7141/Third Verse: Belief

From Multiverse Crisis MUSH
Jump to: navigation, search
Third Verse: Belief
Date of Scene: 11 April 2020
Location: Sachsen Mine, Erebonia
Synopsis: Class VII and allies enter Sachsen Mine to retrieve some hostages from the clutches of the Imperial Liberation Front, and stop the group from casing damage to one of the country's financial staples. The group eventually faces off with Vulcan and the mysterious leader of the ILF, C. In the process, Mikoto and Rean face their suspicions about Crow - and are unfortunately proven right.
Cast of Characters: Rean Schwarzer, Alexis, 7002, Crow Armbrust, 7248, 7075
Tinyplot: Imperial Liberation Front
Tinyplot2: Trails of Cold Steel 1

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
However you arrive at Sachsen Mine, it's obvious that the complex isn't in the best shape. White smoke floats out of the entrance and some of the windows, and there's alarms blaring.

There's two groups of people arguing outside the entry to the mine. One group, in bright orange, 'regal' looking uniforms stands in a blockade formation, while the other group, clad in gray military-style uniforms with armored cars accompanying them stands ready to enter the mines themselves. Unfortunately, there's a bit of a problem.

"The terrorists have complete control of the mine!" A slightly more decorated soldier in orange says. "They've taken the miners hostage! Any attempt to enter the mine may put their lives in jeopardy!"

A blue haired woman in gray steps forward and shakes her head. "Then why are /you/ out here twiddling your thumbs instead of negotiating with them?!"  Captain Claire says. "They clearly have an objective in
mind here -- we can't allow them to buy any further time!"

THe front entrance probably isn't the best idea, but you've got help, at least.

A manhole opens up not too far away, and a blonde haired girl in the red Thors uniform pokes her head out, waving at you to come over. "This way!" Alisa says.  

Upon entry, you find Rean and a couple of other members of Class VII waiting at the bottom, as well as a face Alexis might find familiar.

"Oh hey, it's you again." Angelica says, clad in the same biker suit she had on at the race.

Alexis has posed:
Oh look, beaucracy and military intelligence working as well as they always do. Alexis doesn't even need to get much closer to see that big blockup at the main entrance.

She's considering just going around to the side and digging her own way in, but that becomes unnecessary when the hatch pops open. Hey saves her risking causing unexpected structural damage so she won't pass up slipping down into the alternate route.

The tomboy gives Angelica a casual salute. "I'd ask how the bike was turning out but this ain't really the time for it." Then stuffs hands back in her hoodie pockets. "Got a better site rep than the obstruction at the front gate?"

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto arrives early enough to hear the noble and the soldier fighting.  She taps the underside of her jaw for a moment, so that is a curious thing to hear.  Why does the noble assume that the terrorists have a secondary goal instead of just holding a mine full of useful materials for their cause?  Is it because they know something that the rest of them don't?  However, the voice from Alisa gets her attention.

Deciding that way is better she climbs down to meet up with the Class VII crew.  Hands go to her hips as Angelica comments on them being here again.  "Of course I'm here again.  What would you guys do without me?" She says, perhaps a little bratty, but they know her well enough by now for it to be playful.

"So yeah, what's the situation?  Do we have a plan yet or are we having to do this on the seat of our pants?"  

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Crow is squatting on the ground, the holsters for his guns hanging secure along the interior of his red uniform. A couple of gadgets here or there can be seen strung along his belt; grenades, a set of scopes, vials of Tear balm, things of that nature. "Yo." he greets the newcomers flippantly, saluting with his middle and forefingers flicking casually from his bandannae'd forhead.

Since everyone who'd be coming along seemed to be present, he pushes himself back into a standing position pretty easily, stretching out briefly. "Don't sweat the details, our fearless leader here has a surefire plan to stop those nasty terrorists in their tracks. Ain't that right?"

Taking his position by Angelica with a chuckle, Crow sobers up a little bit. "Well, we've got a backdoor in, so that's something. But the sitch' ain't looking too good, we've got really limited intel on what's actually going on in there. For all we know, it could be swarming with Archaisms."

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
Joining the group is a strangely-dressed woman in white garb that probably won't stay that color after a trek through the sewer. Her ears twitch lightly as multiple unfamiliar voices start speaking up, and she wrinkles her nose when the stench of the sewer hits her.

"Oh my... This is going to take some getting used to." She murmurs to herself while gripping the handle of her bell tightly, looking from Crow to Angelica when he IDs her as the leader of this mission.

"We're going in silently, yes? I can scout ahead if that's the case." She certainly sounds eager enough to do it, and a more observant eye would notice that she's already watching the tunnels further ahead rather than just staring right at everyone else.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha felt some amusing fmailiarity as she arrived to see the two groups arguing. She was just about to step in to try and calm things down. To mediate the two groups. But then Arisa pops out of a hole, signalling the group. Nanoha briefly considers... Deal with bureaucracy, or get things done. Deal with bureaucracy, or get things done... Given the lives of the hostages in danger, Nanoha decides to get things done.

    Dropping down into the tunnel, Nanoha glances around and muses happily, "Well, this is thankfully convenient!" She looks at Class VII plus additional and nods, "Hello, everyone."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Angelica shrugs. "Yeah, but we can always talk about that later. Chances are the Mine Chief's stuck in there with the other miners, and as for bureaucracy..." Angelica rolls her eyes. "Well, my uncle's the one at the the top running this place and they're not much better than the guys outside."

A short, silver haired girl nods. "The provincial army - the guys in orange - might be in on it too." Fie says.  "That smoke looked like it came from smoke bombs rather than actual bombs. Not to mention some of the rumors floating around."

"The plan is to get the miners out safely, and stop whatever's happening in there. True, it's not that much of a plan, but we should be able to handle the evacuation, no matter what they throw at us." Rean says, doing a small fist pump. He then turns to the newcomer. "Feel free to, but the tunnel's been pretty straightforward so far."

Angelica nods. "I know the mine like the back of my hand, but we could use the extra eyes once we get in there."

Anyway, once any other questions are answered, everyone gets going, scouting ahead aside.

The bottom of the manhole isn't a sewer, it's more of an extended underground passage, stretching forward and behind the group. An evacuation exit, more like. There's a few stray, weak monsters wandering around, and at the end of the passage is a ladder.

Angelica crosses her arms as she looks up at the ladder. "So, boys in front, girls in back? Since some of us have skirts on, and Crow won't be able to help himself~ I'll take the rear."

Alisa glares at her upperclassman. "No, you go in front of the girls, Angelica. Don't pretend you can't help yourself either."

Angelica laughs, a cat like smile on her face. "Ok, ok. If it'll make you feel better, I'll go in front."

After some more banter between whoever might pitch in here, everyone goes up the ladder, coming out into a portion of road within the mines cordoned off by haphazardly placed barriers.  There's ONE entrance not blocked by barriers off to the side though. But there's two giant clockwork looking machines blocking it instead.

There's also a many small hovering turrets hanging around, just like in Garellia Fortress.

In other words, the place is swarming with Archasims. Who could've guessed?

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto gives Crow a sideways glance, shrugging her shoulders at his comment.  "We'll see about that, Rean is sort of a blockhead who just sort of charges into things without thinking," Mikoto says, and is not proven wrong as he doesn't have a plan, per se.  "You got all these people here, and nobody went to try and scout out what's ahead?"

She sighs, shrugging her shoulders again.

Nanoha comes in, but the cool greeting from Mikoto is obvious, "Hello," Before turning back towards the others.  "You do huh?" She says towards the Upperclassman, "Well let's go then.  The longer we procrastinate the more likely that the terrorists are going to start killing people for no reason."

She considers Pramanix for a moment, "Should have probably brought something more suited for battle.  Oh well, too late now." She moves on until the way up appears.  Tapping on her chin as people start going over who goes up first and why.  Once that's decided she eyes Angelica, "Man, we really don't need two Crows.  I hope you aren't as slack off as he is."

Once up, she looks towards the way forward.  Barriers blocking their way, but not overly protected, and two machines blocking the third.  Turrets flying around, making things more interesting.  Drawing her blade, she stabs it into the ground and summons forth several rats.  They go forward, attempting to sneak by the robots and other guards and scout ahead.  Maybe they can just avoid this confrontation and remotely trigger the shields.

"I'm sending some animals ahead.  If you wanna make noise to give me some help, I'd appreciate it.  It's not likely we're going to be able to avoid the clockwork things."

Crow Armbrust has posed:
"Hey, hey! Don't throw me under the bus for your own sake. Friggin' skirt chaser ... "

Crow sounds exasperated, but his expression betrays his amusement. sending a wink of his own at Nanoha and Pramanix as he moves to ascend the latter after Angelica.

After their ascent, Machias frowns, pushing his glasses further up on his face with his free hand, the other balancing his shotgun onto his shoulder. "It's just like at the fortress ... they've deployed all these autonomous weapons. I don't think we can just sneak through."

Crow rolls his shoulders a bit before reaching for his guns. "Yeah, seems like it. If we force our way through fast enough, we might be able to avoid alerting the rest of the enemy. "By the way, I wouldn't expect the Provincial Army to let the Captain's people in here anytime soon, at least if our guess is right in that they're playing a little dirty with the situation."

As Mikoto summons forth her familiars, both the boys nod in her direction, though Machias seems much less pleased about the turn of events. "Right. On three, we'll -- "

Crow moves ahead, firing a volley of orbal gunfire towards the surrounding turrets to try and disable as many as he can with the element of surprise. "Three!"

Machias growled, stepping forward with his shotgun raised at the ready position. "Don't you ever listen?! Ugh..!"

With their efforts combined, they lay down a hail of orbal-accelerated lead.

Alexis has posed:
Alexis laughs at 'not much of a plan'. "I've got on thinner threads." It's not an exaggeration, though she's grown out of that phase.


Alexis is not wearing a skirt, but someone already got voted to the front, but that's fine with her. It'll give her a chance to see what they're walking into. Or climbing into as the case may be.

Yup, right into trouble. Turrets and traps and some kind of guards. "Tch. I'd almost think I'd walked into another Team Magma hideout," the trainer murmurs to no one in particular. Considers for a moment. Can't let out anything too big unless it's a necessity, but caverns is familiar turf that can be used to their advantage. Eventually she clicks a pokeball, and a minature t-rex ( 696Tyrunt.png ) appears next to her. The dino is only about two feet tall, and half it's body size is head and jaws, so yeah minature works as a description.

"Oh, I love making some noise. T-Wreck, warm up with Dragon Dance." The small dino starts bobbing back and forth from foot to foot, building up speed and tensing muscles as he does so...

And someone besides her charges in recklessly. Imagine that. "Someone can't count," she jokes. "Guess we better not let them get overwhelmed. Zen Headbutt!"

"TYRUUUUUNT!" For a small dino he's got a pretty deep roar, barreling past the two boys harrying the turrets and lowering his hard head to slam into one of the clockwork sentries.

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
    "Evacuation first... Understood." The fuzzy-eared lady nods, and then she's on the move! Despite her clothing, she's actually pretty good about sticking to cover where it actually exists, keeping her footsteps muffled through careful footwork, and pausing every now and then to listen for approaching monsters.

    Mikoto gets a light chuckle and shrug. "Thank you for the concern, miss. It will be fine, though. Our greater concern is securing the hostages." Crow's wink, meanwhile, gets a soft smile and wave in return without commenting outright.

     Whatever's going on in Pramanix's head, though, she does seem to be holding back as far as fighting the monsters. Instead, she leaves them to the people in the group that aren't carrying bells.

    She's good about keeping that from ringing incessantly.

     After climbing the ladder at the end of the group, she keeps her eyes peeled as the group comes across barriers on one side and machines on the other. When the decision to go loud or quiet appears to be made, Pramanix steps back as she starts ringing that bell over her head and... Praying?

     Praying. The reason becomes evident rather quickly, though, as the wind starts picking up and snow begins to fall. It becomes an outright blizzard rather quickly, somehow centered on the drones and machines as the hail threatens to gunk up their joints while the wind pummels down on them.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha smiles at Mikoto's greeting, "Hello, Mikoto. Nice to see you again!" Nanoha would offer introductions to the other two she doesn't know. But it's time to get moving. As they make their way down the tunnel, Nanoha takes the opportunity to transform as she expects they will eventually encounter resistance. As she walks, light bright engulfs her. Her Barrier Jacket forms, while the long shape of Raising Heart's staff form appears in her hand. Finally with a flash of light, Nanoha reappears in her white and blue combat dress.

    Along the way, Nanoha muses out loud, "I wonder if the terrorists made any demands yet. If not, perhaps they have something else in mind..." Even silence from the hsotage takers can tell them a little about the situation.

    As they reach the offending ladder, Nanoha can't help but smile at the banter between the group. It's good to see that they're getting along well with each other. It's important for a team. Of course, Nanoha gives a short chuckle as poor Angela is teased.

    Anyway, Nanoha waits for the rest of the group to go up, sticking to the rear like she usually does before she shortcuts the ladder and just gracefully flies up, before landing on her feet once more.

    Nanoha's expression turns more serious as they catch sight of the machines guarding the way. She's not actually familiar with them, though it's fairly obvious that they don't belong. Nanoha nods in agreement with Crow's assessment. They'll likely have to break through them. As the others begin the assault, Nanoha waves her staff in front of her. Several orbs of pink light appear in the air. However, they remain stationary as Nanoha doesn't immediately engage. Instead she keeps track of the fight's progress, watching to make sure the front line fighters aren't overwhelmed. While also keeping an eye out for any unseen enemies from catching the group by surprise.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
The rats go off to deal with the barriers, but they're concrete walls, not technological barriers. The good news is they can access the door behind the giant Archasims, and find the miners! There's no other guards back there. The assumption must've been that the machines would be able to keep interlopers out. There's also another door going in further into the mines as well.

"What the...?" One of the miners says, staring at the jade rats scurrying around. They're behind a high metal fence, but the door can probably get its lock cut open or exploded once everyone gets back there. If Mikoto's rats can chew through steel, that's also an option.

Meanwhile, Angelica puts a pair of metal braces over her hands, and them slams a fist into her open palm. "Well, if i's a fight they want!" She shouts, and then engages one of the Archaisms, delivering a few swift punches to its front. Fie follows suit, dashing around the machine to fire her twin dagger guns into its back. The gem on the front of the archaism glows brightly for a moment, before firing a blue laser across the field. It clips Angelica's shoulder as she holds up an arm to guard.

The other one, meanwhile starts to glow a bright red, its clockwork mechanism rotating faster. Tyrunt gets there first, ramming into it with a headbutt. This seems to stun the machine for a moment, giving Rean an opening to go in himself, dealing a horizontal slash at the machine's gem. "Alisa!" Rean shouts, and Alisa follows suit, firing a blazing arrow at the gem herself, cracking it a tiny bit. The machine is still glowing though, so maybe it needs another stun before it ceases whatever that is. Pramanix's blizzard starts to coalesce on the backs and arms of the machine, forming an ice buildup on them as well.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Well, good thing that they were magical rats and not normal rats.  They can, in fact, chew through normal metal.  Other, mystical metal might not be so easy, but normal iron is no problem.  They climb up the cell door and start chewing at the lock until it snaps, allowing the miners to get out with time.

The walls are another problem, but they at least found a path forward deeper into the mine and the hostages in one fell swoop.  

"I see a way deeper in, as well as the miners.  I'm getting them out with my animals, so I'm going to need protection.  So don't waste time, take these things down quickly so we can cut loose."

Alexis has posed:
Popping off that Dragon Dance to up both his speed and attack power paid off, but it's not quite enough to put the machine entirely out of commission.

That's okay, it's enough for Alexis to work with. She prefers to build her strategy on the fly. It's clockwork, so electricity isn't going to do much, but impacts might knock something loose and jam. "Now use Dragon Tail!"

Tyrunt digs one foot into the ground and swivels hard on it, using the pivoting motion to swing his stout tail into one of the clockwork guard's legs and try to stagger it again, if not just knock it over entirely.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
"Take this!" Machias growls, holding his weapon out with one hand to fire a special shell made for shattering tough hide and thick plates of armor, intent on hitting the large Archaism being attacked by Angelica dead center with it.

"Bang~!" Crow teases, firing the large revolver held in one hand. The bullet was infused with Water sepith, giving it a freezing property as he focuses his fire on the same clockwork automaton, as the turrets had been suppressed well enough for the moment. He follows it up with the semi-automatic pistol held in his other hand, firing twice to blast apart a now brittle piece of the machine's chasis.

    "Yeah, yeah, Rean'd flip out if you got a scrape anyway, y'know?"

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
     Pramanix continues churning that focused blizzard around the machines to freeze them up as best she can, still keeping the ringing and quiet chanting going while her gaze shifts elsewhere.

    The miners are mentioned, and she's anxious to get back on the move once more. After blanketing the machiens in yet more snow and piling it up around whatever qualifies as their feet to make the mere act of moving a hassle, Pramanix breaks off!

    Her target: The miners. Leaving what she assumes is the cleanup of the machines to her allies, she heads deeper into the mines, sticking to shadows and cover again just in case she comes across further resistance.

    <<"I'm on my way, miss. Once you see me, it should be safe for the miners to regroup with us.">> She relays, ready to issue theall-clear if things are indeed as safe as they seem thus far!

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    The hostages have thankfully been located by Mikoto. Of course, Nanoha is concerned about them, given the fighting going on. So while the others are harassing the Archaisms, she seems to have the same idea as Pramanix, taking the opportunity to push through.

    Nanoha lifts up into the air, before surging forward into the battle. It's a brief burst of speed, sending her blasting past the larger clockwork machines that had been guarding the door forward. As she does so, the orbs she had summoned follow her before breaking off and exploding against the machines as she passes by.

    Quickly reaching the door, Nanoha lands again, skidding to a stop before heading through. As the battle wages behind her, Nanoha gives the captured miners are reassuring smile, "Not to worry, we're here to get you out!" The rats are handling the escape, good. Nanoha looks over the miners, "Is this all of you, or are there more still imprisoned out there?"

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Machias' shell hit the second archaism dead on in the gem, shattering it. Crow's ice shots also freeze a bit of the machine's chassis, causing it to fall off and land in the slowly growing snow. Angelica jumps in next, delivering a fierce kick to that same spot. Finally, Fie jumps in, dumping a rain of gunfire into the open spot. After all that fire on it, plus the growing snow getting inside its workings, the second archaism collapses to the ground, disabled.

Tyrunt's tail slam whacks the first Archaism, knocking it out of whatever it was charging. It staggers back, leaving an opening for Alisa to fire a flurry of arrows into the air, pelting the first Archaism with a rain of fire. Nanoha's orbs hits both machines, mostly doing more damage to this one than the other one.

"I-I would not!" Rean says...Right as he's moving to guard Mikoto. He looks at Mikoto behind him, and then at Crow and sighs. Way to prove his point, Rean. He quickly unsheathes his sword, sending a shockwave at the gem on the first Archaism. This finally shatters the gem on the front, preventing it from lasering anymore. Instead, it tries do something with its arms by slamming them into the ground, letting out an electrical shockwave across the field, albeit weakened because it can't really reach the ground anymore because of all the snow. Rean moves to tank the brunt of the shockwave for Mikoto, Wincing, but still standing strong. "Mikoto can handle herself for the most part though, even if I do worry about her sometimes." Or a lot.

The shockwave also hits Fie, Angelica and Alisa, leaving them stunned for a moment, but they should be fine. The remaining Archaism starts glowing red again, but its clockwork is turning much slower due to the snow building up. It's probably too slow to chase after you if the group heads into the next room..or to really defend itself if blown up.

The rats get to work, and with some effort, lock on the gate comes loose, hitting the ground with a clang. One of the miners pushes the gate open, just in time for Pramanix and Nanoha to show up. He looks between the two of them, looking slightly bewildered by Pramanix's appearance, but lets out a sigh of relief when Nanoha says they're here to help. "Thank the Goddess... Most of us are here, but they took the Chief further in!"

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
"Oh, bloody of course they did.." One of the Rats and Mikoto says at the same time.  "Boy and girls, we need to go, the miners are safe, except for the chief apparently," She says towards the people fighting the Golems.  She gives a smile towards Rean, who is watching her back as she picks up the sword.  

With the Machine looking like it's about to explode, she zips by people and towards the way farther in, holding it open.  "No time to sit around and do nothing lets go!" She says.

Rats move farther in, as all she can do right now is open and close a door.  They attempt to scout out farther ahead, so they can find the chief.  

Alexis has posed:
Alexis takes a few wary steps back as the remaining automaton starts sending sparks at the ground. They spark around Tyrunt's feet a bit, but being a saurian dragon with rock hard scales it is more like getting a bad zap from touching a metal knob with too much static electricity.

But there's not point in leaving that thing possibly recovering. "You guys get going, we'll clean this up." Then turns back to the spark spitting machine. "T-Wreck, time to live up to your name. Ancient Power!"

"Tyyyy!" The saurian emits a roar more akin to something twice his size, and slams a foot into the ground. But it's under the snowbound automaton that the ground cracks open, and a surge of primordial energy blasts out of the stony split. If that doesn't finish off the machine it will hopefully knock it far enough away to not stop any of them from advancing. Or getting up and trapping them from behind.

It sucks when that happens.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
A mirthful chuckle is Crow's only response, as he kips up and makes a graceful jump, pulling his knees up as the shockwave hits the ground to avoid it entirely. Machias on the other hand is left staggered by the jolting sensation, being more of a rock himself than anything else. "Hng.."

Putting both of his weapons aside, Crow breathes in as a faint blue glow surrounds him, alongside magical circles. "ARCUS Activate."

The ground, despite the snow covering it, turns pitch black as a spear suddenly juts up from the shadows, impaling the Archaism through its center and releasing crackling jolts of red lightning to tear it to pieces before fading away. He'd be coming back through here later, after all.

"Hey...so, here's the thing. We can't really leave these guys here, it's irresponsible to let them go back alone. A lot could happen."

Putting on his upperclassman face, he looked somber. It's easy to forget that he's a year ahead of the rest of Class VII. "You guys have got yourselves covered pretty well, missing one man won't hurt the team, so I'll make sure these fellas' get to safety and catch back up with you later."

Machias pushes his glasses up. " ...well. I can't really argue with the logic there. Not to mention, Crow or Fie would have the easiest time navigating back to our position."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha frowns a little as the miners report that their Chief is still in the clutches of the terrorists, "That's troubling..." If they still have a hostage, it'll make dealing with the terrorists more difficult.

    But, Mikoto has the right of it. Sitting around isn't going to help anything. Nanoha watches as she and her rats continue forward, then turns to look at Crow as he volunteers to escort the miners back, "Good. I'm glad to know that they're safe with you." She turns to the miners, "Go ahead. We'll go and get your chief."

    Once Nanoha is sure that the miners are all making their way out with Crow, Nanoha turns and starts to run after Mikoto.

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
    Pramanix is a good leader! No, she isn't. She's good at taking point, at least, and she breathes a sigh of relief when the miners come out of their temporary prison. She furrows her brow when Nanoha's suspicions are confirmed, then points towards the way they had come in from. "Our allies are taking care of the machines guarding the path right now. Keep your heads down, and find your way out through the sewers. We'll keep moving onwards."

    After murmuring a quick prayer for the miners, Pramanix smiles softly at Nanoha while hurrying further into the mine to regroup with Rean and Mikoto. "Yes, let's keep going. Once we find the Chief and whoever's left, we can put a bow on this operation and..."

    She pauses for a moment, furrowing her brow while trying to come up with something decisive to end that statement on. It's going to take her a bit, especially while she's on the move!

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
And with a combination of orbal arts and Pokemon moves, the last Archahism goes down, hitting the ground with a thunk.

The miners come out of the other room not long after, and a couple of them recognize Angelica when they pass her by. "Nice to see you guys a gain." She says with a grin.

"..." Rean looks away for a moment when Crow decides to walk the miners back on his own. Concern for his upperclassman's safety, perhaps?

One of the miners then clutches his side, and lets out a grunt of pain. "Hahahaah...I think I pulled something back there. Got in a scrap while they were trying to take us, and I'm paying for it now."

Rean looks over at the injured miner and then at Crow. He takes a deep breath, trying to put his worry aside for now. "...Yeah." Rean finally says. "Go ahead and take them back, Crow."

"See you on the other side, Crow." Angelica says, giving Crow a salute of her own.

Once the miners are seen safely off, the group heads out through the other door, and into an area full of lifts
Mikoto's rats slip through the area, finding a couple more of those turrets hanging around, but nothing huge like the clockwork machines. There's also a few wild wolf monsters hanging around too.

There's a ladder and a bridge at the end leading to a higher section of this area, and another door. Following the rodents' lead, the group easily makes their way over, dealing with whatever monsters challenge them

Once they reach the end, there's a loud rumble in the distance behind them. A cave in? Or...

Alexis has posed:
"Good plan." Alexis gives Crow a thumbs up, then motions to her pokemon to follow her after the others.

There's wolves. She has a dinosaur that's also a dragon because pokemon are weird. I think we can all guess who's going to win that if the mutts are dumb enough to get in the way.

Up ladders and over bridges and down caves and this is starting to feel like like the caves all over again. Except maybe less annoying bats. But they keep moving, waiting to see what comes up next.

Which only take so long before there's that ominous rumbling. "Yeah, that ain't good." Alexis looks one way, her pokemon looks the other. Different directions but for the same reasons, looking for signs of it being a natural sound, or something artificial in cause. Considering what they've already dealt with Alexis would put her bet on the latter. "Keep your guard up. We don't know what else they might have down here."

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto doesn't say anything to Crow's deciding to get out of here, at least not right away.  Finally, she turns towards the way forward, "Yeah yeah, we get it.  You want to put all of the work on us, and then claim the credit in the end.  What a worthless upperclassman you are," She says, shrugging her shoulders.  

As they move forward, the Rats will give them the advantage of surprise and ways to avoid fights if necessary.  However, she pushes the Rats onwards.  

Once the Rats get to the door, they squeeze under it to try and get inside to help scout it out.  Meanwhile, Mikoto uses her sword on monsters to help get them forward.  When the rumble hits, she turns back.  Her eyes narrow a little, muttering something to herself, before turning back towards the door.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Crow grins, but there's something about it that just doesn't feel good. "Yeah, I'll catch you guys on the flip side. C'mon, buddy, let's get you some help."

With that, Crow helps the injured man in particular as they move back the way that the group of Elites and Class VII had initially come through.

And not too long afterwards, a rumble shook the whole mine. It didn't take long for Rean's ARCUS to ring, and for Crow's voice to filter through. "Hey, Rean. Man, what a pain in the neck -- I got the miners out alright, but the mine collapsed behind us. Don't worry, we're all okay, if a little dusty ... but .... you guys are in serious trouble, now."

Crow pauses before continuing, "The cave in blocked off the whole area we used to get in. So basically .. I can't get to you, and you can't come back the way you came."

In other words, even under the best case scenario, they'd have to fight their way out through the front of the mine. "Listen, I'll look for a way around, so just hang tight."

        Crow hangs up.

With no other choice but to advance, the group continues onwards until they come to a large metal door. Getting it open hits them with a harsh bit of sunlight, as they find themselves out in open air for the first time in what seemed like hours. Unfortunately, what was waiting for them were a small squad of green-armored soldiers with rifles, bayonets attached to the ends, and a giant of a man built like an ox; V, one of the Liberation Front's big wigs.

The man smirks, his reddish brown eyes set in a neutral gaze. "You brats ... really don't know when to quit, huh?"

Placing his hands on his hips, the man all but radiates a subtle strength. "He was waiting for us..." Machias surmises with a grimace.

"You could say that," V chortles, "We weren't really counting on that blockade to hold up. If the RMP had managed to get through, we set up shop here to lay 'em out. In fact, I was counting on it."

Elliot shivers slightly, holding his staff a little closer, eyes narrowing in determination. "W-we need to be careful. We managed to push him out of Garrelia Fortress with all the help we had, b-but.."

The man's smirk was a mile wide, now. Like a shark's grin. Fie, who had been looking thoughtful, finally had a flash of realization. "Now I remember. Aren't you a survivor of the Arngarmr Jaeger corps?"

Vulcan's expression diminished a little, softening ever so briefly. "Surprised you know the name, Sylphid. It was long gone by the time you were making a name for yourself ... that's right. My name is Vulcan, the former leader of Arngarmr."

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
"Tch.." Mikoto says, blade drawn the moment they cross V's path.  She has no illusions about what is going to happen here, their only way out was through this man and his forces.  

"So V, huh?  I guess I get to put another one of your lettered terrorist heads on my mantle.  My name is Mikoto Shimizu, Magical Girl of Envy.  All that I claim is mine, and you are attempting to take what is mine," She boldly declares, pointing her blade towards the man.

"The past is the past, right now you're in our way, and your conspirator blocked our way out.  I wouldn't think for a moment that you have us trapped, but rather you are the one between the rock and a hard place." She says, bold.

Rean could perhaps see the hand tremble slightly.  She knew the situation was bad, but if she could keep the show going...

"Now if you wish to surrender, there is no dishonor in that.  I am sure Rean here would make sure you get a fair trial."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha smiles at Pramanix and offers a option to the end of her statement, "And celebrate? It's always a nice end to a successful mission."

    Nanoha continues to move forward with the group. She helps deal with the minor obstacles they come across, casually summoning more orbs of magic and sending them flying to explode against the machines. Once more they come across a ladder. And once more Nanoha deftly bypasses its use by simply floating up to the next level. It saves on a lot of effort of climbing!

    However, as they reach another door leading forward, there's a rumbling. Nanoha turns to look back, looking concerned, "I was worried that if we went a bit too far, we might cause a cave in..." Her suspicions are confirmed as Crow reports in. Well, at least it's not like that was the only exit and they're now trapped.

    Nanoha shrugs at the others, "Looks like we have no choice but to continue forward and deal with the terrorists. Which is what we were going to do anyway." Nanoha continues forward.

    As they make their way through the final door, Nanoha pauses for a moment at the sight of the armed soldiers. Just a moment though. The Mage proceeds to walk forward calmly, watching V as he and the others of Class VII briefly speak.

    Finally Nanoha stops, lowering her staff to as she says softly to V, "Vulcan... There's no need for the unpleasantness of a battle. Simply hand over the Mine Chief and surrender. As Mikoto says, I'm sure there will be leniency."

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
    With the group gathered together and stealth a distant memory at this point, Pramanix can focus on support rather than just scoping the place out. The turrets are barraged with hail and clogged with localized bursts of snow, and monsters are held at bay with bursts of holy wind.

    "We've almost finished here... It would be so much more convenient if the captors came to us, though." As if on cue, there's a noise from behind! When Crow clarifies just what the problem is, Pramanix lets out a disconcerted noise and her ears visibly droop.

    "That could be a problem.. But we'll be fine, friends. The only thing to do is keep moving forward with the Goddess' blessing." She chimes in with an upbeat tone, even going as far as murmuring a silent prayer to raise their spirits!

    Her spirits, at least.

    Soon, however, the group comes across someone calling himself Vulcan. His reveal might not get the desired reaction from the Feline, however, as she simply gives him a blank stare even as Fie seems to recognize him and his past.

    "Excuse me. I don't suppose you'd be willing to let us leave peacefully with the remaining hostages, would you, sir?" Pramanix asks in a polite tone, even going as far as smiling pleasantly with that bell still in hand. "It'd be easier for everyone involved that way, and you look like a reasonable enough person."

Alexis has posed:
Alexis rubs her nose idly with the back of a finger as they end up walking right into the Big Bads waiting. "Knew this was going too smoothly." Sigh, she keeps getting into messes like this.

It comes with the Trainer turf, most of the time.

She raises a brow slightly at Pramanix. Probably not going to work, but it's nice to see people willing to try to talk still. Never know when it might actually work.

But just in case it doesn't she recalls her Tyrunt. If this does likely turn into a fight, and this guy is as much of a Bad Time(tm) as the others are making it out to be, she's going to need a bigger elemental beat stick...

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
When Crow calls to inform them of the cave in, there's a slight tightness to Rean's posture as he talks."So it was a cave in. That's pretty unlucky, alright." Rean says. "We'll be careful, don't worry. Be safe down there." Rean says, hanging up. He lets out another rough breath. Whatever happened next, happened.

They enter the room and find the last member of the ILF, V.

Rean draws his sword as the others talk. "...We're not leaving without the hostages. If we have to fight you for them, then so be it. It's best for everyone if you just let them go peacefully." Whether or not he actually would was highly unlikely given everything, but it was worth a shot.  Rean moves closer to Mikoto a bit, noticing her shaking. At least they weren't alone in being worried.

"What are you guys trying to do here?" Alisa chimes in. "Even if the nobles are helping you, it's not like you share the same ideals. And if anything happens to this mine, it would cause trouble not just for Roer, but the whole country!"

Crow Armbrust has posed:
The allusion to Gideon's fate didn't go un-noticed. The spike of unadulterated killing intent aimed very pointedly at her is much more telling than any words he could use to state his opinion on it. "Letting the miners go, huh. To tell you the truth, that was always part of the plan. But, you're not the one running this show. They'll go free when they've served their purpose."

There's a rough, savage edge to him now that culminates as Alissa inadvertently eggs him on. "You think we don't know that? But I'll do whatever it takes....to slaughter that iron-blooded shitstain and let him twist in the wind!"

A visible aura of power explodes around Vulcan, like a galeforce wind as he clenches his fists. "W...why?" Elliot asks, meek in the face of Vulcan's quiet fury. One of the green-armored soldier chuckles dourly. "Kid, we could tell you our life's story, but even then, you still wouldn't get it."

His comrade speaks up, though, his young voice seething. He couldn't have been much older than Class VII themselves. "Do you have any idea? How many have had their homes robbed from them because of him?"

Gilliath Osborne's expansionist policies were no secret, not to anyone. "Of course, we're not all formed from the same mold. Gideon hated him for his ideology. And Scarlet ... she lost her hometown when he went and smashed it apart so he could build a railway through it."

"As for me, I've just got a misplaced grudge, that's all. When we'd take a new batch of kids in, we'd do something laidback .. it was supposed to be another one of those laidback jobs. Back then, he was still rising to power, a common man chosen by the Emperor himself. The nobles just wanted to show him who the boss was, I guess."

"But he saw through their plans in an instant; it wasn't even a battle, just a massacre. Even after we were beaten, we weren't even given the option to surrender -- we were never 'brought to justice' ... from the young to the old, I was surrounded on all sides by the bodies of my comrades, the only one who pulled himself out of that hell."

"Eventually, I came across the ILF. No high ideals here, I just wanted to kill him. To gut that son of a bitch, avenge my friends, and tear apart everything he's spent his life trying to build."

Elliot grimaces. "It...it's heartless to say, b-but..." he pauses. Machias steels his expression, "I'll say it. Terrorists need to be handled with an iron fist. Their fate should discourage others from following in their lead."

Vulcan closes his eyes. "Not strained for mercy, huh? I can't deny what you're saying, though. But this isn't about who's right, or wrong."

"That bastard loves to fuel the flame of progress. What's left for sad sacks like us? I'll tell you. We'll fan our own flame .. so big and wild that it'll burn up even blood and iron!"

"Now, you came all this way, so you might as well show me what you've got! You're the ones who keep jumping into the fire, so don't blame me when ashes are all that's left!"

Vulcan raises his massive rotary cannon, spraying the group with loud, roaring gunfire. His soldiers begin moving into position, spreading out to surround the group.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto takes a step forward as the cannon winds up, her sword ready as it flashes ahead.  

"Don't let them surround us!  Everyone else, punch through!" she calls out, narrowing her eyes at Vulcan.  Her blade flashes, as she cuts bullets out of the air, her sword flashing in brilliant motions.  She can't catch them all, but most of them go wide.  She can't waste time on ones that won't kill her, so those cause streaks of blood down her arms, legs, and sides.  

The moment she has a free second, she dashes for him, aiming to use her speedier movements, to try and get under him, as she slashes upwards towards V's face, attempting to cut him bottom to top.  She does not relent, following each strike with another, even as her own wounds bleed.  

"Do not cry when your plans are cut down.  Remember you walk this path of your own volition, so when your plans are dashed by your betters...I do not want to hear your sobs!"

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha listens intently as Vulcan and his group explain their situation. Nanoha has to admit, she doesn't like the sound of of some of the things they claim that Osborne has done. But she also knows that their view is likely biased. And even if everything they say is true...

    Nanoha shakes her head, "Even so... Resorting to terrorism. Taking hostages. Trying to kill this man... It's not the right way to go about it! All you're doing is perpetuating the violence and turning yourself into the same kind of person as him. There are better ways to see him held accountable for his actions. Ways that will not make you as guilty as him."

    They're not having any of it though, Vulcan opening fire with that large cannon. Nanoha raises her right hand, a barrier of magic appearing beyond it. Most of the rounds sprayed against her splash against that round shield. There's many of them though, some managing to slips past the defense and impact Nanoha herself. Though she winces at the resulting pain, the bullets don't seem to do as much damage as one might expect.

    While she maintains her defensive barrier with one hand, the other lifts her staff into the air. Orbs of pink appear floating around her. They glow brighter, before beginning to unleash magic lasers. They sweep through the air, targeting the ILF soldiers, trying to knock them out or at the least suppress them and keep the group from being overwhelmed.

Alexis has posed:
"Some of us happen to like playing with fire." In more than one meaning of the phrase. At the same as V raises his weapon to fire Alexis picks a pokeball and pitches it. "Better yet, I'll demonstrate!"

Because she's bringing out the literal firepower, in the form of one irrate looking badger. "Tyyyphlooosion!" Flames ignite in a collar around his shoulders, as does a gout from his mouth directly into the path of the minigun fire. Several of the rounds are melted in the heat, while the remainers thump against Scorch's looming form as he stands in front of his Trainer. That stings. And could of done worse. Which just makes him all the more not very happy with these people.

Alexis taps her cheek with a finger. "Yeah, he's got a bunch of punks on his side. That might be a problem. Scorch," she spreads her hands out in a widening motion. "Heat Wave."

You know that effect that gives the air a rippling effect when heat rises off the pavement on a really hot day? Yeah, it's like that but a lot more intense. He steps threatening towards the soldiers, letting the super-heated suffocating air rolling off his form do most of the work putting these troops at a serious risk of heat stroke. It doesn't take long to go from a really hot day to standing too close to a lava pool.

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
     Pramanix flinches as that energy, that raw anger from seemingly bursts out of Vulcan, and it doesn't take a great deak of genius to realize that there's a lot of bad blood involvd in this entire situation just from context. A great deal of that context is given by Vulcan himself, and his retelling of his past is enough to actually have Pramanix holding back for some time as she takes the whole story in.

     "How terrible... I can't blame you for holding such a grudge for so long. If this had happened in..." She starts with a thoughtful tone, then cuts herself off at that last part as a firmer expression crosses the Saint's face.

     Also, some freaking out when he starts spraying bullets everywhere. Pramanix is relatively quick on her feet and dives behind cover wherever she can find it, but her outfit is soon streaked with red as some of those bullets hit their mark and force her on the defensive. "No... I understand why you'd want your revenge, Mister Vulcan. If not for this current situation, I wouldn't even be involved! But those miners..."

     She's actually starting to sound angry-ish at this point. "... I will not sit back and let you take their freedom away to fulfill that revenge!" Once those bullets start turning on her other allies, Pramanix gets back up with her bell held high, and she once again starts ringing it and chanting it rhythmically. As she does, the wind and snow pick up around Vulcan and his soldiers, swirling around them in weirdly-circular blizzard complete with dense hail and heavy winds blowing said hail almost perfectly sideways from multiple angles. Somehow, though, the blizzard seems to be avoiding Pramanix and her allies entirely!

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"...So that's what happened." Rean murmurs, quietly stowing away that information about Vulcan and the rest of the ILF. They were all united in their hatred of the Chancellor, which while unsurprising, gave just a bit more clarity to what was going on. Unfortunately, it also fueled a suspicion he'd been running from even further. It was sad, but: "...Even so, I can't let you guys harm any more innocent people for the sake of revenge."

Angelica nods. "Right. This place is /my/ home, and I'm not gonna let some punks mess with it!" Alisa draws her bow. "Same here!"

And so, when Vulcan opens fire, the three of them maneuver around to handle it. Alisa jumps back to get some distance, bullets striking her legs and cutting into her boots.  Once she lands, She kneels down...and then fires a volley of arrows in the air, dousing one of the ILF lackeys in a rain of flaming arrows.

Meanwhile, Angelica swings a kick at Vulcan, creating a shockwave that breaks through the wave of bullets, dissolving the ones it hits. Her biker suit is padded enough that not all the bullets go too deep, but she's still got a few cuts here and there.

Finally, Rean rushes in in a flash, bullets cutting into his already red blazer and dying it darker. He focuses on the other lackey, a single strike blooming into many as he zooms by.

"We can handle them if we keep our focus! Let's finish what we came here for!" Rean shouts.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
The man is large and strong, and his reflexes are excellent, but he's far from a nimble fighter. Mikoto positions herself well and attacks him, causing him to swing his buldging arm in the way to protect his face using the vambrace. "That's a lot of bravado from such a weakling!" he sneers.

Pushing back against her sword, which had managed to cut through his defense and draw a little bit of blood, Vulcan whirls his weapon around and unleashes a blasting stream of gunfire at nearly point blank range in an attempt to either drive her back, or kill her outright. At least his aim isn't as well now, given that she'd made him take one hand off of the weapon to defend himself with.

"Cheh, persistent..!" he mutters, having to stop his counter-attack to bring the weapon up like a shield, Rean's sword clashing against it as he summons his titanic strength to push rean back and deliver a swift, strong kick towards his sternum to drive him backwards a few paces and give the man himself enough room to hurl a grenade directly at the swordsman's face, the low-yield explosive detonating with a great flash and thunderous noise, a stun grenade.

The soldiers are beset by a variety of attacks, unable to do much to defend themselves from the harsh and choking heat alongside Nanoha's assault and Alissa's red hot arrow volley. Their thick, treated armor plates help hold up to their bombardments as they maneuver themselves into guarding positions, but one of the two really does have a heat stroke, hitting the ground due to being much closer to Typhlosion than the other.

Thankfully for them both, the sudden blizzard cancels out the overwhelming heat, which in turn lessens the power of the blizzard, as much of it is turned into hot steam instead that makes the ground slick and wet, and the air muggy. Hail still manages to get through and pelt Vulcan and his remaining trooper, though.

Speaking of whom, he throws his rifle down, realizing just how dire his straits were. "That's not how our story ends..!"

Reaching for his waist, he pulls the pins on his grenades and tries to latch onto the Volcano Pokemon, no matter how bad the heat got. He was going to take this thing out of the fight, if nothing else, he was determined.

The battle is interrupted quickly, with a series of red orbs suddenly flung about, spikes protruding out of the cardinal points of their rounded bodies. Nanoha is especially in danger from the floating weapons; powerful orbal mines!

The one who'd tossed them out, from a nearby staircase winding around the side of the cliff, was the Mysterious Leader, C. With a long, double-bladed lance in hand, he made his way down the steps, protected from the harsh elements by his environment suit and sealed helmet. "Don't despair, V. S has already boarded the airship and is on her way."

Elliot, who'd pulled back momentarily found himself and Machias momentarily pinned down by the mines. "You..!"

Fie frowns. She'd been nimble enough to maneuver herself into a position to attack Vulcan, at least, before C appeared.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
"Hmph!  Weak huh..?  Strong enough to take your comrade's life!" Mikoto retorts, trying to put the large guy off balance.  Anger can make one stronger, but it can force one to over commit...and over-commitment in this engagement would be nothing but disastrous for him, when her comrades took advantage of it.

However, with that knockback, she notices the gun pointed at her just in time.  She thrusts her blade down, as jade spikes shoot up around her attempting to protect her from the bullet hell.  However, the situation changes before she can take advantage again.  The arrival of C, causes her eyes to narrow.  

Too many coincidences, too many affiliations, as well as the Watch's help at the last attack.  She makes a call to someone before she thrusts her blade into the earth.  

Spikes of jade shoot out behind C, attempting to catch him off guard.  They weren't there to try and hurt him but cause him to move in a predictable manner.  She runs forward, as the jade around her finally shatters as she runs right towards C.  Blade extended as she attempts to swing it up.

Her target?  The mask.  

Alexis has posed:
Holy shit, that guy is actually going suicide bomber! That's something you only see in movies and video games. Alexis isn't quite sure what to do.

Scorch on the other hand, goes with the first thing he can think up. He tackles the grenade guy tackling him, carrying him as far from the rest of the group as he can before diving to the ground, using Defense Curl to wrap himself around the man and his grenades to pin them to the ground. He can't stop the things from going off so he's going to minimalize what it can do to anyone else as much as possible.

It's still going to be a loud and fiery bang, enough for Alexis to recoil from it. "Sonnuva!" That's likely a knockout, taking one for the team as it were.

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
     Even from that distance, thatstun grenade thrown at Rean still has Pramanix cringing, and she only barely manages to keep hat bell ringing ritual going to maintain the blizzard turned hailstorm. She's caught off guard when those red mines start coming down, though, one even coming close enough to leave a nasty cut along her side and forcing the Saint to turn her attention to the newly arrived C.

    "Who...?!" Seeing those mines floating about, she once again resumes the ritual while moving steadily towards lower ground and more cover whereever she can find it: Rubble, other people, or simply getting away from the mines themselves. "Another strange man..."

    To be fair, she probably wouldn't even know who it was without the mask. With those mines in the air, though, the white-haired woman has another trick up her massive sleevse. The wind starts to pick up again sans the hail from earlier, heavy gusts churning around the mines themselves to try blowing them off course into (relatively) safer spots away from her comrades, into walls, and into each other. "This is enough. Release the miners and we don't have to keep fighting!"

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha is not actually in the air yet. That still doesn't save her, as she backs up to avoid more gunfire only to accidentally wander too close to a mine. It explodes, catching Nanoha in the back. Nanoha is blown to the ground, groaning a bit as the back of her Barrier Jacket smokes just a bit.

    Raising Heart chimes in concern, <Master?>

    Nanoha rises to one knee, leaning on the staff for support, "I'll be alright. Just caught me by surprise. Nanoha looks up at the floating mines, "Looks like we're grounded... Flying mines. Nice trick. I'll have to remember that one."

    Nanoha stands, taking a few steps to avoid another mine, when she spots the culprit responsible. Nanoha watches as Mikoto tries to engage him. Nanoha assists, raising her staff in C's direction. A spell circle appears on the ground beneath her as she calls out, "Chain Bind!"

    A similar spell circle appears beneath C, magical chains of light suddenly rising out and attempting to wrap around the Mysterious Leader's limbs to restrict his movements and give Mikoto an opening to use.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean lets out a grunt as he's knocked back, sent staggering by the strike and the stun grenade. "Nngh..." Rean says, kneeling dazed for a moment.

Then C appears. There's just a tiny bit of unease welling up in him, not as much as before, but still enough to be a distraction. Mikoto radioing him mid combat wasn't helping the situation either. Especially given what it was about. As it turned out, they were on the same wavelength. THough, by the looks of things, she had a slightly different idea than he had, but the answer was stillt he same.

"..." Rean withdraws, rushing past Alisa.

Alisa turns around. "Rean, where are you going?" and then she notices he has his ARCUS out. "What are you-"

"...I'm sorry." Rean says. He'd been keeping a lot from them, and now it was about to come falling apart.

To be honest, the same boxes that Mikoto had checked off in her head, he'd checked off too - plus one that he knew that Mikoto didn't. It was something he really didn't want to face. Something that he was praying to the goddess he was wrong about.

He makes the call.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Thanks to Scorch's quick thinking, it minimizes the damage to itself, leaving it on the verge of unconsciousness alongside the suicide bomber in question who, even with his sturdy armor, is on death's door.

Vulcan bats a wad of hail out of his face, breathing in to calm himself as C appears. He'd been incredibly close to losing his temper, the straw that was going to break the camel's back -- after all, while he and Gideon didn't really get along, they were still comrades who understood eachother. On a fundamental level, even though Vulcan hadn't given a shit about Gideon's goals, or his high horse ... in their own way, they were friends. The four of them against the same bastard that had wronged them all.

Knowing what she'd done to him drove him up a wall, but at the same time, he knew no one took it harder than C.

"Is that so? Guess we should savor these next few minutes while we can." he rumbles.

C nimbly hops forward, easily avoiding Mikoto's opening attack, finding himself intercepted by her blade. Despite how close she'd gotten, the Mysterious Leader of the ILF weaves to try and avoid the brunt of the strike, her sword strike throwing out sparks as it scratched across the left side of his visor and skidding off the side, leaving a gash in it as he produced a volley of lighting fast thrusts of his lance in an attempt to drive her back, right back into his minefield. "Tch..!"

Of course, his mines were being blown around, throwing his strategy off. His offensive against Mikoto was waylaid by Nanoha, with C only avoiding instant capture by the grace of his incredible agility and battle instinct, pulling back while angling his lance down to the ground, gripped in both hands. Several of the mines being blown around impacted eachother and exploded, giving the others an opening to resposition himself; namely, Machias moving to attack Vulcan with a shotgun blast to keep him from attacking their allies in the lull. It turned out to be a good idea, as Vulcan had taken aim to fire on Pramanix, an attack that winds up going partially long due to Machias' intervention.

"There!" Fie says, jumping off of the glasses wearing student's head, kipping off of him as he let out an indignant "Hey!" after her. With both gunblades drawn, she released a volley of suppressing fire and rushed him, forcing the larger man to slide to the side and drop his gun and instead fire a volley of jabs at her, most of which the white haired girl weaved around before getting clocked in the chin, which sent her skidding back.

The altercations pause again, all at one, damning sound. The scratch on his helmet revealed only the tiniest hint to Makoto, the tiniest detail that could give life to her concerns, but this was undeniable evidence as per Rean's fears.

It was the sound of an ARCUS unit ringing, coming from one of the pockets on C's outfit. " ... "

Alexis has posed:
"Quick thinking, ol'boy." Alexis recovers from the shock, and uses his pokeball to recall Scorch. This one is going to take more than a night at the Pokecenter to recover from, but he did the right thing. Probably because there's a bunch of girls in the group, but still the right thing.

She brushes some soot off herself, winces a bit as she finds a few spots more bruised than she'd like, but now is not the time to deal with it. She grabs a different pokeball and tosses it out to release her Mawile. "Gonna have to step it right up to max, Trowel." The odd fairy-type nods and gets into a stance, her 'ponytail' opening to reveal its jaws in readiness as Alexis rolls up a sleeve and wraps her fingers around the Mega Bracer.

Both stop before she actually gets to activating it as the ring goes off from the Big Bad Boss' pocket. Long, baited pause.

Then about all Alexis can manage as it's put together what it means is a stilted "Aaawkward."

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha's magic chains are deftly avoided. A wave of her staff has them alter course, trying to track the fast moving C. During this, Nanoha is only peripherally aware of Rean's actions. So she doesn't initially recognise the importance of ringing coming from the Mysterious Leader. It does get Nanoha to pause her chains though.

    It's only after the radio conversation filters through Nanoha's head that she gains the proper context. At which point she lets out a rather surprised, "Eh!?" Nanoha had no idea, no suspicions at all. To be fair, while she had fought along side Crow a couple of times while she was helping Rean, she didn't really know him that well.

    Still. He seemed like a good guy. Cocky, maybe. But not leader of a terrorist group material. And it's even more of a surprise that it turned out to be one of the members of Class VII. Who had direct encounters with the ILF. Quite a coincidence...

    ... Or is it? Has Crow been manipulating the Class's assignments? Or someone else?

    Nanoha isn't really sure how to proceed at this point, so just remains on guard, watching how the situation plays out.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto's strike is not as true as she would like it, but her other plan was already happening.  She hoped Rean was strong enough to face the truth, but just in case...

The lightning-fast thrusts of the lance meet her sword, and as she is forced back, and loses ground, she notices the glint of what she was looking for.  Her footing becomes better as the mines behind her are mostly cleared, allowing her to dance back as C is forced to deal with Nanoha's attempt to grab him.

However, the ARCUS unit rining causes her to look towards the sound, then back up at him.  Her blade points up, "Well, Mysterious Leader C...or should I saw, Crow!" She says, dramatically.  She does not say anything for a bit, letting Rean and Crow get their business out first.  However, she steps forward, willing to do what needs to be done.  For Rean's sake, because she feared he lacked the...conviction to stop him.

"I don't care what your goals are, all that you are is someone who got hurt and is using that pain to justify hurting others.  All you are doing is playing to the tune of the nobility, and in the end, all they will do is keep power in their hands, and out of the hands of people who will actually do something with it.  You are their puppets."

"And you are willing to take from me what I hold dear.  As I said before, I am willing to do anything to protect what is mine, and /nobody/ will steal from me," She says, eyes green as she dives in.

Her attacks are brutal, aiming to try and overwhelm Crow's lance with her savage swings, trying to catch the lance, and use any leverage she can find to try and break through his defense, and swing his blade up at her.  Even as he declares Crow never existed, her attacks get more focused, more determined to strike a killing blow.

He was going to stop hurting what is hers.

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
With the mines disposed of and nobody firing at her at that moment, Pramanix gets a moment to breathe! It's a good thing, too, since she takes that opportunity to apply pressure to some of those wounds. During her break moment, she peers up atC again as his identity is revealed to be...

     ... That person that winked at her before. Rather than looking indignant or angry, she keeps her expression even. Granted, she may not have to try very hard having only met everyone here today, but she can at least appreciate why some of them are upset.

     Like Nanoha, she's not quite sure how to proceed with C given the sudden revelation. She keeps that wind churning arund herself along with a light snow, but mostly to avoid lowering her guard while things come to a head.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Sparks fly as blade meets blade, Crow revealing his fighting talents to be many leagues above what he'd previously indicated in most combat situations. Then again, he'd only used orbal weaponry as Crow Armbrust, the Thors Military Academy student. C wasn't beholden to that need to disguise himself and could accordingly pull out all the stops.

Which isn't to say that fighting off someone as wholly savage and powerful as Mikoto was easy, only that overpowering him would be equally difficult. Rather than trying to press an offensive, C remains calm and collected, using the superior range of his lance to keep her just far enough away for his greater agility to come into play, never being cornered or cornering her.

He tried his hardest to keep the exchange squarely in the middle of the road, as it were.

C's helmet is left forgotten on the ground, having thumped wetly there after it'd been removed. Vulcan, despite his bleeding arm, immediately turned his rotary cannon on Machias and Elliot, the latter slamming his staff into the ground. "ARCUS Activate!"

The sudden wall of ice being shot at him gave the two boys a moment to reorient themselves and make for cover before Vulcan's weapon chewed it apart. Fie herself managed to get up in this time frame and hurl a smokebomb at the man, weaving around him again. "Playin' with fire, Sylphid?!"

They were all upset. It was certainly throwing them off, and the frustration at being unable to even properly react to it from the fighting was indescribable. As if understanding their plight, Vulcan backed off ever so slightly. "Crow...why...?!" Elliot bit out. Machias couldn't form words to what he was feeling.

C himself smirks grimly as his lance clashes once again with Mikoto's sword, "That's about the long and short of it. But the thing is, there's nothing you can do to stop me."

There's something dark in his eyes. It wasn't evil, per se, but it was the kind of determination that could only be formed from a truly terrible resolve.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
And thus the cat's out of the bag.

Rean shuts his ARCUS with a metallic click and turns to face C - No, Crow, a wry smile on his face.

"...Why? ...No, I know why. Your grandfather, right? You know, I thought you might join the ILF, since they hate the Chancellor. But their /leader?/"  Rean's smile turns into a full on glare as he rushes forwards again, joining Mikoto in her assault.  "You were their leader this whole damn time?!"

However, Rean's not the only person stunned by this turn of events. Alisa is just staring at Crow, a quiet "No way..." leaving her lips, as she nocks another arrow and fires at Vulcan. And Angelica...

"You've gotta be..." Angelica says through gritted teeth. "Are you fucking kidding me, Crow Armbrust?!" Angelica weaves through whatever mines might remain on the field and then rushes him, waiting for an opening in Mikoto's assault to do something that she did the year before.

Deck him.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Rean comes in, fighting and Mikoto moves to flank with him, especially after Angela comes in.  As the first comes for Crow, Mikoto thrusts her blade into the ground, as spikes aim to shoot right behind him.  Regardless of rather or not they hit, she comes in viciously.  

She swings her blade upwards, once more trying to catch that weapon, but instead of trying to savage him with blows, she moves forward, attempting to clinch their weapons so that Rean and Angela can get through his defenses.

His resolve is matched by her own.  She won't lose anything ever again, no matter what it takes.  

Pramanix (7248) has posed:
The battle continues with C, and Pramanix watches with intense focus. Indeed, it's actualy distracting her from what else needs to be done. Part of her just wants to see where this all goes, but the other part of her knows there's still work to do.

That, unfortunately, means looking for an opening to break away from this central area to try and find those miners. C had mentioned the security office, but it's a crap shoot whether or not she can even find said office if she even gets an opportunity to get away in the first place!

Alexis has posed:
"Y'know, fuck it, we'll figure out the complications later." Alexis resumed squeezing the Mega Bracer to activate it. "There's still a fight to deal with." Energy briefly engulfs Mawile, emblazened with a flaming helix, then shatters away to reveal her slightly larger Mega Evolution, now sporting two of those jaw-ponytails. Or would that make them jaw-pigtails? Details aren't really important.

Confused as everyone is she's not inclined to butt in on the 'personal' matter with C/Crow, so instead turns attention back to Vulcan. "Trowel, Play Rough!"

Mega Mawile sprints towards Vulcan while he's dealing with the other attackers, and swings her dual jaws to try and grab onto his arms and limit how effectively he can move that weapon around.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha watches from the sidelines for the moment as Mikoto and C battle it out. And soon enough Angelica joins them. Processing the revelation, Nanoha recalls Crow's earlier volunteering to escort the miners back. She asks him about it, almost dreading the answer.

    But as C indicates their safety, Nanoha is relieved. But the feeling only lasts a moment as Vulcan's cannon firing returns her attention to the fact that there's still a battle raging. Leaving C to those who have a more personal interest in his betrayal, Nanoha turns her attention on the larger ILF officer.

    Raising her staff above her head, Nanoha calls out, "Axel Shooter-" Several pinks orbs appear in the air around Nanoha. Then several more. And more. Until there are a couple dozen. At which point Nanoha finishes, "Avalanche Shift!"

    The dozens of orbs all fire off beams of light, which dance through the air before raining down on Vulcan.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Fighting Mikoto on her own was controllable. Fighting her and Rean was still well within his abilities in this particular situation, as long as all he had to do was keep them from pressuring him too much. But as he pushed back, deflecting Rean's sword and smashing the side of his head with the flat of his lance's blade before revolving his weapon around to strike at Mikoto's shoulder with the other blade at the end of his weapon, Angelica took this opening to rush him.

And punch him directly in the face, sending the ILF's leader skidding back across the wet ground, a bruise already forming where she'd hit him. "Well, that brings back memories ... " he murmurs, mostly to himself.

Raising his hand, Vulcan bats the arrow away with astonishing precision, grinning like a shark in Alissa's general direction. Most of Class VII finds themselves suppressed with his rotary cannon, except for Fie, who had hid herself to wait for an opening.

"I don't imagine you've got it all out of your systems yet, but our time is about up." he mentions, having seemingly been pushed to the guard rail with no escape.

Last year .. the pain of his bruise was almost nostalgic. He and Angelica got along terribly at first; himself being much more cold and prickly rubbed her the wrong way, so they wound up fighting.

But those good memories ... even though he wouldn't regret them, he wouldn't let them hold him back, either. The world could burn for all he cared, as long as he was able to kill that man, nothing else mattered to him.

Not Rean. Not Angelica. Not Towa. Not the rest of their class, their instructors, or anyone else. C hurls himself off the railing, falling backwards and, momentarily it seemed, to his death.

Only for the ILF's airship to raise upwards as quiet as a mouse, Vulcan battling with the Mega-Evolution and keeping it at bay, attempting to shove it away with his cannon before ultimately deciding to leave it behind, giving the weapon a hard shove to let its crushing weight to bare entirely on the creature so that he could have his moment to get out.

Fie's gunshots riddle his exposed back as he leaps off to make it onto the escape ride, as well. "Until next time, Class VII!" C's voice comes, over the intercom.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    The ILF are trying to get away...

    ... Using an airship.

    Their mistake.

    With the mines thankfully cleared by Pramanix, Nanoha is not afraid to fly. She runs across the platform and jumps, planting a foot on the railing and then leaping off. Small pink wings of light burst into existence from the sides of her boots and she blasts upwards into the air, looking to give chase.

    As Nanoha flies after the retreating airship, she stretches her staff ahead of her, a pink sphere forming just beyond the tip. It grows in size as Nanoha charges the spell, before finally calling out, "Photon Smasher!"

    The growing sphere bursts, a large rush of magic blasting forward and lancing towards the airship. Nanoha's aiming to try and disable it, to force them back down to the ground where they can be apprehended.

Alexis has posed:
That is probably the smartest thing Vulcan could of done. Most of Mega Mawile's strength was in the tremendous grip of those dual jaws, making it hard to break. But she didn't have the size or mass to support that entire weapon herself, and as soon as it's shoved from Vulcan's hands she topples over from the weight.

Don't worry, the organic metal that makes up her kimono-like covering keeps her from being crushed, but she's pinned until Alexis comes over, pulls a golf club from her bag and wedges it under one end of the rotary to pry it up just enough for the fairy-mon to wiggle out from underneath.

It's enough to keep them too busy from trying to stall the getaway airship though.

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto feels like they're finally getting some room here.  She had some tricks left, but she wanted to hold back as long as she could to make sure they landed.  Of course, right at that moment, it seems like Crow falls to his death.

Only for an airship to rise up.  

Mikoto could fire something at them, but she was the least equipped for that right now.  Nanoha seemed to have it under control...but right now she turned towards Rean and looked at him for a moment.  She places a hand on his shoulder before pulling him into a hug.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"Yeah, it better." Angelica says, shaking out her hand. "Had to punch you for being fake back then too. Need another one?"

Rean runs to the railing as Crow just casually jumps into the abyss...and into a getaway airship. His body tenses up, it's not like he could reach them from here without risking blowing up the whole airship...Though perhaps they deserved it.  For hurting innocent people, for hurting him, for hurting his friends...it'd be easy for them all to just die. To let that desire just take him.

Then Mikoto comes over to him and gives him a hug, dragging him out of that mental spiral. "Ah..." Rean murumers, laying his hands on hers.

Angelica raises a fist at the rising airship. "Grrr...Get back here, damn it!"

Suddenly, the door opens behind them, and a bunch of people come charging through. It's the RMP and the provincial army, the gray and orange uniforms either standing out or blending in with the surrondings of the mine.

The blue haired woman in gray from before raises her hand in command. "Disable the airship!" she shouts, and her men take aim and fire at the getaway vehicle. The regally dressed man in orange from before isn't having any of it though. "You're not authorized to fire in here!" He then looks up at Nanoha. "And you don't have a permit to be flying either! Men, stop them!" The soldiers in orange take aim....at Nanoha and the RMP soldiers.

Alisa just boggles at what's going on. "What are you doing?!"

Mikoto Shimizu (7002) has posed:
Mikoto smiles at Rean, it's a sad smile, "Sorry I was right.  I really wanted to be wrong...I wanted to be embarrassed and have to beg for forgiveness...but.."

There is a pause as authorities start coming in.  

However, it appears that the Orange suited soldiers are being ordered to stop them.  Mikoto breaks the contact with Rean, before her blade thrusts into the ground, aiming to jut spikes all around the shouting man.  Her eyes, still green stare right at him like a demon.

"Isn't it obvious?  This man is either in league with the ILF, or afraid that there is something that will be uncovered in here.  Unfortunately, if he does not call off his soldiers, I will end his miserable life right here and right now."

"So sir, is your reputation worth your life?  I suggest you call off your men and start being honest."

Crow Armbrust has posed:
The lasers and orbal gunfire impact the ship, shaking it -- smoke is pouring from virtually every point of escape it can get. "W..what?!"

C's voice is panicked. But it's not because their getaway is getting grounded. No, the real reason is abruptly clear to everyone present, as the customized, jet black airship is obliterated. Neither Vulcan, Scarlet, or Crow had been able to act in response to whatever discovery they made just before the detonation.

The front, the cockpit, bounces against the railing and crushes it before falling into the ravine, along with the rest of bits and pieces of the airship that had gone up in flames.

It'd almost been like the core structure had been laced with explosives that had been triggered by the damage? After all, Nanoha's aim had been spot on. But ...

Then again, maybe it was just an unfortunate accident in the heat of battle.

Nanoha Takamachi (7075) has posed:
    Nanoha comes to a halt in the air as the gunship explodes spectacularly. There's a look of surprise on her face. She could have swore that her shot was on target. It shouldn't have caused that much damage! Did something else happen? Nanoha isn't quite sure. She's just about to go and search for survivors when she has several guns aimed at her.

    Nanoha briefly considers ignoring the weapons and risking it... But she doesn't really want to go against the local authorities. Besides, that explosion... Nanoha closes her eyes for a moment.

    The Aerial Mage then turns in the air, slowly floating back down to the platform. As she gently touches down on the platform once more, Nanoha finds Mikoto threatening the leader of the local soldiers. Nanoha raises a hand to Mikoto to try and wave her down, "Mikoto, that's enough. I don't think threatening him will get us anywhere. The miners are safe and the terrorists have been driven from the mine. Let's be happy with that and call it a day."

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
"Mikoto, hold on-" Rean starts, but Nanoha's got it handled, it seems.

The provincial army captain lets out a small yelp as Mikoto threatens him. "Y-young lady, I don't think you understand-" He's interrupted by a large explosion as the escape airship blows up.

"Hit the deck!" The blue haired woman shouts, and everyone ducks.

There's some arguing between Angelica and the provincial army captain about who is allowed where, who blew up the airship, and why Angelica's father the local marquis gave the provincial army orders to block off the mine, but some timely intervention by of all people, Prince Olivert, gets the group off the hook for 'trespassing.'

Before they leave, Rean, Angelica and the rest of Class VII stare up at the where the airship was in silence. Sure, this turn of events made things extremely complicated, and maybe revealed how little they knew about him...

...But at the end of the day Crow was one of them, a member of Class VII, and a student of Thors.