5375/Warp Iris: The Conclusion

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Warp Iris: The Conclusion
Date of Scene: 13 July 2017
Location: The Quilt
Synopsis: The finale. The end of Loci Iris.
Cast of Characters: Eryl Fairfax, 385, 325, Staren, August Kohler, Kotone Yamakawa, 1108

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    There are things in this world unknowable and imperceptible to the eyes and mind. Most, when they hear this, will immediately think of horrors beyond time, space, and reality, as they have become in-vogue of late in all manner of media. Frequently, they are depicted as things with many tentacles. But that is not something 'unknowable.' It is just visual shorthand for something alien. If something were actually unknowable, it would be a void, a gap in your perception, an emptiness in your mental catalogue.

    It would be something that, even if it were right under your nose, you would fail to pay it much notice, or even consider it at all when it is not immediately present.

    But, that's not important right now. What IS important is the myriad scanners and detectors are picking up many readings in the Forbidden Glade where the whole Warp Iris incident began. After Loci Iris' fairly dramatic farewell, they were a hot topic on news media for a while, one that divided many in opinion. The sudden spike in activity revives the subject, and it's being discussed all over the Multiverse. Anyone paying any attention is in the know now, and many are converging on the forest.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
The last time Yuna was in the same location as the Warp Iris - or at least, technically, the part of it that people have been dealing with - she only left because somebody was willing to carry her.

So upon hearing that the scanners in the Forbidden Glade are reacting ... this time, she comes ready for battle. She's in her Light Suit, the whole Matrix of Light is with her; what she *doesn't* have is a visibly readied weapon.

If the Warp Iris wants to peruse her psyche again, it's not going to do so without permission - and with her own (mercifully hazy) recollection of how it went last time, permission might not be forthcoming this time around ...

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    It wasn't a place Rhapsody had visited before, but with her slightly more recent interactions with the Iris, and watching Yuna give her mind to the thing, the Izzet Guildmaster felt that since she became involved, she should stay involved. Upon arrival, she'd stay close to Yuna. It's not to be protective, it's just the person she trusts the most that is currently present..

Staren has posed:
    This is unexpected. Has the Warp Iris changed its mind? Has it decided to send them something? Did its univerce contain another being? Is ANOTHER universe like it unifying? Whatever the case... the SSC Stranger Than Fiction drops out of FTL far above, and Staren teleports down in a beam of red light, ready in his armor. He nods to those he knows as he sees them too.

August Kohler has posed:
Someone's creeping through the woods towards the glade. Slipping past the trees and quietly avoiding contact with anyone, is what appears to be a young man in sporting jeans and a shirt, as well as a long, obscuring cloak. It's a dark-ish gray, and covers the entire body, with a hood that partially obscures the face. Sewn into the fabric of the cloak is a dark blue pattern, of either ribbons or chains linking and entwining into each other. On the youth's wrist is a bracelet, reflective, and there's an inexpensive pistol holstered on a belt. His right hand is also bandaged up tight.

August Kohler has come prepared. This is an event that will make or break worlds, and if this is the return of the Warp Iris, it's time to end this once and for all. And he's going to do it in style.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa had thought things were over, really with Loci Iris she thought it was over but now something is happening so she too is on sight now. She was cautious and armed clearly for trouble from the looks of it. She was on edge what could be happening now? She had no idea and she really didn't like that.

<<slipbolt if things go to hell drop the package>>

<<concerned: Understood.>>

A2 (1108) has posed:
    The unfortunate truth about shared information resources is that you can't prevent anyone with access to them from doing whatever they want, and not what you want. The price one pays for the freedom of the Watch, bound only by the common commitment to that info network's security and equality, is letting everyone else have the freedom to use it for stupid ideas.

    Or something like that, is along the lines of what A2 has thought on since last time. Of course, if the Watch had involved the authority to tell her exactly what to do, she wouldn't have come to it in the first place, desperate or not. The thought doesn't bring her much comfort when she responds to what looks like a chance to settle the Warp Iris matter for good (one she thought she wouldn't get for a very long time) only to spot the same people who had let it cause the disaster it did in the first place.

    "The hell are you doing here?" comes out of the tree line, mostly at Yuna, but sort of at Rhapsody and Staren as well. Unlike August, she isn't trying to hide. Not really built for it, either. Her cloak was destroyed last time.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    The media circus has sprung up around the forest, with many reporters on the ground speaking into cameras. Many have also come bearing signs. Some of support of Loci Iris, others of protest. The Paladins have, thankfully, arrived fast enough to set up a perimeter to keep these people out, but not fast enough to keep out those that might interfere.

    Eryl Fairfax himself strides into the forest, waving off question from reporters, citing that he'll have a statement when he knows more. As everyone moves through the woods, towards the shrine, that familiar chill that squeezes the guts fills the air, intensifying with every step. They come to the stone walls, still unrepaired due to the dangers that the artefact it secures poses. This easily permits access to the inner area, to the open door to the chamber...

    Above it, a Warp Iris is congealing from the air. A tentacle extends from it slowly, languidly. Like it was an arm being stretched after a long sleep.


    GH H HH... has it been 1000 years yet?" For naturally, as a being born of a universe in which space and time never properly formed... how could it ever tell? Or maybe it could tell, but it felt that hope that it might not be alone in the Multiverse, and could not stay away for long.

    Either way, it broadcast that thought and speech a fair way. Everyone currently approaching can hear it clearly. Loci Iris is back, and many have unfinished business to settle.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
Yuna glances over her shoulder at A2, grimacing slightly at the battle gynoid's tone. "Making sure what happens," she answers. "I don't want to go through *that* again, but I don't want anyone else to --"

Yes. Yes, she remembers the chill VERY well, and her hands tense as if the Matrix Divider were already in them. But it isn't, and she barely catches herself short of making her weapon manifest. "Let's ... not shoot pre-emptively this time, but ... if it tries to nom on my thoughts or memorized, it's not getting that chance," Yuna says a bit more quietly to A2, then turns her attention to Loci Iris. Yes, it's clearly the same aspect they encountered previously.

Yuna is notably *not* stepping forward. It takes a lot of willpower for her not to step *backwards* - say, to hide behind Rhapsody, or Staren, or even behind August. She'd be lying if she said she wasn't really, really tempted ... but if this comes down to combat (and for all her bad memories and residual nightmares, she doesn't *want* to fight Loci Iris), she'll stand alongside her allies, if not in front of them to protect them.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    While Rhapsody had only felt this particular sense of dread once before, it was instantly recognized. She wasn't sure what to expect, given the -thing- it ejected from itself before, the others that wanted to kill it, and Yuna who had seemed to want to protect it. A hand settles on a spellblade, but nothing more. A2 only gets a glare and a simple curt reply, "Whatever we want."

Staren has posed:
    Staren is surprised when a tentacle starts to form. Dammit, is the Loci Iris really coming back? This is bad...

    His shoulder missile racks pop up. "I have you locked and targeted. Don't start..." he responds to A2.

    Staren looks to the Iris as it emerges and asks a question. "No, and it's not safe here right now!"

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa looks at A2 for a moment and gets on edge not certian how things went last time, the cyborg is on edge. she doesn't make any hostile movies but she sees the media and just is inwardly facepalming. She looks at the warp iris andshe pauses for a moment she stares, did it fall into some remant of the old temporal wastelands? She doesn't know bue she moces ahead she sees yuna and rhapsody for a moment.

"What the hell? Did it fall into the temporal wastes...?"

A2 (1108) has posed:
    The presence of the media means that there likely isn't much time. If the news has spread so far already that reporters are competing to get the first scoop, it shouldn't be long before more serious authorities arrive, which means . . .

    "What a coincidence." A2 says, barely giving Rhapsody the frostiest of glances from her worn out eye. Golden fireflies swarm to her hand, thrumming in deep, electric bass, as the light takes on the form of her hard-angled tech sword, her finger on the trigger. "So am I."

    She blows past Staren like he's the valet, locking herself off again in that narrow little world which seems to exist only between herself and the Warp Iris. The target. How often does she go there? How many things have shared that practically tangible corridor of laser-focused hostility with her in past? They've barely even met, and it's like it was deeply personal on sight.

    "If you don't want to get hurt again, the smart thing to do is leave, and let me do what I should have done earlier."

    That may have been for Yuna, but all that goes with it is A2 flipping her hair back over her shoulder, speeding up her gait, rocking forward on her heels, and then disappearing with an emphatic, windy *FOOM*. Was trying to talk to her a fool's gambit from the start? Within instants --before the Loci Iris even seems to recognize she's there-- her sword is out to hack it to pieces, ripping through the only piece of it that's even visible. The hell is her problem?

August Kohler has posed:
The cloaked finger doesn't join into the arguing, not immediately, and isn't around long enough for Yuna to go behind him. Instead, he's quietly leaping up a tree with branches overlooking the area, and pulling something out of his pocket. Some sort of camera? He attaches it to the tree, before pulling out what looks like a phone and pressing some buttons, and then stepping out fully into the open of the branch. His voice is recognizable by those down below - it's August. "Really still defending this mistake? How many people would the Warp Iris have to hurt to make you stop this bullshit?" The phone is sweeped over the area briefly, including a long glance at the Warp Iris, before turning towards August as he outstretches his hand, allowing it to get a good view of his cloak. "Folks at home, journalists, cops. This is the Warp Iris. An abomination of nature, a world that failed to integrate into the Multiverse. It's very presence spreads dread to those near it, so you're lucky you're not here, and it feeds off the mind and thoughts with those tentacles. Did you know that in a part of the Multiverse, there's several people trapped in terrible nightmares, that aren't even thought to be curable, because of this thing? The Paladins know. The Concord know. You know what they decided to do? They decided to try and befriend this /thing/. Try and /teach it/. Ask your local Paladins. See how the supervisors squirm around the idea. That's right. The Paladins prioritized the abomination over people like you." There's a breath, as August stares at the Warp Iris, watching A2 prepare to move.

"You're probably wondering who I am and how I know this. I am /The Cloak/ of the Watch, and I'm here to show you how the police are fucking you over. And if you don't believe my word, you don't have to. Shortly, as in after I press this button, all the information I've gathered on this, as well as audio-recordings showing that the Paladin Grandmaster, Eryl Fairfax, knew about this, will be released." There's a movement of the phone, as August presses a click.

The phone and the camera on the tree are both connected to a stream that's been dispersed through a reliable Watch contact to several media outlets. As August presses the button, files are uploaded, explaining the situation, the meeting about the Warp Iris, and with recording excerpts of Eryl Fairfax talking about the nightmares over public radio. "Now, tonight, the Watch is going to act. We're going to put this thing down and end this shitshow once and for all."

August leaps off the branch, bringing the mirrored bracelet up to his eyes. "Persona." In a flash of blue, the Tin Soldier appears, and immediately begins firing a hail of bullets at the Warp Iris. The Camera is stowed in a pocket, allowing a POV shot of the action, besides the tree camera's overhead shot. "Decide how you feel about this. You'll see it all right here."

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    "Oh, hello again!" Loci calls out upon hearing Staren's voice. "It's... not safe?" It pauses for a long moment, before it reaches out. It touches the mind of everyone in the area, the lightest poke... but enough to maybe set off some alarm bells. "Oh. It hasn't been 1000 years, has it? You're all still here."

    Especially A2. She's /very/ here, and very much cutting off that one, visible tentacle. "Oh. You," Loci Iris says in the closest thing it can manage to hostility. "You know, I had plenty of time to consider things while I was away, literally. In chewing over everything I had learned, I discovered something... interesting. I was taught that harming others is wrong, but now I know that harming someone who is trying to harm you is called 'self-defence.' Let me show you what I mean."

    Suddenly, an enormous polyp erupts from the Warp Iris, the fleshy mass trying to slam A2 into the dirt! At this time, Eryl finally reaches the scene. He overhears the Warp Iris, and August's little livestream. With a slow groan, he rubs his temples and steps forward, bellowing his next words. "I am Eryl Fairfax, Grandmaster of the Paladins! ALL OF YOU will stand down immediately. That includes you also, Loci Iris!"

    "But this is self-defence. She cut my tendril off," the monstrosity intones, confused. This is a very valuable opening for some!

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
For a moment, Yuna just watches A2 with a look of consternation on her face. "I just said -" And it's no use; she's already attacking, despite Yuna SPECIFICALLY advising not to just attack pre-emptively. Loci Iris hasn't even had time to make its intentions clear yet, never mind making any threatening (or deliberately non-threatening) moves before A2 goes on the attack.

Granted, from what Elner reported after Yuna recovered from the last encounter, slicing and shooting and trying to burn the Warp Iris didn't do much more than make it eject some damaged mass plus annoy it into leaving. But worse than A2 attacking unprovoked (for a given definition thereof) is August playing his trump card.

"Shugoseiheki!!!" Yuna shouts, and rather than a weapon, her kite shield - the Wall of the Guardian Star - materializes on her left arm. But she doesn't have time to do anything else before Eryl calls on everybody to stand down ... and she looks at the Grandmaster, nodding, but ready to interpose her shield and try to block or divert A2's blade if necessary. With the Warp Iris taking matters into its own .... uh, whatever you call it when it's not a hand ... she *probably* won't have to, but just in case.

Staren has posed:
    Staren wasn't lying, although the indicated missiles aren't the ones that fire -- as soon as A2 passes him, he holds out his arms, firing a half-dozen tiny missiles. They swerve slightly, trying to reach different angles from A2 before airbursting... except instead of exploding, they fire a lance of plasma at point-blank range.

    Staren himself follows this attack by manifesting his wings and taking to the air to give himself more ways to dodge A2's counterattacks...but now /August/ is here. Eryl too. "Killing it won't bring those people back, you idiot! LEARNING from it might give us a way to save them! It's not like we're going to sacrifice people to it, we had this under control!"

    Still, after Eryl's order, he makes no further agressive moves for the moment, hovering there and watching A2 warily.

    If there are a few seconds of calm, he'll eventually remember to pop down the missile racks.

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa pauses as the Loci does pokehj er mind it's a far lighter touch than last timebut it's concerning and with August just fulling full bore here that he is the Cloak for the Watch is ahuge revlation. She doesn't like where this is going it';s clear she's out numbered here but yes she knows what she has to d. She's stagging for a moment as she moves to back up Eryl now she shifts and comms her ship.

<<Get the package on the pad Slipbolt>>

With that set up she's looking to keep her weapon ready as she moves to back up Eryl and she's very happy she's not alone. She has her weapons ready and she says nothing out loud it would be a bad idea but she's also moving to get in the way of the hostile combatant and she now must wait on Slipbolt, hopefully she won't need to use it but it's looking like she will.

"Drop your weapons if you ahve them and otherwise stand down."

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    Poke. Boop? Did Loci just boop her brain? That felt, weird. The sensation isn't thought about very long before the Warp Iris speaks again. It -learned-. "Oh for heaven's sake, she learned! She understands! The only ones not learning in this room now are the two of you!" Rhapsody roars out, blades coming free of their sheathes before, well, Eryl has a pretty good 'order' voice, no doubt. "Do you really think they are going to listen, Fairfax?!"

August Kohler has posed:
The cameras continue to record, as August turns towards Eryl, getting a full view on his phone. "Grandmaster Fairfax. The world's watching. What do you plan on doing here? Whose side do you take? I'm no bookie, but I'd put my money on 'the law'." He smirks under that cloak, his mouth fully visible, as he steps away from Eryl and towards the Warp Iris, his Persona still pointing the gun. "So you understand self-defence. You've been thinking about it. Have you been thinking about your victims? Do you think they'd have the right to self-defence? Or are they still just /food/ to you? Do you feel remorse?"

"/Can you feel remorse/? Can you even feel, or are emotions just concepts to you, not something you actually experience? I bet you don't feel you did a single thing wrong. You feel right, because it's what you are. Because you eat intelligence, so we're just prey to you. Well, guess what. We bite back." The camera is waved around, to each party. "Paladins. Concord. Bystanders. And you. Everyone has thoughts on what's right here, but what the hell do you think, you /giant cosmic miscarriage/? Do you even think besides whatever preserves you? Can you even /understand/ why I hate you? Because I don't think you care."

And then, August dashes forward, to gain distance from the cops, drawing his gun. He knows what Kotone's capabilties are. "If you did, you'd have freed your victims, or tried, or done something other than show up with your /warpgates/ after what you thought was a thousand years. All you are is a monster." The Tin Soldier raises its gun again, and a flurry of fire pours out, a massive spray moving to engulf the Iris's body. "And monsters, /anyone/ who preys on people, are not welcome."

A2 (1108) has posed:
    It's questionable if A2 even hears August; pure guesswork if his resounding monologue ever pierces the haze of white noise that may as well be visibly surrounding her head. It's not like she needs the encouragement. It's not like she asked for approval. It's anyone's estimate if they'd worked this out together, or if August had simply taken advantage of her resolve; of her hate being the one certain factor in this whole mess. Whether the timing is intentional or simply convenient, the exact second the stream starts, black blood is sleeting off the edge of A2's grey sword, and splattering across her unblinking face.

    Of course the others attack. They'd said so from the start. Had she just resolved to deal with it, or even listened at all? She's barely through the first cut when Staren's micro-missiles chase after her. One of the plasma lances stabs white hot through her left arm, and another impacts her side as she turns, adding brand new carbon scarring to the mess her bare skin already is, as artificial blood vapourizes and turns to white pixels. The explosion throws her groundwards, into a smoking roll, which she barely rises out of before the giant, fleshy protrusion slams her in the face, and hurls her ungracefully to the ground once again, hit from both sides at once.

    It looks like Eryl won't need to give the order at all. In the brief pause caused by his commanding order, A2 doesn't move at all, laying face down in a shallow, scorched and dirty crater, looking very much as if she belongs there. The only movement from her is the odd flick of hair caused by the play of the breeze, tangled over her worn and broken down body, to the point that, for a little while, it looks like said body had finally just given out on her, after all that past abuse. When she finally does stir, struggling to look up from the dirt, her empty violet stare only meets more hostility. She sees Kotone has her guns out. Rhapsody has drawn her swords. Yuna is hoping to interpose herself with her shield at the ready. The Paladins are claiming they're in charge of the situation. The Warp Iris is talking right over her, wrangling legalese as if she weren't even there; discarded like a broken doll at their feet.

    "Oh just shut up." Comes the hoarse, acerbic hiss from her throat.

    "Shut up. Just shut /up/! Shut up, all of you! Just stop /talking/!" The android coughs, and then shakily starts to rise, moving one limb at a time as the holes in her body sluggishly fill themselves in, propping herself up on shuddering joints. "Do you ever /stop/?! You don't even listen to /yourselves/ talk, never mind each other!"

    "Do you think any of it matters?" she gasps out, staggering unsteadily to her feet, clutching her side tightly with one arm. "Do you think anyone /cares/ but you? Are you just doing it for fun? Do you just like hearing yourselves talk? Does it make you feel good to blabber /on/ and /ON/ about shit you don't know the first thing about?! Or do you really think you know jack /shit/ about /ANYTHING/?!"

    The dirt crumbles around her feet as she shifts her weight, fingers trembling as she squeezes her arm. "I'm so /SICK/ of listening to your god damned opinions! Your naive, asinine, self-serving BULLSHIT! The pretty little ways you want to dress up the fact that you're all too fucking scared to accept responsibility for anything!" The air around her starts to look like it's vibrating. Flickers of static electricity play over her skin. Her heat signature climbs.

    "Because it's so much /easier/ to just do what everyone tells you! It's so much easier to be in the majority, right? On the winning side? To huff the same paint everyone else is, lie to yourself that it's 'civilization', and then look down your nose at anyone sane! You /know/ how insane this is, right?! /Somewhere/ deep inside of you, you can sense how unnatural this all is can't you?! Regurgitating the words like a trained animal and repeating after everyone else, to defend this /thing/, just so that you're not the only one that isn't!"

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2's voice is cracking. The coruscating electricity tinges red. It smells like ozone. "Because you don't have any idea what it's like for those words to actually fail you! Do you?! As long as you say the right lines, make the right connections, make sure not to cross the right people, and pretend you think all the right things, you're fine! You've always /been/ fine! Is this just your fucking hobby?! Am I the only one here who actually meant it when she said she would do what /needs/ to be done?! Were you all just in it for a laugh?! Because right now, it looks like you're all having a lot of fun, over there with the 'big man' you all said you'd fight, back when /that/ was the right thing to say!"


    "Well /I/ meant it."


    "If you like being the hero for the camera that much, maybe you should just leave."


    "Because after all this time, I still don't give half a single shit about what you have to say to me."


    "And if you get in my way . . ."


    "And if you're not going to take me seriously . . ."


    "Then I'll just smash you to pieces as well."


    A2's frame erupts into a blazing storm of coruscating, blood red light; giving off a crushing blast wave of explosive pressure and searing energy that flattens and glasses the ground around her, out to a dangerous distance. Her entire body flickers with static, as if it's barely even there, whilst tendrils of crimson lightning writhe across her skin and lash out at everything nearby. Her one visible eye shines white hot through the gap in her hair, though the rest of her face is cast too deeply in shadow to see. Just coming near her is like sticking one's hand in a pot of boiling water, for the waves of heat she lets off.

    Her sword flashes back to her hand, instantly consumed in the same, scarlet fire, and vibrating until it visibly blurs. In a motion too quick to see, she pirouettes on her heel and slashes it through the entire, gigantic polyp in a sweeping arc of flaming light; the wind pressure alone is enough to carve through the body mass behind it.

    "Who wants to dance?"

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Eryl's face is cold, almost placid. He turns to look at August as he comes over, pointing the camera and crowing. "Law? There is no law for this. The Warp Iris is an unprecedented event. So no, August Kohler, Cloak of the Watch, you make a poor bet. Here, I side with rationality. Loci Iris is here, yes. Early, accidentally. If we left them alone, they would leave again, causing no further harm to occur. But you, and that android, are here to make trouble once again. Any further harm that occurs now, and that includes to the both of you, is now your own fault. So I shall save Loci Iris, and you both, from your own selves. I side with no one. I only seek to defuse this fight." He looks in Rhapsody's direction and replies. "I can only hope they will. If they don't, I deputize you to help me keep them from killing each other."

    He keeps talking, loud and audibly so that it picks up. "Furthermore, you use those suffering to justify your cause. However, they are improving through therapeutic treatment. Now, I am not trying to accuse you of building a narrative by not mentioning this in your logs-and yes, I've already gone over them-simply because their treatment is private, as it should be. Everyone deserves a right to privacy, to not have their suffering be used as fuel to power a campaign of hate."

    Meanwhile, August charges towards Loci Iris, shouting bile and waving a gun around and blasting with fire. "Actually, I do know. I've been in your mind. You think me akin to the creatures of your world," says Loci Iris, even as its flesh chars, filling the air with putrid scents. "You look at me and see the things that made your life miserable. That's understandable. But... and I hope you forgive me for this. But when I felt you there as I was checking earlier... well, what is it that you did yesterday? You tried to prey on a vulnerable friend because they were an 'obstacle.' What do you call that?"

    And then A2 cleaves the whole polyp in twain with one swing.

    Loci Iris shrieks, a pool of fluids gushing from the wound and staining the grass, making it smoke. The chunks of meat go flying, one part crashing into the wall, another slamming into the camber holding the artefact. It crumbles, the sacred object in question landing in the grass. "Stop it!" the creature yells, both aloud and in A2's mind, a lancing bolt through the mechanical mind. "What is your problem?! What happened to you?!" Many many tendrils come out, lashing wildly to try and push her and August away. "Just leave me alone!"

    "Stop them all!" Eryl shouts. "Don't let anyone be hurt!" He looks to A2 first, plainly the bigger threat, before unloading with the entire clips in his One Hand Clapping handguns. They're all vital shots, going for exposed areas, the eyes, the throat.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    Right. Forget the swords, then. The two blades are tossed to the side, as is the guildmaster's trenchcoat. In a flash of light, the Guildmaster shifts into her draconic form, just a bit bigger than a large truck, and just dives inbetwen the Iris and basically -everyone- else, "ENOUGH!" she roars before a crackling blast of fire and lightning rushes out of her muzzle. She entirely expects to end up bleeding for this, but she hardly cares.

Staren has posed:
    Staren watches Eryl. Waiting because he doesn't need Eryl shooting at him too... and his chances to help the Iris will be lower if he loses Eryl's trust in tyhis matter. Finally Eryl gives the go-ahead, and he fires his beam cannons down at A2 from the sky.

    "To answer your question: No. /I/ will do what needs to be done. Not because the Paladins tell me, but because I seek the brightest future. One not dominated by hatred and revenge and endless cycles. You can either be part of that future... or be removed from it."

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
It's only belatedly that Yuna realizes that they are, in fact, on a live camera - that this is playing out in front of potentially the entire Multiverse, or at least as much of it as the available networks will reach to. And for Yuna in particular, that carries with it a heavy responsibility: more than a former Union operative, more than an ally to anyone present, even more than just being the Savior of Light, her fans are likely to see this - now or later - and it's going to reflect on her directly.

She is *so* going to slap August for this when she has a chance.

But as sudden as the realization hits her, it is just as abruptly shoved to the back of her mind - because what she needs to do *hasn't* changed. This is why Ryudia has been teaching her about her duties, helping Yuna realize what it means to be the Savior of Light: it needs to be, not second nature, but ingrained into her normal being, something she doesn't have to think twice about.

Which is good, because she barely has time to think *once* when everything goes even further to hell. And in A2's case, it's practically literal, with the fiery power lashing out around her and another slash of that sword lashing out at the Warp Iris.

'Don't let anyone be hurt,' Eryl yells. That suits Yuna just fine.

"JIINA, COMBINE!!" Yuna shouts as loud as she can, and the green-and-white android swoops in. Rather than dismissing her kite shield, Yuna drives its bottom point into the ground and leaves it standing as Jiina of the Earth reaches her, goes translucent and overlaps with Yuna's form, then vanishes entirely. The 'wireframe' which appears immediately after that is quickly filled in by the pieces of a bulky mechanical exo-frame, and the conversion to Powered Form is barely complete when one exo-arm grasps the shield and flips it into place.

That took too long, thinks Yuna, but she needed the extra staying power; she's already rocketing towards Rhapsody's flank and pivoting to face A2, ready to do whatever she can to tank that all-but-literally infernal blade. Yuna's defense leads, of course, with that kite shield - solid and durable, and reinforced further by the Light Suit's protective aura; the Matrix Divider forms in Yuna's hands as well, although that's mostly for emergency parrying if (or given A2's power surge, more likely 'when') the Wall of the Guardian Star proves insufficient.

But she is NOT going to leave Rhapsody undefended. The dragon's the only one here big enough *to* be a meatshield for the Warp Iris; ironically enough, Yuna - probably the smallest without Powered Form's bulk - is going to be *Rhapsody's* shield in turn.

And doesn't she owe at least as much to her father, the one who helped integrate a gifted kite shield into Yuna's powers and weapons?

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
Kotone Yamakawa personal feelings are this is a mess it's a freaking mess. She's not sure not what to think with he Iris coming back. It's gone for a lighter touch but well?She's very conflicted she was hoping to keep things from getting worse and her attitude changes a bit towards A2. She dopes listen but she's got her orders for now but it draws up more questions about her current profession in life, perhaps given the survival of the Starbounders? Maybe her life should take another path, but for now. However she goes on as her eyes narrows. Something isn't right, something isn't right at all. As August makes his move she signals.


There's a beam in from her ship, she's not leaving a hulking mechanical thing appears with the front open, Kotone moves inhumanly fast even as A2 goes all to the wall the ARMED suit which has landed is quickly boarded by Kotone and the massive machine seals up as Kotone directly jacks into the unit. It's huge, about tall as two people, clearly heavily armoured, and it's oddly got two pair of arms. One human sized and the other to scale. Kotone isn't looking too happy behind the face-plate.

((OOC Roughly this http://imgur.com/a/Z3pqk ))

the grey machine has odd legs as it rises up and Kotone moves to intercept August. As for Kotone's plan? She intends to grab him with one of the over sized machine's fists.

<<Aye sir, I have the heavy weapons off line.>>

Rather than the traditional load-out this machine is made for more riot control opens and that's when the plan comes be clear shes gong to try to use the armored suits sstrength to keep August at bay or at least under control and who knows what sort of systems are built into it.

August Kohler has posed:
"Well, I said I'm not a bookie." August shrugs, as he glares at Eryl. "No further harm that you know of. You're making assumptions. It returned in just over a month. How do you know it can be trusted? What does your damn rationality say about that?" His voice is clearly angry at this point, as he sighs. "A campaign of hate? Maybe. But I consider this a campaign of /justice/, the type of justice that you /cops/ won't perform. The type of justice that the people want, but nobody fucking gets." It's almost as if he's self-projecting, here.

And then, the Iris speaks to him. It probed him. And it talks about yesterday. /Yesterday/. Immediately, August's face twists into anger, not caught by his personal camera, but possibly caught by the one on the tree. "You've been in my mind. So you think you know me, know what I feel? Know what I was /feeling/? You know /nothing/. You don't know fucking anything about me. Yes. I hate. I hate things like you so much. You're /wrong/. Your very existence is /wrong/. If you're going to probe in my head, don't pull out things you don't even understand, don't act like you KNOW WHO I AM!"

At this point, A2 goes Berserk. As that wave of pressure explodes outwards, the camera on the tree picks up most of her transformation, before /exploding/, that line of the stream going completely dead. August's pocket camera manages to catch the whole thing, including A2's slash. The distraction plus August's anger is enough to distract him, allowing Kotone's armed suit to grab him...but he screams. A bloody wail of fury and pent-up emotions, the briefest glimmer in his eyes, as the Tin Soldier thrashes. It's entire body spasms, and flames emerge not only from that gun, but from the lines and cracks on its body, as if the Persona is overheating. The gun points at the Armed Suit, a roaring storm of fire moving to burn straight through it, before the Persona spins. The flame spreads across the ground, and moves to engulf everything it can - primarily the Warp Iris, but it'll quickly spread to the trees, and it'll definitely attempt to burn through anything in its path. The Tin Soldier's gun doesn't stop firing.


A2 (1108) has posed:
    "Just shut up and /DIE/ already!" A2 screams, as if trying to drown out the voice in her head by yelling over it, before she, in turn, is drowned out by the fitful shrieking of the wind in the wake of her sword. The blade itself isn't even visible, save as scattered twists of bloody red light, twisting about A2 so quickly that it appears as if it exists in several places at once, and putting her at the center of a raging whirlwind that quickly becomes as much spiraling blood as air. The area around her shudders under the assault of small, rapid-fire sonic booms, visibly rippling like glass with every strike, so much that it's impossible to even see what is cleaving every oncoming tendril from itself. From outside, it only looks like high velocity gore hitting the inside of a whirling, glowing scarlet blender, painting the ground for dozens of meters with blood and slashing gouges. There aren't even severed limbs to recover; anything that comes loose is turned into a fine mist almost instantly.


    Staren's beam cannons slash down from on high, piercing straight through the lurid red shade that is A2, only to discharge all their heat into the ground, and blow smoking holes in the earth rather than their target. Even on his targeting monitors, it looks as if he'd hit her, and then she /retroactively/ wasn't there, like some kind of lag hiccup in reality.


    Eryl is no slower to fire, and this time, with a serious barrage of high density precision shooting, targeting a dozen obvious areas of weakness in A2's busted outer frame. What he winds up shooting instead is a disjointed mirage of dancing black and red shadows. Even cybernetic eyes and only perceive the way A2 twists herself between the slugs as a kind of delayed, low-FPS sequence of after images, completely disconnected from one another such that it's impossible to tell which movement happened in what sequence, and calculate backwards from it.

->COUNTER AT 400%<-

    A2 swipes her sword upward through the air, and an arcing wave of energy, hot and bright as the core of a furnace, surges forward to meet Rhapsody's breath attack, meeting the fire and lightning head on, and slashing straight down the middle to trade blow for blow and take the dragon's head off before she can finish. No doubt Yuna will be able to intercept such an obvious and flashy attack, but any sensible combat systems would be screaming warnings not to do so all the same, and while she's busy, A2 crouches forward, aims towards Eryl, and then the ground between him and herself becomes a single, long and deep, scorched gouge in the earth, all but /teleporting/ into him for a blow that is as much full body tackle as it is an attempt to chop his arms off at the elbow.

    Everything about it is utterly absurd. Everything about the android is an order of magnitude higher than before, far past the point it should be physically possible for her chronically worn out body, and her systems are dumping so much waste energy it's a small wonder she hasn't already gone critical and exploded. There's no way she should be able to take the stress of what she's dishing out.

    [ |||||||||||||||||||| ]

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    August's flames spread around, burning the grass. It comes dangerously close to the artefact, making it start to smoke. And when it does, the Warp Iris seems to dim at the edges.

    Meanwhile, Loci Iris's tendrils are turned into a fine mist by A2's whirling dervish. The creature screams, and even as the Warp Iris fades at the edges, Loci Iris pulls more of itself out. No hint of the warpgate can be seen anymore, as a hideous mass emerges. It's akin to an arm, with many eyes and mouths blinking and smacking all over it. Fingers terminate in small pincers, and the skin is vaguely translucent, like a grub. It begins flailing wildly, like a tantrum. Rhapsody might get caught in the flailing, as well as Yuna. A high, keening cry is filling the air, hitting ears and minds both.

    Meanwhile, Eryl is focussing on A2, but he is keeping an eye on August. "Don't forget Kohler! And try to keep Loci Iris from making it worse!" he shouts, before the android is crossing the distance between she and him in an instant, going for his arms. Eryl may not be as fast as A2, but his mind is his best asset. During he fight, he had managed to calculate the frequency at which her sword is vibrating. As the swing comes down, he deploys an armblade. Even pumping as much power into it as he can, he can't match her frequency. So he tries to get it humming at an opposing frequency, so when the swing hits, some of the cutting power is reduced, from 'total severance' to 'biting deep, rendering the arm useless, but still attached.'

    But that's fine, because at the same time, he also attacks.

    Eryl is not made for combat. A2 would likely wipe the floor with him even before this state. But as she stands, she is very clearly bypassing her operational limits for more power. And power can be turned against her. He can't go for a throw due to being physically unable to match her speed. So, with his other arm, he deploys the other blade and simply extends it, trying to make her impale herself on it in her rush to hit him.

Yuna Kagurazaka (385) has posed:
The sensible thing, if Yuna were only concerned with her own well-being, would indeed be to get the screaming, blistering hell out of the way of A2's blade - or maybe to *stay* out of the way.

Fortunately for Rhapsody, Yuna isn't always the most sensible girl around - in fact, it's very rare that she *is*. But as Yuna Kagurazaka, she hates to see anyone else suffering or in pain, especially when they're a friend (as Rhapsody is) - and as the Savior of Light, she's resolved and determined *not* to let innocents be harmed.

So when A2 executes that slashing attack, Yuna lights up Powered Form's thrusters and wills them into overdrive, not merely interposing herself where it might do the most good but actively powering *into* A2's attack, to take as much of it as possible on the Wall of the Guardian Star, and what doesn't hit the kite shield, Yuna is trying to soak up on her own armored body rather than let Rhapsody get hurt.

She probably can't take all of it. She probably *shouldn't* try to take as much of it as she *does* - and there's actually damn little 'probably' in the equation, because three things happen as the slashwave slams into the Savior of Light. There is a crackling, flaring flash of light, far too bright to represent anything good; there is a piercing scream as if it had been cut straight out of Yuna's lungs without needing to go through her vocal cords, and there is a body abruptly flying in a direction that it *wasn't* meant to go - a body with a near comet-trail of smashed, scorched, and broken pieces of armor trailing around her.

*Some* of the armor fades out, rematerializing and reassembling back into Jiina. But Yuna herself has been rendered completely helpless, with no control over where she'll land and no protection whatsoever.

Rhapsody (325) has posed:
    Alas, poor dragon, a breath weapon is not the end-all be-all it is in other places. With A2 going absolutley berserk, blade looking to separate Rhapsody's head from her neck, there's little she can really do except start to cast -something-, but that something never finishes.

    With Yuna diving into the way, much like Rhaps did between the Iris and everyone else, the sight of Yuna sent -flying- removes all concern for how the Iris is flailing at her and the others. It probably made contact, it probably left crimson trails in her white hide. When Yuna is sent sailing, though? The dragon lunges after her. The only intention the guildmaster has is to scoop up the woman and -leave-.

    As she goes, she speaks a stray thought, "What kind of team fight's among its own members...?"

Staren has posed:
    Oh come on, now the ragedroid has time manipulation too?! How can he possibly counter that?!

    Actually, Staren's encountered time travel before. Maybe he can figure out a way... but no, he doesn't have time to figure it out right now! Besides... she glassed the area around her just /transforming/. How much energy is this using? If it was sustainable, she'd have used it before, right? Staren comes pretty much to the same conclusion as Eryl, and decides that if he can't shoot one target, well, maybe he should focus on the one he can...

    He floats around, his beam cannon trying to follow A2 as he replies to August. "'Shouldn't exist'?! Coming from someone professing personal morality, that's just a flowery way of saying you don't like it!"

    "And because of that, you'll eagerly risk everyone here! It's still learning. It's learned not to hurt us. When it couldn't control itself, it put people in comas. It's stopped that now. But what do you think will happen when it violently dies?? What if its death releases a psychic pulse that does that to all the people you're so busy grandstanding in front of?" He waves his left hand at the group of reporters. "Or just explodes their brains and kills them?" He curls his fingers then uncurls them in a vaguely explosive gesture.

    He turns to focus on August. "You've seen it learning to be a person. Yet you ignore it... You know what I think? I think it's because recognizing that would mean admitting you were wrong." He blinks, shakes his head. "Not even entirely wrong. You were right that it was potentially dangerous, just like you're right that there's a problem in OMNI's city. But you insist on repeating the same actions again and again. Because you can't admit you DON'T KNOW how to deal with this, just like you DON'T KNOW how to help rebels run a city."

    He points. "I'm glad you learned to fight, but now all you know how to do is punch your problems! Which is fine when problems need punching, or you can step back and let others handle other problems... But you can't. You can't admit when you, personally, don't know how to solve a problem... and that makes you UNFIT TO LEAD!"

    He aims his beam cannons at August... and then Yuna goes flying. "Yuna!" He turns towards her, but Rhapsody's going for her. So now August knows what's coming when Staren turns back and tries to shoot him, center of mass.

    Eryl said not to kill anyone. But Staren's confident anything but a headshot can be fixed -- his healing vat is a teleport away. There may or may not be irony in lecturing someone else about being sure you can fix all problems right now...

Kotone Yamakawa has posed:
A2 has gone Berserk and there's not much she can do about it the pressure though does have an effect on her machine, it take damage and she loses several of her cameras, but not all of them due to them being military grade hardware rather than stock civilian issue. Then August goes insane and that's when she does it, she has a plan in mind here. She's not getting out of the way, she's not. She's got her orders, no lethal, so she's going to stick to them and the fire is nasty it's burning into the Armed suit but it is made for combat the temperature warnings come up, as the machine is bathed in fire. Strange white sticky foam, it's not intended to fight fires, no, but it's intended to restrain August it does let oxygen pass through.

Then again with the fire August started this could be a bad idea and her mech while it';s messed up she's still there.

"You sound like the and who said Give me the package and then crushed me into a wall away. I won't do that to a friend nor will I let a friend do something like this."

Another hit like she took though would be a lot of problems.

Then comes Staren, and he makes some very good points but his method of take down comes in so fast Kotone isn't able to react given all the other variables.


It's too late on her end though given who knows how this will pan out now. Still she'd not expected a speech like that out of Staren and he raise an important point. It could get a hell of a lot worse, and her friend's ruthlessness in take down is just ... it's not a good day for Paladin Yamakawa.

August Kohler has posed:
Even in his rage, August can still think, and still logic. And he sees the artifact smoke, and how it affects the Warp Iris. He likely won't be able to manage it, so he makes a call over the radio to A2, as the foam begins to build around him. For now, he ignores it, instead moving to get the camera out and on the action and talking to Staren. "No, I don't. I never denied that. But we've seen what it's done. It can learn, sure. It can think. So can the /worst monsters/. So can those who tear you apart, who kill for fun and sport, because 'it's right' and 'it's what I am'." There's a growl from the Cloak. "If I did everything by assuming what would happen after I did it, /nothing would happen/! Not everyone's fucking immortal like you, Staren! Not everyone can watch and try and fix problems one part at a time because they have robots and backups! I'm fixing things for the /people that are alive/, /the people that matter/!" The Tin Soldier's gun turns towards the foam, as he finally starts to struggle. "The Warp Iris is /hurting people now/, and I will always choose now over later. I don't have infinite patience because any day I could die, any day any of us could die, and I don't have your satisfaction of not having to WORRY ABOUT THAT!"

The Tin Soldier's flames pour out at the foam, moving to burn an August-shaped hole straight out of it. The fire isn't finely controlled, however, and catches him alight. The cloak actually doesn't seem to burn easy, but the bandages on his hands catch up in flame, burning away and revealing horrible, fresh burn marks, no older than a day. And then Staren fires.

The blasts hit straight for the torso of the Tin Soldier, causing it to fly back and August to fall to his knees, clutching his chest. He coughs up blood, having exerted most of his energy, as he tries to force himself back up. "I'm going to solve problems the way /I know how to/, and your goddamn moralizing isn't going to get in my way. This is what I think is right, what will /help people/, and I'm sticking to my heart. Stop trying to convince me otherwise."

"You're in my way."

There's a very odd cadence to August's last words, though over the sound of the battle, the livestream doesn't quite pick it up. It sounds almost...unnatural. When he speaks again, it's not there. "A2. Let's finish this." August begins attempting to retreat towards the tree line, the Tin Soldier getting up and moving around, in a position to cover her. A ripple of bullets is shot straight at the Iris, attempting to keep it back/off of her.

A2 (1108) has posed:
    A2 doesn't look twice as Yuna leaps into the way and abruptly turns into a burning meteor. If she takes Rhapsody out as well, so much the better. It seems like everyone but August is on her hit list right now, and whatever set her off like that isn't something that can be reached by guilt --that is if she feels any in the first place.


    Eryl challenges. A2 accepts. Her blade smashes straight into Eryl's internal circuitry, cleaving into his mechanical arms, and in return, his folding blade goes straight through her torso, stabbing clean past what artificial skin remains and sprouting out her back, just clear of her spine.

    [ |||||||||||||||||||| ]

    She doesn't so much as flinch. Sparks and artificial blood alike spurt from the wound, but they're lost in the blinding electrical storm, which seeks to fry Eryl alive all on its own. A2 pushes forward, shoving herself down the length of his weapon to get in closer, without so much of a wince of pain, and swings to crush his skull with her free hand, wrenching her sword free for an opportunistic strike the moment his neck is exposed by the recoil.

        !!!ATTACK CHARGED AT 200%---

    She must have heard August at some point. Some way. Somehow. She turns from Eryl at the last instant, instead grabbing and throwing him to the ground with ten times the strength her specs should analytically be capable of, so that she has just enough time to turn towards the dimming gate, and more importantly, the smoking spot on the grass. Her sword flips itself end over end, hovering above her open palm lengthwise, and then with one more flicker of ruby light, she fluidly twists her body with a motion like the throw of a spear, and her blade fires from her hand like a cannon shot, with an appropriately deafening ballistic crack and terminal spin, aimed straight for the burning artifact within the Tin Soldier's encroaching firestorm.

    [ |||||||||||||||||||| ]

Staren has posed:
    Staren frowns slightly as the Tin Soldier dives in front of the shot meant for August. Of /course/ it couldn't be that easy. "Idiot. My immortality's not infallible... and solving problems now is fine, but you don't even TRY not to create new ones in the process!"

    But August is... retreating? No way he's giving up now. Staren looks to A2... and the Warp Iris. "Get out of here! It's not safe!" he tries to warn it, and dives in between the two, forcefield becoming visible in full-power mode -- preventing him from firing out of it, but also preventing enemies from using grappling or melee to bypass it.

    But... she's not attacking it? She's attacking... oh, shit.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    The Tin Soldier's flames burn the strange arm. And while the creature could normally shrug off fire, the flames burn that much hotter now, causing deep tissue damage that makes it flail, slamming against the ground to extinguish them, coming dangerously close to hitting Rhapsody and Yuna. Coincidence? Or is it trying to not hit them?

    Meanwhile, Eryl is in the struggle of his life. He lifts a leg, trying to get it between he and A2 to keep her from simply snapping his neck, struggling to get his heel pressed directly against her. He can't get it in time before she simply throws him down. He lands hard, breaking several bones in spite of instantly going limp to nullify as much of the impact as possible. The android turns, and launches an attack on the thing lying on the ground...

    What is it?

    This thing that kicked it off, what is it? No one has ever referred to it as anything expect an 'artefact.' No one has ever paid it much mind, as it was always something to be protected, claimed. After the Warp Iris arose, it fell out of memory, even though this thing was very clearly linked to it.

    What is it though?

    Even as she looks at it with intent, launching an attack to destroy it, paying it more attention than anyone has until now... she can't grasp its form. Any attempt to define it slips away from her mind like water between cupped fingers. It's an anomaly, a hole in the world. Is that why it beckoned the Warp Iris? Did some unknowable thing somehow summon another?

    Now we'll never know. Because the blade slams into the thing, and the Warp Iris collapses.

    With a meaty noise, Loci Iris' arm is severed, falling to the forest floor and seeping fluids. The warpgate is well and truly closed. Even the lingering effects from the inital openings are not being detected. One way or another, it's over. Loci Iris is confined to her malformed universe once more.