SNF 2015.03 - SNF: Riptor vs Baiken in 'Rumble'

Description: When one of the world's top performing fighters extends a challenge, Ultratech has no other alternative but to bring its best solutions to the table. Committed to revolutionizing today's battlefield both on and off the arena, the Ultratech Red Expo is pleased to announce the first trial of the new Riptor Advanced Combat and Infiltration Unit. The flagship of Ultratech's spring offerings, this hunter-killer unit is producted by a cross section of cutting edge genetics and cybernetics. Inspired by nature, the Riptor Unit is one of the past's deadliest weapons, evolved and perfected for the present, all to protect the future. Available in a range of styles and models. Please contact your local Ultratech representative to order. Also, this unit is a cyborg dinosaur, which is totally sweet.

Little publicized underneath the slick showroom floors of the Expo is the livestock handling area, where the company's remote assets are stored when not in base. The air is thick with the smell of stock animals, from dogs to full cows, all stored neatly in a regimented system filling the walls and corners of the underground facility, clear vented glass cells cordoned off with thick iron latticework, far beyond the norm for a typical enclosure.

However, most of the area's run is actually dedicated to the Pen. A strip of land running underneath the entire length of the Expo, artificial hydroponics has allowed a veritable underground jungle to grow in the enclosure. However, the entire Pen is dominated, sealed off by fencing and barbed wire, quarter inch or thicker steel bars forming the majority of the physical confines. Large yellow diamond signs surround the area, triangle symbols underneath and lightning bolts symbolizing warning. KEEP CLEAR - LIVE ELECTRICITY. Other signs are even less welcoming, and several warn of live animals, much like you'd find at the Zoo.

Except the Zoo's signs did not include the verbage "serious injury or death" commonly when they advised not to feed the monkeys.

Ultratech employees are stationed at each gate leading to the interior of the Pen, and balk noticely at the approach of anyone even rumored to be allowed to enter the Pen. They will yield when neccessary, but only with great trepidation. Nobody really seems very happy about opening the Pen, given what happened last time.

Aside form the chatter of distant exotics, it tends to be deathly silent down here.

That's a lot of security.

Baiken has been to secure locations, but not many, and never by invitation; generally if a place is designed to keep people out this well, they don't go inviting her in. They don't open gates for her, however uncomfortably they do it or slow to act they are.

Baiken seems unworried by the signs. Maybe she doesn't read them. They're not Japanese. Does she read anything but Japanese? (Yes.) She is slightly more interested in the oversized bars and the electric fences. She refrains from sticking something metal against the fence to check its charge, though she does roll her remaining arm lazily as if she was going to do something with it.

She speaks to exactly one of the Ultratech employees as she passes. "It's almost like you don't want this demonstrated," she says, as she waits for the gate to be opened for her. "So much for a public demonstration of - what was it, your 'cutting-edge', 'flagship' machine?" The air quotes are almost palpable.

Baiken steps through the gate when allowed to. She expects to be challenged on the other side, and she rolls her shoulder again, resting her hand on the hilt of her sword. The other sleeve hangs slack, whatever tricks she's brought today out of sight. Her lips curl up slightly as she looks around the... jungle. There's no other word for it. Baiken doesn't have much experience with jungles, but she knows how to stay quiet in a forest, and this isn't that different in a lot of ways.

Keeping her hand on her blade's hilt, she takes a step in, then another... and then she waits.

"Machine?" The agent all but scoffs.
He doesn't bother wasting her time by refuting her color commentary, merely unlocking the gate and allowing her to pass. "There's a big difference," he points out as Baiken goes, "between a demonstration meant for spectators and one purely meant for investors and potential consumers." He slides the gate behind her, locking it with his key.

Oh, there are cameras here, you just can't see them.
And you will never know who will end up reviewing the footage.

As for the rest, the second set of fencing slides away to reveal the rough earth and manufactured sky from beyond the shades of grey and the ugly welts of welded latticed steel. The entry is in two stages, allowing a person to completely isolate themselves from both inside and outside before directly entering into the Pen as Baiken is allowed. The air is warm and humid, just as a jungle might be. There is an everpresent mold, and the temperature-contolled heat makes it hard to breathe. At least, hard for some.

There is a certain weight in the forest, which is otherwise completely still, but for wish of a warm breeze. However, being still does not make it seem any emptier. Past the gates, there is no one to speak to. Only, some ways in in the corners of hot ragged angry bloodstains running in great zigzag patterns across the floor. There's a lot of blood, far too much to be an accident, along with the ragged nylon buckles and cams of an attachment harness, possibly. What was one an attachment harndess.. It looks as if the entire scene was the site of a grisly murder.

Even worse, the weight in the forest seems to take on a soul of its own.
It is as if the strange forest had eyes of its own, watchng your every move.

"Hmm," is Baiken's response to the agent as she passes by. She expects to be watched. Probably by quite a few people, even if she doesn't see them around. That part, at least, she's used to.

Baiken shifts her feet slightly against the ground. It does feel like a jungle in here. A jungle in your basement seems like a strange thing for a company to maintain, no matter the purpose. The light is wrong, the air is heavy. She lets her eyes and body adapt for a few moments before moving again.

She moves toward the blood. Baiken does not touch it. She doesn't even stand right next to it. She stays several steps away, not looking at the murder scene (or whatever it was) so much as the area around it; she feels threatened and she isn't entirely sure why. There's something around, and she knows it. She can feel it.

Baiken stops resting her hand on the sword hilt. She grips it loosely instead, the butt of her palm against the top of the grip and her fingers loosely curled around it. Her eyes shift across the trees and the brush, and she debates letting off a smoke bomb but does not.

What the hell do they /keep/ in here? 'Advanced combat unit' didn't exactly tell her much.

It's right about then that it can be heard. Perhaps one of the most comforting sounds is a simple reminded that the building is not abandoned to nothingness. But there are dark spaces throughout. The venting of some obnoxious coolant, perhaps--the sinuous hiss that winds through the air seeming to last forever and come from the very leaves at once. However, there is something off about the mechanical precision of this sound--or rather, the lack thereof. Where a vent would exhale and be done with the affair, the sound that fills the darkness lasts must longer than could be placed. The strangeness- the sheer alien nature of it--kills any and all comfort would would have in the mundane. The hiss segues into something entirely different. Something alien, something organic.

The long, low hiss of something hunting.

Clicking sounds rip through the underbrush as the thing strides into half view, originating from a soft vocalization produced somewhere from what would almost appear the inner gates of hell, in pet form. Slipping free almost motionlessly from the ferns, the soft leathy and pebbled texture parts the vegetation around it as it appears. The lizard stands well over six feet, rippling with bunched muscle, by far the largest animal of such lineage on record. However, it is not simply a lizard. When Riptor strides into view, it briskles with crackling energy from not one but myriads of different claws and talons, all of which crawl with menacing energy.

Wordlessly, the massive predator looks at Baiken as if it had been expecting her the whole time.

Then it lowers itself to the ground, opening its talons. Opening its jaws full of twin rows of razor teeth, it shrieks something deep, inaudible, and fierce. Then it moves towards Baiken without any further delay, with the kind of deep, unabiding hunger that would look to be sated by nothing less than the fresh kill. This wasn't commonly a fighting arena... was a feeding pit.

COMBATSYS: Riptor has started a fight here.

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Riptor           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Baiken has joined the fight here.

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Baiken           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Riptor

The hiss of a hunter.

Baiken might not know this precise being, but she has - in her history - hunted quite a few monsters herself. Just because she doesn't recognize the precise thing that has made that sound doesn't mean she doesn't know what it is.

Baiken spins. She finds herself face to face not with a Darkstalker or a being out of legends, such as some of the things she's hunted in the past, but instead something else entirely. Something half-remembered from when she was a child, before the catastrophe; a glimpse of a book of dinosaurs purchased by a parent, and shown to the Baiken who went to elementary school.

She never expected to see something like that - and uncharacteristically, Baiken hesitates. Not long - just enough to take it in, as well as the modifications made, the plates and segments - and its sheer /size/. It's bigger than Baiken would have expected. Big enough to hunt her, and big enough for her to fight it right back.

Her lips curl up slightly. "So it's like that, is it?" She doesn't expect a response, because she's looking at what she thinks is an animal, a cyborg animal but an animal nonetheless. It charges her, and Baiken knows how to react to that.

She twists. Riptor misses by bare inches, so close that the trailing hem of her empty sleeve could brush it if she'd reached out when the raptor flew by, leaving her more in the open where she has room to maneuver. Baiken lands in a half-crouch, drawing her sword and lashing it up and out in the same motion, a single slash that returns it to the scabbard almost in the same motion. It's a powerful slash, aimed at Riptor's flank. It's big for what it is, and Baiken is hoping that makes it a slow turner.

She's not holding her breath, though.

COMBATSYS: Riptor blocks Baiken's Tetsuzansen.

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Baiken           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0           Riptor

Slavering jaws snap shut within inches of that trailing sleeve, teeth crashing together with the sound of sheathing knives, the raptor creature's claws crashing off of the packed dirt, stirred dust churning in its wake as momentum carries it a few steps into the vicious charge. All along the creature's spine, plates raise, channeling arcs of electricity along its body as it moves, charging its movements.

They said dinosaurs were extinct. But then again, the thing that attacks Baiken now is not the graceful and noble creature of those storybook sepia times, but a jangled mess of steel and flesh, moving like bottled lightning itself with only the mission of catching the new interloper on the battlefield in its mind. And move it does.

The competing hiss of Baiken's blade almost drowns out the creature's own as she cuts into the raptor's flank. But this thing--for all of its jumbled nature, there seems to be a purpose vehind every piece of hardware, and more alarmingly, a purpose behind every movement. The blade's edge collides with plate fitted along the creature's flank, something not unlike instinct forcing Riptor to shift just so that the blade catches along its flag, and drawing a minimum of blood for it as she turns.

And she never actually stops moving. Thundering claws draw up great rivulets in the dirt as she whirls, her entire length wrapping over herself like a huge Ouroburos, tail slipping high as the creature dives low underneath, neck snapping to the side as she moves to close jaws tightly onto Baiken's leg, knife-like teeth snapping shut on and at the dour woman's left ankle.

Riptor does not pause to consider her words. Truthfully, this creature does not seem to consider her at all.
There is only the merciless speed of the hunt.

COMBATSYS: Baiken dodges Riptor's Ankle Bite.

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Baiken           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0           Riptor

This definitely isn't the half-remembered concept out of a child's book, that's for sure.

Baiken has more experience fighting nonhumans than a lot of fighters, but she still has never engaged an actual honest-to-goodness dinosaur, and her first attack is probing. She needs to see how the - thing - reacts to someone with a sword, something its instincts presumably do not have anything to say about - but its training might.

And does, apparently. Baiken lets out a curse when her blade fails to draw much blood, as Riptor successfully shoulders the blow. She straightens from her crouch, letting the blade slam home into its scabbard as she begins to move -

The bite at her leg is not unexpected, but Baiken has lost one limb, and she doesn't really want to lose another one today. She springs back, using that open part of the jungle to her advantage, leaping a few feet away. Her feet kick up some of the damp ground as she comes to a stop, braced in a low posture, legs bent slightly as she takes a step away. There's so many trees; she's not sure how she can stop Riptor from getting away if it wants to, so she'll have to go on the offensive until then.

And then she comes right back in. Baiken turns her body so that her 'empty' sleeve is first, letting the sleeve wave like a banner as she advances. She only turns her body at the last moment, pivoting almost a hundred eighty degrees to bring her /left/ side forward. She draws her sword again but this time doesn't use the blade, instead hammering at the side of Riptor's skull with the hilt clenched in her fist and the blade held downward, a painful bludgeon.

COMBATSYS: Riptor endures Baiken's Medium Strike.

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Baiken           0/-------/----===|=======\-------\0           Riptor

The smaller human's shinny little blade is something that the creature has some familiarity with. Training is always a difficult word to use when the response is always a gradient of instinct and a certain primal direction that cannot be taught, only felt. But to say that Riptor is a static creature of response would be a mistake. Even now, when Baiken retreats, guarding her arm only to rush the creature back down, she will find bizarre yellow eyes watching her closely every step of the way. Alert, the spines on the raptor's head raised and quivering in anticipation, the swordswoman has Riptor's full attention when she whirls to attack her.

The animal is learning her opponent's mannerisms..

A sound not unlike the rattle of a snake is heard as the predator moves in closer to Baiken as she cuts the distance down, whirling on Riptor with the hilt of her blade. It's not a movement the creature really could have prepared for--not many swordsmen will engage her this close, and when the fearless warrior gains success by slamming the hilt into the ear of Riptor's head, forcing a sound just like a harsh, unreal bark to split the air, it may seem that Baiken's strategy has borne fruit.

Except Riptor is already snapping out again, trying to bite deep. Not into Baiken's flesh, however. Baiken teases the predator by quickly attacking and then jumping back when one or more of her limbs are in peril. But from watching her approach, Riptor seems to understand now--with alarming speed--the significance of Baiken only having one arm.

In this case, Riptor is snapping not at Baiken's body or legs or even her remaining arm, but the loose bit of cloth that forms her empty sleeve, a sleeve that wraps around her for one split second as she whirled on Riptor. In doing so, the creature responds with alarming focus, coming out of a damaging blow that probably would have sent stars flooding into the vision of any human. She is getting faster by the second. And if she gets ahold of Baiken's sleeve--even for just a moment--she will make her move.

Someone else might consider the act to be a simple mistake--a snap at a sleeve that was supposed to contain a limb. But Riptor slips right under Baiken's weapon arm to snap at the errant piece of cloth. Because then, she will be able to dig in her heels and pull back, to forcibly yank Baiken off balance.

If that happens, the only thing Baiken will feel next is the incomprehensible weight of all of that cybernetic creature's body as she pounces, hitching her legs high and trialing lightning-imbued claws of glass. Sinking those massive hooks into Baiken--yes, if she's thrown off for even an instant, Riptor is going to pin her to the ground and cut her open without any delay at all.

COMBATSYS: Riptor successfully hits Baiken with Talon Rake.

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Baiken           0/-------/--=====|=======\-------\1           Riptor

Baiken has had a decade to adapt to having no arm. She never learned how to fight before it was missing, and thus had no habits or experience using it to unlearn; she is quite probably the very best one-handed fighter in the world. Most people with such a handicap aren't fighters, or stop being so once they suffer it.

But the arm is still missing. There is slack there, and Riptor figures it out. That's clever, for the animal that Baiken believes her to be, but Baiken puts it down to instinct like a raging bull presented with a flag. Or she will later, when she's conciously thinking about it; right now she's reacting.

Baiken is pulled slightly off balance. She isn't yanked down all the way at first, and there's a strange clinking sound from somewhere inside or under the sleeve that may surprise Riptor of it (she?) is paying attention to it. But it's enough to get her staggering, and enough for Riptor to pull her the rest of the way down.

The claw does not rip her in half. It does a pretty good job of trying, raking down her side - but it digs into whatever clinked under the sleeve, catching in metal. Blood runs down Baiken's side anyway as she rolls away, ending up momentarily on her back before making it back up onto her feet. It hurts, a lot; Baiken hisses as she rises, a sharp release of air through her teeth. No words: she doesn't need many and Riptor can't respond. She backs up further into the clearing, trying to convince Riptor to come after her. She may have a plan.

What looks like nothing so much as a claw made of metal drops out of Baiken's sleeve, attached to somewhere up at her shoulder by a long length of chain. Baiken whips her body to launch it, trying to throw it past Riptor - and then, with her free hand, yank it back in, so that it catches Riptor from behind and drags her toward Baiken, off-balance. If one of them can use claws, so can the other!

COMBATSYS: Riptor blocks Baiken's Kabari.

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Baiken           0/-------/=======|=======\-------\1           Riptor

The claw drags great sparks from Baiken's fittings as Riptor kicks into her, the energy blades causing great lengths of lightning to crawl the length of the metal in Baiken's back, and catching the predator's attention enough to drive her to leap back, talons scraping in the sand as the raptor's stance goes wide and low.

A series of vicious clicks emanate from the creature's throat as it watches Baiken recover, eyes snapping onto the metal lengths tearing claws revealed, the glint from them attracting the creature's attention as easily as it might a cat's. Except that cats don't stand that tall, aren't that long, and aren't equipped head to toe with devices clearly designed to disembowel you. Long foreclaws flex in anticipation as the creature -- bizarrely -- waits for Baiken to get to her feet, unnervingly patient for a primal hunter. Calmly, an incisive eye locks onto the blood trail Baiken leaves, and then she blows air violently through her snout, catching scent as she breathes in.

The response to the unfurled chain is immediate--the creature ducks it, snapping low, but the prongs of the weapon dig into her hide deeply on the return trip, causing the creature to balk and set its claws into the dirt. The immediate response and realization -- just how heavy a creature like this seems to be when it doesn't want to be moved. Instead of being drug into Baiken's attack, Riptor cranes a long neck around and locks jaws onto the chain, one claw slamming back into the ground behind the other before the thing violently .. pulls.

In a violent game of tug of war, there is no hand-over-hand reeling as a human might, the pace something entirely different. A hound worrying the rope, Riptor throws her weight behind the chain multiple times within a short time, trying to pull Baiken off-rhythm and into kicking range, in which case she'll likely use those eviscerating, electric-charged claws to throw Baiken forcefully to the ground.

Even a second on the ground might be decisive... or even lethal. Baiken will have to do everything she can to keep that creature from getting control, getting on top, otherwise she could find herself the creature's next meal within eyeblinks.

COMBATSYS: Baiken interrupts Combo Mauling from Riptor with Sakura.

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Baiken           1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1           Riptor

This animal, this /thing/ (as Baiken thinks of it) is a hunter that really should not exist in the modern era. It would be terrifying for most people to face, and she understands why Ultratech has decided to use it as their demonstration model. It's strong, it's fast - and it's clever, in a completely inhuman way.

Baiken puts all her weight into the pull but, honestly, she is not very heavy; even counting her gear, Riptor outweighs her several times over. She's strong, and probably more than capable of pulling people off balance, even dragging them toward her - but Riptor doesn't move more than a step, if that.

Neither of them can perform the hand over hand tug of war, but Riptor has an equally effective method. She pulls, and Baiken - who is, after all, attached to the chain at the other end - is the one that moves. It's still a slow process, and Baiken's feet leave furrows in the soil as she digs in against it, but one thing is clear; she's moving from the position she wanted to be in, toward Riptor.

"Damn you!" she yells, despite the fact that Riptor almost certainly cannot understand her and definitely has shown no ability to speak back. Baiken tries to twist to dislodge the chain from Riptor, but doesn't manage it. She slides the last few feet over, going in for a kick -

Baiken's sword meets it. She thrusts with her blade, having drawn it in a flash; pink chi glitters up the blade and explodes outward from the tip as it lances for Riptor, glittering and drifting in the air like fallen cherry blossoms in a breeze. None of it lasts long, but it doesn't need to.

The sudden impact of the driving thrust is enough to save Baiken from being downed and evisceration, though not from the sheer impact from the larger creature; she stays upright this time but she feels the blunt part of the foot drive into her stomach, the hooked claws biting into her side. At least she still has all her guts, though wounds add up; Baiken is only able to ignore so many, but what's another cut among so many?

The prehistoric animals which the dromaeosaur was patterned off of truthfully would not have weighed that much more than a human--200 pounds at the most. Many species archetypes had hollowed out bones to increase speed and ability. Not so with Riptor, not so in the age of wired and genetically reimagined musculature, with reinforced skeletal structure. Now, certain aspects of the creature had more in common with Bengal Tigers instead of birds, and with all of the metal plates and wire fletching run through the raptor's pebbled hide, the creature could very easily top 300 or 400 pounds.

There is only the faintest hitch in the predator's actions as the swordswoman calls out a curse. There is no recognition of language--at least, one would suspect, but with that pause, one could easily imagine her ... listening, as if she might know that Baiken anthropomorphizes her. It was a disturbingly common trait amongst humans--one entirely alien to a primal, calculating mind.

There is almost the faintest sled of impatience with the creature as its kick fails to bite into the core of the swordswoman, instead Baiken's blade finding a fresh chi-laden point into the creature's side, eliciting an eerie shriek from the creature. Not one of horror or fear--really nothing at all. THe reaction is wild and uncontrolled. Ferocity is a hard thing to quantify, to assign an emotion. The raptor writhes, snapping around the injury quickly as it nurses the wound, leaving Baiken's chain on the ground as it quickly retreats from the conflict. One lap of blood away from the injury, and it seems to consider its actions.

Lifting on its raptorial heels, the creature chuffs loudly, an odd, reverberating sound that can be heard throughout the Pen. The sound happens twice, like the knocking on a door. And then she opens her mouth and regurgitates nothing short of pure fire after Baiken, the blast of flame carving a brutal curtain through the battlefield, and leaving arcs of flame wherever she lashes her head. It takes a moment, but the flames slowly build, cutting towards Baiken and threatening every square inch of her directly.

What is the source of this dragonfire?

COMBATSYS: Riptor successfully hits Baiken with Flame Carpet.

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Baiken           1/-----==/=======|=======\=====--\1           Riptor

Baiken weighs about a hundred pounds, tops. These things are relative.

It isn't that Baiken anthropomorphizes Riptor. She doesn't, really. She thinks of Riptor as an it, explicitly not a person at all. An animal at best, a machine at worst. But cursing is a way for her to let out some of her own emotions; it's a release. She doesn't really care what her opponent thinks about it.

When given a moment's respite, Baiken pulls up her chain, the clawed 'hand' vanishing up the sleeve again. She does it quickly, with a practiced motion, wrapping the chain slightly so that it doesn't clink or clatter much and the 'hand' doesn't drop right back out of her sleeve. The shriek is a pained sound, one that reinforces Baiken's opinion of it as an animal.

Baiken expects another charge. She doesn't get it, but Riptor stays back instead. Baiken can't figure out why it's holding back. Does it want to run away? Is it calling a pack? Baiken's eye shifts as she checks the brushes, then back on Riptor, just in time for it to act.

If there was one thing Baiken /wasn't/ expecting, it was fire.

This time it's Baiken's turn to yell in pain, a surprised sound until she clamps her jaw closed, shutting out the agony. She doesn't run away from the fire, either - she runs through it, the edges of her outfit charred and smoking but the speed preventing her from catching entirely. It hurts, to literally run through flame like that; Baiken doesn't like fire at the best of times. It brings back bad memories.

That's probably why her slash at the end of the run is so vicious, a not-quite-wild strike with her sword. Still held point-down in her hand and blade-out, Baiken brings it across her body in a slashing cut, like a knife-fighter with a giant knife; she tries to stay in so close to Riptor that she can't breathe again, which unfortunately leaves her in foot range. Still, Baiken is prepared for that again. she?

COMBATSYS: Riptor interrupts Suzuran from Baiken with Tail Sting.

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Baiken           1/--=====/=======|=======\=======\1           Riptor

If you think about it for a moment, it seems almost too apt. What better resource for a dinosaur-styled bioweapon than dragon's fire? What more evocative a killing tool? It would make sense that Ultratech would gift it to this creature. Hopefully, they did. There is a certain rumor that Ultratech never actually engineered the ability to breathe fire into Riptor--that the dromaeosaurid one day simply learned the ability. Learning being a key factor here. As Baiken rushes into the flames, she will find her waiting for her.

She may realize, only a moment too late, that the creature is trying to corral her with fire, and that moment in which she tries to rush through it gives her the second's worth of blindness that a primal animal or robot should rightfully never take advantage of.

Riptor's head whips around, jaws slamming shut over the blade's guard as Baiken stabs it at her like a knife. The only concession to the wild and unexpected form of the ronin is the blood trickling down the predator's jaw from a cut membrane in the side of her mouth. Even now, the hot, wet, fetid breath of that creature pours over Baiken's hand, condensing into thick sweat almost as swiftly as the horrific odor bales out of the creature's jaws, the byproduct of the decay of raw meat in the spaces between its sharp teeth, teeth that now threaten Baiken's blade as well as her remaining hand.

If Baiken's sword wasn't there, it might be that she would have lost her hand there and then.

Still, if that were it alone, the situation would merely be a deadlock, but instead the creature is pulling again, twisting and thrashing its neck as if trying to break Baiken's hand off at the wrist. So occupied with that, Baiken might not be aware of the raptor's actual attack, as it tries to pull the swordswoman low. Her tail lifts, raising into the air, and then a series of vicious snaps sound, metallic ringing filling the air as Riptor's tail snaps open into rilled segments separated by a thick cable, not unlike the vertebrae of a spine. Lightning crawls around the entire length as Riptor's tail blurs into the air as she pulls back on that blade. It arcs over her head, like the tail of a lightning scorpion. The point, a steel spike roughly a foot long running in line with the tip of her tail, is brought to bear on Baiken, the creature's real tailtip turning away from the point of impact.

While pulling her offbalance, Riptor is trying to stab Baiken in the back.

Even if Riptor was trying to corral Baiken with fire - which is not impossible - she hoped to take it by surprise. Most people recoil from flames. Even Baiken does - but she overcomes that first instinct to pull back and instead push forward.

She does not.

Baiken's sword is bitten by Riptor, and Baiken's first response - automatic, beyond thought - is to keep the blade intact. She went back into the bay after the Butcher for that sword; she is not letting an animal, a machine, or some unholy hybrid take it away from her when a monstrous killer didn't. She twists, jamming the mouth open by pressing the butt of the hilt into the upper jaw. It keeps her hand safe for a moment, though not after Riptor starts to thrash.

That's enough to nearly get Baiken to drop the sword. Instead, levering, she manages to pull her hand free; teeth leave bloody marks down Baiken's arm, but her sword and her hand are intact. Unfortunately, in so wrestling her blade away from Riptor, she has left herself open for a weapon she doesn't know exists. Baiken really should be better at identifying other people's secret weapons, given her own style. And maybe she is - but Riptor is not a human.

The segmented tail tipped with a razor-sharp blade stabs into Baiken. She tries to turn, to get away from it; this means she is not impaled all the way through the center of her back but into her upper right shoulderblade. There is a spray of blood, and another pained growl from Baiken, almost animalistic herself. If she had an arm on that side it would probably be numbing; she doesn't, so all she feels is the heat and pain.

She seems like she's going to stay there for a moment. But then, all at once, Baiken moves.

If she had been stabbed through the front Baiken wouldn't be able to do this, moving forward. She vanishes. She moves so fast her entire body blurs, pulling herself out of the impaling tail-spike painfully. But that isn't enough to stop Baiken's speed, moving all in a single instant, slashing so fast it isn't seen or felt -

Baiken reappears. She's about ten feet beyond Riptor, behind her, her back to Riptor until she turns, pressing towards a tree to avoid Riptor striking her in the back again. Her sword is just barely out of its sheath, and she slams it home, loud enough to click.

/Then/ the wounds appear, a bloody spray out of nowhere - if her improbably fast strike managed to connect, anyway.

COMBATSYS: Baiken successfully hits Riptor with Tate Shunmaku.
- Power hit! -

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Baiken           0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Riptor

Riptor is stunned for a moment, confused by the sudden movement and absence of Baiken the moment she breaks away from the raptor's jaws. A low growl builds in the creature's throat, ominous clicking pervading the Pen. The spines at the base of the predator's skull rise, electricity crawling on them.. as it takes in a great breath of air, nostrils flaring. At the exact same time, Baiken's blade clicks into the sheath.

The creature whirls around to track Baiken the instant it catches her scent, catches the noise, but at that same instant, the dromaeosaurid's entire side splits in a gory havoc of a slash, the first (and maybe last) decisive cut of the battle. AS she whirls, she finds her raptorial hindclaws baptized in her own blood, the crimson hissing and sizzling off of energy-crawling claws.

Truthfully speaking, Riptor never actually stops moving from that point onward, shrieking an unearthly and primal call into the artificially lit sky as she thrashes against the incredible damage to her side, the only thing keeping her alive and in one piece being the reinforcements made to the skeletal structure protecting her vital organs. However, this is not enough to calm the creature, which is in a full out panic from the damage. Spines shivering from agitation, the creature thrashes forward, snapping at objects not actually there in an attempt to dislodge imaginary(?) items from the wound on her side. It's entirely probable that she isn't hallucinating; she could in fact he attmepting to rip equipment from her body that is attempting to seal the damage, causing further irritation.

Moving erratically, it might not even seem like Riptor is paying much attention to Baiken. At least, until the creature locks an eye on her. In an instant, she surges primally into Baiken's space, trying to simply slam her spined head into the swordswoman and pin her good arm against the tree trunk, hard enough to split the lower bones of her arm from their sockets. In that split second, ages of instinct cascade down onto the creature, finally broken and driven into a blood fury by its own injuries. Flame curtains all around in slashing and scribing attacks, disemboweling claws kicking out in a vicious fury. Systematically, Riptor will move to tear Baiken limb from remaining limb. The thought pattern is there--she responds quickly to any attempt to escape. But the focus ... that eerie focus ... is simply gone.

It's entirely probable that Riptor will bleed herself into unconsciousness in the fury of her attack, kicking and screaming at the foot of a shattered, burning and ruined tree. Riptor will not stop until she cuts the tree entirely in half on the pointso f her claws.

Regardless of whether Baiken goes first or not.

COMBATSYS: Riptor can no longer fight.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Baiken           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Riptor successfully hits Baiken with Ultra Predator.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Baiken           0/-------/--=====|

One slash is often enough, delivered with enough force at the proper time. It doesn't always work for Baiken, but it works often enough that she's chosen to depend on it as a decisive blow, a combination of speed, strength and skill that is difficult for most people to match.

Baiken sees what she's done to Riptor, and she's satisfied. It's not dead yet, but that's a blow that she would consider mortal to most; she can't tell how much the modifications are keeping her alive beyond 'some', but she expects that will take the fight out of the raptor.

She is half right. The blow will absolutely down Riptor. Baiken is correct on that front. But it won't do so immediately.

Riptor slams her head into Baiken, ramming her into the tree. It hurts; the sword falls from Baiken's suddenly slack grip as her arm is partially crushed against it, sliding back into the sheath from where she'd been preparing to pull it back out. She's not sure she /can/ draw it immediately, even disregarding Riptor's continuous assault. All Baiken can think about is how to get away, how to back off and not get herself torn in half.

Riptor's claws rake against Baiken as she takes an almost entirely defensive position. Her chain and 'hand' drops out of the sleeve again, and she wraps it around her in an attempt to tangle Riptor's claws and prevent them from digging in quite so much. Electricity arcs down them from the energy claws - and her attempt was a failure, as Riptor simply carves through the armoured chains, ripping into Baiken's side. The metal claws on their box, the false 'right hand' hits the ground with a thump.

She throws herself back, then, the length of tangling chain clattering against the tree as she rebounds off it, trying to get away from Riptor. She can't even use it to climb, between the damage to her side, the fact that she has no working arms, and the lack of her claw 'hand', currently sitting in the wet dirt, trampled underfoot.

Baiken rolls. She hits the brush and decides to stay in it, dirty and bleeding. Riptor tears the tree up behind her, shattering the trunk and carving great gouts out of it, breaking it in half. Baiken is not being torn in half - but honestly, she doesn't /need/ to be hurt much more. She's already struggling, breathing hard, focusing to ignore the pain.

Eventually, when the sounds stop, she rises. She's wobbling, the chain dangling out of her right sleeve and her actual hand pulled up into her left sleeve, hiding the trauma to the lower arm. Her robe is slick with blood, red and torn in multiple places. But she is, after everything, still standing.

She raises her voice. "Open the gate," she says to nothing at all - she knows they have cameras. This is followed by her again, louder, more angrily and pained, "Open the damn gate if your want your /product/ to live." She's made her point here, after her challenge. It was nothing like she expected - but she has nothing else to prove here.

COMBATSYS: Baiken has ended the fight here.

Log created on 21:47:26 03/15/2015 by Baiken, and last modified on 18:34:36 03/18/2015.