KOF 2016 - KOF Stage 1: Team Interpol vs Team Sunshine

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Description: The Pao Pao Cafe is well known for Southtown affecindos as the one place for food, fun, and fighting. Thanks to the fact that most of the worldwide competitive fighting runs through Southtown one way or another, the world will get the opportunity to experience a local treasure within the city. Team Interpol will be leading off with Agent Daniel 'Lady Killer' Little against Miami sensation Reya "Neon" Romero. It's detective on detective action right down at Pao Pao cafe. And remember: Thursday is Girl Teams Night! Three for One specials for girls teams! <Winner: Team Interpol>

The Pao Pao Cafe: The best kept secret of Southtown

Every seat in the cafe was filled; RSVP only. An entree and bread plate was included, along with soft drinks.The tables didn't have tablecloths, and the cutlry was so-so. The food was comfortable, and the drinks were some of the best in town. But people didn't come to the mall in Southtown for the food and drink here. They came for the fighting. They came for the first round of the King of Fighters tournament, and against two teams that had not even demonstrated their power yet: Team Interpol, and Team Sunshine.

The fighting itself will be taking place in the center of the cafe.

In the middle of the Pao Pao cafe was black and white tile, freshly refurbished for the recent King of Fighters. An oriental style in the red pillars was highlighted by the giant plaster dragons winding around them, their maws bared in great smiles. Contrasting it, was the giant neon-light palm strees mingled with the stone statues and plaster dragon, tropical miami cheese mixed with traditional Asian aesthetics. A grand chandelier hangs over the center, amongst many spotlights and strange, shuttered lamps focused over the center. On the bysides, the VIP tables were in place, where the fighters and the choice guests were encourage... including a pair of grey skinned men, with an oppressive presence. One, the taller one, was clean-shaven and broad-shouldered. He wears an impressively long leather coat, black with crimson trim. His shorter counterpart is lanky and thin, wearing a tight double-breasted suit and a sharp goatee. Accompying them is a singular Combot, dressed in the uniform of a Miko, and several technicians, operating comptuers with a great big HitBit logo on them.

And at one of the VIP tables, was Daniel Jack himself.

The agent of Interpol was dressed in his Interpol greys; a grey suit, a grey trenchcoat, black spats, and grey slacks. He was hovered over the table. He had... he had been here a while. Well before the official match's start. His excuse? Scouting this place out, and preparing himself for the fight. The actual reason? "Another... Tom Collins!" The detective drones to nobody in particular, blinking hard as he toys with one of the dozen glasses by him. "A good Interpol detective... always arrives early! Always arrives first! Always is the first one!" He says aloud. A hiccup comes, and then he blinks. "Wait, hold on, I was supposed... to think that!" A good Interpol detective always arrived early, always arrived first. He had to case the place, get a feel of the atmosphere. "And one thing is for sure..." Daniel starts, before interrupting himself. ONe thing is for sure.

"I hope that Neon broad is cuter than that Scratch girl!"

There is a claim laid out by some that while the West grew tired of the excess and excitement of the 80s, abandoning it as reality came crashing down, Japan never truly abandoned the bombastic style and colors that had made the decade iconic. This was expressed in the upbeat music of their idols and the ecclectic styles of hair and clothing.

This was part of the reason that when Detective Reya Romero was sent on assignment to Southtown, she always made sure to put in a stop at the local clubs to bask in the sights, the colors, and the sounds of the austentacious night club. It didn't hurt that it was easy enough to convince the DJ to put on something more her style whenever she wanted a turn on the dance floor.

The Pao Pao Cafe had gone a different direction, with its dance floor service as a fighting ring as often as not, and it's style even older than that of the 80s, even if it was slowly starting to get dragged into something modestly modern. Rather than wasting time in a place that clashed with her sensibilities, sitting around drinking, Neon had chosen the option of being fashionably late and hopefully getting an opportunity to ignore all the needless ceremony before the fight properly started.

As Neon makes her actual entrance, it's impossible to miss unless one was assuming that one of the palm trees had sprouted legs and decided to make a scene. Black leather and lights remain the look of the day as she makes her way past the bouncers. When you're unique, they shouldn't even bother needing to check for your name, they just know. All across her jacket, colors flow in while patterns, swirling thourgh intricate shapes that occasionally manage to squeeze out the words "KING OF FIGHTERS" and "TEAM SUNSHINE" as she carries herself to the center of the club with the sort of practiced walk that slips one foot perfectly in front of the other while her hips sway back and forth.

Gliding past the team table, she offers a quick, "Hope I didn't keep the party waiting too long," before simply walking out to the center of the floor and coming to a halt, hip shifting to her side as she rests her weight on one foot.

As Daniel sits hunched over the table, eyes blinking in an expression only the horribly drunk or horribly confused can ever manage, A broad figure in a midnight-blue coat settles into the chair across from him. The wooden frame groans under the bulky man's weight, table tipping slightly as he leans forward and braces his forearms atop it. Mismatched eyes stare stoically across at the dark-skinned man, taking in his hiccupping state.

"Agent Little." Noboru rumbles, deep voice little more than a murmur that carries just over the noise of the crowded cafe. "We must speak soon. Of this tournament, and many other things. But for now, I believe you have reached your cut off point."

The big shinobi's face is masked, golden brown hair hanging messily about his ears. it is strange that he would have been allowed in wearing an outfit such as his. But, then again, maybe he wasn't. Ninjas have a bad habit of winding up places they shouldn't be.

"Your match begins soon. You will be fighting Neon, a skilled fighter who is adept in the use of her chi. prepare yourself."

As if taking her cue from the ninja, Neon chooses that exact moment to strut her way into the center of the restaurant. Her loud, colorful splendor is impossible to miss, the shifting lights of her costume casting flickering dots across the shinobi's broad back.

COMBATSYS: Neon has started a fight here.

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Neon             0/-------/-======|

Only one person sits at the table which has been set aside for the members of Team Sunshine. The furniture is quite showy in its craftsmanship, dark lacquered wood with cheap inlays of Chinese letters and iconography, golden symbols for good fortune and long life and other such trite nonense decorating the scales of long winding dragons and snarling tigers, while golden statues molded into incense burners, ashtrays, and flower pots liter its surface, all of which flash between a variety of psychadelic colors in the eye-searing visual assault that is the neon lights covering the place. Yet somehow, the figure that occupies the only seat around this collection of ostentatious finery seems to draw far more attention.

Ingrid sits atop the chair as if she owns it, her posture relaxed against the woven surface of its high-neck back, one leg crossed atop the other at the knee. Her hands rest neatly here, white-gloved fingers clasped together in a non-chalant pose atop the smooth silk of her dress; and what a dress it is. Gone is her usual attire of sensible, perhaps even modest combo of blouse and skirt. Gone are the full length nylons that masked the pale skin of her long legs into a rich dark color. And gone are the simple but elegant low-top slippers.

Instead, Ingrid has chosen to embrace the strange retro sensation that grips this place in her own and rather unique fashion. What she wears now could charitably be called 'showy'. A halter top that looks to have been chosen out of a lingerie catalog encases her chest in blue silk and frilly lace, a motif that carries on throughout the rest of her ensemble. Her arms are like-wise garbed in free-floating sleeves of the same material cinched tightly about her biceps with ribbons of white. A scanadlously short skirt drapes down from her waist in tiers with more lace and frills segmenting them in a fashion that strongly resembles that of a French maid. Thigh-high socks of white silk reach up all the way to nearly the bottom of said skirt, sporting blue ribbons and bows in an inverse of the top half of her garb, while a pair of high platform heeled slippers are buckled about her feet.

In her current reclined position, the skirt has ridden up her leg to a position that is danger-close to lacking modesty though her conveniently crossed legs and the generally poor lighting make it not quite possible to get a glimpse of anything that might harm her reputation. Not that people are trying /really really/ hard. If she is even aware of these effort, and honestly, how could she not be, the Eternal Goddess shows no signs of concern. Let them bask in her radiance.

As Neon passes by, the team leader shifts her attention from a half-empty glass and a pile of pictures and notebooks, of which she was in the process of autographing, and turns to peer at the light-bulb clad woman with a faint smirk from beneath her striking blue top hat.

"Don't worry about it, dear, no one frets over the opening act." She winks and puckers her lips, blowing a fake kiss at the lady cop. "Try not to go too hard on them, wouldn't want you to get charged with police brutality, hmm?"

Daniel's reflexes are swift.

The moment the table begins to lean, the detective eases the remaining glasses, easing them to keep them tipping over, or even rattling."Heeeeey! My favorite... ninja... who nearly left me in traction." The detective grins, looking over the titanic masked man. "Though uh, I thought you were John Smith. John Smith. Was Lucy Furr or Mr. E taken, or something scuzzy?" He grabs one of empty glasses, and taps it against another glass. "Neon, huh. Yeah, who is the dame I'm supposed to be-"

And the detective cranes his neck at the passing Neon.

Daniel's eyes go wide, and he just transfixes that gaze on the brightly dressed woman. He gives a quick whistle. "Well, hell. I've never seen a sharp-dressed lady like that." Rising up into a stagger, he keeps a grip on the glass as he gives a slap to the ninja's arm. "Thanks for the tip, Noboru." The detective nods firmly, wiggling his mustache. "Hope to see you in round 2 then." Stumbling backwards towards the center ring, he salutes Noboru.

"Wish me luck, scuzzy!"

Reaching the center ring, his shoes squeak on the tile. Gumshoe my ass. Turning around, he looks at his opponent, and grins. "And you must be Detective Romero. So that's John Smith over there, long tan and handsome. That must mean..." He looks over to the sides, to the showy young thing with the skirt dangerously close on the edge. The shock must have sobered the detective up, cause he just jolts. "And that must be Ingrid! I- She-." He steps back away from Neon a bit, fixing himself on his side of the ring. "Friggin kids these days, dressing like strippers, I swear to crap..." The muttering turns his gaze back to his glass, letting the light dance through its stained insides. "Well, I'm Agent Little, or Daniel Jack to my friends! I'm the captain of Team Interpol!" And he beams, looking towards the crowd. There is a murmur amongst the crowd, followed by a loud booing. "BOOO! LADY KILLER! DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY!" Was the cry from a single rotund women with the stack of chicken legs in front of her. Daniel shrugs. "Yeah, uh. I'm also a lady killer." Easing into the defensive stance of Todoh so naturally, one hand forward, the other hand clutching the glass back.

"What's a nice girl like you doing in a tournament like this, sweetheart?"

COMBATSYS: Daniel has joined the fight here.

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Daniel           0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0             Neon

As Neon waits for the fight to get properly started, she begins adjusting her her fingerless gloves, tugging at them on her wrist to make certain that the metal plates covering her knuckles are properly in their protective (or perhaps inflictive) position), maintaining a perfectly calm and restrained appearance as Daniel Jack himself stumbles about.

"I'm not on the job, so you should probably just call me 'Neon,' unless you're planning to do something where I need to put the cuffs on you, Jack," Neon's husky voice offers in response to Daniel's loose lipped rambling. Something about her tone hits that perfect balancing between seduction and threat, the sort of voice that triggers a feeling at the base of the spine.

Despite the lights of the club and the rotating shades of brilliant light that flow through her shades, it's clear that she's offering a quick side-eyed appraisal to the Interpol agent, lingering with a hidden sense of intent on his current attire.

"Hmmm..." Romero offers with a low rumble in the back of her throat, "Did you finally surrender to the fashion police and go for bland or was there a dress code nobody told me about? Not that I would have attended if they were too stuck up to appreciate a good time."

Apparently content with that touch of banter, she clenches her fist, the sound of leather twisting barely audible over the sound of the crowd and the music, but a keen eye might notice a faint flickering all across the dance floor that's almost disguised by the natural lighting. Outlines in all sizes that line the field in near invisbility.

And the instant the signal goes up for the fight to start, the entirety of Neon's jacket lights up with an incredible show of "ROUND ONE!" followed by "FIGHT!" as she lashes out with a sudden rushing elbow aimed dead center on the other detective's chest.

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Neon's Fierce Punch.

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Daniel           0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0             Neon

"John Smith is not here today, Daniel." Is Noboru's simple reply, rumbled mildly as the brute of a man eases back in his seat. Accepting the smack to his shoulder with idle impassiveness, the shinobi's Mismatched eyes track the detective on his staggering way toward the fight.

He does not wish him luck.

Instead, the outsized ninja waits until all eyes have turned toward the pair of fighters squaring off in the center of the room. Then, with a smooth economy of motion that belies his size, he slips from the chair and stalks out of sight behind a dragon-ringed pillar. As a result, the comment referring to one 'John Smith' leads only to an empty chair, lying abandoned across the table from where the detective had once sat. Perhaps the poor man imagined him there. Alcohol is, after all, a hell of a drug.

However, not all is as it should be. To most everyone in the room, this is shaping up to be a very colorful and sexually charged match. One of many in the King of Fighter's tournament. Something to be remembered for decades to come.

But for one young-seeming girl in risque club wear, the night holds many more secrets.

Before Ingrid's eyes, the room seems to shift. The place is the same. The time not so distant. The center of the room is fogged with uncertainty, the vague shapes of two indistinct fighters meeting in an epic clash. But these people are not the focus of her vision. For above them, the room becomes clear.

Brightly colored lights twinkle and shine, their garish colors briefly painful to the eye. And then, they vanish. Thick puffs of choking black smoke erupt from each of the lights, casting the entirety of the restaurant into foggy blackness. All is dark and confused, until slowly backup lights begin to flicker to life. And there, slipping quietly off toward the back of the restaurant, is a tall man in a midnight blue cloak. In the low light his white and blue eyes gleam with glacial hardness, posture unhurried, but pace taking him ever further toward the exit.


The vision fades, and Ingrid finds herself once again looking out at the Pao Pao Cafe just as Neon explodes into her first attack.

Daniel's patient.

As Neon gets ready, he just smiling idly, looking at her. The smell of liquor was strong on him. But with Sergei... out at the restroom, the detective had to handle this with a hostile to neutral audience, and a very distracting piece of jailbait on the sidelines. There wasn't even a good luck from Noboru. Daniel was out on a limb here. And as the other detective matches the detective's own gravy, he adjusts his gaze to the vague flicker of light. Oh, he saw that. And like that, the match begins with barely a moment's notice. Neon was exploding forward with the lights going up.

And Daniel is already moving with the blow.

"I was thinking of my old PI outfit, Neon." Daniel continues as the leading hand hooks on the Miami vice's wrist. The blow doesn't get the center, but a strong blow right into the shoulder. Grunting hard, he forces himself to continuing, stepping in. "Orange Zoot Suit, that was something I could -really- cut, you dig? I like your ensemble though, no joke. It's bold, real bold" He draws back his other hand around, wincing at the pain. "So what's with the teenager?" Daniel idly begins, as his other hand thrusts in... glass first. The detective explodes the with a jerking, smashing drive. To drive it palm first right into the woman's face, to smash the glass right in. All with the smooth talk from the strong-smelling detective.

"She's supposed to be your captain, right?"

COMBATSYS: Neon blocks Daniel's Light Random Weapon.

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Daniel           0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0             Neon

There's something about being a police officer where you are very aware of just how much damage someone can do with a glass in their hands and alcohol on their breath. Many a career has been ended by someone who moments ago was in the very blissful happy stage of drunk and suddenly entered the violent period where anything on hand is a potential threat.

Most of those people don't wield them with the same intent and precision that Daniel Jack does, and it's only years of instinct that help Neon get her arms up in front of her face before she has to test just how likely her shades are to prevent her from being blinded. Her arms clech tight as the impact sends lightning cracks flying up along the glass's surface, small flecks bursting out from the new pressure to fly through the air like minature diamonds.

Her right arm staying in position to hold the defense, her left comes up from the side to apply a quick smack of pressure and send the glass, hopefully, clattering along the floor and out of action.

"She's one of those idol types; big crowds, lots of fans. Willing to bet she's older than you think." With just a faint smirk, Neon quickly adds, "I'd tell you that you might still want to keep your mind out of the gutter, but if that's the way you fight, then you're probably pretty comfortable down there."

A sudden touch of punctuation on her comment, Neon's fist comes flying in lower and hard, this time aiming to catch Daniel Jack in the stomach and send him flying back. Normally it would be plenty to make him skid to the other side of the dance floor, or slip off his feet, instead the Detective would feel the presence of a wall behind him that definitely wasn't there moments ago.

The rest of the club can instantly see a brilliant wall of shifting light comes out of nowhere behind the PI the instant her first fist hits.

And it's by no means the last, she flies in without an ounce of hesitation, her fists flying in a rapid fire series of brutal body blows with a final strike sending him crashing through the plane of energy in a manner that feels all to like being sliced up by a glass store front.

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Neon's Street Desire.

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Daniel           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0             Neon

The gift of vision has come to Ingrid many times throughout her life, glimpses beyond the veil of time that clouds the eyes of simple mortals, and each time it is never when she expects it to do so. With a practiced exhale born from years of repetition, the girl relaxes and leans back, her posture nonchalant and her expression as mysterious as ever.

The world seems to slow down around her as if everything were suddenly trapped in a sea of molasses. She focuses her eyes on the room at large, concentrating on nothing in particular while allowing every hint of movement or unusually sharp imagery to filter into her mind. Even in these isolated moments of clarity, her own gaze remains muddled and hazy, picking out only hints of possibility and things that might be. It takes a great deal of discipline to find the meaning in these visions. Only once has she received a clear sight of the future to come and the overwhelming burden of that inescapable fate still rests on her slender shoulders to this day.

The first thing that catches her attention is the indistinct forms that continue to battle at the center of the room. They move and weave with no real pattern or distinguishable feature to their art, mere shadow puppets to represent a concept rather than an absolute. She will find no glimpse into the outcome of her fight here and thus it is not important. It never was, really; not to her, atleast. This entire ordeal is little more than the latest move in a long game of chess, a pawn sent forward to draw out the danger. That she is having more than a vague premonition of danger alone is enough of a victory for it all to have been worth her time.

Next she looks to the crowd, scanning the mirade of blurred faces for one that might have some manner of detail or distinguishable characteristics to it; again, nothing. Only faceless phantasms with mouths agape in muted cheers greet her efforts. The corners of her eyes pinch slightly in annoyance but she keeps looking, searching to no avail, until the lights suddenly go out.

Eyes widening in surprise, the girl otherwise remains motionless, waiting to see what happens next though her head tilts slightly to peer up at the ceiling around the brim of her oversized hat. Several more of the lights blink and sputter in failure spilling the black acrid smoke of an electric short. She peers at them as they waver in and out of focus but when the emergency lights begin to snap on in etheral landscape laid out before her the bulbs themselves dim into the faded grey of insignificance. Hurriedly, she lowers her gaze and scans back and forth, seeking out the next source of importance. That was... a distraction? A ploy to induce panic? Or something more, perhaps. Once more she searches faces, tables, doors, anything that might give her a clue, until atlast her eyes alight upon the vanishing silhouette of the man in the dark cloak.

Ingrid sucks in a cold breath as the figure moves in slow motion, his head turning to glance back over a massively broad shoulder for a brief moment and she knows without thinking about it that he is checking behind him for potential tails with the casual effort of a trained spy. There is something very familiar about that man, his build, his face. It isn't quite the same, he didn't have the scar or the patina of white that indicates blindess in one eye, but with a little make up and some contact lenses... yes, it could be him.

And, just as quickly as it had come, the vision fades. The world snaps back into real time as if some great being had pressed a button on their divine remote and a flood of neon light and cacophanous sound flood up around her in a torrent to replace the unnatural calm. Ingrid winces involuntarily but quickly masks it with a fake sneeze. Her brilliant smile settles back into place as she adjusts herself in the chair, fiddling with the hem of her skirt a little before turning her attention to the fight, as is expected. A hundred questions run through her mind all at once, most of them meaningless or irrelevant, but she steeples her fingers together and rests her chin on the bridge they create as she ponders this development.

Of the miriade thoughts that plague her, only two are deemed of any importance. What was that man doing, and more importantly, why?

"It would seem," she says out loud, though the sheer noise would render her faint voice little more than another layer buzzing in the background din of the club, "that the game is afoot." She smiles, a mirthful chuckle rising up from somewhere deep inside her chest. "How interesting."

"Would be my luck she wasn't."

Daniel Jack smashes the glass into the woman's palm, instead of the face. A dirty move. But Daniel was keeping it even. "And believe me, Neon, my mind way out of the gutter. I swear." The grin comes even harder, making it clear that no, no it wasn't. He pulls his hand away, letting the glass fly in the air. He was clinched in. And already, Neon was surging back. He could handle the punches; not that they weren't hard, but he could follow them, read them. They weren't going to be a problem.

The walls, however, we gonna be a problem.

The detective is able to catch the oncoming blows with careful, even pacing. Each blow comes with a parrying palm, redirecting it aside. And with every blow, Daniel takes a step back. It didn't take long before his heel hit the edge of the energy wall. The detective's attention shifts, he could now feel that energy presence. And there, the woman explodes out with the final strike. Daniel catches it evenly, smashing backfirst through the wall of energy, the shards tearing through his jacket. Landing with a roll, he quickly perks up.

And in came the counterattack.

The detective already rushes back in, unaware of what was playing out at the sidelines. The lights was what he was transfixed on. "Neat style. Where did you learn it?" The detective begins, as he lurches in. It was a risky move. It was a dangerous move. But Daniel Jack was stepping precisely, both hands now free now to seize up Neon. With vicelike grip, he was aiming to place one hand on her collar, another on her upper arm. And should he get a grip, he would step in, and bring a knee over. And with a single, decisive gesture, he would flip her right over the knee, and slam her head-first right into the tile. Head this, head that. He was obsessing over headshots.

But like last time, he would only get it if she let him.

COMBATSYS: Neon blocks Daniel's Power Throw.

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Daniel           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0             Neon

The billboard jacket that Detective Romero wears has a great many advantages to it: it's stylish, protective, and, being worn open with just the right amount of room, it's remarkably easy to maneuver in. While that might come across as a strange advantage to someone wearing high-heeled boots and a leather mini-skirt, it tends to come in handy when collars are the most popular target on the body.

Police training is based heavily around getting out of grabs, because being restrained is one of the most dangerous situations any officer can be in, so when Daniel Jacket grabs Neon by that very same jacket and starts trying to send her reeling over head, she immediately starts to move. Twisting like a gator going for the kill, she wrenches off to the side, getting her feet back down to the ground as the sudden force of her rotation yanks her out of the Interpol agent's grip.

All the while, her body surges with light, a distraction devised to aid in the whole process with lights flashing in flowing patterns, drawing out from her core to her arms with enough of a rapid pace to warrant seizure warnings until she's a good distance away and the whole jacket suddenly gives off a single, solid hot pink burst as she settles back to her normal stance.

"Special Task Force training, or the streets of Miami. Unless you're talking about basic, in which case maybe you need to make like Guttenberg and go back to the Academy... Jack," the Miami bombshell offers up her opponent's nickname like a verbal wink, all the while her lights begin to drag out from their favored zebra print into long lines, drawing intricate patterns all the way down her arms.

With a quick surge of motion, Neon, flicks her hand up, letting loose a quick beam of energy that flies across the open space and barrels down on the other Detective, narrowly missing him at first before striking one of the many barely there walls and bouncing off toward another on the opposite side of Agent Little.

As much as the Lieutenant didn't want to be here right now, she was here. Military discipline would not let her be late or skip out on this event altogether. That didn't stop her from heading to the bathroom because dammit she was not going to let her team mates or the media see her at her worst.

She steps out wearing an olive green, military shirt with a white shirt under it. On her neck she wears a short neck tie in black(a clip on thanks to one of her team mates). On her legs an olive green shorts with a strap on her left leg for her kunai. On her feet she wears dark brown ankle boots. On top of her head, she wears a red beret with a golden triangle with a bit of blonde hair peeking out that looks damp as if she was splashing water on her face.

When she moves towards the team Interpol table she looks like she's in shambles. Bags under her eyes and she looks like she hasn't had a good night's sleep in a while.

COMBATSYS: Daniel auto-guards Neon's Starlight Passion.

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Daniel           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0             Neon

A stalemate so far.

Daniel Jack's offensive pivot was negated by the steady defenses of the other detective. As he seizes the jacket, it goes alight as the woman wrenches out of his grips. Alight, a lot, in fact. The seizure inducing display was overwhelming. That wasn't why Daniel was squinting, though. But rather, what she said. Daniel Jack narrows his eyes.

"Make like Guttenberg- hang on."

"Hey Lieutenant!" Daniel pipes up, waving to the sullen woman falling into a seat. "Welcome to the party! I was worried I was gonna have to take all these folks myself!" Focusing back on the beam of light launching out, he side steps it... and he turns to see where it was going. It rebounds off an energy wall, deflecting off it as it rebounds right back at him. Chi energy flares up around his arms as he brings both palms around. Orange energy flowing from his fingertips, he grazes the energy, his own aura pouring into it as he redirects it down to the ground. Letting it blaze out into tiles, he sweeps his arms again, focusing his attention back on Neon.

And he shakes his head.

"Make like Guttenberg and go to the Academy." Daniel Jack repeats again with emphasis. "Make like Gutt- Make like -Guttenberg- and go to the Academy." Daniel Jack actually puts his hands on his hips. "Lady, I dig your costume. I dig your style. I even dig the laser-light jacket, cause hot damn. But =Make like Guttenberg and go to the Academy?!=" He scoffs, looking up at the ceiling, before kicking his foot on the tile. "That's bad. That's not just bad. That's real bad." He looks off to the sidelines.

"Am I then only one who thinks that was the worst god damn line?"

COMBATSYS: Daniel Jacks it up a notch!

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Daniel           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0             Neon

"Artur," confides the sharp-dressed man with the goatee to his taller, burlier companion, "This isn't really that excellent."

Just a few feet away, the white fabric of a haori hangs loosely about the shoulders of a metallic sentinel, its red lamps impassively taking in the scene unfolding. Its optics have been able to deconstruct Agent Little's reactive fighting techniques into its base components, but it has been having difficulty with the flashing light patterns of Neon's jacket. The simple scanners and the necessity of a real-time analysis engine have made compromises necessary.

The data spilling out onto the tablet in front of the two VIPs, though, paints an altogether different picture -- and even with the promising implications, the gray-skinned man with the goatee is less than impressed. He hops out of his chair, approaching the HitBit technician furiously at work, moving one dial, shifting another around. Valentin, in a wanton breach of personal space, claps his his hand down on the technician's shoulder. "Yo, chief, what the hell's all this crap mean, anyway?"

Apparently well accustomed to (or at least, well warned of) the Romanian observer's constant pestering, the technician tamps down his irritation and whispers something quietly to the goateed one.

Valentin seats himself again, resting his elbows onto the table and herding the goblet of chianti closer to him. "Can you believe the nerve of this guy, Artur? Baits us with a taste of filet mignon, suckers us with fancy appetizers, hopes we don't notice he swapped for ground chuck as the main course."

Broad-shouldered Artur's responses are simple: an acknowledging grunt, and a lopsided half-smile.

As Agent Little stands back to complain about her line, Neon settles back, apparently dropping out of her fighting stance as she starts the sort of slow waltz around her opponent that would seem appropriate in a tango, were it not for the current style of dress and the previous attempts at violence.

"Clearly you've never watched a worthwhile action movie in your life, Jack," Reya starts, the lights on her jacket settling back into their far more default zebra stripes instead of anything exceptionally exciting, "Because the whole point of a one-liner is that it's awful. Half the stuff Schartzenegger said in his movies wasn't even a real damn joke, ya know?"

There's a shift during a pause before she quickly offers, "Ah'll be back," in a clear attempt at an Ahnold parody before going back to her normal voice. "That shit wasn't a real joke, but everyone sure as hell remembers it. If you want to make a complaint, you can shit on my delivery, but the fact that it's not funny doesn't mean jack, Jack."

COMBATSYS: Neon focuses on her next action.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Daniel           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0             Neon


"Lady," Daniel Jack begins, tilting his head hard. "There are jokes, there are one liners, and there is class. Now I'm not saying you don't have class, you dig?" The detective begins to advance on the woman, continuing his banter. "But there is a fine line between cheese, and just confusing. That wasn't a zinger, that was in the shape of a zinger, but it wasn't a zinger." The detective got close, real close now, focused hard on the detective.

"Besides, those action heroes are just missing the point, you dig?"

"The detective hurls in with a palm strike with the left. "Robert Mitchum, Humphrey Bogart. Now those are real men, real men with class, you dig? They had a brain, they could think, not just chew the scenery." The detective follows up with a hand chop with his right, the basic combination strike. After which, he would surge in low, attempting to seize the women by her hip and just under the armpit, to go for a swift pivot throw straight to the ground. The infamous, and infamously boring Skiffle Drop. "Now I know Elvis was a hero to most, but I gotta tell you, the sucker was racist, simple and plain."

"Him and John Wayne!"

COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Neon with Skiffle Drop.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Daniel           0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1             Neon

It's really difficult to hold a conversation when you're in the middle of a fight, and there's a good reason why Neon tends to focus a great deal more of beating her opponents into submission than she does in keeping up a converstion.

Distractions get you in trouble, and if you get your attention pulled away from things for even a moment, you're in the position to get yourself knocked out.

Detective Romero notices slightly too late that Detective Little has decided to gab and hit at the same time, her arms coming up to intercept the palm strike, but getting taken full on by the follow-up chop that leaves her open for the next grab that puts her on the ground.

Getting back up isn't a very stylish affair. There are no spins or acrobatics of any nature; instead Reya goes for the far more practical method of getting up to one knee and then pushing back to her feet while keeping her eyes on her opponent.

"There's a bit of a problem with your logic, Jack... you're calling Elvis and John Wayne racists, but I'll tell you that you'd have never been allowed to share a theater with Bogart and Mitchum. They might well have even kept me out." As Neon talks, the lights on her jacket start to go loud. The zebra stripes turning into long flows as the get brighter and brighter, shifting through the full range of the rainbow. "Schwartzenegger? Stallone? They made movies for the people."

Surging forward with her new, brighter look, Neon aims to hook her leg in behind Agent Little's ankle before the rest of her comes sweeping in, pulling out with her leg as she plants one hand on his shoulder and the other on his wrist, aiming to leverage his body out beneath him and plant him firmly on the floor face first as she adds, "And even if he's a prick, Eastwood's way better than Wayne."

COMBATSYS: Daniel fails to interrupt Rebound Throw from Neon with Jumping Jack Flash EX.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Daniel           0/-------/--=====|=======\====---\1             Neon

"Jesus, you don't even follow Public Enemy?"

That manages an eyeroll from the detective, as he wrenches and flips the woman over to the ground. As the jacket flashes, Daniel was aready fixing his footwork. The leg comes down low, and Daniel is already meeting it, surging down with a flash of energy to seize it. He actually does manage to get a hand on there, before he rises straight up. Except, Daniel Jack hits a wall.


Surging up, he slams into a wall of energy, stunting the counter grab cold. Broken from the rise, what came next was the rest of the attack. The detective hits the ground face first, gotten into a pin. The guy groans, caught up in the grapple. Groaning out, of course, a rebuttal. "The thing is, movies always have been for people, lady."

"The difference is whether you treat your audience like an idiot or not!"

There is only a very brief pause in the action as Neon let's out a quick laugh, "Public Enemy is good, but they aren't proper club music. It isn't good for the dancing I like, and it's not what I want for driving, so don't expect me to get it when you're jumping half a decade with your references."

And then there's no real opportunity offered for Daniel Jack to give his response, as Neon moves in immediately to swing her left arm in around the other detective's throat as her right clamped in from the side. Crossing her forearm in tight while locking her arms like a vice, she does everything she possibly can to keep Daniel Jack from getting enough air to continue his little pop culture diatrabe.

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Neon's Choke Hold.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Daniel           0/-------/-======|=======\=======\1             Neon

Distracted as she might have been the by the sudden onset of divine prophecy, Ingrid's files away the tidbits of information gleaned from that most unreliable and random of sources for later. Her attention, instead, returns to the center of the room and upon the battle that takes place within it. Her expression of amusement at the implications of her foresight does not change though the source of her mirth becomes that of the conversational exchange between the two combatants.

"Is this what constitutes good banter these days? Or did I unwittingly throw oil and water into the same pot?"

The idol pauses for a moment, looking thoughtful, and leans back in her chair once more causing the hem of her dress to ride up her thigh in a manner that elicits a veritable barrage of camera flashes. Ingrid turns her head and waggles a finger at the culprits but doesn't look particularly put out - she even gives them a wink and a V-sign, sticking her tongue out in a provocative fashion.

"I wonder," she muses aloud after a few seconds of posing for her fans. "If we combined you two, would that set fashion back by decades or create some kind of bizarre new progressive movement? Hmm, somehow I don't see billboard trenchcoats becoming the new 'in' thing but maybe you could sell the idea to a marketing firm." She grins broadly. "Revolutionize the advertizing industry!"

"Ofcourse..." She trails off, covering her mouth with one hand in a coy smirk. "I'm not sure any self-respecting woman would want to be called a walking billboard, hohoho."

"Club music- what the hell is wrong with you."

Daniel Jack comes into a stand as Neon comes rioting in. And Daniel's response is just... catching the wrists. The arm comes around, but Daniel is able to keep it off the neck. And in that deadlock comes, on the ground. And there, he just keeps... talking. "The only thing you need to listen to is swing jazz. Jazz is incredible driving music; just avoid that arthouse stuff. What I can recommend though, is if you listen to Satellite Radio, is those throwback radio programs. Stuff like Dragnet? Just fantastic-"

Player 3 enters the fight.

Ingrid's aside bantering was picked up by Daniel. As the choke hold continues, he slides back, hitting an energy wall. Wincing in pain, he actually calls up and out of his stalemate. "Hey, Ingrid, or whatever, I'm pretty sure any self-respecting woman wouldn't wear their lingere out in public, either. I'd bet twenty bucks Neon's here has arrested dames with that same ensemble right off the streets of Miami. I mean, Jesus Christ, it's like your trying to be a stripper, with class!" The detective shoves back against the energy wall, the force burning him as his manages to rise up into a stand... with his opponent. With a deft gesture, he finally breaks out of the hold.

And he explodes forward.

Palm strike with the right, hand chop with the left. The pattern is like clockwork, coming with a steady rhythm. Another hand chop comes, this time with the right, followed by an elbow jab with the right. That normally would be the end of the combination... until the fifth blow comes. A rising palm from the left, lifting low to high. A relentless combo, a familiar combo.

The Zoot Suit Riot.

The audience throws back a bottle of beer.

COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Neon with Zoot Suit Riot.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Daniel           0/-------/=======|=======\=======\1             Neon

More palming and chopping, and the simple fact of the matter is that Neon doesn't quite manage to get her arms up in time to hold back the assault. The problem with fighting Daniel Jack is that he's not inclined to throw just one or two hits, he goes all out and doesn't give you an opportunity to recover.

The second biggest problem with Daniel Jack is his mouth.

More specifically the things that come out of it.

While Daniel Jack gave Neon a serious beating, he didn't actually manage to get her off her feet. Despite her heels seeming like they'd be a disdvantage in keeping your balance, even when she's taking a beating, Detective Romero manages to find a way to plant a foot behind her each time she's nearly gone down. Which just makes it a lot easier to address that second problem.

"...I'm beginning to realize that the reason people spread all those rumors about you is that you're kind of unlikable, you know?" Neon slings to Daniel in response to his comments about her team captain. "Lots of judging and talking down at people, and those cracks about how kids dress make you sound thirty years older than you are. Is it intentional?"

There's a quick adjustment of her jacket, the lights still going strong enough that it's a wonder if whoever's filming this fight for posterity is going to get a worthwhile shot of Neon at any point. "See, the thing about style is that people are expressing themselves. It might look silly or whatever, but when you go around laying out shit on how someone chooses to look, you're throwing shit at who they are, understand?"

There's a half-beat pause, as if Neon might actually give Daniel Jack a proper attempt to respond, but instead she suddenly whips around, one heel acting as a pivot point as she drops a quick wheeling spike kick aimed to plant the other heel dead on in Daniel's stomach.

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Neon's Roundhouse Kick.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Daniel           1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Neon

Oh, Daniel's heard this one before.

Unlikable? Boring? Direct? He's heard it all. And he's gotten over that. As the detective unleashes the combination, he barely loses any footing as she shoots right back. She gives a pause. "Neon, you know she-" And she explodes with the roundhouse kick. The first kick comes, dropping short. The hands were up for that one; he needed to adjust for the spike followup. The detective is all ready to catch it, seizing it with both hands, letting the force go into his hands and arms. And with that, he lowers his voice.

"Neon, you know she was insulting you, right?"

The detective doesn't release the leg, he practically throws it. It was an attempt to throw her off balance, to throw her on the edge. It was a gamble. He'd make that gamble, though, as he hurls himself in. Rushing in, he dips low as he slips forward, both hands swinging together like a vice, to ensnare her.

And should he get a grip...

"Don't waste your time on that one," Ingrid calls to Neon over the noise of their surroundings. If Daniel's words had any impact on her, she doesn't show it in the least, her expression as aloof and carefree as always."He's clearly too mired in the past to see the bright shining future."

She pauses then adds, "That your headlights blinded him."

COMBATSYS: Neon blocks Daniel's Crushing Throw.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Daniel           1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Neon

As Daniel Jack tries to send her back, Neon ends up stumbling backward, yet remarkbly keeping her footing beneath her. There are few lessons that Neon has treated more seriously in all of her training than the fact that you don't let people take you off your feet unless you're ready to end up dead. It doesn't matter how hard it hurts, you either don't get down, or you make sure you get up quick and clean.

And it pays off in spades once Detective Little comes flying at Reya, the Miami supercop thrusts her arms out on either side of her, catching Daniel's grabby hands at the wrist before they can lock down on her, giving her just enough time to pop back out of his reach before she lets him go to leave him holding nothing but air.

"Jack, there's different levels on this type of thing. If she wants to think I look silly, that's her choice to make," Neon offers as the lights on her jacket start to draw down in intensity, instead shifting into overwhelmingly intricate patterns that seem to use up every little bulb on the outfit. Quantity exchanges for quality (or quantity exchanged for a different sort of quantity). At times you can practically sea waves on the ocean, others nearly clouds in the sky, all of them in some neon wonderland.

"Let's put it like this, she's saying I might look a little silly, you're trying to say she looks like she's some prostitute. She's dropping a water balloon, you're throwing a hand grenade."

All those patterns, flowing in every direction. It feels like the pattern must be there, and soon enough they starts flowing down both her arms, as if drawing power. More and more each passing moment until she suddenly whips up both hands and aims the tips of her index fingers in opposite directions as twin beams surge out. With the way she's pointing, it looks for a moment as if she's firing off into the crowd. It's only after a few heartstopping moments for those in those directions that the beams bounce off previously invisible walls, travelling in all directions until they come bouncing in at Daniel Jack from nearly opposite directions.

COMBATSYS: Daniel dodges Neon's Twilight Dreamer.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Daniel           1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1             Neon

She was holding on to this.

Yeah, there was a fact that Daniel was really coming down heavy. There wasn't anything light. And yet, to the detective? It was light. He was pulling his punches on it. As she pops from the grips, and comes back, Daniel felt like he was hitting hard again. Just like with Mika. The difference was? Daniel was over that. As the swirling lights come, and are shot off the energy walls, Daniel was clicking off his fingers. As the laser finally comes around, the detective is already side stepping, evading it neatly. "Neon." Daniel Jack takes in a sharp breath. "This is the King of Fighters."

"You're gonna need to throw out hand grenades."

And Daniel Jack strikes. The followup comes with a jump. An actual jump, as in, Daniel was taking to the air. An aerial attack, a change of everything Daniel had done. It had to be a Jumping Jack Flash, or a Kasane Ate. But no. It was a jump, leaving energy trailing behind him. And with that, he draws back his hand... and chops. An aerial hand chop, from overhead. A change of pace, of pattern, of power. And with it, Daniel Jack chops hard. Not the world's greatest. But a strong, overwhelming chop.

From the air.

Not even as a combo.

COMBATSYS: Neon blocks Daniel's Fierce Punch.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Daniel           0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1             Neon

Sure it's a handchop, but there's a problem with the chop.

It's a mediocre chop, and it's all by itself.

So far in the fight, Neon has had to deal with these chops again and again, taking more than a few nasty hits as they continue on with follow-ups and combinations to overwhelm her defenses.

This time, as Daniel Jack comes flying down with his chop, and in a flash Detective Romero's arms up putting up a block, catching it in the cross between them before it can do any significant damage.

"Okay, I guess if you want hand grenades, I'll give you hand grenades," Reya retorts as for a moment it looks as though the lights going all the way down her sleeves explodes in series, going dark after a sharp, bright burst that goes straight back to her core, all happening so fast that it's almost like detonation cord.

And then as one they go blindly bright while her hands twist about in an effort to take a firm hold on the forearm that had just moments ago been keenly intent on dropping the chop on her. With a quick swing, Neon flings Daniel around and slams him into the wall.

A wall of pure light chi that hadn't been there until just that moment.

Her fists clench tight, her leather gloves giving that distinctive squeak before they unload an unrelenting barrage of bodyblows into the other Detective. Each hit sends cracks through the wall, spreading out further and further until the wall shatters into what feels like thousands of pieces of shatter glass cleaving through the body only for Agent Little to hit another wall, Neon's fists never even pausing in their unrelenting barrage until one big punch, aimed straight for the jaw, send him crashing through the second wall.

"...So, if you want to be a hand grenade in a fight, give it all you got. You just don't gotta be a prick with your words."

COMBATSYS: Neon successfully hits Daniel with Big City Heat.
>>> Punitive Hit!!! <<<

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Daniel           0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0             Neon

As the lights along Neon's sleeves begin to go out, sharp cracks ring out over the roar of voices, lending weight to the illusion that they might truly be exploding. However, it takes only a moment to realize that the explosions do not originate from the center of the restaurant, but from above.

Tiny bits of glass rain down onto the tables as the multi-colored lights above pop with contained flashes of fire, spewing out billowing clouds of dark grey smoke. IN a matter of seconds the cafe is plunged into near darkness, the only light available coming from Neon herself as her jacket and chi wall blaze into brilliant life.

The bright, laser-like light reflects off of the roiling cloud of smoke as it descends upon the crowd, smelling heavily of gun powder and glowing hauntingly in sympathy with Neon's performance. It is a neat little touch. Something that the restaurant must have planned to unleash near the end of the flashy Cop's fight. it couldn't' be an attack. if it were an attack, the fire alarm would have kicked on by now, and the sprinkler system would be showering everyone with water.

In the near blackness at the edge of the light provided by the fighters, two mechanical eyes glow with alien intelligence. They study the fight, recording and internalizing the combatants every move.

That is, they do until a large shadow, black on black, descends from above.

Landing lightly as a ghost behind the combot, the burly shadow jerks a thick burlap sack down neatly over the machine's head. The gesture is quick and efficient, snuffing out its glowing red eyes just moments before thick fingers draw the bag in tight around the robot's neck.


There is a sound like a pop can being crushed as the shadow's gloved hands bring their insane grip strength to bare on the shrine robot's narrow neck.


Metal tendons part, the head coming free in its new sack-like home. The body is left standing where it is, upright but inert, while the sack's draw string is pulled neatly closed. Only then does the shadow ghost back a step and turn.

With a spherical bundle tucked neatly under one arm, Noboru Miyama begins to stalk through the crowd at a steady pace. Smoke swirls around his large form, his white eye seeming to glow as he nears the exit and casts one final look over his broad shoulder, seeming to stare briefly over the heads of the crowd and directly toward where Ingrid sits primly in her eye-catching costume.

As the lights go out, the goateed Romanian in the VIP section lets out a spastic exclamation that can only loosely be termed as 'language': "Shit, shit, shit!" He pounds his fists on the table, rising up to collect the tablet under his arm. He swipes up from the bottom of the screen, and proudly mashes one button in particular.
Darkness descends upon the rest of the room like the shadow of an eclipsing moon. The red lamps of the automaton at Valentin's back flare up, and a tinny audio clip begins to play.
The audio clip is abruptly shut off, as are the dense red lamps.
"Shit, shit -- /shit!/" Valentin apparently has lost all rational capacity for linguistic communication. In the last vestigates of incandescent light, his companion, Artur, can be seen swinging his meaty fist at the thief. The room plunges into hazy darkness, the billowing smoke hampering further investigation.

It will be difficult to make out details in the dense smoke, but one sound would become obvious.
It could be a large flag buffeted about in a stiff windstorm.
Or it could be a pair of large leathery bat wings, flapping after Noboru Miyama in quick and frantic pursuit.

ODROP::OSUCC::Jedah leaves the cafe.

When the lights go out the military woman instinctively reaches for her kunai as she quickly does a mental inventory of who was where before the lights went out. She's turns towards the sounds of metal crunching and assorted other sounds of chaos but in the darkness with people shifting around, she realizes it would be too easy to hit innocent bystanders from the distance she's located.

She rises from her seat to move towards the sounds of flapping material but with the darkness and the haze of smoke, it's difficult to account for where bodies are and she gets taken off her feet by the owner of the flapping wings, landing on her back with a grunt.

That didn't go well for the Brit.

Sergei Dragunov was simply siting in the corner of the restaurant. He was unnoticeable over the crowds of fans watching the fight. He was quietly drinking a glass of Beverly and eating dumplings. The cover proved effective as he was practically invisible in the swarm of excitement. He was observing his environment carefully, noting as many details as possible.

When the smoke fell, he quickly reached for his Makarov. Under the lights and screams and smoke, the Spetsnaz saw the shadow of the assailant, the leather wings that followed. Pistol in hand, he pursed. He jumped over his current team-mate. He smelt a familiar scent, lacking the pig stench. He could feel a familiar prick as he closed in.

It was a mediocre chop, ultimately.

Daniel had better chops. He had the world's greatest hand chop. Why not use it? There was a purpose, a presence. It began and ended with the walls. Daniel Jack was impressed; all he knew about Neon initially was the hint from Noboru, and something about Police Anti-MA Arts. He saw about those Anti-MA Arts in the close quarters, she was deceptively hard to nail down. But there was another factor, those walls, those lasers. The moment he saw her reflecting one of her neon lights off the walls... the detective realized just how closed in he was. The moment he unleashed that Jumping Jack Flash, he felt all his energy lash right back. Those walls, they could deflect and reflect energy, they could contain and control. He figured that Anti-MA Arts just meant that, with hand chops and kicks, not energy attacks. He didn't know the limits of her power with them.

And he was still refusing to risk it.

As the chop comes hammering down, the assault is caught in the cross. Daniel Jack lands on both feet, the relentless offense still rumbling in. Daniel Jack could feel that surge of energy encaspulate around him. For now, he was keeping his energy inwards, keeping his rhythm even. "Oh craaaaap" He sucks in a breath of air, as sh eseizes him, and slams him against the wall. And the punches come. Blow after blow comes as Daniel struggles to tank it; he is able to catch... the middle two punches? But with the wall being a rebounding point, he couldn't get into the rhythm. Gritting his teeth, his body slams against the wall again and again. "You are gonna... need... more- NOPE NOPE YOU GOT THIS" Was the last word from Daniel as finally, the last blow comes, blasting him through the wall.

And the lights go out.

Daniel Jack, for a brief moment, thought he was knocked out. There was an explosion, some kind of explosion. He was out on the cold tile, there was screams and shouts all around him. And gradually, he sees a light. The Neon light. He was conscious, that was for sure. Was Daniel Jack angry? No. He was glad. A chaos was overtaking the room, the darkness enveloped around them. Daniel Jack squeaks a bit as he comes into a stand. And suddenly, the room illuminates again with a bright, orange light. Daniel Jack's aura was alight, orange chi overflowing his form like a candle. "That's one hell of an explosion Neon!" The Interpol agent blurts out, as he stands in the ring. "Hope the tournament folks aren't... gonna... get..." He trails off, watching Sergei barrel in afterwards, bounding over Lita.

Something was wrong.

The rest of Team Interpol was on the move. Noboru. Some... figures in the darkness. It was chaos, pure chaos. "The hell is going on out of the ring..." Daniel Jack growls. "Lita, you got this! Go for the flanks to cut them off! Secure this place. Hey, Neon, you got more explosions like that? I can take a few more hand grenades, but it looks like we need to pick this up!" He begins, as he lurches in. He had to weave, he had to duck. He had to drive himself deeper and deeper, to close a gap. Energy cascades around, the energy flowing around him. And what comes, is what Neon was likely waiting for. The moment, the risk, the gamble. Daniel was going to take the dive. He slashes his arm around, unleashing the wave of chi piling forward. No need to announce it. Daniel could just feel it.

The Kasane Ate.

COMBATSYS: Neon reflects Kasane Ate from Daniel with Longing Shadow.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Daniel           0/-------/-======|=======\==-----\1             Neon

The moment that the lights go out, Detective Romero knows something's not right. Agent Little hadn't done anything to cause this sort of problem, and the way she had prepared the battlefield, there wasn't even an opportunity for one of her beams to leave the area and hit something vital despite their inability to land clean.

After all, the first rule about any sort of fight with the public around was to make certain that they all stayed safe.

Instantly Neon's attitude begins to shift, there's no hint of a playful smile as she rises up out of a fighting stance and into a more serious position. Every light on her jacket begins to glow not in brilliant, shifting colors, but a static yellow that slowly lightens to almost a pure white. It's enough to fill the center of the club with light.

"Everyone remain calm and remain seated at your tables," the detective starts as her voice takes on that of a calm and prepared authority figure. It's the tone of voice that speaks to the virtues of serve and protect, brings about peace in a moment of unease and fear. The Interpol team is already moving to investigate, so she's left with crowd control. "At this time we're not certain what the cause of the power failure was, but we have individuals looking into it."

Before she can get much beyond that, however, Daniel Jack is already back into the fight. She turns just in time to see the flow of energy barreling down on her and acts not as a professional fighter in a match, but as a police officer under attack. The solid bright light continues as she hunkers down in the position of an officer with a riot shield as light forms on her forearm in a simple wall. And with a moment of focus, a line of walls appears between her and the wave of energy, each one drawing some of the edge off the racing destruction until it shatters the last one only to be met by protection lining her arm, grinding against the wall for a moment until she swings her arm away, launching the Kasane Ate straight back at it's source.

COMBATSYS: Neon successfully hits Daniel with Reflected Kasane Ate.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Daniel           1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1             Neon


Daniel Jack was hurling out the wave of energy, as Neon contains the crowd. There was a chaos now. And Daniel... well, Daniel had a job. And his job was bringing down Neon. Once that was dealt with, Daniel could settle with the next round. Already, the technicians of the HitBit were over the decapitated AY4M3 slouched over. The Hitbit systems.... were detecting nothing. The whole data-intake was thrown upside down. They almost would have to stop the fight.

Almost, but not quite.

Daniel's Kasane Ate is deflected off a wall, slammed back with a shudder. Daniel Jack was already sweeping his hands, ready to catch it. And in a sense, he does: He just catches it with his body... and into the aura itself. Grunting in pain, he staggers backwards, losing himself in the fields of walls. Energy flows back into the detective. It hurt... for now. But Daniel was a roman candle now, alight with energy. Already, he wasn't wasting energy as he grins back. He wasn't losing it in the darkness. His body was burning it back.

And he explodes forward.

A palm strike, and handchop. It was the same song, over and over. This time, however, Daniel Jack was infused with chi energy. The orange chi pours out with the palm strike with the left, the handchop with the right. An elbow jab comes with the left, and a finishing rising palm, bringing a wave of chi with it. Daniel Jack was putting more and more pressure in. He was pouring it in. The energy was unlocked now. He was using it fully.

The question was whether or not Neon could contain it.

COMBATSYS: Neon blocks Daniel's Ragtime Riot EX.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Daniel           1/-------/=======|=======\====---\1             Neon

Worrying about finishing this fight is the last thing on Reya Romero's mind at a time like this. Fights are all well and good, but first and foremost she's a public protector. When people are scared or in danger, it's her job to step forward and keep them safe.

It was the entire reason she'd taken part of the special programs after the Academy.

It's why she'd joined up with the task force that would see her going all over the world instead of staying put in her beloved Miami.

It's why right now, despite the fact that her entire team is counting on her, Reya Romero wants nothing more than to step out of this fighting ring and go out and make certain everyone is safe and secure.

The only problem with that is that either Agent Little has his own ideas about how best to comfort the public in a moment of danger or he simply doesn't consider that to be his top priority.

Either way, Neon's going to have to follow through with the whole "finish this quickly" thing if she's going to be able to protect anyone.

As Detective Little barrels down on her with that unrelenting barrage, Reya uses every ounce of training, all the experience on the streets, and everything she's learned through this fight to be ready for it. Her arms fly up, intercepting each and every hit as they come through. The protector even manages to half-form a protective barrier at the end, holding back the bulk of that furious chi from overwhelming her as she uses the opportunity to step back and build some space between her and Little.

Shaking her arms out to ward off some of the lingering pain, the motion is almost enough that it might provide enough to focus on to distract from what all was occuring around Daniel Jack. All the faint, hazy barriers around him begin to pull together at once, twisting through the air as a cage of energy slowly forms around him, dozens of miniature plates all aimed down at him. As they're pulled more completely into existance, both of Neon's arms are raising up from her sides taking in a smooth motion as she extends her index fingers and suddenly lets loose a barrage of beams. Each is allowed to pass through the cage, striking out at the walls and bouncing from all directions.

In an instant, Daniel Jack is trapped in a box full of violent energy, ready to bounce relentlessly until it can strike him.

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Neon's Light Up The Night.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Daniel           1/------=/=======|=------\-------\0             Neon

And Daniel... still has that private edge.

Let Lita and Sergei handle the public good right now. Daniel was in the ring, and he couldn't simply step out. He would let his team down. He had to stay in. He had to win this. He had to beat Neon, and keep going. He had to be the best. Let the others investigate. He could investigate when he was beaten out. He could take it. Let them call him Lady Killer. As the end of the assault comes, he recoils body still burning. But Neon was throwing up her arms... and the walls come around. Daniel turns, facing around, looking for a way out. And there wasn't. There wasn't a way out of this cage.

He was trapped.

The beams fire off. The first laser rebound comes by, and Daniel sweeps his hands around. And he deflects it past him... back into the wall. And once again, his hands sweep. And once again. And once again. The detective was almost a light show himself, sweeping hi sarms around to shift the laser past him. A beam wings his shoulder, driving hard. Another slams into his shin, bringing him to one knee. He couldn't keep this up, he was in a hive. So he was gonna take an alternative. The aura around him builds brighter and brighter, a pyre of force. And as another beam comes rioting in, he flings his arms up.

And he breaks out, with a flood of energy.

The lasers are filtered through the aura, diffused on impact. The agent's body was burning, both in pain and with force. Still stunned from the impact, he lurches forward, lunging in with steady force. And there, closing in on Neon, he unleashes the same beginning of every attack from the detective more or less.

A palm strike.

No hand chop.

Just the palm strike.

COMBATSYS: Neon dodges Daniel's Quick Punch.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Daniel           1/------=/=======|=------\-------\0             Neon

Slowly, backup emergency lights begin to flicker on all throughout the smoky restaurant. Fans whir, and the doors are thrown open to allow the stink of gunpowder to air out.

Near the back exit, where once a ninja stood casting a backward glance, there is nothing. No ninja. No flapping flags. No leathery creatures of the night.

No VIP guests.

All that remains of the two suited watchers is the decapitated hitbit, still being swarmed over by technicians. But with the arrival of the dim red light, a lot of the fear can be laid to rest. There is no attack to be seen. No shattered windows or masked men with guns. Whatever the mysterious incident was, it is over now.

But the KoF fight is still going strong.

At least some other lights are back up, and the fact that nothing else has suddenly decided to go wrong means that the situation is either under control or at least being redirected away from the people in the Pao Pao Cafe. Hopefully it wasn't going to create a new threat on the streets, because with the way that Agent Little is treating this fight, Neon doesn't have much of an opportunity to investigate.

At least he's slowing down. Either he's running on empty, or he's trying to use the back and forth to throw Reya off her game.

It doesn't work.

As Daniel Jack comes flying in with a simple handchop, rather than risk chewing up her guard again, Neon twists back, her feet still firmly planted on the ground as she manages a simple, clean pivot that leaves Daniel slapping little more than open air.

With so much going on, and very little opportunity to reorganize, Neon goes for the basics, attempting to lunge out from the side with just one hand and take hold of his wrist as she continues trying to move in behind him, twisting his arm out of position and putting pressure on his shoulder joint.

COMBATSYS: Neon successfully hits Daniel with Improvised Throw.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Daniel           1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0             Neon

The dim lights were back on.

The palm strike comes, and she slips past it. Daniel Jack wasn't sweating, he was bruised and battered, but he wasn't sweating. In position, the detective was being surged in by the other detective. She was bright, he was bright. And she slips in to grab his wrist, he reverses it... partially. Wrenched around, he keeps a stalemate going, one that he was losing badly. A full reversal wasn't gonna happen immediately. "Hey, you are pretty good at this." Daniel Jack rumbles in the dark. And the power balance was changing, the detective beginning to power up. And suddenly, he dips. Jamming a leg around Neon's own leg, he throws back. The motion is swift and precise. He throws back, attempting to send Neon off balanced.

To send her right on her back.

With Sergei pursuing and Lita herself getting back up off the ground she has to leave the rest up to Sergei for three reasons. Whatever that was that plowed into her was moving to fast for her to catch up with it after getting up on the ground and second she needed to look after the welfare of those still around. That all becomes moot when the emergency lights are turned on. No ninja, no fluttering flags or wings. She curses under her breath

She then looks around to make sure none of the bystanders are hurt. It's all she can do right now considering that there's no one to chase. With a frustrated look on her face, she returns to her table and slams her fist on it. Yet, another failure to add to the list. Another failure to add to the nightmares that have plagued her since her fight with MURDERHOUSE.

COMBATSYS: Neon blocks Daniel's Quick Throw.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////                          ]
Daniel           1/----===/=======|-------\-------\0             Neon

At this point, Detective Romero has every intention of going for the proper finish of any police takedown; go for the other hand and put the cuffs on to disable the target so you can secure the scene.

Against a normal criminal, or even most of the threats that Reya has faced down in her position as part of the police special task force, this would be a simple enough task at this point; even as worn down as Neon is, she's got hundreds of hours of training.

There is one major problem: if you've had police training, you've also learned about many of the weaknesses that the training leaves open. With experience on the streets, you start to notice when other officers get distracted simply because it gives you the opportunity to keep your partner safe.

At the moment where Neon is most distracted Daniel Jack gets his leg between her's and aims to send her to the ground.

It almost works, but when you've got a decade on the streets, you also have to learn how to get out of trouble when someone finds one of the loopholes. As she goes tumbling toward the floor, one of the detective's hands gets out behind her, helping her cushion the fall and keep her propped up.

From there it's pure instinct to try to resnare the suspect, grabbing Agent Little by the wrist and using every ounce of force she can manage to try to slam him face first onto the floor, clenching her other hand as she calls forther another pane of chi on the way down to send Daniel Jack crashing through it's shards of energy.

Getting back up to her feet, the lights on her jacket going dim as she pants for breath, something clearly snaps with Neon. "What the hell sort of cop are you?! Something goes wrong in a night club full of people and your instinct is to treat it as a goddamn distraction so you can keep on fighting?!"

Every pretense of style as gone, replaced by the law officer that took up her post because she saw just how bad things could get when the officers on the scene weren't prepared for a threat. "What's more important to you, winning a fight or doing your fucking job? Some momentary glory or people's lives?"

All through out, she makes no effort to hit the other detective again, not even to keep him on the floor as she keeps enough distance that Daniel isn't given an easy opportunity to keep attacking her without thought. Hopefully enough so that he's shaken out of instinct to actually listen to her words.

"Look, you want to keep on fighting in a crime scene, be my guest. My team Captain, who you were so excited to insult, didn't take an oath to serve and protect, so she's free to give you what you want. Me? I'm going to figure out what the hell happened here."

With those last words, Detective Romero turns on a heel, her body sweaty and bruised, her heart pumping as hard as it can to keep her still standing enough to do her job, and her eyes focused as she makes her way to the door to the alley.

COMBATSYS: Neon can no longer fight.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  <
Daniel           1/----===/=======|

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Neon's Burning Kiss.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Daniel           1/---====/=======|

Daniel had won the match.

It wasn't even a properly executed takedown. It was handled for the most part very well by the woman. And yet, as he hits the ground with her, she slips out. He is already on the ground, clawing his way back up, when she starts seizing him. Coming up into a stand, he is sent hurling towards the chi wall. His own aura flares up as the audience falls silent. Smashing into the wall, he breaks through, falling into a tumble. Most of hte force was mitigated, but in spite of that, he hits the floor hard. As Romero continues to yell into him... those spectres of the past return. The Mika incident. Daniel Jack lays there, as a round of applause comes. And with a roll, he turns to his side, beginning to rise back up, to recover.

And the boos come.

The audience was only too familiar with the reputation of the Lady Killer. The beater of women, who struck down Rainbow Mika, humiliated the adorable Hitomi, and even drove Gertrude from public fighting. And what was this fight? A long, drawn out affair that was 90% Zoot Suit Riot variations, that ended with the detective falling backwards. And even then, even at that moment, while the detective was on his back, he didn't even have the dignity of losing. Daniel Jack was barely in a stand, barely able to keep it together. And his mind was swimming. Crime scene? He was getting down out of his fighting high, just to take in... the full rage of the crowd. Neon wasn't the favorite at first. But not, Daniel was the full on not favorite. Something is flung from a nearby table.

And Daniel takes a chocolate cake to the chest.

Looking down at the jacket, he sighs, wiping it off a bit as he backs up away from the hostile crowd, towards the VIP table. He was breathing hard, breathing heavy. And was just... looking around. Crime scene? He looks at the decipated AY4M3, still being handled by the technicians. And then, on Lita. He could read where she was at. He could read the frustration, the anger, the... well, it couldn't be sadness. "Hey, Hey Lieutenant? You okay Lita?" He gasps for air. "I don't think... they're gonna give me much time before they throw in. I know something's bothering you. I had hoped to... I had hoped to talk to you before we got into this..." He wheeze hard, as a glass smashes at his feet. The crowd was getting restless, hungry for blood. HIS blood. Daniel Jack edges his heels at the edge of the tiles. "Lita, I think these people are actually gonna kill me. And if Sergei's gone... you're gonna come in next. If there is something on your chest you need to let out." He tilts his head to the side, narrowing evading a steak knife to the head.

"Now would be a great time to tell me what's wrong."

COMBATSYS: Daniel awaits the next challenger.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Daniel           1/---====/=======|

"What happened there? Lights went out. I heard sounds of a scuffle and so I went after it. Something I couldn't see plowed into me while tried to catch it and by the time the lights came back on, they were gone. GONE!!!"

Her fist slams the Team Interpol table yet again. As she makes her frustration with herself quite visibly known. But then she takes a deep breath trying to keep herself together.

"Anyway, the lights come back on and that the machine is demolished. Nothing else except maybe the lights were damaged."

Lita then turns to Daniel and leans in close wanting to make sure their conversation is quiet but not so close that she makes herself a target.

"There's not enough bleedin' time to psycho-analyze me right now. Worry about yourself. And by the way, love. If you said anything like that to me in our fight, well... Did you see that move I used against Cracker Jack for the title? It's called 'If It Bleeds I Can Kill It.' I would've considered using /that/ move on you... With my real sword. Now be a dear and kick her ass and keep your mouth shut or else she's going to be more inspired to kick yours."

And with that, Lita sits back down in her seat.

The lights go out giving rise to chaos and confusion. Smoke pours forth from the destroyed appliances as electrical failure fills the air with the acrid smell of burning circuits. The natural instincts of those present quickly make themselves apparent. The two detectives assess the situation, one chosing to focus on the fight at hand while the other shifts their concern to the potential danger. Two soldiers immediately snap to action, weapons drawn and ready, trained eyes searching the shadows for something to focus their deadly attention on. Everyone else panics.

Everyone, that is, except for one.

A lone figure remains completely placid as the scene of unexpected chaos unfolds around her, the Eternal Goddess content to simply remain in her seat and watch as her vision becomes reality. The bulky Miyama ninja makes good his escape from the club and she catches his eye just as he turns to leave giving him a glimpse of her enigmatic smile, as if she already knew that all of this would happen.

Her attention shifts to the strange sounds and unusual shapes of the things that give chance to the man and her eyebrow lifts in genuine interest. Dark stalkers? What are they doing involved in this? This situation just keeps getting stranger and more worrisome. Nothing to do for it now, however. Except, maybe...

Ingrid reaches down to her waist and withdraws a small cellphone from a hidden hoster, tapping several buttons with practiced flicks of her thumb as the screen glows to life in the darkness. The recognizable buzz of a digital ring fills her ear as she puts the phone to her head and within a few moments there is a click and the sound of a young woman's voice on the other end.

"Mistress Ingrid? Is something wrong, I thought you were at the tournament today?"

"No. Well, yes and no. The fights are still going but there's been a complication. I can't simply walk out now, so I want you to investigate it for me."

She lays out the details of the last few minutes to the person on the other end, giving her only enough information that she feels is safe to speak openly about.

"I understand," comes the reply when she has detailed her plan. "I'll head out there right away."

"Excellent. Do be careful, Annie, your father would never forgive me if you got hurt."

She flicks the button to end the call just as the emergency lights snap on and the panic among the spectators begins to quell. The fight in the center of the ring continues despite it all and she watches in quiet contemplation as the last few exchanges play out. Neon berates the Lady Killer for a final time before stalking off to deal with the things that she feels she must, a cop to the end no matter how ridiculous her outfit might be.

Speaking of outfits! With the first round of the match over, it's time for the next member of her team to step up. Considering that the rest of them are indisposed it makes her choice rather easy. Rising to her feet with catlike grace, the Eternal Goddess practically skips into the area designated as the combat arena, her oversized tophat defying the laws of nature as it remains attached to her head despite the jostling while her skirt behaves in a much more predictable fashion.

"Oooooh, mister detectiiiive~!" Ingrid cups her hands around her mouth in a pantomime of amplifying her voice as she calls out, leaning slightly forward to unleash maximum cheesecake power. "I believe you had some choice words about my outfit, hmm? I think we need to have a little chat about your manners!"

Ingrid spins in place, an extravagent and overt gesture that sends the ruffles on her outfit a fluttering. As she does so a nimbus of shimmering golden light flares to life around her hand. The energy coalesces into a brilliant ball in her palm so that by the time she has finished her pirouette the underhanded swing she makes with said hand sends a softball-style pitch barreling directly down upon the detective!

COMBATSYS: Ingrid has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Ingrid           0/-------/------=|=======\====---\1           Daniel

COMBATSYS: Daniel blocks Ingrid's Sun Shot.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Ingrid           0/-------/----===|=======\======-\1           Daniel

Daniel keeps a stony expression, as Lita pours out all her anger, her bitterness, her weakness, her shame. And like a bucket, Daniel Jack just takes it, stonyfaced. Daniel's only failures are dragged to the surface, smeared across his face. Except Daniel was the leader. He was the captain. And he had to take every blow against him without a single flinch. It should have hurt. But he couldn't hurt there now. He had to endure. "I'm glad we had this talk Lita." He states firmly, as the next opponent calls for him. "Just know, that I'm glad you're here right instead of Sergei. I trust you more to have my back. Alright, Lieutenant." Daniel Jack states, turning back around to face his opponent.

"My time's up."

Daniel Jack stares down the barrel of a pop icon, against a hostile crowd, who is also in favor of the pop icon. He eases into the defensive stance of Todoh-Ryuu. There wasn't much room now. Even with the walls gone, he could sense... trouble. Neon was a warm up. And Ingrid... well, she looked harmless enough. As a captain. Regrets. Daniel had a few right now. He draws in a deep breath, as round 2 starts. And she leaned forward, Daniel actually averts his eyes slightly. "Well, I was just saying, a young shouldn't wear-"

And then the golden light comes.

"GAAAAAGH" Was the cry as Daniel Jack crosses his arms before him. He manages to catch the ballin the crook of both arms, and slashes it apart. And gets the hell -blasted- out of his arms. "Oh jesus." Was the sigh from the detective, as the crowd roars in delight. Daniel shakes his arms... his sleeves falling off. "Ooooooooooh jesus." He looks down at his arms, and back up at the girl. This was it. This was the end of the line. Daniel Jack closes his eyes. Nobody on his team was in his corner. Nobody in the crowd was in his corner. He was Lady Killer right now. Nobody to rely on, but himself.


"Screw it."

And he explodes forward.

Launching at full speed, Daniel Jack outright straight towards the girl. Blazing with energy, his fist comes roaring in. And he would just... slam it into the gut of the woman, as he fires forward like a rocket. Should he catch her, he would just carry her across the ring, and slam her down into the tiles with a singular explosion. And if he didn't? Well, he's gonna be ending up on the other end of that chain.

Unless Ingrid wouldn't let him.

COMBATSYS: Ingrid counters Fantastic Todoh Punch EX from Daniel with Sun Lower.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Ingrid           0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0           Daniel

The crowd goes wild as the first blow of the second round is unleashed. The presence of the well known pop-idol diverts much of the energy from the panic that had only moments before gripped the crowd and they indulge her showmanship with racous cheers and adulation, eager to forget the harrowing fear and replace it with something more palpable. That energy swells up around her and she can feel the power surging through the raw emotion. Some with gifts similar to her own might feed upon that energy, draw it in as manna and feed their own strength - but there are inherent risks to such practices, first and foremost being the tainting of one's own spirit. Her spirit was pure and divine, an Eternal beacon for the good and righteous and she would not sully herself with such base desires.

On the other hand, there was another way to draw strength from that displayed by others. The energy that wells up within Daniel as he lunges forward, the determination and drive to overcome the monikers that haunt him, she reaches into these wells and siphons away a portion of their pure intention letting that energy bolster her own defenses and resolve.

"I'm afraid!", the girl calls out as the Lady Killer bears down upon her. She crouches low, as if to huddle into a ball and quiver in anticipation of the blow that will soon smash into her with a terrible ferocity and speed. At the last moment, however, her hand snaps out, palm flattened towards the oncoming train that is Detective Little, and a disc of golden light winks to life.

The fist slams into that glimmering shield and the man behind it just stops dead in his tracks, locked into the pose of his attack as if frozen in a moment of time. Ingrid slowly sticks her tongue at her opponent, still half hiding a coy smile behind her other hand like a child playing peek-a-boo. She stands up in a grand motion, swinging her hand up into the air high over her head and the hapless detective goes flying straight up along with it as if being pulled by invisible strings leaving him to fall to the ground as gravity reasserts itself a few moments later.

"...that you'll have to do better than that!"

Oh, she stopped it.

As Daniel Jack roars outwards, he is suddenly and sharply stopped by the shimmering shield. Grunting, he actually leans over it, stunned. When Ingrid peeks over it, Daniel shuts one eye. He knew whatever was about to come, it was gonna suck. And it does, as he is launches straight up into the air. The audience lets out a cheer as the detective slams into the chandelier. And like a ragdoll, he collapses on the tiles before Ingrid's feet, groaning and writhing. For a moment, he stops his squirming. A round of applause comes, but stops dead.

And Daniel Jack rises again.

Jerks up, more like it. The crowd's atmosphere invokes the spirit of 'Ah come on!' and 'Stay down dammit!' A round of boos comes as Daniel Jack defiantly fights to stay in. He was stubborn. And he knew that he was not gonna win this round. But the fact of the matter was simple. He had a duty as team leader. And while every single man and woman in this building hated him, he couldn't let that stop him from doing his job. Steadying his stance, he looks across at the idol, head tilted, breathing hard. He spits to the ground, a bit of blood mingling with the salivia.

"Alright, scuzzy."

And energy flows to his finger tips.

Chi blazes over his form, as he burns up his reserve. Raising his arms up high, the energy builds to a head, a crest over him. It was slow, it was drawn out. It was very predictable about what was coming. But as both arms come down, the wave of chi across the tile in a semi-circle. The wave cracks out, flipping the tiles as it rips outwards towards Ingrid. The Chou Kasane Ate. Slow.

But powerful.

COMBATSYS: Daniel successfully hits Ingrid with Chou Kasane Ate.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Ingrid           1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1           Daniel

The crowd cheers and boos as the detective gets his just rewards and Ingrid drinks it up, playing the part of the idol with practiced ease. She winks at at cameras, holding her fingers up in the V-for-victory sign which only stokes their hivemind of adulation to new heights. However, it would seem that her utter humilation of the detective has not yet quite come to an end.

Turning to face Daniel once more, Ingrid makes a disgusted face at the vulgar display as he spits on the floor. Not doing yourself any favors, buddy, she thinks. Ofcourse, she has no actual animosity towards this man. This is all just a song and dance, part of the show necessary to keep her true intentions veiled. She had planned to simply toss him around a bit, nothing particularly rough or brutal what with him already near the end of his stamina.

Then that massive wave of energy comes crashing down upon her. And her plan changes.

Sensing the power behind the last desperate assault, the girl dances backwards on her toes, nimble and swift, but despite her quick action the overwhelming blast of spiritual energy proves just fast enough to catch her on the backpedal. The orange wave slams into her mid-section, doubling the idol over and sending her careening backwards as if fired out of a cannon.

There is an audible gasp from the audience as the Eternal Goddess takes to the heavens. Like Daniel, she finds herself at the mercy of the laws of nature, gravity's cruel and unrelenting pull drawing her down to an unpleasant crash that looks as if it might take her beyond the edge of the arena - except, unlike Daniel, Ingrid has some really crazy fans. Instead of the cold hard surface of the cafe floor, the girl slams into a soft cushion of some sort. She blinks, glancing around to find that a good half dozen people have interlocked their arms forming a pad upon which she could find safe landing.

Her face goes red for a moment at the display of loyalty but she recovers swiftly, giving a wink and blown kiss to the brave heroes who spared her a bit of pain and indignity. When she steps back into the arena a defeaning cheer goes up, intermingled with fresh hate for the Lady Killer.

"You appear to have crossed a line, my friend." She offers him a genuinely regretful look for a moment, resting her hands on her hips with a sigh. "I was going to let you off easy but after a stunt like that..."

Ingrid moves, throwing herself forward in a burst of speed though the detective is likely already quite prepared to receive her. Golden light sparkles to life around her fist as she swings, a broad swipe that fills the air between them with a brilliant band of shimmering power.

"I must answer the demands of my fans!"

COMBATSYS: Daniel interrupts Aggressive Strike from Ingrid with Ragtime Riot EX.
- Power hit! -

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ingrid           1/--=====/=======|

COMBATSYS: Daniel can no longer fight.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ingrid           1/--=====/=======|

Daniel Jack wasn't going out without a fight.

The blast wave catches the idol, and sends her reeling. Her fans were there to catch her, but if she was cocky before, she wasn't now. Daniel Jack just stands there, the chi energy flaring over him like a bonfire. Every breath was ragged, struggling. He was way past his limit. "You shouldn't take it easy on me." Daniel Jack says flatly, as she rushes in with a flash of speed. The golden lights come as she slams it straight into Daniel's face. He takes the blow cleanly.

And promptly, he explodes with a palm strike cross counter.
"And I gotta answer the demands of my team, scuzzy." Was the response as the hand chop comes out right afterwards. Daniel Jack was hurling himself point blank into the girl, rushing in with every step. Chi energy was flaring out, boiling out from the detective as each blow comes. An elbow jab, chained into a slash of energy at point blank range. The relentless assault comes as Daniel sweats harder and harder, his features stone. As second overhead slash comes... and with it, down goes Daniel. He is on his knees briefly, as he seems to lose something. He struggles to rise back up.

And instead, he collapses.

Writhing on the ground at Ingrid's feet, he struggles to rise, struggles to return to the fight. He can't even muster raising his head. His arms were too weak to carry him up; the brutal assault from Neon having nearly ground him down into piecemeal, and now, the cleanup from Ingrid pushing him well past. Three blows from someone with that much power... he couldn't even feel his face anymore. Finally, Daniel stops moving. Facedown, he just lays there. And a muffled voice raises up.


"I concede."

"You can just, uh."

There is a pause.

"Just drag me to where about Lita is."

The crowd erupts into a cheer.

Admittedly, Ingrid had not expected the response that came her way. Her power was the kind that felled monsters and laid tyrants low. It was the majesty of the sun, an everlasting wellspring of raw primal energy that consumed all that sought to bring it low. Unfortunately, that power was not what it once was. Even had she full command of the terrible destruction at her disposal, she could not unleash it here on these undeserving masses.

Therefore, when Daniel explodes into action, pushing through the barrier of light to ferociously fight for his beliefs... she lets him.

Pain shoots through her body as the series of strikes rain down upon her soft flesh. The handchop catches her across the sternum and she staggers backwards, partially from the blow and from an attempt to avoid the rest of the assault. The elbow catches her freely in the chest and a small flare of energy erupts as his chi finds resistance upon the shield of her soul, scratching at the surface but unable to actually wound it. Ingrid stumbles backwards yet again in the face of the dual slashes of power, but when all is said and done, when his energy and resolve is spent, she remains standing.

The girl sucks in a breath, wincing hard at the bruises left behind on her delicate body by the overbearing brute at her feet. For a moment she enterains the thought of kicking him all the way across the arena like a soccerball but it fades quickly upon a short reflection. There would be no justice in such an act. Besides, it's probably against the rules.

"Well done, detective," she says, after taking a moment to smooth her dress down in a casual manner. "It would seem the Lady Killer has finally fallen."

The Eternal Goddess, purveyor of light and benevolence, flips a hand through her hair, tossing it over her shoulder with a smart gesture and then squats down to offer that hand to the man on the floor. She smiles at him, her expression almost as radiant as the power at her command.

"Come. Let us return you to your friends with your head held high. Perhaps now you may find a moment of peace."

...ofcourse, the position that she happened to choose, half-crouched right infront of his face with that mini-skirt of hers would give the detective a most unforgettable sight when he looked up to accept her aid. Judging by the way her smile shifts to a mischievous grin, she knew exactly what she was doing. A last act of vengence, however petty it may be.

"Then again... perhaps not."

COMBATSYS: Ingrid awaits the next challenger.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Ingrid           1/--=====/=======|

By the time Sergei was out the doors, he was too late. There were only leathery wings beating in the sky. He could not simply fire in to the air at them, that would be a danger. As the bullets arced, they might come down on the unsuspecting population. He would have to give up his chase.

Sergei turned around and reentered the building, keeping his gun hidden. He went and sat back down at the VIP table nearly as bitter as his drink.

Eventually, Daniel Jack -is- dragged off the center ring.

The stage hands, consisting soley of women, drag him to the medical team by his feet, making sure to shake him around a lot on the journey there. Unceramoniously dumped before the medical team, one gives a good final kick before walking away. The medical team, consisting solely of women, give him a quick once over, and declare him fine. Promptly, he is sat into a chair right by Lita. Daniel slumps forward, landing face down on the table. There is a silence.

"So uh, lets inventory what we have."

Daniel Jack slumps backwards, leaning back in the chair. His face has... swelled up since he went down. "Lita, I... okay, I don't think you are in the headspace to stare down the barrel of... that." He nods his head in the general direction of Ingrid. With Sergei taking his seat, the detective looks dead on. "Sergei, you've gotten enough time to relax. You're up. Watch out for her energy attacks, scuzzy, and keep yourself stable. She's fast, so try to be faster." The detective nods, before rolling his head back to Lita. "Alright, since you don't want therapy time, how about you explain what the hell happened."

"Neon wasn't the one who kicked off that explosion, was she?"

Sergei found Daniel's suggestion for him to go forward acceptable and wise. Sergei knew very well that Neon did not cause the explosion, but he was not able to catch the suspect. Still, the fight had to go on. Sergei stood up, pushed in his chair, and left the sad looking table behind him.

When he walked into the ring, the crowd went quiet. The opinions of Sergei were highly mixed. Some saw a force that brought justice to the ones who deserved it, others saw a violent monster tearing apart others for fun, and a few saw a misunderstood man with a heart of gold who just needed that special someone have them open up.

But that did not matter to the Spetsnaz. What did matter was taking care of the target. It was all it was about right now. He walked up to this Ingrid with his face unchanged. He went into his combat stance and faced her down.

The fight was resumed, and Sergei sprang to her. His boots were audible as they hit the ground. He went to grab her hand to throw her over his hip. If it worked, she would be sent right down to the floor.

COMBATSYS: Sergei has joined the fight here.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Ingrid           1/--=====/=======|-------\-------\0           Sergei

ODROP::Rugal goes OOC.

COMBATSYS: Ingrid blocks Sergei's Medium Throw.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ingrid           1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0           Sergei

Ingrid watches with amusement as the detective is uncermoniously hauled off without taking her oh-so-gracious offer of assistance, suffering more abuse from the medical staff than he might have from her. She gives him a little wave, poor guy. Ofcourse, he did just pummel the crap out of her, which wasn't particularly nice.

Rising to her feet, Ingrid dusts herself off and looks nonchalant as if the bruises she knows are already forming aren't any sort of big deal. She can recover from that poor showing but if her next opponent is possessing any skill then it could be an uphill battle since they will be completely fresh. Sensing the turmoil in the woman sitting at the table with Daniel, she had hoped that it would be her that she would fight next. People who are upset, while unpredictable, tended to be easy to exploit. Instead, she gets a towering man with a jaw cut out of stone who looks like he hasn't ever laughed at a joke in his entire life. Well crap.

Putting on her best glittery smile, Ingrid leans forward and clasps her hands behind her back to greet the Russian with style. "Hey there, tall, dark, and scary! What's with the silent treatment, eat some bad borsch this morning or wh-aaaah!"

In the most rude fashion imaginable, her quip is cut short as the soldier simply lunges in without so much as a 'hello'. She staggers backwards in a swift hop throwing her arms up to intercept whatever strike he might have planned. Instead, she ends up getting grabbed. Realizing her mistake, Ingrid corrects course as quickly as possible and manages to roll with the throw so as to land on her feet but not before the man half wrenches her arm out of its socket.

"Ow ow ow! Easy on the merchandise, pal!"

Instead of retreating to put distance between herself and the big lug manhandling her delicate limbs, the girl falls into a crouch as she comes down onto the floor and immediately springs into a leap. Her lithe frame flips high into the air and her foot snaps out in a biting arc that leaves a shimmering golden crescent trailing behind it, both of which she aims for the massive target of the brute's jutting jaw.

COMBATSYS: Sergei dodges Ingrid's Sun Arch.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ingrid           1/-======/=======|-------\-------\0           Sergei

Lita looks on as her team mate strides in the ring. While she agreed with the choice, she shudders with the memory of MURDERHOUSE giving her the flash back of the beatdown received at the hands of her own team mate. She takes a deep breath and then turns towards to Daniel.

"I only said that because I wouldn't have had time to go over it before your next fight would've started. That being said, while I could go over it now with you out of the fight, I am willing to table it until we can talk privately."

"Neon definitely was not the one who triggered it. Let's go over the details."

She counts each detail on her fingers as she speaks, "We have the missing VIPs." Second finger goes up, "We have the wrecked robot." Third finger goes up, "No blood or anything, just little bits of metal." Fourth finger goes up, "Neon seemed as confused by the whole thing. Which was evident when she tore you a new one."

Sergei looked as the girl flew in the air. He made careful note on her arch as she was in the air. And when she came down with a kick, he knew right where it was going to be. With a graceful step to the back and side, he let the delicate girl fall right to the ground.

Sergei watched the arch that came down. It had appeared he was dealing with a psychic, interesting. He would file a report on this much later, he had to take care of the now.

As the wisp landed, he knew he had to keep the pressure on. As she stood, the Spetsnaz brought a hand strike down onto her ribcage. He would follow with a horizontal hand slash, and finish with a precise uppercut on the albino.

COMBATSYS: Sergei successfully hits Ingrid with Death's Door.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Ingrid           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=------\-------\0           Sergei

Whiffing that attack had not been in her predicted outcomes. The large man was simply too large a target for such a close range assault to go wide and yet, despite this obvious fact, he had managed to defeat her calculations and do the impossible. Annoying.

Ingrid lands with the same grace as always, her feet lightly tapping the ground as she seems to practically float through the air like a butterfly. She immediately begins to move, knowing that such an obvious opening will be exploited by a skilled fighter and her prediction this time proves to be spot on. Unfortunately, the man's speed surprises her again and his large fist slammed into her side knocking the wind out of the slight girl with its strength and setting her up for the rapid pair of blows that follow. Ingrid gives a high-pitched squeak of pain and annoyance but manages to pull her head out of the way at the last moment and thus avoid the embarrasment of being clobbered by one of the most obvious attacks in history.

"Hnnn... faster than I expected, it would seem."

The girl rubs at her side which has been the subject of far too much abuse in the last minute or so. The perils of being an idol these days are getting a little more intense! Her body can't take much more punishment like that. Fortunately, she's got a few more tricks to unleash before she's through.

Stepping forward, the white-haired psychic draws upon her mental might once more and the air around her fist begins to glow in glittering gold only moments before she swings it around in a wide sideways swipe at the Russian. Her fist traces an arc through the air once more filling it with a shimmering ribbon of energy that sweeps out to bridge the gap between them with searing power.

"Hey, grumpy! Watch the birdie!"

COMBATSYS: Ingrid successfully hits Sergei with Fierce Punch.
- Power hit! -

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Ingrid           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Sergei

Sergei was quick. When the albino out right told him she was attacking, he immediately went to side step it. He kinda did it, but made it far worse instead. He made the blow hit him right in the eye.

Most would scream at the pain and shock of a blow to the eye, but Sergei was different. He already felt the feeling of having his eye ripped out, and this was nothing compared to that. He instead, took it as an opportunity.

He gazed at this girl calculating her movements, her balance, her momentum. The Spetsnaz watched his prey with a careful gaze, waiting.

COMBATSYS: Sergei focuses on his next action.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Ingrid           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Sergei

The assault has the desired effect this time and the golden ribbon of psychic power slams into Ingrid's opponent, its angle of attack making the attempt to evade prove to be a painful choice. She had not been aiming at his face but at this point she's quite willing to take any mistake her opponent choses to make with gracious poise.

When Sergei further offers her the curtesy of taking a moment to step back and allow her to gather her strength she feels that it would be quite rude to refuse such a kind gesture. The idol hops backwards a few steps herself and takes a deep breath, running through some mental exercises to compartmentalize the damage inflicted upon her. It would not heal those wounds, she was not gifted with such a convenient power, but it would let her keep fighting just a little longer by venting that pain into a small space and then closing it off from her senses.

"So I'm guessing when you guys got together you had a contest on who got to do the talking and Daniel won like all the tokens, am I right?"

COMBATSYS: Ingrid gains composure.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Ingrid           1/-<<<<<</<<<<<<<|====---\-------\0           Sergei

Sergei was calm and patient. Then he noticed she was calming down herself. Given his long wait and careful timing, he knew it

He smelt weakness.

Sergei charged forward at the albino! He lowered to a lunge at her legs. He was going to tackle her to the ground. Once on the filthy floor, he would sit on her chest to immobilize her. She would be finished off with an absolutely brutal beating, Sergei would just pound in her face with his savage fists.

It would be the cold of Russia's winter nights against the molten power of the sun.

COMBATSYS: Sergei successfully hits Ingrid with Blizzard Rush.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Ingrid           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0           Sergei

No banter, no smile, no twitch - nothing.

Ingrid peers at the cold expressionless face of the man infront of her and frowns, not quite sure what to do about this. She could quite easily skim his mind, and has infact, but that aspect of his core is just as bleak and devoid of personality as the exterior. The girl quirks an eyebrow and takes a deep breath, opening her mouth as if to speak again when the sudden shift in movement turns her opponent into a human missile.

She moved in tandem with the soldier, bringing her arms up to ward off the powerful blow but his flying tackle is far more than she is capable of intercepting with such a quick defense, not expecting him to actually pin her to the ground. Too late, she realizes her mistake and hits the floor. Both of her arms snap up, defensively raising to shield herself from the blows that will no doubt follow. She succeeds for a few moments, sacrificing her arms to the storm of pounding strikes but they quickly give out under the unrelenting beating and the Russian's punches find purchase on her pretty face as intended.

The world turns into a spinning mess of distorted colors after the first couple of hammering strikes and Ingrid recoils, squirming uselessly underneath the weight of her attacker. For a moment, it seems as if she is simply finished, the overbearing power of a fighter twice her size simply too much for the bright idol.

Not yet!

Ingrid's rattled mind rails against the pressure of the pain and her vision swims as she tries to regain focus. There's too much left to do, too much at stake here. While she wouldn't be entirely shut off from investigating the tournament should this battle end in failure, it would make her job significantly harder. She kind of sticks out like a sore thumb which makes the whole stealth angle a bit problematic, hence joining this brutish contest in the first place.

Reaching deep down into the depths of her soul, the Eternal Goddess touches the sleeping bit of power residing within that reservoir and draws it to the fore. Time seems to slow down around her, her senses magnified to a level that no human could hope to achieve and in that brief instant of relief she gathers her wits and fights back. An aura of shimmering golden power flares to life around the prone girl, her body lighting up like a miniature sun, radiant and terrible to behold. Just as Sergei lifts one of his fists in preparation to land another punch with machine-like precision, Ingrid lifts her arms and places her palms directly against his chest, summoning forth that great power from within to detonate in a massive explosion at point blank as her voice rings out with a clarion tone of total authority.


COMBATSYS: Ingrid successfully hits Sergei with Sun Burst.
- Power hit! -

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Ingrid           1/------</<<<<<<<|=====--\-------\0           Sergei

Sergei was unleashing a storm of pain and suffering on that girl. He could see her light dimming. Then he could see only light.

Sergei was launched up into the air by that solar blast. By the time he could see again, he was already coming back down. He had to act quickly.

He was coming back down to earth, but he was in control. He kept his legs straight as he came down. He aimed to land of the softest thing nearby.


COMBATSYS: Ingrid fails to counter Iron Flail from Sergei with Sun Delta.
- Power fail! -

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

COMBATSYS: Ingrid can no longer fight.

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

Ingrid rises slowly as the blast frees her from the oppressive weight. Blood trickles down her face, a thin line of crimson from her nose to her chin that marrs the pale perfection of her skin. Despite the beating that she has received thus far, the girl looks serene, almost distant, as if some shield has been put in place that has disconnected her from all of the suffering.

Her head lifts up to follow the trajectory of the human projectile that has been sent skywards by her unleashed power. She watches impassively for a few moments, her eyes glowing a faint red through the haze of golden light dancing around her body. The moment passes quickly. The idol smiles, more of a smirk of anticipation than resignation. This is it then, the final touch.

Lifting her hand into the air, the Eternal Goddess draws upon her might once more and conjurs it into the surface of her palm. A shimmering disc of light such as the one that stopped the detective cold in his tracks winks to life and she holds it high for an instant, gauging the exact moment to unleash its strength against the unsuspecting soldier.

Something stops her. She isn't quite sure what it is in the moment. A feeling. A premonition. Some inexplicable flight of fancy. Whatever the case might be she gets the distinct impression that something bad will happen should she land that final and terrible blow, some unforseen consequence down the road that will come to haunt her. An image of Annie flashes into her mind, the young girl she sent off to chase the shadows that scurried out after the fleeing Miyama ninja. Did the girl need her help?


That one word slips past her lips and, with a shudder at what is to follow, she hesitates, unsure of which course will take her to the future she most wishes to see. It does not take but an instant for the disciplined warrior to capitolize upon her brief lack of conviction. Sergei falls upon the small girl like a bag of bricks and she crumples to the floor, landing hard on her back beneath the force of the powerful kick.

The force of the blow is such that the idol actually skids backwards on the polished floor until friction catches hold of her and she tumbles into a roll that carries her several feet away. For several seconds she simply lies there, breathing heavily, eyes closed against both the pain and the lingering visions. By the time she looks up again the referee is standing over her with an assessing gaze, waiting to see if she will rise again. She gives him a little smile and shakes her head.

"The winner!" The man turns and holds his hand up towards Sergei, calling out the victory and the crowd reacts as crowds tend to do in such a dramatic situation. Noise buffets the arena in a palpable wave causing Ingrid to wince as she sits up, slowly pushing to her feet even as the on-site medics begin to move her way.

She waves them off and they give her a skeptical look as she staggers to her feet, wiping the blood on her face away with a handkerchief that seems to be four-fifths frilly lace produced from somewhere in her sleeves. They continue to pester her and she eventually accepts a cold compress for her face which is already beginning to show the first signs of purpling as the bruises set in.

"No rest for the wicked," she says to the air, holding the ice pack to her cheek. "Which means no rest for me either." She starts to make her way torwards the exit but a few steps away from the wall the world tilts sideways. Ingrid lets out an indignant squeak as she tumbles onto her duff, legs splayed out in an unlady-like fashion.

"Well... maybe, the wicked will give me... a short time out...if I ask nicely."

Sergei had won, he had done it. His hand is held high in the air by the referee. But he had things to attend to. He first walked over to the medic provided by the Russian military. He sits with his team as his eye is inspected. He reaches out and grabs his drink and drinks it. He looked like nothing had happened to him. He eyed his team mates, one drunk and beaten, the other in shambles. He just sat back and waited for what his captain had to say.

COMBATSYS: Sergei has ended the fight here.

"Missing VIPs. Wrecked Robot. No blood. Neon is confused." The detective nods firmly, shutting his eyes as the large bright flashes of light burst out. It takes a while before he opens them. Eyes shut, he just speaks. "Sounds like its a hit. The VIPs were targeted... for something." He falls silent again. And then, someone takes a seat by him. Groggily, he forces his eyes open again... to see a Sergei. The stoic man looked like he just took a brisk walk through traffic... and was done. He looks over to a recovering Ingrid. "Jesus, was I out just then? Did you just -win- Sergei? I-"

"... Where is their other teammate, Lita?"

Daniel Jack pauses a moment, a connection made. "Oh. -Oh-. Okay, looks like we need to be on the move folks." He struggles out of his chair, barely keeping a stand. "I think we need to have a chat with the VIPs. I think there is a big misunderstanding here. Or." He pauses a bit. "I think the VIPs might be involved..." He takes staggered steps towards the flailing legs of Ingrid, as instincts dictated.

"And I think someone has an idea of where they might be now."

Lita shakes her head at Daniel. They were both seeing the same things but Lita was coming to an entirely different conclusion. Maybe it was the fact that she was a bit closer to the action or maybe it was that the pain of facing both Neon and Ingrid distracting him.

"One problem with that conclusion. There's only evidence of one thing or person being damaged aside from the people fighting in the tournament. The robot. When it got dark and smokey, the first sounds were of crunching metal. No. The robot was the target. The VIPs probably pursued." 'And probably knocked me over,' she mentally added.

She then follows Daniel as he moves toward Ingrid.

"You better tread carefully with what you say. After what you said earlier, I wouldn't be surprised if she told you to bugger off."

Log created on 22:13:30 06/17/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 22:23:02 06/24/2016.