7343/ToCS: Meltdown! The Industrial Metropolis

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ToCS: Meltdown! The Industrial Metropolis
Date of Scene: 14 November 2020
Location: Roer
Synopsis: The ILF return, delivering a threat to obliterate Roer's orbal reactors and leave a large swathe of the empire without power. However, it's all a ruse so that C can steal back the Demonic Flute lost when Gideon had been killed.
Cast of Characters: Crow Armbrust, 7311, Eryl Fairfax, Rean Schwarzer, 7303, 7228
Tinyplot: Trails of Cold Steel

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Roer, unlike contemporaries such as Bareahard or the much larger Heimdallr, was closer in terms of structure to Crossbell State. Which is to say, it was a good deal more 'modern'; the heart of Erebonia's industrial progress, it is the home of Reinford Company and utilizes many technologies that aren't yet seen around the rest of Erebonia.

Its Orbal Reactor grid provides the majority of power not only to itself, but to Heimdallr as well, which is why ...

I am C, and I speak to you in order to make this declaration; we of the Imperial Liberation Front have taken control of Plant B. If our demand is not met within twenty four hours, we intend to detonate the Orbal Reactor. We eagerly await your response, Chancellor.

This statement had been made over loudspeaker to most of Roer. The Railway Military Police wasted no time closing in on the situation to do what they could, but the force is stretched thin from its operations on the other side of the Empire; given the nature of the emergency, pride is swallowed to reach out for assistance.

Anyone willing to lend a hand in this time of crisis is welcomed with open arms by Claire Rieveldt and the other RMP officers on site.

"We can't risk a full frontal assault ... not if they're serious about blowing the reactor, even if we had that many bodies to throw at the situation. It'd cause a chain reaction that could damage other sectors and knock out power across the country. So considering our manpower, this is the strategy we'd like you to follow; we'll draw the ILF's attention by feigning an attack through the front, while Class VII and the rest of you infiltrate through the mechanical bay."

The reactors are tall, curved spires with massive orbments built into their centers. Catwalks connect them all, like a kind of shell -- struts that lead from one block to the next. At the bottom of the facility are various mechanical bays that load works and resources to carry up into the reactors to perform maintenance and expansion work. It was also the least guarded, as the ILF had consolidated their forces on the reactors themselves rather than access points. "The government has no intention of negotiating with them, much less handing over the Chancellor to them. Good luck, everybody."

Samhain (7311) has posed:
Samhain is not at the front, helping Claire Rievelt and the RMP. He has teleported in - any Watch meeting up have been invited for a ride - through a giant picture frame that deposits him 'wherever the terrorists are that is easy to find on the internet via blueprints or something'.

He's tall, built, and dressed in old-timey construction worker uniform, complete with cap, and a welding mask. The minute he finds one of the revolutionaries, he approaches with haste (though his footsteps are silent), but is non-hostile. He's honestly really spooky.

"Samhain of the Slaughter. I am a member of the Watch. Tell me how I can assist you in fighting injustice."

Samhain's decided that, as revolutionaries, they are fighting injustice. It's the only reason they could be threatening the plant, right?

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    "The government of Erebonia may not be interested in negotiation, but I am," Eryl says plainly to Claire before he sets off to join the infiltration efforts. 'Infiltration' is putting it lightly however. He marches up to the nearest door, puts his ear against it, and knocks three times. This might seem ridiculous given the circumstances, but he's using the sound of the knocking to ping the other side like sonar, listening for anything lying in wait.

    Once he's confirmed that no one is lying in ambush, he wrenches the door open.

    "Move quickly. If they truly have shored up their defences in the reactor proper, we don't need to worry about stealth. Not to mention the longer we tarry, the more risk the RMP places themselves in with their staged assault." He moves at a fast run, aiming to quickly reach the reactor.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
^ Rean is here, with Class VII as planned. It's been some time since he was last here, since that day they all found out one of their own was part of the ILF.

Whether or not this C was 'their' C or just another person taking up his mantle was yet to be seen, but either way...

No matter who was behind the mask this time, they couldn't be allowed to harm their home.

Rean assists Eryl's check for ambushers by expanding his senses past the door. He nods to Eryl's analysis of the situation. "Understood." He says, then turns to his classmates.

"Alright, Class VII, Our mission is to secure the reactors. Let's go!" Rean shouts to the gaggle of red uniformed academy students behind him. They all respond with varying shouts of affirmation, and then the group breaks into a run after Eryl into the building.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Samhain deposits himself in front of a pair of soldiers clad head to toe in a drab, green armor. One wielded a long orbal rifle, while the other held a broadsided, square blade. "How did you ... ?! ... But if you also want to make that man pay, then we'll welcome your help. Follow us, so you can be briefed by Comrade V!"

"Right ... I'm not so sure about this, but, Comrade C is allied with The Watch, so maybe it'll work out."

The two jaegers lead Samhain across the strut to a third member, fiddling with an orbal radio on the ground. "Huh? New comrades? Let me notify Comrade V .. "

It only took a moment for Samhain to be addressed directly by a gruff but energized voice on the other end, "So you said you're from The Watch, eh? Samhain of the Slaughter. We could use all the spare hands we can get, and from what we figure, the RMP's about done waiting, so head on over to the strut between Plant B and Plant C."

    In the meantime...

Claire nods her head, silently conveying her agreement with Eryl before she draws her orbal pistol, ensuring the orbment is loaded into place and ready to fire. "Commence the operation!" "Yes sir!"

The grey-clad officers split off, wielding a variety of orbal arms as they storm the front. The response is quick and vicious, the various jaegers above raining down suppressive gunfire at them -- not accurate enough to hit, but close enough to slow progress.

At least, until the sound of trained beasts resounded with a howl. But, everyone would just have to trust the RMP to handle their part of the plan.

And just like Eryl said, the best way to help was to resolve the situation as quickly as possible. The bay is all but devoid of guards, only small machines -- turrets on wheels, practically, sweeping the area to stand in their way. "Archaisms..." Machias, the green-haired hothead of Class VII informs with a frown.

    In Plant B Proper...

Vulcan hefts his gatling guns, strapped down with munitions and explosives. The heavyset man grunts with a large smirk at how well things were turning out, inclining his head to his red-haired compatriot. The woman tilts her head back at him, one hand on the hilt of her sword. "It looks like C's networking really paid off, huh? Speaking of which ..."

They both turn to the black-robed figure present in the room with them, conspicuously, devoid of his signature weapon. "It won't be too long before we have to go out and strut our stuff, huh, 'C'?"


Liza Grier (7303) has posed:
    "You're soft, 'C'." says a woman clad up to the neck in black and bloodred armour, its matching, faceless helmet held under one arm. She uses her free hand to finger what looks like it could be a cigarette in proximity to her face, turning it over and over without ever deciding to light it. White hair just short enough to barely fit into the neck seal. Eyes redder than textbook albinism would quite explain. She's sat atop a locked, metallic crate on the higher levels, close to the reactor core, what remains of her kit rolled out on tactical webbing across the floor for her to look at. "Almost disappointingly soft." She stops the cigarette in a hardcase on her suit's leg, and stands up.

    "You really think this is going to work? Not the operation I mean; negotiation. Haven't you heard the line? 'We don't negotiate with terrorists'. That's how it goes. The bigger the threat, the more you posture, the better an opportunity it is for the government, the police, to look big and strong. You're making it way too valuable for them; to refuse, that is. They come out like this looking like heroes, you know? Champions of the people. Impervious to any threat. If they cave in, they lose their face, and with their face, they lose power. And these people will do anything, kill anyone, to make sure they never lose an inch."

    The helmet is lowered over her head. The neck seal clicks and then hisses. Four bright green optics light up on the faceplate, glowing menacingly in the dark. Her voice comes over the radio. "That is, unless you blow the plant. That cripples them. Humiliates them. Sews unrest and fear, and mistrust in their so-called leaders and defenders. You have the plant. You have the codes. Why not do it? Gouge the jugular. Let the citizens feel the arterial spray of a dying system on their faces."

    "If you can't stomach it, I can do it for you. There's still time." Rolling up her kit again and fastening it to her back, Liza picks up the heavy machine gun propped against the rail beside her and slings the strap over her shoulder, pulling the charging bolt. "Though, if the idea is to funnel their dogs into the killzone and get as many as we can before pulling the trigger, I'm partial to that idea as well."

Samhain (7311) has posed:
As Samhain is told where to go, he grunts, and then as soon as they're not looking at him, is already gone, having walked off towards the strut. Once he gets there...

He doesn't have much time. They'll be here, soon. So, he starts dumping out traps. Bear traps. Chained hooks you walk into and get stuck to, hanging from the ceiling. Oil spills. Oil /barrels/. Spikes attached to the walls. A saw in a corner. Spikes attached to the ground.

He just spits all this out, and then moves to smash any lights nearby, putting it in pitch black. He's making a hellscape for the 'heroes'.

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    "Correct." A voice echoes through the bay in response to Machias's observation. Followed shortly by the sound of heavy armored boots clanking against the ground.

    From behind a large container of resources, the armored form of Arianrhod comes walking out. She turns to face the arrival of Eryl and Class VII. Her helmet slowly turns as she apparently looks over the group, before her voice echoes from within it, "This is it?"

    Arianrhod moves her gauntlet covered hand to rest on the hilt of the large sword sheathed at her waist. She admits with only mild disappointment, "I was expecting more." Arianrhod's helmet does turn to settle on Eryl for a moment, before saying, "Though perhaps there is still a chance."

    Arianrhod slowly draws her sword as she finishes, "I dare say that time is of the essence, if you don't want the efforts of the others to be in vein." The sounds of battle between the RMP and jaegers echoes in the background.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Eryl takes a second to scan the anarchisms. Figuring out any obvious weakpoints. But before he can even take a shot, he is confronted. A figure clad in armor, a sword at their side. An obstacle, already? A very self-assured one too. They've mentally written off the students at his side. There's no time for this kind of posturing, no time to clash steel.

    Eryl and his implants are drinking in everything about Arianrhod. Their stance, their words, the sword at their sides. They presented themselves with weapon sheathed. Either strong enough to win a direct confrontation or confident enough in their ability to win a fair fight. Reminding them of their objective. At the same time, he is also mapping out the plant. How big is it, how far they are from the objective? Too big, and too far.

    Eryl raises both his arms. "We surrender," he says, immediately and plainly. "Having the Grandmaster of the Paladins and several noble scions and students of a royal military academy will strengthen your positions. You had best find a place to lock us up."

    It's a gamble. But he immediately gets a sense that this person would not cut down surrendering opponents. And if they're so confident, they might not even bother confiscating weapons.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
        In Plant B ...

'C' doesn't say anything, though his exaggerated body language indicates he's trying very hard not to, for some reason. It doesn't seem congruent with the personality set forth by the leader of the infamous organization to that point.

Scarlet simply laughs it off, moving her long mane of red hair to a more comfortable position. "Well, you've got a point, but everything's going according to Comrade C's plan."

Vulcan looks over his shoulder, a wild glint in his eyes as he moves them up and down, baring his teeth as if he'd come across a particularly challenging piece of meat.

"Yeah, just let loose! Kill some of the chancellor's dogs, have a little fun. We'll get what we came here for, one way or another."

    Down below...Machis grits his teeth, holding his orbal shotgun close as the Steel Maiden reveals herself. "Wait...what?!"

Jusis, the blonde-haired youth narrows his eyes in consternation, though he holds his tongue. He was hotheaded, but not nearly so much so as Machias, who was sputtering indignity. "There's no way we're surrendering to these guys, right?!"

The tall, brown-haired nord taking up their back frowns, closing his eyes in consideration before stepping forward. "I understand your reasoning, Mr. Fairfax. But, I think that person, as powerful as they are, underestimate us."

His gaze focuses on the armored warrior before them, "We'll show you our mettle. In return, all I ask is to allow those of us who don't wish to fight you pass."

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    Arianrhod pauses in the drawing of her sword as Eryl quickly surrenders. She appears to be considering his offer for a moment. And then Gaius speaks up, offering an alternative. Eryl's assessment of Arianrhod is partially correct, in that she would have let the group in further. But that would not have lasted long, given the other obstacles in their path.

    Arianrhod finishes drawing her sword, spinning it around to plant its point into the ground in front of her. Placing both gauntlets on the pommel, she says, "Very well. I accept your challenge. You have my word that the rest can pass." Arianrhod then waits, giving the group an opportunity to split up.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
Rean wastes no time, once the archaisms appear. Class VII draws their weapons- And are interrupted by Arianrhod.

"Wait, HUH?!" Millium says. "We're surrendering?!"  Her silver puppet, Airgetlam, lets out an oddly sad sounding mechanical squeak as it hovers behind her.

Rean's gaze drift between the Steel Maiden and Eryl. Arianrhod struck him as being honorable, and as his boss, he trusted that Eryl knew what he was doing by surrendering. They might be able to gain more ground if they didn't fight her, but it was a gamble that might land them in more trouble.

"...Yeah. We can handle this." Rean says. Laura nods, drawing her greatsword. "Indeed. I'd like to test myself against you for my own reasons. I have the feeling this is not the first time we've met."

Perhaps unsurpisingly, Arianrhod accepts. "Thank you." Rean says. Once everyone is done deciding who is coming along, Rean runs past Arianrhod, heading deeper into the reactor.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Eryl gives a tired, heavy sigh as the students protest. One offers an honourable duel, and this just makes him pinch the bridge of his nose. "Tens of thousands of lives ride on the success of our mission, and you care even a single whit about 'meeting the foe on their terms?' About 'honor' and 'valor?' Had you gone along with me, we could have breached the enemy defences as a single, rested unit. Now we shall be divided, and even if those who stay do win, you will be less effective, exhausted."

    He sounds like he might have more to say, but shakes his head. "Everyone who is coming, follow me." He breaks into a sprint past the armoured figure and takes the lead. Eventually, they hit darkened hallways. "Stay behind me," he orders Rean before pressing on. The sounds of their footsteps bounce off the surroundings, bouncing off... bear traps? Hanging hooks? Oil barrels? This is very unconventional, but effective.

    Eryl lashes out with a kick, striking a bear trap and setting it off as it goes flying. He grabs a hook and slams it against the wall, burying it deep. Across the oil he slides, maintaining his footing. "Watch your step," he calls back.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
With Eryl:

Rean lets out a quiet sigh as the group is scolded. Maybe that would've been a better idea after all. Still, choices have been made, and they push forward.

The hallway ahead is dark, and Eryl notes that they should watch their step, to the sound of something metal breaking.

Alisa raises one hand, a ball of golden light appearing in the air above the group. "/Holy-/" Alisa shouts, as the area is briefly illuminated. "What IS this?!"

Obviously deterred by the room full of sharp death, the students get into a single line behind Eryl as they slowly go forward.

Samhain (7311) has posed:
Eryl slips on the oil, having bypassed some of the mundane traps. This is when he finally hears something - the crackle of fire.

From a far wall, a fiery orb blasts forward, straight for the oil spill. It ignites, moving to immolate anyone walking on it, and blast into the oil canister to detonate it. The chain-reaction is intended to knock back anyone into beartraps, wall-spikes, and the rapidly spreading fire, creating a cluster of pain and torture for everyone who doesn't have split-second reaction times and the ability to navigate perfectly through the hallway.

In the flames, briefly, Eryl at minimum will catch the glimpse of Samhain's welding mask, before it suddenly disappears. Completely. He's still in the room, he's just blinking around to lose line of sight on himself with all the chaos.

"Clever. But foolish. This is now my hunting ground. Turn back now, or else..."

"You'll die."

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Gaius accepts being berated serenely -- he understood Eryl's frustration, after all, but what was done was done. He had no regrets.

Jusis and Machias joined Laura and Gaius in formation, frowns deeply etched on both of their faces. "Tch ... not gonna' go on ahead, your highness?"

"Don't patronize me, Machias Regnitz. It behooves me to stand my ground, that's all."


One of the RMP officers slumped into the hard ground, covered in wild wounds from the trained beasts wielding wicked, curved blades in their mouthes. They almost looked like giant, armored jaguars.

"Cheh .. we can't fall back yet..!"

A glimmering mirror was thrown high, before a beam of light reflected off of it, showering the creature with a pepper of blows. Just long enough for two RMP officers to charge ahead in front of their downed comrade, pushing their hands out as they activate their orbments, unleashing binding thorns from the ground that drag the beast down and restrain it.

Up above, a Jaeger downed by a crack shot is dragged to the side, before the strut they were on is destroyed by one stray Art too many, sending them falling, yelling, to their deaths below. "Watch it, we can't risk damaging the structure too much!" Claire raises her voice to the soldiers in the back, who'd been focusing on slinging Fire and Thunder based Arts up at the jaegers. "R..right...!"

    In Plant B...

"Hm...sounds like they're almost here, judging by the sound of things." Vulcan rumbles.

He turns to the odd men out, the jaegers in an odd set of red armor. It seems far more mechanized than what the rest of the ILF's soldiers wore, powered by some kind of orbment. "Look alive, twerps. As long as we're here in the reactor, they won't risk going all out even if they do get inside. My blood is boilin' already."

One of the red armored jaegers nods swiftly, "Yeah. Whatever you say."

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    A fireball. Aimed at bundled oil drums. Most people would immediately duck and cover if they were to process what is about to happen. But Eryl is not most people.

    He runs, even as the flames lick his feet and melt his shoes. Adding to the momentum gained from the oil, he speeds up. The rush of air from the explosion pushes at his back, adding even more speed.

    And all of it is directed at Samhain like a freight train. Eryl executes the perfect tackle, straight out of the diagrams from self-defence/rugby manuals. Grabbing the back of the knee and lifting up, shoulder against the midsection. He slams Samhain into a wall, and then all the way through it.

    They crash through to the reactor, Eryl landing on top of the wall of muscle and pointing a finger at the assembled terrorists. "Eryl Fairfax, Grandmaster of the Paladins!" he barks. "Everyone, drop your weapons!"

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    Arianrhod says nothing as Eryl berates part of Class VII for their choice of staying to fight. She simply watches and waits, holding her position as the force separates and the others move on. Only once Eryl has left does Arianrhod speak up once more, saying, "Your Grandmaster seems to not respect honor or martial skill. Regardless, he is wrong. Other obstacles await. He simply would have traded in individual battles for one on two fronts."

    Arianrhod's helmet turns to look between Machias, Jusis, Gaius and Laura, apparently studying them as she says, "But it seems that most of you understand."

    Arianrhod finally moves her hands to grip her sword in two hands, spinning it around and up, "Very well then." She settles down into a stance that would look somewhat familiar to Laura. One seemingly related to the Arseid school of swordsmanship. Arianrhod prepares herself and waits, letting the four make the first move as she finishes, "Let us see if I truly am underestimating you."

Liza Grier (7303) has posed:
    Eryl has broken off with Samhain after the Slasher has revealed his trap cards. Arianrhod has taken half of the infiltrating class at the door. That just leaves Rean and his close companions venturing towards the reactor core on their own. In the dark.

    This means Liza belaying deploying any of her own preparations was the right call. She hadn't anticipated that trying to double up and overwhelm the Grandmaster of the Paladins would have much of a return. She *had* anticipated, by his profile, that he'd be the type to 'self-sacrifice' for the success of the mission.

    Thumb on the detonator, Liza clicks twice, and the remaining stretch of accessor corridors is host to a series of explosive pops in cascading sequence. Chemical smoke floods into the halls and intersections, so thick as to barely be possible to see ahead, diffusing the conjured light into the swirling clouds, and certainly thick enough to begin choking on.

    It's also thick enough to make the blurry beam of a laser sight visible, when it sweeps upward to chest height. The briefest forewarning before the halls echo with the reverberating thunder of a thirty pound machine gun roaring like a jet engine, spewing a waterfall of brass into the junction and a vicious hailstorm of lead into the choke of the hallway.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
        In Plant B ...

Samhain crashes through the wall, Eryl Fairfax on top of him. Inside are the three key figures of the ILF; Vulcan, a massive bear of a man and a former Jaeger, wielding artillery and heavy weapons ordinarily found only on tanks or gunships. Scarlet, a nimble warrior formerly of the Septian Church, who possessed powerful flame based Arts. And finally, Crow Armbrust, a time-manipulating rogue, formerly a student of Thors Military Academy Class VII.

Only, the latter of the three seemed to have foregone any of his traditional weaponry. And actually, his armor seemed rather different, too.

The way it gleamed black in the orbal light, it was kind of like someone had just colored over their armor with ink. " . . . "

'C' silently stares. Vulcan laughs in Eryl's face, and Scarlet, her only answer is to draw her sword with a subtle, yet bloodthirsty grin as the jaegers in red powered-armor storm forward into formation, one wielding a machinegun of sorts, another utilizing a pair of curved scimitars, and lastly, one wielding an orbal pistol in one hand, and a short-spear in the other.

Vulcan raises his gatling gun and fires, intent on obliterating Eryl in a flash of hot death in conjunction with Liza.


Gaius grimaces only slightly, nodding his head. He'd felt a bad wind coming from above, an omen to be sure. Shifting his stance, the spearman assumed the traditional form of his people, known for their cross-guarded polearms. "I'll give it everything I have!"

Jusis, his eyes narrowed at Arianrhod's choice of stance, as well as her style of dress, rose his blade up. "Together!"

Machias primes his weapon, all of them readying for battle. "Barrier of time.......!"

A clay pidgeon made of time sepith is hurled into the air, before being gunned down in an instant. "BREAK!"

It was a deployable version of one of Crow's own favorite Arts, altering the flow of time for the four of them to increase their speed and reflexes. Jusis shoots off to the side, hopping forward quickly to attack Arianrhod's left with a slash of energy from his saber. Gaius takes to the sky, releasing a loud battlecry as he hurls his spear down with incredible force -- almost like an orbal mortar.

Samhain (7311) has posed:
Samhain's blinking around, but isn't expecting the trick. Eryl knocks him through a wall, into the plant, sliding and thudding with a grunt. Lying there for several moments, stunned, he waits until Vulcan starts opening fire to react and move.

Samhain suddenly moves to grab Eryl's nearest grab-point and grip tight. He's /tremendously/ strong, and is seeking to damage him and also stop him from immediately reacting to the hail of fire, before pushing to start standing up to his side. Shots hit him, ripping through his outfit and flesh, but there's little blood, little damage, and little signs of reaction, even as one ends up flying through his chest.

"You will not stop our progress."

Summoning a sledgehammer in one hand, Samhain moves to try and harry Eryl by smashing into one of his legs! He's not going for killing blows - he toys with his prey first, clearly. There are no wasted movements - this man is a master of the sledge, knowing exactly how much pressure to put on a human body to break it.

Yeah, he still thinks Eryl is human. That might be an issue.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
With Eryl:

"Lammy, barrier!" Millium shouts, and Airgetlam appears in front of her classmates, creating a transparent forcefield. The explosion hammers against the barrier, and the small girl grunts with effort, but the barrier holds. Eryl's already charging by the time she does this, so he's out of range.

The fire wasn't the sort they could easily put out, but they had to press forward, regardless. "...Dunno how much this'll help,  but..." Elliot slams his orbal staff on the ground, creating a smaller barrier around each of the members of the group. Hopefully it'd help protect them against the fire....but it's not the only thing they have to worry about for long.

The room is suddenly filled with chemical smoke, and smaller explosions. Rean opens his senses on instinct, since obviously his eyes are no good in this situation...but this means he misses the sight flickering through the smoke.

Someone else, however, does manage to see it.

"MOVE!" Alisa shouts, grabbing Rean's blazer collar and pulling him out of the way of the shots. The two tumble to the ground, landing in an oil slick. The others move with varying degrees of success, trying to find the souce of the shots as best they can.

With Arianhrod:

"I see." Laura says, indeed recognizing the stance.  With a shout, Laura rushes forward.  Machias's time art helps with her speed, and she's there moments after Gaius, swinging her blade with enough force to dent armor.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Eryl is grabbed, and a massive gun is trained on him. And yet, he doesn't panic, or flounder. Instead, he grabs the arm that grabs him with both hands and plants his feet flat on the floor. A few bullets ram into him, but with an enormous exertion of strength, he lifts himself up and pulls Samhain with him. The two rise together, with Eryl fighting to keep the monster between he and Vulcan as a meat wall.

    "Your progress? Has Samhain the FearFrame turned to political terrorism in his pursuit of a 'happy ending?'" he spits. A file has been put together already, of course. The sledgehammer strikes his knee with a resounding 'clang!' and the cyborg smiles grimly. "I'm not someone you get to play with." As immediate proof, his elbow erupts into confetti of false skin and clothing fabric, a metal slug flying out and bouncing off the wall to slam against the revolving barrel of Vulcan's gun. Weapons like that are great, until one little bit of damage like misaligning the barrels renders the whole thing scrap.

    As a folow-up, Eryl lets go of Samhain and uses his now-free hand to produce a blade from his forearm and begin burying it in the titan's front, over and over, a rapid flurry of slashes from his groin to his stomach to his liver to solar plexus, hoping to strike anything like a core or a weakness.

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    Arianrhod holds steady as the four members of Class VII begin their assault. Her helmet turns, apparently tracking Jusis as he rushes off to her side. She doesn't seem all that concerned by the boost in speed they're showing. Indeed, as Jusis swings his sword to unleash that light, Arianrhod swings her own. Her blade cuts into the slash of energy, splitting it in two to dissipate to either side of her.

    It's while her attention is on defending against that shot that Gaius unleashes his own, throwing his spear with great power down towards her. But Arianrhod quickly releases one hand from gripping her sword, raising it up. There's a light shockwave of air as the spear seemingly strikes. But as it passes, Arianrhod is revealed to be holding the thrown spear by the blade, having stopped it moments from striking her.

    Laura's charge in moments later is not missed. Arianrhod turns, bringing her own blade up with one hand to meet Laura's. The two swords meet with a clash of sparks, before Arianrhod pushes back against Laura's weapon quickly to try and throw her off balance.

    Arianrhod throws the spear aside, before shifting her grip on her sword back to both hands. She raises it straight up in front of her, the weapon beginning to glow with golden light.

    Arianrhod then takes a step, her long hair and cloak sweeping around her as she moves into a spin. Her sword lashes out, following her in a full circle and unleashing a wave of golden energy from it. The wave washes out towards all four members of Class VII in the bay. As well as into a number of the archaisms that had been holding on the perimeter for a command to attack that never came, splitting them in two.

    Arianrhod straightens again after her attack, saying, "Close. You'll need more than that though if you wish to break through my armor."

Samhain (7311) has posed:
"These people seek a man who has wronged them. I understand them. Their cause is justice." It literally sounds like Samhain is parroting something he heard five minutes ago. He has /no/ understanding of the politics at all. "I will create a world I can live in, and to do that, I need more allies."

Even as more bullets rip through him, he barely reacts to push out of the way, not /wanting/ to be a meat wall even if he can handle it. His body is clearly regenerating - not the fastest, but fast enough to be combat healing.

As the hammer bounces off Eryl's knee, Samhain speaks, cold and devoid of much emotion. "I will have to put more power into my next strike."

Before he can move again, the blade is sliced through the liver and solar plexus 'weakspots', with difficulty carving through the muscle due to sheer resistance. It hurts. It hurts like hell, and he grunts louder. But - it doesn't slow him down in any way it should, besides being 'more damage'. The monster of a man does not seem to possess weak spots like that, or a core, or anything like that.

The hammer sweeps up, and then suddenly, has a flicker of pure dark energy around it for added damage, before moving to smash straight into Eryl's chest with all the power that is needed to damage steel. He's still not trying to kill, but he's much less afraid of doing so accidentally.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    "Oh really? What is the man's name then?" Eryl interrogates Samhain. When the creature eventually admits that he's doing this out of allyship, Eryl rolls his eyes. "Ever the excuse. You scratch their backs, they'll scratch yours? I'll note their leader has already backstabbed his allies once before. What's to say he won't do the same to you?"

    All this as he attempts to stab Samhain into submission, but he won't go down. The hammer swings, and Eryl does his best to deflect it, but it crashes against his chest. Here, Samhain feels that familiar feedback. The creak of ribs straining under the impact. The satisfying crunch of one of them breaking, muffled under muscle. Eryl goes sliding back, crouching low and burying his fingers into the floor to come to a stop, least he land in the inferno behind him.

    He coughs as he stands back up, touching his chest and wincing. "All right. I can't find any weaknesses on you. So in lieu of a clean victory, I'm just going to have to get mean." His eyes are cold now, empty. For a moment, he has the same eyes as Samhain.

    He breaks into a run, closing the gap. But partway through, his pants explode at the knee, a massive round flying at Samhain's gut, impacting hard enough to make even the giant double over. And that is where Eryl's true intentions lie. With Samhain's neck low enough to target, Eryl leaps into the air and comes down on the back of it with his elbow, a strike that would paralyse most for life. And then he doubles that up with another elbow slug to double the impact.

Rean Schwarzer has posed:
With Arianrhod:

Laura braces herself well enough, managing to not stagger for long from her sword being pushed back on. The second wave of attacks the Steel Maiden performs does push her back, and she staggers. "Ugh...Such strength." She then slams her sword into the ground, sending a shockwave towards the Steel Maiden.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Gaius lands, feet planted in the ground, but his face was in consterned shock as his attack is repelled. Jusis on the other hand retains his footing with a grunt, "Gh...!"

Neither had expected their efforts to bare so little fruit. "Seriously?! She pushed all three of you back like it was nothing..!"

Machias grips his weapon tighter, intent on stepping up to cover Gaius as the nord recovered his spear, but the Steel Maiden puts a stop to such notions as the golden light of her strength washes over all of them, flooring Machias instantly as if he'd been struck by a speeding horse.

Jusis attempted to defend himself with his sword and fared better, remaining on his feet, if only barely -- his saber, a stock and ordinary weapon, shattered from attempting to clash with her directly. "...!"

Gaius reclaims his spear, spinning it once above his head before resuming his stance. "Jusis, fall back!"

    "Tch..you don't have to tell me!"

His pride clearly stung, he moves away from the flank he'd been fighting by, relegated to Arts duty. "ARCUS Activate!"

Machias puts on his bravest front, and raises his orbal shotgun to fire a penetrating slug straight at her. "D-don't get too cocky!"

    Gaius concentrates, gathering his energy.

    In Plant B ...

Vulcan clicks his tongue, his weapon the mis-alignment causing a jam in his massive weapon of choice. "Damn. That's a shame..but it's the risk you run with those things, I guess. Well, whatever. Don't think that'll stop me!"

Discarding the weapon, he reaches for his waist and retrieves an orbal launcher, as well as a butchers knife larger than some men were tall. "Now, let's dance."

Scarlet dives, surrounded by burning flame, at Rean and Alisa with the intent of lighting them up. "You'd better move fast, boy, if you don't want to go up like a matchstick!"

'C' quivers, the power-armored soldiers seeming to have trouble figuring out what precisely they should be doing. One points his weapon at Elliot, "Stop that! Or ... I'll shoot! ... Probably ..."

Finally, 'C' speaks. One thing that could definitively be said is this;

        That voice does not belong to Crow Armbrust.

"I'M SICK OF THIS CHARADE! Uoooooooooh!"

Scarlet pulls back, an aggrivated look on her face. "Ugh. Now? Really?"

"Yes! Really!" The high pitched man cries, tearing C's helmet off of his head and chucking it across the room. He was a very pretty young man with bright blue hair.

At an incomprehensible speed, he uses C's cloak to scrub his armor clean of the sharpie marker he'd used to color it black, revealing it to be an identical set to the other red jaegers in the room. Placing his fists bombastically on his hips, he grins big and wide.

"Forget C! He's a loser! I'm ... the greatest jaeger who's ever lived!"


    "U...uh ..." "We're..very sorry about him ..."
        "You tell' em, sir!"

Vulcan sighs. "What a buzzkill. I was in a good mood for killin', too ... well, a job's a job. Let's get it done."

Samhain (7311) has posed:
"I don't care what his name is. They've been wronged."

Samhain pauses at the information about the leader. Eryl can see, in his body language very briefly, panic. Paranoia. He didn't know that.

"If they betray me, I'll kill them." His voice is still cold, but the plan has to change. He's going to be betrayed. He has to warn Liza - but wait, C is Watch. What if Liza tells C? That's bad. He can't warn Liza. She might rat him out. Decisions, decisions...

Eryl gets mean. The eyes of a predator. Samhain knows those eyes. As the run comes, the blow hits him in the gut, causing him to double back and briefly over. But before he can make the paralyzing blow for his neck - even if it might not work, Samhain doesn't want to chance it - the killer is rising back up with startling recovery time, and dematerializes his weapon, both hands going up to block the double punch at the expense of offense.

The bones in his palms strain from the sheer strength being output. Not enough to cease complete use of them, but they're going to be difficult to manipulate for a bit. "I can't trust anyone here." He mutters quietly, but Eryl's hearing is keen enough to pick it up easily.

Chains suddenly lash out to try and bind Eryl, though his force can break them. Samhain's probably planning an escape - why? He doesn't seem completely worn down.

And then Gilbert appears, revealing that C was a lie. Their ally wasn't even here. He was tricking them.

There's a low, guttural growl from Samhain. Eryl can once again pick up on it. Samhain Does Not Like This.

Liza Grier (7303) has posed:
    Rean and his classmates don't have to look far. After a full two hundred rout fusillade raking up and down the corridor, the last echoes of spent brass clinking to the ground reach, and then pass them, and then four acid green lights flare in the smoke. Painting trails of light in their wake, the lights rapidly surge towards them, along with the sound of fast, heavy, pounding bootsteps. It may be a trick of acoustics, but they sound far faster and harder than they should be. It's like being caught in the headlines of an oncoming train.

    A sharp, metallic clack rebounds off the floor. A canister grenade bounces into view through the smoke. It erupts into a blinding flare of light, which then separates into fluttering globs of burning phosphorous, spattering the walls, the floor, and the group. It doesn't seem to affect the optics of the oncoming adversary. Rapid, deafening blasts of a high calibre handgun chase the sound of the grenade, blossoms of fire flickering closer and closer, aimed at the standing classmates still in the vanguard. An electric crackle and hum follows, and a broad, double-notched disc of blue light covers up most of the dark, approaching shape.

    That shape ploughs right into the student vanguard, using the e-shield to bulldoze them down, smashing and battering paramilitary teenagers out of the way. Beelining to Rean and Alisa. Up close, he can see their hand slamming the butt of a handgun against a thigh mount, inserting a fresh magazine from a magnetic holster. The gun is aimed right at the prone couple, firing at nearly execution range.

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    Arianrhod seems content to let Jusis pull back to a support role, instead turning her attention to the more immediate threat of Laura. She turns to her side and plants her feet as she braces herself. The launched shockwave hits, forcing her to skid back a few meters. Though it's hard to tell just how much of the force made it through her armor.

    But the attack does present a good opportunity for Machias to get his own in. The large shell streaks right for Arianrhod. It strikes her in the shoulder, forcing the armored warrior to twist from the impact. She quickly shifts a foot to keep herself upright, before turning back. There's now a dent in her armor where the round struck. But still no penetration yet, showing to the toughness of whatever it's made out of.

    Gaius is left to his own devices as Arianrhod focuses on Machias and Laura. She leaps into the air, raising her blade up over her head as it begins to glow once more. She then quickly comes down between the gunner and the swordswoman, stabbing her sword down into the ground. The impact is strong, the concrete floor of the bay cracking as golden light shines upwards through it. The ground then explodes upwards around Arianrhod, catching both Machias and Laura if the two aren't able to get clear quickly enough.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    Eryl stares at Gilbert. He's so distracted he doesn't even resist as Samhain enwraps him in chains. Who is this? Why is he here? Why so much noise with a... fake...

    "Distraction," he hisses to himself.

    He flexes, and breaks the chains on him. With one foot, he kicks the slug that struck Samhain in the stomach at Vulcan. It beeps once as it approaches, before exploding violently. He aims at Scarlet with his finger, the air hissing at it fills with smaller slugs aimed at her hands, feet, elbows, knees, and solar plexus. A combination of shots aimed to utterly incapacitate.

    And then he marches on Gilbert like a man possessed.

    "What is this operation attempting to hide? Tell me, right now." His armblade erupts from his limb, an unspoken threat as to what will happen if he is not told.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
Scarlet's one good eye focuses, burning red flame bursting around her with a shout as she moves back, swiping her blade to send a wave of heat to incinerate the projectiles as they come. But, even with her superhuman reflexes and blistering heat, her feet and knees still find themselves pelted, knocking her off course.

The former-nun skids, struggling to stay upright.

"Gh ... geheh!" Grunting between his laughs, Vulcan is driven back momentarily. His ultra-hard hide, strengthened by earth and water quartz, left him much better off in the face of the assault than Scarlet, standing to his full height.

Gilbert, fear flashing across his face, recoils before his bravado returns, shakily. "D-don't talk to me like I'm beneath you, you punk! So what if you're some big shot at the Paladins?! I'm a professional, so I won't tell you anything!"

"NothatIcouldsinceCdidn'ttellmeanythinginthefirstplaceI'monlyherebecausehesaidhe'dgetmeVita'sautographand --- "

One of the soldiers places his hands across Gilbert's motormouth.

Vulcan shakes his head, "Hate to break it to ya', but the only ones here who weren't in the know are the /extras/ who popped up at the last minute."

He inclines his head to Samhain and Liza. "But don't relax. We're still more than capable of blowing this casket sky high if we have to."

"No you don't!" Rean, ever nimble, throws himself in front of Alisa as Liza enters his mai. A practitioner of the eight leaves, he held a certain sixth sense that allowed him a large degree of spatial awareness, enough so that he's able to release his ki from the edge of his blade in a deadly line, intent on slicing the barrel of Liza's weapon in half from afar while Alisa tries to get her bearing, swallowing thickly. "ARCUS Activate!"

A golden circle begins to form underneath the red armored mercenary. It was Liza's only warning before she was enveloped on all sides by exploding golden light.

Emma and Elliot, unfortunately, had been bowled over to the ground, neither being particularly hardy and thus, both struggling to get back to their feet.


Laura blurs to the side, "Hoh!" her footwork impeccable. Machias isn't quite so fleet-footed, and finds himself bowled over in pain once again, this time seemingly down for the count as he strikes his head against a shipping container. "Agh...huh...."

"Cheh, you deadweight!" Jusis grinds out, worriedly, before pushing his hands out. Laura and Gaius are both enveloped in the blazing red aura of Forte, bolstering their physical strength.

    "Behold! The Sword of Arseid!"

She engages Arianrhod in swordplay, light beginning to overflow from the edge of her family's sword as she pulls it back for a triple strike, releasing the light in great blue flashes. "RADIANT BLADE DANCE!"

    "You're mine!"

Gaius cries, having been bought the time and opening he needed, his aura exploding around him like a great bird taking flight as he takes to the sky, dropping in a downthrust. "CALAMITY HAWK!"

His energy is dispersed through the tip of the spear, aimed to strike at the dent in Arianrhod's armor with the full force of a hurricane.

Samhain (7311) has posed:
There was still a chance, a moment, that Samhain was going to tackle Eryl. To stop him. To help Liza, at minimum, if not Scarlet.

Vulcan's comment about 'extras' goes too far.

A picture frame suddenly appears, and Samhain moves to walk through it, but not before saying something to Eryl. "You were right about them. But I will go to any means to earn my happy ending. This is not moral."

"I will not be demeaned."

If not intercepted, Samhain leaves, the portal closing after him.

Arianrhod (7228) has posed:
    Arianrhod straightens once more as she calmly waits and prepares for the students around her to resume their attack. Laura is the first to come, boosted by the orbal power.

    Arianrhod's glows with golden light once more as she swings it up to meet that of Laura's. The two blades clash with a flash of light, before separating and coming together for a second blow. And then a third. Each time, Arianrhod maneuvers her weapon into place quickly, as if anticipating where Laura's next strike was going to come from. But while she's able to meet Laura's blows, the enhanced strength provided to Laura allows her to keep Arianrhod locked down on the defensive. For long enough that Gaius can finish preparing his final attack.

    Arianrhod breaks away from her brief duel with Laura just as Gaius comes plummeting down towards her. Arianrhod raises her weapon up into place, bracing it with both hands just as the spear comes down on her. The two weapons meet, Gaius's spear crashing against the flat of Arianrhod's blade. The energy clashing between the two sparks and flies around them as they each struggle against the other.

    And then, Arianrhod's blade shatters.

    Gaius's spear drives downwards towards the point on Arianrhod's armor where Machias created a dent. It strikes, energy pouring forth from the weapon and building. Arianrhod is forced down to one knee as the energy quickly gathers and is soon unleashed in a blast of light.

    As the light fades, Arianrhod can be seen kneeling in the small crater created in the concrete floor. The dent in her armor has been upgraded to a crack. And there does appear to be a little bit of blood seeping from it.

    Arianrhod slowly rises. Her helmet hides any reaction to the strike that might be on her face. But her voice is calm as she says to them all, "You are showing progress." Compared to what?

    Arianrhod lets the hilt of her now shattered sword fall to the ground. Even without a weapon, she displays confidence. But at that moment Arianrhod's helmet turns away from them, as if she is looking elsewhere. Then it turns back as she says, "It seems there is no longer any purpose to my remaining here." Arianrhod spins around, cloak billowing behind her as she starts walking away from the four. She calls back to them, "Rejoin your class. They may still need you yet." A light forms beneath Arianrhod, before engulfing her and causing her to fade away until she's gone.

Liza Grier (7303) has posed:
    The handgun is sliced clean in half out of Liza's hands just as she pulls the trigger. The hammer clicks on nothing, as the slide goes tumbling across the floor. The two are spared a bullet through the brains. Her hand darts down to her side, something popping out a concealed compartment. She raises the e-shield with her other arm to punch Rean head on, striking with the edge of the shaped forcefield.

    Magic light explodes all around her, and she is completely engulfed in the shining conflagration. Clearly that isn't something the operative was prepared for. It certainly gives the squad of students enough time to scatter before the dust settles.

    The black-red-clad operator is hunched behind the sparking remains of her shield emitter in bomb defusal posture, throwing away the ruined disc once it begins issuing flames. A faint halo of cyan light dims and sputters out around her; the remains of an emergency forcefield. Rather than chasing down the students, she speaks into her radio. "V. Do you, or do you not, currently possess the means to cause this entire reactor complex to chain detonate. Is that part a bluff as well?" Upon receiving her response, she adds "Then blow it already. Take them all out while they're gathered in one place." She's already brought up her wrist-mounted PDA and begun hammering her teleportation sequence out.

Eryl Fairfax has posed:
    One down.

    Samhain leaves, leaving two unaccounted for. Eryl is confident he can deal with the fake C and the other two, but the one on the radio, the one calling for immediate detonation is the most dangerous. And so Eryl chooses to play on that.

    "There you have it. Under C's orders, they are not going to detonate. Now, are you going to do the wise thing and cut them loose as C did you, or are you going to come here and take the detonator yourself?" he asks her. She rebutts, asking if he has it. Time for a risky move. "I do, in fact, have it. As you said, this lot are small time."Vulcan laughs, but does not rebutt. Good. This opens two options, but one closes itself. She chooses not to come to him. If the price for that is being called 'bland,' Eryl will take it.

    "There. Now it just seems to be you three." Eryl cracks his neck as he regards Scarlet, Vulcan, and Gilbert. "Are you going to stop wasting my time on this farce, or is C about to lose three of his pawns?" The armblade is still out, and Eryl looks mad.

Crow Armbrust has posed:
"Ugh ... huh ..." Gaius pants, on his knees. His body was so sore from pushing himself so far, it was hard to move. "Such a seasoned warrior ... a compliment from you means a lot."

Although they wound up on their knees and in various states of injury, at least Laura and Gaius felt like the experience was valuable. "Indeed. And if you are who I think you are, then ... I don't understand why you appeared before us today ... we'll meet again, if fate allows it." Laura says, resolute eyes watching the Steel Maiden depart.

        In Plant B ...

Rean falls back with a bloody nose, caught by Alisa. "R..Rean!"

Emma, now back to her feet, prepares her Orbal Staff, but it seems that the fearsome women they'd fought was already on the retreat.


"Claire..hey, I've got some bad news..." Lechter Arundel says, a tinge of remorse in his voice. "Is this about Armbrust? He's not -- " "There? Yeah. Turns out, we got played like a fiddles. He attacked Imperial Intelligence HQ and made a beeline for the Demonic Flute."

The name sparked a memory in Claire's mind, recalling earlier ILF incidents. "Wasn't that the relic used by Michael Gideon before his death? The ILF were using it to raise deceased monsters and cryptids back to life."

"Yep, the one and the same. So now that its back in their hands, they must have something truly nasty planned. I hate to admit it, but this time, it was his win."

Claire was careful not to grip her ARCUS unit too hard, lest she break it.

    In Plant B...Dropping his blade, Vulcan reaches for the gemstone hanging discretely from his pocket. Scalret does similarly, with one of her ear-rings. "Alright. We've held this place for the designated time. 'Til next time, squirts!"

"W...wait for me! I'm Gilbert Stein, you can't leave me behind! C--come on everyone!"

Gilbert and his men all grabbed identical stones secured to their wrists and applied pressure, cracking them. A foreign blue light tinged the room.

"It's about time for us to make our exit. Tonight turned out to be a big success after all! Ta~ta~."

With Scarlet's parting words, the group vanishes into motes of blue and green.

As for the jaegers still fighting, they continued to do so until their final breath. Without any hesitation for the reactor, now that the ILF had left, the RMP threw their full weight into assault.

It was a losing proposition, and rather than be captured, just like the incident at Garrelia Fortress, the leftovers chose to die via tooth-implanted cyanide capsules, or otherwise throw themselves onto the proverbial swords of their foes.


Crow fancied the flute. Gideon had favored it, a gift from Crow's connections to the supernatural. Even now, he felt pinpricks of regret over how he'd died. And now that he couldn't kill that magical girl to avenge him, either, the only thing he could really do was succeed in their collective goal. Out of all of them, Gideon had been the only one motivated by a higher purpose, of a sense of genuine justice rather than something as base as revenge.

But, now that the flute was back in his hands, he could put things back on track. Two thin feminine arms reached around his head from behind as Vita leaned down teasingly, moving to grasp onto the flute herself. "You certainly worked hard to get this back, my dear chevalier."

"Yeah...man, Arundel's no slouch. How'd he get such a shitty nickname for being so strong? It all worked out in the end, though."