose. You've had your say," the agent calmly intones, nodding to the more injured of the two. "And your little disagreement, whatever it is, has done a lot of damage already." He smiles thinly, holding out a palm as the other hand pulls open his coat to reveal a holstered hand cannon. Certainly not his usual Walther.

     But he doesn't reach for it. Instead, he reaches for his cigarettes. He has terrible taste in the things, and subjects everyone to it, including the zoanoids. A nod of his head to Remee, next, as he circles around, putting himself between the Zoanoids and Rita. He doesn't know what she's up to, and doesn't appear to have seen her, but assumes she'd be able to make use of the obfuscation anyway. "I imagine if any of that bothered you, we wouldn't be standing here. So if you're going to press the issue, I don't suppose I could bother you to let me finish this first." He doesn't figure that'll happen, but even a few seconds can be a big advantage.
Lilian Rook     As far as explanations for why Lilian would be in ordinary places go, this one is pretty simple. A disaster has happened, it endangers a lot of civilians, ~~Tamamo is busy with her current fixation~~ the Paladins are responding, and Lilian is not just one of them, but the best of them. A knight. A Knight.

    In shining armour, even. Sort of. Ink black, yet paradoxically mirror polished, articulated with such lavishly unrealistic storybook illustration detail that it transcends 'armour' and skips 'carapace' into 'clockwork', glinting gold in the flashes of its fingernail seams. It feels good to arrive like this. To drop straight into the action, sword proudly borne, wearing a mantle of impossible steel, rather than the much safer, smarter, tactical entry she has been taught, and the scientifically tested, life-saving getup she has been given requisition of.

    The blade makes a sound like a cracking bell case when Lilian drops to the edge of a vacant crane, slamming the point of her blade down into the hook trolley. At her altitude, the wind even blows her loose hair out in perfectly dramatic fashion, tousling lightly around metallic antler and white-gold Lily. Her voice carries just fine, at an empty site.

    "This is Dame Commander Lilian Rook. Paladins Chevalier; Immaculate Extinguisher; Claíomh Blátha. This is your one and only warning to disarm yourself and begin answering our questions immediately."
Aptom      "Tch. Do you want to die? If not, run, you idiots!"

     The injured bug man tries to push Rita away despite the first aid he's receiving, fighting hard to get back up despite his condition. It amounts to very little however, as he still can't muster the strength to even lift his back up. Curiously enough, it seems that his wounds seem to be healing on their own, albeit at an almost glacial pace.

     "Well, well, well. Look what we have here. Are these your replacement friends, or are you just roping them along before you stab them in the back too? Suppose it doesn't matter, you're all going to the same place now."

     The other, more massive bug man snorts, his attention now turned to the group. There's a wet, ripping sound as the carapace on his shoulders open up, revealing a rack of organic missiles that suddenly fire out, blotting the sky with their sheer number before suddenly raining down on Rita, James, Lilian, and the mysterious 'Zoanoid'.

     "Anyway, yeah. I understand. Whatever you guys are, you're in my way. I'm not letting anyone take this from me, I sacrificed way too much for this moment!"

     The hulking bug spins around to now deal with Remee and Cantio, wings lifting him into a hover as he lunges at them with bladed arms. The weird, chitinous protrusions glow and shimmer, producing an almost ear splitting noise.

     "If you want answers, you can ask Cronos when I send you to them in body bags!"
Cantio EN ROUTE:
"Not really. I was thinking... Er." Cantio coughs into her hand lightly when Rita shoots down her plan ahead of time, then laughs afterwards. "W-well, I'm sure it'll be okay. We won't know if we don't try it first, and... Who knows? If it works, it works. If not, then we'll know they don't care, and then we just have to do what we came here to do, anyway."

That sure sounded better than expected while pulling that completely out of her ass.

"A spare? Ah, no thanks. Appreciate it, though!" Cantio replies to Remee in a semi-whisper that's probably not all that subtle. She even raises her carrying case briefly as if to signal... Something?

Unlike before, she might actually have some kind of plan. It's probably a violent one, but still.

James' arrival gets a bit of a stare from Cantio, too, but she starts to get an idea of what he's going for when he asks for the moment and gives him a brief, acknowledging nod. It's not a huge amount of time, but it's still enough time for Cantio to start casually strolling a little off to the side to expand responders' vaguely/undefined reach around the landing zone to try and corral the larger Zoanoid in.

Lilian's dramatic arrival, too, gets a long stare from Cantio. She's not quite sure whether to feel impressed or annoyed by that landing, especially since her own landing was considerably less flashy. Still, more allies is certainly preferrable to none, and she keeps her focus on the Zoanoids soon afterwards, especailly when they begin speaking.

One's warning them, and even appears to be attempting to get Rita out of the situation despite looking like he might be dead.
The other says some rather confusing things and threatens to/tries to stab and blast the lot of them. That helps Cantio make her decision rather quickly, and she drops her carrying case while pulling a handle out of it in one smooth motion. A lit-up blade extends from the hilt just in time to stop that bladed arm from cutting through her, and she pushes right back into the giant bug with little regard to one of those arms digging into her arm as she leans into his strike.

"I don't know who that man is, but you've made your position clear. Sorry that it has to go this way!" Cantio half-apologizes as her sword flares up with even more light, revealing itself to be covered in lasers as she shoves it forward to try and cleave right into that giant bug's arms. As she does that, she also scatters more pieces of that sword around that almost look like little glass fragments, but they're not doing anything just yet.
Remee Halcyon Remee's nose wriggles as James lights up. "Can you... not do that right now?" she says. She doesn't comment further whether he stays lit up or not.

"Not replacement friends, really just here because whoever's fault this is, you really can't do this in the-"

He's acting - which means it's time to move. Remee moves too, going to back up even before he turns to slice at her. She brings her arms up in defense - the blades dig in, but that seems to be a worthwhile trade for protecting her core.

And then - admidst the battle... she's gone. Or - at least, she's snuck off admidst the missiles and the chaos, taking cover around the alleyway corner.

"Random aliens having duels in the middle of cities..." she says to herself as she loads her rifle, slotting in some tranquilizer darts. "Had to attract everyone else, too."

With that, she pokes her head out from around the corner, and takes aim...

*fwip* goes the dart, laced with some potent knockout drugs that should work on most species.
Rita Ma      The wounded zoanoid's regeneration visibly gives Rita the heebie-jeebies, mitigated only slightly by the appearance of Bond (someone she knows is competent), Lilian (someone she knows she can trust), and Remee (someone she knows). She tries to keep her fingers away from the regenerating flesh even as she keeps hassling him with bandages, which is a contradiction that amounts to being jumpy and delicate.

"Do you want to die? If not, run, you idiots!"

     Rita smiles a little. It's not a happy smile. "Please. You need to stay still so I can help. Even if you're healing, you're still-" At the sound of the bio-missiles being fired, she startles and looks back over her shoulder. Then their shadow falls over her, and her eyes go wide.

     "Ah-!! Hold on!" Draping the wounded bugman's intact right arm around her shoulders, Rita sprints at breakneck speed across the rubble-strewn lot, vertically leaps to smash through the third-story window of an office building, and then swerves around the desks and cubicles until she's shaken all the pursuing missiles.

     Then she lays him down on the floor and breathes a sigh of relief, hands on her knees. "You two have caused a lot of problems out there, you know? We'll take care of him. I'm sure you'll be in trouble later, but... for now, please just rest.

     A few of Rita's tentacles, chameleon-camouflaged to the point of invisibility, slip out from behind her and wend their way back out the broken window. On the battlefield, their tips braid together and morph back into the appearance of the wounded Zoanoid, now apparently healed enough to stand again. The lure stances up with what she could extrapolate of his body language, issuing a silent challenge.

     An irresistible target. Hopefully her allies can take advantage of that distraction.
James Bond      "Not particularly," says Bond to the injured bug-man with an insufferable smirk. The same one he'd given Remee, when she'd asked if he could simply Not. "And I'd rather you didn't, either."

     Another drag of his Lucky Strike, and a sigh, at the sight of the missile rack. Bond flicks the cigarette away and briskly reaches into his pocket. The black Aston chirps, then roars to life, the driver side door swinging open as it accelerates from a dead stop and races to Bond.

     Missiles begin to rain down, and the agent breaks into a sprint. Car and driver meet, Bond angling his body so that the drift of the modified car places him in the driver's seat with barely a second to spare. As the driver side door slams shut, so too does a missile impact the roof of the car.

     It won't stand up to a concerted effort from those same missiles--but the 'optional additions' to the car have those explosions denting what they might otherwise completely destroy. From behind a flaming windshield, Bond guns the accelerator, peeling out and flicking the back end of the car into a bone-crushing attack aimed at the larger bug-man's legs.

     Shifting into a lower gear to get clear faster, Bond cuts a momentary, tire-squealing retreat, expertly weaving through the crowded engagement to put the car clear of anyone else's firing lines--but more importantly, keeping a big, well-armored target from causing incidental splash damage to the others.

     As his car slides to a momentary halt after another graceful drift, Bond's hand is already drifting towards the radio. While Rita's decoy issues its challenge, the dash panel flips out to display a targeting reticule. The Aston's four headlights swivel backwards, revealing four hexagonal arrays of tightly packed micromissiles.

     The sharp projectiles zip out with alarming rapidity, with thin lines of wispy smoke briefly tracing their agile paths through the engagement, around allies, over rubble, through burning wreckage, all of them headed towards the Zoanoid.
Lilian Rook     "I'll thank you not to call me an idiot, weakling." says Lilian to the downed bugman, as nobly and heroically as one could possibly imagine. "Can you even comprehend the hubris in that statement? The revealed assumption that, because you cannot defeat him, no one else can. That I can't." she scoffs, pulling free her black blade without the slightest sound of a scrape. "Well, lie there and watch for yourself. If Rita cares about you, then you're in good hands. You are supremely fortunate, if nothing else."

    'Suppose it doesn't matter, you're all going to the same place now.'

    "As unfortunate as you would be, in fact. Blame God that this personal feud of yours ended with putting a nobody like you in front of me." Lilian snaps back, staring down her nose from on high, as if she needed to. "If you have the spine, though, I encourage you to blame yourself. For ignoring the situation you're clearly in, and arrogantly baring your fangs when the correct answer was yes ma'am."

    Though the unpleasantly moist sound effect of the bugman's attack startup sets Lilian's cheek tensing with the visit of some lesser cousin to disgust, the function of the protrusions as missiles is abundantly obvious to her. When she shower of organic heat-seekers swerves towards her, she hops forward and drops right over the edge, streaking straight to ground in freefall-- which is precisely the worst possible place to be when being shot at. Then--

    Well, the predictable happens. The missiles close in on Lilian from all angles, and collide with each other, nose-first, in Lilian-shaped empty space. Their blast waves slam crash together in mid-air without going much of anywhere, creating no shrapnel without proximity to solid ground. Lilian reappears not far away, extremely prominently visible, setting down the refugee bugman she had clearly just teleported away from the blast, scooping him up and shielding him. She says something inaudible to him, then begins sprinting towards his enemy.

    She has, of course, saved Rita's decoy, and knowingly too. All the better that the enemy sees her doing it. She gains speed, charging down the level of the construction plane, her armoured steps creating a sound like rapid gunfire against the cement as she closes in. There's a moment where it looks as if she's about to try and sneak attack him while he's distracted by Remee, and then in the brief opening she has, Lilian calls out "Over here, imbecile. Don't you know to target the enemy's strongest unit first?" and leaping forward with a final explosive lunge, her sword arcs up from her side and flickers across the exact plane the giant mutant's neck should be when he turns around to target her.
Aptom      One of the massive Zoanoid's blades connect with Cantio's as he struggles to keep the girl's weapon in check, however, his efforts are undermined when Remee disappears to shoot him with a tranquilizer dart.

     His strength fades, and his motor skills dull, enough for Cantio to get the upper edge for a bit as she cleaves through his arm blade and delivers a devastating counter to his chest, cutting into the carapace of his chest as crimson blood spills everywhere. He stumbles back drunkenly, holding his wound as he fights the fog that clouds his thoughts. He needs to burn whatever it is out of his system, and that he does, his body slowly becoming a scorching yellow as the air around him begins heating up.

     The zoanoid's wounds self cauterize, and more importantly, his metabolism speeds up a bit, enough to get his head back in the game, though he still moves slightly slower than before. It doesn't deter him from continuing though, as he still continues his assault, now dumping the excess heat his body has built up through his mouth, his jaws opening up wide as he lets out a massive stream of fire on both Cantio.

     Turning to face the sound of squealing tires, the behemoth bug guy finally catches sight of the other zoanoid, completely healed. If he had skin, it'd surely be burning in anger, as he loudly shouts out.

     "No! How did you heal that quickly, the toxins should still be inhibiting your ability to regenerate!"

     He charges for the fake, only for Lilian to snatch it away before he can reach it. The sound of the spy's missiles now reaches the zoanoid's ear however, but it's too late for him to move out of the way, and he topples over from the impact, only not fully landing face first thanks to his large arms catching his fall.

     "It's gotta be whatever that bitch did to me. I've gotta be hallucinating, there's no way..."

     Now looking for Remee in anger, he's suddenly caught off guard as Lilian suddenly appears behind him. He's sensitive enough to know the woman's behind him, but he doesn't care, he turns around, just barely avoiding having his neck fully impaled as he jukes to the side just enough. Still, it cuts, and cuts deeply, but he doesn't seem to care.
Aptom      "Nobody? NOBODY!? HAHAHA! YEAH! you're right. I'm nobody know. I'm no better than that freak now. But it's fine, I wouldn't have it any other way, I'll do anything to get that rat bastard back! Even if it means throwing away my life! Now get out of my way!"

     He tries to bear hug Lilian, though whether he succeeds or not, it doesn't matter, that wasn't the real attack. As he flexes, several ports all over his body open up, glowing with a pinkish glow before suddenly discharging their payload all over the battlefield. High energy beams, hot enough to melt through solid steel.

     In the middle of the chaos, a lone Japanese girl stumbles across the battlefield, tears in her eyes as she suddenly calls out.

     "Sho!? I saw Sho fall here- I..."

     She cuts herself off as she realizes what's going on, and immediately seeks cover. Luckily for her, the massive zoanoid is a bit too busy to care.
Remee Halcyon Remee ducks back behind cover as the bio blasters lance out - barely avoiding them. It's time to change positions again - fall back and regroup at a different spot. The roofs might work, or maybe somewhere in the city architecture that affords more cover...

She's considering her options when she hears something. Someone's running *towards* the battle?

There's a moment of indecision - and then she drops her rifle and starts running, jumping out from cover, and heading straight for the girl who's stumbled her way across the battlefield. "Brace yourself!" she yells at her. With fire and high energy erupting all over the battlefield, there's only so many ways to ensure her safety without more time passing, and every second is another chance for her to get caught in the crossfire.

Remee, the 5'6" human leaps at her.

Remee, the 8'2" broad-shouldered mass of muscle and fur, lands practically on top of her, going to grab her up in a protective bear hug and just keep running - any direction, just as far away from the battle as she can.
Cantio Even though Cantio knows she can (technically) survive a spray of fire right at her entire body, she knows well enough that fire is not pleasant to get covered in, especially with her work with so many tools and gadgets involving it. Thus, the stream of fire coming right for her is intercepted by her sword, pieces of it blasting off from some explosive interaction between the flames and her sword-lasers. The flames that do reach her are somewhat dampened by both her clothes and her superhuman durability, although there's a distinct discomfort on her face that she's doing a bad job of trying to disguise as mere combat-scowling.

What gets her attention, though, is the larger Zoanoid's distress at finding out that the smaller one had healed with Rita's aid. There's some confusion at first, too, when the giant doesn't seem to even understand what's going on, but it's still an opportunity she can take advantage of in his anger.

"What happened that would make you so desperate to get revenge? If you tell us..." Can she promise that he'll survive? Probably not. There's even a long pause where she tries to figure out what she could even say in response to that, and she shakes her head before leaping back to stay out of the way of James' oncoming missiles and bringing the sword's handle to her shoulder to adjust her stance.

"... We may be able to stop anyone else from becoming like you!" Leaving the newly arriving girl to Remee, she rushes towards the large Zoanoid to try and draw his attention in the other direction, taking a big swing at his midsection with her first pass before skidding to a stop right beside him.

As Cantio starts thrusting and striking at the Zoanoid again in rapid succession, each swing is followed by a burst of sound harsh enough to physically jolt the Zoanoid in an attempt to push him back into her allies' attacks. While she does that, the fragments of her sword that had exploded off earlier start to move again, coming towards the giant with loud crashing noises coming from all directions to both try and throw off his guard while also embedding themselves into him. With any luck, they'll even be able to batter the Zoanoid with those erratic noises from within.
James Bond      Fifteen seconds until re-arm. The Zoanoid won't make it easy. That's fine--this car has more tricks than just the heavy artillery. Bond's eyes flick across the dash, surveying options. His cold blues stop, sensing movement in the rear mirror. A civilian.

<J-IC-Scene> Remee Halcyon says, "Ack - I've got her!"

     The attack from the Zoanoid forces him to move. Coming in low--can't afford to lose the wheels yet. An uneven jerk of the wheel as the car races forward. Bond flicks the back end out, the attack blowing off the tail light on the driver's side rather than melting the tire.

<J-IC-Scene> Rita Ma !
<J-IC-Scene> Rita Ma says, "Okay!"
<J-IC-Scene> Rita Ma says, "Do you think the person she's looking for is..."
<J-IC-Scene> James Bond says, "Him first."

     That's fifteen--but FEED ERROR flashes urgently on the radio console. Bond toggles the switch in mild irritation. No joy--fine. Cantio's got the right idea, anyway.

<J-IC-Scene> James Bond says, "I'm pulling forward. Stay clear of the back end."

     Burning cityscape rushes past the windows as do Cantio and the Zoanoid. As the light of his flames and her lasers illuminate the passing Aston, a cylinder can be seen clicking into place within the space formerly occupied by the destroyed tail light. The intact one slides downwards.

     Out from these hidden compartments spill countless sharp, metal caltrops. The radio console reads TRACTION as thick spikes burst from the car's tires, digging into the asphalt. Bond peels out, the spikes flinging not only chunks of pavement, but razor-sharp caltrops, a diversionary tactic to keep the Zoanoid's back turned on Remee.

     Eventually, the caltrops run out--Bond knows precisely when better than the Zoanoid, being the man driving it. It's at this point exactly that his hands fly across the wheel, pulling into a u-turn. CANNONS flashes across the radio display, as Bond drops the car into park and revs the engine twice in a challenge. The third V8 growl becomes a roar when Cantio's sonic attack pushes the mutant forward, Bond's hand racing across the stick to shift into low gear.

     Thick-barreled, fluted autocannons pop up from the grooves in the dented hood, blasting finger-sized armor piercing rounds at ear-splitting tempo. He doesn't show signs of stopping--evidently quite willing to play chicken.
Rita Ma      Inside, Rita taps her radio earpiece and looks back down at the injured bugman. "Um, mister? Is your name Sho?" She's still visibly a little queasy around him, but if someone's worried about him, then he must be worth worrying about. Right?

     Outside, her bugman-shaped lure gives Lilian an incongruous thumbs-up. For just a moment, it has Rita's body language. Then itcharges straight towards the other zoanoid, juking around the lasers with surprising and almost unbelievable agility. It's a maneuver that absolutely demands attention.

     That nearly guarantees that Rita, simultaneously and invisibly weaving around those lasers herself, has a free shot at his back. Her perfect camouflage drops only when she's right in his blind spot.

     Her right hand is coated in a dripping, sizzling luminescent venom. She swipes it across his back, digging her clawlike fingers in deep to reach his bloodstream. It burns, of course, but its real purpose is to shut down his regeneration- just like those toxins he allegedly drugged his opponent with- so that what she does next won't backfire.

     Her left hand blanches chalk-white from the fingertips to the elbow. She holds out her palm towards his back a split second after. The air shimmers with temporal distortions as a shotgun cone of 'decay' pulses through him.

     Concrete rubble crumbles and decays where that pulse washes over it; grass blackens and rots to slime. And the bugman's body is ravaged by the corrosive passage of time: that temporarily accelerated metabolism wracks him with hunger as if it had been sustained for days, limbs are enfeebled as if by old age, chitin is stressed and cracked by years of wear-and-tear or icky rot.

     Those who fought the White Rabbit might recognize it.

     Then she yelps in pain and swishes her hand around, having burned her fingertips by clawing something hot enough to glow. "Ahhh!! Ow, ow... I'm okay."
Lilian Rook     A tiny hint of a smirk turns the corner of Lilian's lips when the duplicate flashes her a cute little thumbs up. "That looks truly bizarre coming from a man." she says, simply assuming that Rita is nearby enough to hear.

<J-IC-Scene> Rita Ma says, "I think he can probably electrify himself. Your sword is iron, right?"

    Moments later, her sword passes through the mysterious Zoanoid attacker's neck. This is the part where Lilian should be fully overextended, left to carry forward on her own momentum while her sword swings all the way through its arc, except she isn't and it doesn't, because "What kind of amateur do you take me for?"

    Lilian's wrists twist and her fingers slide along the length of Night Mist's hilt in an instant, click-clattering like the locking of a mainspring, or the sliding of a bullet into a chamber right against her foe's head. Palm slammed to the underside of the cross, fingertips coiled and pulling on the pommel, the sudden gunshot crunch of one heel breaking pavement and the swoosh of air as the rest of her body swirls outward around the zoanoid's lunging grasp.

    The sword reverses direction as if it had no momentum, sliding cleanly under his arm, between his ribs, and viciously hacking into his torso. His grapple reaches through the empty space above Lilian's outstretched arms. She uses his weight to swing around him, leap off the ground with another audible bang, and slam the point of an armoured knee straight into the base of his skull at the exact moment of Rita's attack.

    The other heel kicks against the back of his knee, to topple him down and launch her back away from him, but even that only allows her to twist her shoulders and pull her sword all the way through him, spiraling away between blasts of fire with the point brought up to aim straight at his throat again. And as the White Rabbit's power kicks in, it abruptly doubles in strength, as black-gold motes pop and sparkle around him; the compression of time exponentially accelerates the spread of entropy, the depletion of stamina, the bleeding of his wounds, the waste heat building up inside his body, even his stabbing hunger and crushing mental fatigue.
Aptom      "Heh. If I was, I'd kill myself on the spot. No, she's just delusional and grief stricken. Try to keep her safe though, she's important to me."

There's not an ounce of affection in the man's voice, just dry wit and a bit of venom. He seems to be doing a lot better now though, as the missing parts of his body are mostly filled in, and he's fully capable of sitting up. The toxins that were slowing him down seem to only work for so long, and his body is working through it.

     Meanwhile, Remee grabs hold of the civilian girl that walked in on the field, though she doesn't want to leave, fighting (poorly) against the wolf woman's grasp as she calls out once again.

     "No! Sho is over there, I know it! I got to help him! Sho! SHO!"

     As if responding to her voice, the space around the abandoned construction site displaces for the briefest moment, a large, UFO-like object suddenly appearing. It's made of flesh and metal, and there's a clear, audible heartbeat coming from it as it suddenly opens up, flooding the area in light as a massive armored giant steps out.

     It's huge, at least 12 feet tall. It also doesn't move. Whatever it is, it causes the girl to calm down, and the massive zoanoid to fume even more.

     "Guyver!? You brought him here, didn't you, you little-"

     He can't deal with it though, not with everyone else on him. Yet, he tries anyway, stumbling through the caltrops that Bond had set up, giving Rita the perfect opportunity to deliver her venomous blow.

     He recoils back, prepared to counter attack, but at that moment he's double teamed by both Cantio and Lilian's swordsmanship, sharpened edges cutting into him. If he was any thinner, he'd have been cut to shreds right there, but his body holds, just barely. His balance is completely decimated however as Bond follows up with a pair of autocannons, sending the bug-like zoanoid flying into a pile of bricks.
Aptom      Most living creatures would have given up trying to live at this point, but this monster doesn't. He stands up, coughing up and oozing blood as it struggles to hold itself together, wings now spread out as the temperature starts dramatically dropping. He's drawing heat from the atmosphere directly into himself, channeling it into his huge beetle horn as it begins radiating an ungodly heat.

     "There's no point in learning about me, I'll be dead before the sun's up even if I were to make it out of this... But, if you want to understand what's wrong with me, you're free to learn... When you join me in Hell!"

     The energy he's collected has to go somewhere, and it's out. A massive, all consuming beam that tears the floor beneath him. The damage he's accumulated throughout the fight however, has taken a fatal toll. He can't keep himself together any longer, and his body crumbles under the might of his own attack, scattering into the wind.

     The mysterious Guyver, as if in response to the threat, suddenly moves, raising a single hand upward to create a shield to protect itself .(and also shield Remee, though this was probably unintentional.)
James Bond EJECT NOW flashes urgently on the radio console as the explosion cracks the windshield, melts the tires and tears off the hood. Sparks fly from the spiked wheels as the car's traction mode does all of the work, with a trail of so much flaming slag behind it.

     A blinding flash erases all hint of detail within the cabin for one harrowing moment. Bond keeps the accelerator pinned down, the front end of the sports car finally crumping when it dips below to crash into the spot where the Zoanoid threw his last-gasp attack.

     The ear-wrenching burst of an ejector seat firing assaults the air a moment later. A decoy--the passenger seat first, then the driver's seat. Adrenaline still rushing, Bond has noticed but hasn't *noticed* that the mutant is dead. The seat parachutes down, but Bond doesn't.

     Unclipping himself, he dives into a freefall over the burning rubble, leaving the seat behind. A grapnel fires with a sharp, shrill noise, racing from a hole in his watch to the relatively sturdy side of a mostly-intact building. Ratcheting him closer to the point of contact, the watch supports his weight until, at the lowest point of his swing, he detaches the grapnel and lands in a roll.

     The handcannon comes out, his entire body coiled like a spring. It isn't a handcannon at all--a clip of six .49mm gyrojet rockets is loaded into the magazine before the adrenaline wears off and he slowly rises to his feet. Bond straightens his tie, holstering the pistol and instead procuring the pack of Strikes.

     A Paladins handler displays as a waveform on his watch, asking for a status report. "Whoever he was, he's in the wind now." The mission almost went by without one of his awful, tasteless puns.

     Knowing what he knows about Cronos from pre-mission briefings, it's unlikely they'd try anything unscrupulous with the modified sports car. There should be time for a retrieval team to get it. "Oh--and I'm having a bit of car trouble." Abused bulletproof glass buckles under its own weight, the engine smoldering. "Doesn't seem to want to start."
Rita Ma      As the beam charges, Rita's first instinct is to run for cover- but then she remembers that, like Remee, she has someone to protect. Even if she's becoming increasingly dubious about her new bug friend's nature and scruples.

     She looks back over her shoulder at the office building behind her, where the wounded zoanoid is still holed up. In the last moments before everything washes out white, Rita stands in front of it, as if she could stop what solid feet of concrete couldn't.

     She doesn't look confident. Her heart is racing. But no matter how sketchy her rescuee is, Rita can't and won't give up a chance to put herself in harm's way for someone else.

     "Mister Bug? Please... close your eyes and cover your ears for a second, okay? If you have-"

     The deafening shockwave and searing light wash over her. When they pass, Rita's still there, surrounded by a spherical forcefield of crackling energy. Behind her, the building stands mostly unscathed. It drops when she registers that she's still alive, and collapses to lean on a nearby piece of rubble with a sigh of relief.

     A flake of ash lands on her fingertip, as if she were catching a snowflake. When nobody is looking, it disappears.

     The second thing that catches her attention is Bond: she hurries over with a look of transparent, unnecessary concern. (It doesn't occur to her to seriously worry about Lilian, though she does give her a warm, fatigued smile.) "Mr. Bond! Are you alright? That landing- are your legs okay and everything?" She regards the car with a little grimace. "... Yeah. But the Paladins can get you a new one, right? It was really cool while it lasted."

     The Guyver, mostly immobile as it is, only catches her attention third. Once disentangled from Bond, she walks up to it with hands demurely folded in front of her, the convincing picture of a very ordinary girl if it hadn't been observing her recent stunts.

     "Hi, Mr. Guyver." Timid, demure. "Were you here to stop this disaster, too? Thank you, but... we've got it handled now, don't we?" She sounds hopeful at the end. The idea dimly occurs to her that he might be hostile to her new acquaintance.
James Bond      Bond dusts his coat off. He manages a smile for Rita, and a good one. "I'm quite alright, thank you, Rita," he says, though the smile wears off, not long after, as a new thought occupies him. Anxious, at first. Then resolute. He sighs, deactivating the watch and returning it to its 'analog' surface. "But they shouldn't be, should they?" He asks. "Man of my age, from that height. I'm not blind to it. The older I got, the less I could ignore it," he says, taking a drag of the cigarette. Bond shrugs. "I wish I had an answer for you."

     A grin overtakes him, as a more humorous thought arrives. "As for the Aston, well... let's just say I'm given those cars under the expectation to use them, and that's that." So that's why he turned the watch off. Glancing up at the Guyver, Bond checks the time. A small whip of faintly disturbed air--like a wasp buzzing just past the ear. Bond once more fiddles with his watch, checking a readout confirming point of contact on a nearby building. Content he'll be able to listen, Bond leaves, making use of the intact buildings to break up sight lines on his way back to the Warpgate.
Lilian Rook     "Who or what in god's name is Guyver?"

    Questions that Lilian probably isn't going to get an answer to out loud, but she sure doesn't mind burning through his brain for one at those words of recognition. Meanwhile, she has less than zero hesitation in hacking him to pieces and draining him of all his energy until he capitulates. She can get a more thorough interrogation later, or so she assumes. Lilian has learned not to take changes with fucking regenerators.

    'There's no point in learning about me'

    "Don't tell me what I can and can't do, imbecile. I have all the power here, and I'm making all of the decisions." says Lilian, fate-temptingly. "I gave you the chance to talk first, before you earned this. That wasn't giving you a choice. It was an act of mercy to offer a way out of a fight. You're going to tell us all about whatever 'Cronos' is and why I'm supposed to--"

    There's not much Lilian can do about him simply choosing to vapourize himself. She can only demonstrate why that never works on her by deciding she gets to be somewhere else, as if she always was, and wait it out before returning. She, of course, prioritizes their rescuee immediately. "Given that Chevalier Bond has encountered 'technical difficulties', we'll be extracting the standard way. I'd like it very much if you were to cooperate and answer our questions about what just happened here." Lilian says, flicking blood from her sword. "It'll make it very easy to consider this damage all part of the nature of self-defense."

    Lilian turns to Rita with a much milder tone. "You don't mind that, do you? Obviously, I appreciate your help, Rita, but it's not as if you have anywhere to take them, right?"
Rita Ma      "No," Rita answers with a little shake of her head. "They shouldn't be." The only other 'ordinary' thirtysomething she knows who could take a fall like that, she understands, can't be called ordinary either.

     A contemplative moment passes as she looks at the flaming wreckage. "I've never known anyone who was like that and didn't know why. Have you ever thought about asking the Paladins to look into it? Or is it something you don't want to think about?"


     Lilian asks about her new acquaintance. Rita looks back over her shoulder; a look of unease surfaces on her face, then submerges again. There's an answer that almost leaves her lips, but she second-guesses it.

     "Surely you aren't about to start identifying yourself with them."

     "No. That's okay," she says, now wearing a little chagrined smile. "This is something I trust them with." 'Them'. Rita trusts her broadly; the Paladins, only situationally.
Lilian Rook     Lilian puts Night Mist back over her shoulder, where it fixes itself in space against her back without apparent means. She lowers her posture a little bit, and allows herself half a smile. "Thank you then, Rita. I'll make certain everything is taken care of in a way that you would be happy about, don't worry."

    For reasons that are probably unapparent to people without recent personal history and mind reading powers, Lilian puts her arms around Rita's shoulders and pulls her gently to her chest, not quite going so far as a hug, but simply holding her for a moment. The armour is oddly warm, and has a tiny bit of give despite its hardness. She can sort of feel, by way of a faint pulsation of heat, Lilian's heartbeat up close. And the way that Lilian is gently resting her head on top of hers while making certain not to poke her with the tines of the black antler that gently curves around her head.

    Theoretically, it'd be adequate defense against a chopping blade or blunt strike from above or to the side, but Rita could be pretty sure she can't remember anything coming of Aobheil's helmet back then. It seems to have appeared only after Lilian started wearing it all.
Aptom      The Guyver responds to Rita by looking down. It's an extremely measured movement, much like a robot. It sits there and observes, unmoving, until suddenly a faint, but confused voice can be heard muttering from it.

     Its behavior suddenly become a lot more human-like in that moment, the armored giant taking a step back from Rita in confusion as it takes a moment to look at its hands.  

     "What is..Did I?"

     There's clear distress in what is clearly a boy's voice, and just when it seems like he's going to freak out, the white organic armor suddenly retracts and pulls itself off of him, revealing another, albeit much smaller, Guyver suit. This one blue in color, and much more appropriately sized to fit an actual human being.

     There's another distortion in space as the larger armor disappears, leaving just the boy behind. He's calm now, if a bit confused, but he finally speaks.

     "Paladins? Oh, uh, Mr Stark's faction, right? Am I uh... Am I in trouble? I'll talk if I have to, but errr... Not out in the open."

     He seems cooperative, which is nice, given that the previously fallen bugman is now fully healed and prying himself free from Rita's grip.

     "I'm leaving. I'll explain things later, but not with him around."

     By him, he clearly means the Guyver. There's legitimate anger behind the 'zoanoid's' voice, but as to why, he doesn't say. He just flies off.
Rita Ma      "Ms. Rook!!" The necessity of the hug is clear, and Rita doesn't really object, but she still seems a little embarrassed to be embraced right there in front of a stranger she was trying to act composed around. Her face tinges a little red. "Well, thanks, anyway. I know you'll make sure of it."

     When the larger armor disappears, Rita gasps softly and looks to the boy left behind, even though her cheek is still squished against Lilian's breastplate. "Are you Sho? No, you're not in trouble, but it'd help a lot if you could explain."

     Surreptitiously, she worms an arm out of Lilian's hug to reach up and touch the black antler. That simple act makes her happy, for reasons opaque to most-but-not-all.
Lilian Rook     Lilian turns her head sideways to look. Though the sight is very relevant, and a little startling, she somehow affects a mighty 'do you mind?' glare. "Yes. Mister Stark's faction. And should you be in trouble?" She frowns a little when he gets cold feet around the other bugman, but she can always separate them later.

    Then she jumps, just a teeny bit, when Rita touches her headpiece. Which is odd. "A-ah-- Rita, what is your fixation with these?" Lilian halfheartedly huffs. It feels warm to the touch, with a resin-y sort of miniscule give. She herself reaches up to gently touch a tip, puzzled. "Perhaps when it's simply not an attack . . . ? I should really have it studied. Mmh . . ."

    She makes sure to squeeze Rita a little extra for her mischief; enough to pick her up a little, swivel partially around, and deposit her again before letting go. "Thank you for your patience, Mister Bond. Shall we go?"
James Bond      In the shadow between two buildings, Bond sits, legs crossed. He's got a feed piped into a near-invisible earpiece, but his mind is only half on the conversation. The other half is bouncing Rita's suggestion around restlessly, despite his outer appearance of idle resting. "No trouble at all, Dame Commander," he says, seemingly to himself. The hidden microphone in his lapel picks it up clearly, for Lilian's benefit. "I took the liberty of some advance reconnaissance." It doesn't take much to come to the more likely conclusion that he was just giving them a moment alone. "Rather a lovely night, aside from the obvious," he reports amiably. Standing up from the bench and flicking his cigarette away--a skillful shot into the bin nearby--he grins.

     "I'll wait here for you--and I'll pick you up something on the way back. As an apology for the 'technical difficulties.'"