Description: Minal Panesh and Clio St. Jeanne meet up in the distant harbor of Metro City. Both have tests they need to run on their weapons of choice. Both have words they want to say to one another. Both are in different places in their lives since the Golden Angel Tournament. Both of them want ice cream. But when ice cream is a post fight ritual, that of course means there must be a pre-ice cream throwdown.
Three-letter acronyms are a language all their own. A civilian could be easily forgiven for being unable to parse the specialized vocabulary of an excitable corporal eager to report the results of a day-long hearing. There wasn't much time for Mint to unpack the acronyms or explain herself fully in the span of a brief phone call though. The main gist of the rapid-fire recital of events was clear -- it was good news!
Now, Minal is here in person -- a bit earlier than the planned rendezvous time. She's wearing a pair of snug blue jeans, and a black tank top over an ash grey t-shirt. She seems to have no problem with the weight of two thick transport cases, one slung on each shoulder. Plastic fingers dance across the surface of her ruggedized mobile phone as she waits, humming an oddly-paced tune to herself without much of a care in the world.
The location isn't the -most- ideal place for a rendezvous, considering it's smack dab in the harbor district, with large warehouses all around. Gravel suffices for a "parking lot" for several dozen vehicles, but the warehouse is far from busy at the moment. Every so often a tractor-trailer in the distance can be heard rumbling by, or hissing its air brakes or whatnot. But... it should suffice, muses Mint as she rests a synthetic hand on the clasps of a transport case. It'll do...
Acronyms can be hard enough to parse on their own. Coupled with the specificity of most jargon, it makes translation nearly impossible. It was due to simply not being able to get the entirety of what Minal was saying that Clio made the suggestion to meet up at the harbor. It was not far from here that Clio was crashing and hiding out at Abigail's workshop, taking advantage of his tools to etch and work the series of chains she had been working on to replace her original one. So it just made sense to get the tiny and excitable one to just meet up in person.
Clio had been surprised Minal even contacted her. She had figured that it would have just been another case of distancing after their date and Minal having to find out that Clio's preferences skewed taller than herself. But the run in Metro proper, and now the call, it was good to realize the two were still able to consider each other friends.
Clio's walking the concrete of the harbor district. Her chain wraps crossways over her chest, under that a basic outfit meant for exercise she had in her bag when she bolted from the NOL; the shirt still bearing her old designation and rank. The colors the same as her former uniform. Without a lot to wear, laundry day comes more often than one would like.
The beeping, the engine sounds, the distant voices that carry and bounce off corrugated buildings, the constant and everpresent whining of a seagull, all familiar music as Clio strolls along en route to the meeting spot. A warehouse, and for a change, Clio doesn't go in through the windows up toward the roof. She just jams the door open and wanders inside.
Her voice carries an echo when she calls out, seeing the small woman and her luggage. "If you're looking for the water taxi, you're on the wrong wharf," she calls out, laughing in a tired way that slips into a daytime sleepiness yawn.
The door is opened -- and Minal doesn't seem to notice. Even when the hinges squeak, and the door is jammed, there's no response, not until the drowsy yawn resounds its way through the warehouse. At which point, Mint abruptly looks up from her phone and casts her eyes over to the former NOL officer. Her voice is unmistakably exuberant as she calls out, "Clio!" To say nothing of the echoes repeating their way through the hollow warehouse.
Already, Mint is rushing in to close the gap. "Water taxi? More like 'What're taxis even for,' then?" A mirthful expression on her face, she stops just short of bowling Clio over in her exictement.
"So no one even -uses- this warehouse? Seems like a colossal waste of space, I mean, I could set up the whole -shop- out here. Oh, and you should -see- my office now, it's..."
One artificial hand closes over her mouth as she belatedly silences herself -- cognizant that -maybe- she's rushing a bit too much. Again.
Pausing for a breath, and a brief once-over of Clio, she drops her hand: "Sorry, I'm getting ahead'a myself again! Wow, huh... you look great!" With a giddy smile, she pauses for effect. "How've you been? Is that the new chain?"
Clio's half lidded eyes are clearly dealing with the daytime sleepiness she feels, but her smile is easy if self amused and she's laughing when Mint rushes over to her armed with unlicensed puns. Her hands go up in a weak, plaintive attempt at a defense against the bowling flinging tiny force of Minal Panesh. "It's good to see you again," she says with a small laugh, tired and content with the closeness of a friend.
"You have an office now?" Clio asks, hooking her thumb into her chain's links, head tilting quizzically. She drums her fingers along the links, her other hand slipping into the pockets of her wind pants. She looks Minal over, and takes a studious glance to the luggage, presuming them to be her secondary arms.
"Yeah, it's the work in progress. I don't really have an office here. And you caught me with everything else in the laundry. So, yeah, no need to flatter me by saying my workout clothes look good."
Mint doesn't miss a beat with her reply, tilting her head for a smarmy, overacted grin. "Sure, but who said anything about your -clothes- lookin' good?" With pursed lips, Minal gauges Clio's reaction while drumming her fingers lightly along the taut shoulder-straps of her luggage. It's true that she'd gotten the memo back at their Southtown date, but the Indian dynamo is nothing if not persistent.
That said, though... she crouches, lowering the cases to the floor. First on one case, then the other, she slides release catches. Hydraulics smoothly lower the sides of each case to the floor, revealing a pair of knuckles which is considerably further advanced than the last edition. Whereas the previous models were largely cylindrical, it seems this version embraces a chunkier, less aerodynamic aesthetic.
"Yeah! They pulled me off field duty till I get my head back on straight. Now, I'm working with the SOF-AT&L -- 'Acquisitions, Technology, and Logistics' -- which is mostly a fancy way of sayin' we buy good stuff off-the-shelf, and tailor it to match our soldiers' needs."
By this point, the cases are fully open, and Mint eagerly slips her hands into the open receptacles on her gauntlets. As with the previous model, the weapons seem to have no trouble wrapping around her normal-sized hands; after a series of clicks, beeps, and LEDs lighting, the artificial gauntlets are pulled free of their casings.
Mint wriggles her fingers as if she were pulling on leather gloves. "In short, the brass wants me to look into making more stuff like this. Maybe not so -heavy- though!"
She raises a gauntlet up for inspection. Each module weighs over thirty pounds, but as before, they seem as light as feathers to the boxer. "Each soldier's gotta have a ton of tech on them at all times, so I gotta work on making stuff -lighter-, gawww." She tilts her head towards Clio's chain, grinning. "But you know how it goes, each version's gotta be better than the last, right? How's your stuff coming along?"
Clio rolls her eyes, and drags her hand over her face, but she's smiling all the same. "I'm not even wearing any make up," she tells Minal. "Not saying stop, just saying you're dragging your standards down."
She shifts the weight of her chain at her shoulder and hip, shifting her clothing underneath for comfort. She leans forward to look down as the cases are opened one by one. She taps her boot against the ground and hums, looking over the bulky knuckles in all the combat oriented glory. Heavy and potent, but definitely nicer than the turbine exposed pair that Clio remembers jamming a spike into.
"I like the look. Doesn't look like something I could break down so easily," Clio judges, nodding. "And I could see these being useful. But, maybe not so much that you have to replace hands. Like a set of glove sized ones. Better grip, better protection, and you have to have some people who are better at fighting hand to hand than using artillery or guns." Clio hums, rubbing her chin and considering things. "But I'm biased. I was part of the Magical Infantry and they all use hand to hand weaponry."
The caveat offered, Clio steps back from the gauntlets when Mint hoists them up. "This? So far it's maintaining integrity. Not sure if they'll hold up under combat circumstances. So far I know they just hold up under the force of seithr and other things I flood the hermetics with. But I don't know if it'll hold under your gauntlets."
Mint shrugs her shoulders with a broad grin and rosy cheeks. "Oh, pfft. You came out to see me, that means something! I know how much effort it takes to get you out in broad daylight!" The Marine knows she hasn't really addressed the 'lowered standards' claim; on that, she doesn't really have a defense. She -is-, after all, positively giddy at the meeting. Though it is, in part, of her attraction to the self-declared 'witch,' it could also have to do with the not-court-martialed and the not-out-of-a-job judgements she was so excited about earlier.
"Ah, yeah..." she responds, talk of engineering returning her cheeks to a more normal shade. "Did some research, and since we're not exactly high-speed low-drag, we can get away with a retractable intake shroud. Might get in with a crowbar, but sorry, you'll have to work a /bit/ more to dent these compressor blades." A smug smile accompanies the lift of her arm, the clench of her fist.
"Yeah, we're working on... other stuff now. Not -quite- as bonkers as these two, for sure." She smiles with a knowing, i'd-tell-you-but-i'd-have-to-shoot-you look. "It ain't just -better- fighting hand-to-hand, there's a lot less red tape. Bust a cap in a well-deservin' ass, you're gonna get writ up for war crimes, sure... Serve 'em a knuckle sandwich, though? Walk, no problem."
She laughs, distantly -- allowing her attention to turn to Clio's chain. And the workout-gear-clad form it's coiled around. Her mind starts to drift a moment, but she shuts her eyes for a moment, thinking lots of engineering thoughts. Safer that way. "Well, -sure-, but only if I slammed it against an anvil or somethin'. I got safeties on the grip servos to keep me from crushing. I mean..." Her eyes open as she draws in her breath. "Well, so much for -that- plan, but y'know..."
Clio shrugs her shoulders with a knowing acknowledgement of her nocturnal habits. She knows her proclivities and accepts that she's normally half asleep in the daytime. Her hands go back into the pockets of her wind pants. While Mint is giddy, Clio is more subdued with her posture and look. But she's smiling, and contented with the situation and the company.
The shop talk helps, it gets Clio's eyes to open a little more than they are. She looks over the offered up materiel and the gear's potential. And all the more, it's a friend's workshopping, which makes it loads more interesting than the usual technical chatter from the Engineering Corps. But even that thought is a pang in the heart, especially hearing about Mint's new and more optimistic occupation positions. But for all the smug smiling from Mint, Clio is just as happy for her. "Those two are still something to talk about. I don't think I've seen anything like this in the Infantry."
Clio adjusts the chains crossing her body, shifting their position across her torso. "So, have you tested those out yet?" she asks, her grin growing sharp, she may not have fangs, but for a moment she might just have that kind of a look about her and the shine in her eye. "And I want to see where you've come since Golden Angel. You have this new gear, a new job, and here's me whose been camping for who knows how long." She offers up a playful shrug, but her eyes remain hard on the knucks that Mint has.
Minal is in a great mood! She understands that her good cheer isn't -completely- infectious, but that doesn't stop her from being excited. New job, new gauntlets, and time with a good friend -- all good things to be psyched up about. And now that the topic has tracked away from the matters that get butterflies swarming around in her stomach....
"There's that, but there's also more and more private militaries that make -much- more use of hand-to-hand combat. There's mercenaries like the Ikari -- and of course, there's jerkfaces like Shadaloo. Pro fight experience is another field I get to put to use at my new desk..."
Mint bobs back and forth, shifting weight from one foot to the other tentatively. "Of course! Just not against a live target. Or one who actually knows how to dodge." Fists are clenched and unclenched, as she squares up more directly with Clio. "... You -do- remember how to dodge, right?" she adds with a winking smirk. "I can't imagine getting tagged'll be fun in laundry-day armor..."
A series of LED lights begins to glow, cascading in a sequence along the length of the gauntlets. And when they reach the jet turbines, an electric humming can be heard. A moment later... the turbines light off. It's a much softer sound than Mint's last gauntlet iteration.
"S'this a good place for us to throw down?"
"Yeah, I know, I was. . ." Clio shakes her head, not wanting to fully explain the issues with the NOL and her position as alive or dead to certain paramilitary organizations that love to use hand to hand combat to kill things that may or may not be alive.
She steps back with a clink and a clank of her chains wrapped about her. She reaches for the weight clamp and snaps the length of the chain free. Lines and sigils glow along the chain. With a tug, the chains loosen, seeming slither in an almost living way when they fall and clatter to the floor. She rolls her wrist, pulling more and more of that chain up her arm, winding it up her arm like the coils of a snake.
"This place is as good as any," she admits with a shrug, not greatly caring about the surroundings of a fight in a harbor's little used warehouse. She licks her lips, hunching her shoulder and rocking back and forth from foot to foot. Her eyes are on the powering up gloves. The turbines in their whine, the tense, almost explosive feel before a fight.
Clio St. Jeanne has been waiting for a while, and her body is on edge for the chance to fight again.
COMBATSYS: Clio has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Mint has joined the fight here.
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Mint 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Clio
Mint may occasionally fall prey to bouts of engineering-related mania, but when she's focused on actually making conversation, she can notice when people drop into a lull. She nods quietly -- acknowledging the silence but not really pressuring the former NOL officer into continuing. There's secrets between friends, there's secrets kept for work, and then there's -real secrets-. Minal might not know the particular classification, but knows when to leave well enough alone.
Besides. It's fight time! Mint bears an ear-to-ear smile at the familiar sensation in her arms -- the vibration that lets her know -something- is about to go down. And when she sees the magical flames light their way along the length of enchanted chain, coruscating in her vision, she nods back in reply. "Yeah! It -has- been a while, right?"
As the turbines spin up to their idle speed, she raises both gauntlets in front of her as in a traditional boxer's guard. And when Clio seems ready -- Mint surges forward! She'll start off with a testing jab from her left, before sweeping around with a right hook -- fully expecting the chain to be tossed in her way. But the goal here wouldn't just be to -tag- Clio, but also to sneak a left-handed uppercut while she's still up close. "Ooo-raah!"
COMBATSYS: Clio dodges Mint's Knuckle Dragger.
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Mint 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Clio
Clio is a fighter. She always has been. The thrill of anticipation bumps and thumps in her veins. She can feel the pulse of the street under her boots. She can feel the intensity when it comes. She's waking up, revving the engines in her gut, the small bouts of licking arcane flame sparking on her chain indicative of that fire inside.
The feint and strike comes. Clio steps backwards, skipping with a laugh. A sweeping hook and Clio ducks under, rolling against the blow and popping up the other side. "Close!" she calls out, playful and coy while the uppercut meets the air and St. Jeanne backsprings away from her shorter opponent.
"Good, good. Starting to feel this again," Clio says, bouncing up and down. She gauges, and makes for good. A lunge forward, a slashing cut from her spike, but much like Mint, Clio is feinting; the real blow comes from swinging the weight of the chain down in a hammering blow while Clio herself is leaping backward, using the length of her chain to keep ahead of Mint's big Knucks.
COMBATSYS: Mint fails to interrupt Random Strike from Clio with Medium Punch.
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Mint 0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0 Clio
Mint's had wins, and she's had losses -- and really, she'd be at a complete loss as to which column has more marks in it. She thrives on the adrenaline of combat itself -- the in-your-face sensations that can only be triggered by clashing with someone of comparable skill!
And it has been so very, very long since she's had a good throwdown. Such that when Clio ducks, and then subsequently backsprings away, the Marine is quick to close the gap, striding forward.
"Same!" she chirps back, rearing her right fist back with an attempt to follow through. But when that chain lashes out -- she has to adjust her plans a bit. She throws her hand up into an uppercut, aiming to connect with the chain, and in doing so, grab hold of the chain so that Clio cannot escape!
Contact is made. But the chain itself is much longer than Mint's short reach -- and the links whip around to clash into the corporal's arm and shoulder. Mint ducks with the blow, grunting in pained agony at just how -hard- those things hit -- but ultimately staying coiled up until Clio can make a proper landing. And only then does she let out her breath, rising and backing away with a slight whistle. "Whew... bit of a stinger on that bee!"
One step ahead, one move beyond, keep up the harassment, continue to harry. "Just getting started, Mint," Clio taunts, tapping the toe of her boot on the ground, scraping the nails on the concrete. She rolls her shoulder, the chains tighten around her arm. Line align, secondary sigils connect. Light glows and grows and sparks up and down her chain.
"Catch," she says, tone low and coy. The fire sparks and rolls. A roiling, angry power flaring up and snapping forth. The magic cuts through the air, a face begins to form in the flames, an angry and scowling beast with jaws opening. The maw gnashes at Mint, slamming toward her with a fiery fierceness sparked from the edges of the Boundary.
COMBATSYS: Mint parries Clio's Jaws of Ammut!
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Mint 0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0 Clio
"Well, yeah!" agrees Mint, rolling her right shoulder around, working some sensation back into the numbed limb. The chain hurt a lot more than she'd expected it to -- which is as much a testament to her own time 'camping' as it is to Clio's own developments. "Gotta shake the rust off one way or another!" she chimes in, with a hop to her right, readying herself for another charge.
But then Clio gives her a warning -- and Mint decides to use that as another opportunity for advancement. Her turbines roar, both elbows snapping out to her sides. And she begins to charge -- right into the furious flame!
Or at least, that's what it looks like, until she thrusts the broadside of her right gauntlet at the blast, launching herself into the air. The blaze catches hold of her gauntlet, flames licking into yellow radiance as the force blasts the metal hand backward. But it seems she's planned for that -- as, leaping into the air, she cocks her left gauntlet's nozzle in a contrary direction, redirecting the flaming fury into a pirouetting spin, as she flies -around- the fiery face! "I got a better idea...!"
One moment later, with her right hand still glowing a brilliant yellow from the flame, the revolving Mint's feet touch ground again, her gauntlets still windmilling about. In the very next instant, she taps off the ground -- metal hand whirling as if to catch hold of Clio's chain. And if she manages to grab hold, she'd use the close proximity not for a punch, but for her bionic knee to slam upward into Clio's stomach! "Oooorah!"
COMBATSYS: Clio parries Mint's Lock and Load EX!
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Mint 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Clio
A brilliant burst of iridescent light brightens up the warehouse. Mint's heavyweight fist creating sparks off shimmering air. Clio, hands out with her chain drawn taut between fists, shields herself with a glowing disc crossed and connected with hermetic sigils and wriggling arcane mathematics.
The moment of contact seems to draw and drag, Clio bends herself around the force of the connection, slipping, pushing and lifting herself not only up but around Mint's mighty strike. Contorting, balancing herself on the disc, pushing herself around the blow in a slow, blurring arc.
She explodes. The protective spellwork bursts behind her, sigil and symbols on her chain and writhing in the violet flames within her wake. She seems to melt with the intensity of her movement, close in and closer still. The chain tight between her hands.
In the blink of an eye, Clio is inverted, her hands held downward, below her head, a line of glowing links held like a garrotte. The aim is simple, to catch Mint, wrap the chain about her uplifted arm and neck, and use her sheer velocity to chain hurl Mint as hard as possible into the ground below.
COMBATSYS: Clio successfully hits Mint with Avernian Gate EX.
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Mint 1/--=====/=======|====---\-------\0 Clio
Sparring against other Marines in her squad was totally boring for Mint. It's challenging in one regard, because their punches can still hurt her. But they're not lobbing anything special, just punches and kicks. Certainly nothing involving hermetic sigils and intricate spellwork.
The transition can be a little dizzying -- not the least because she'd just left a pirouetting jump with only her massive gauntlets to give her grounding. She follows through with the grapple attempt for sake of continuity, even going so far as to thrust her knee against the spellwork barrier. It's necessary for balance as much as anything else, really. But when the violet flames erupt outward, she's caught in the backblast. Eyes are shut and teeth are grit as she recoils backward -- and she lifts her gauntlet -- still glowing from the previous brush with flame -- to shield her face.
That's when a chain wraps around her arm and shoulder. And with a yelp of surprise, Mint finds herself flung around like a rag doll. Metal scrapes off the floor with a shower of sparks, an instant before the Marine's shoulder thuds down. Mint may be light, but the mass of the gauntlets ensures that the pint-sized dynamo stays in motion for a full revolution...
Minal harnesses the momentum to fling herself back to her feet. But once there, her strained expression shows that the exchange hurt -- a -lot-. Her arms sag, her face is contorted in a rictus of pain. And her tank top is more than a little scuffed up.
But then she draws in her breath, and as if by magic, relief washes over her face. Or maybe that's just adrenaline. Hard to tell.
Her fists clench. And the gloves rotate to the side. And the turbines spin up. Mint's look turns to one of sheer determination -- as she practically -shivers- with enthusiasm. "Alright, it's my turn now!"
With a roar of the turbines, Mint thunders forward. The jet-powered pugilist starts off with an early left hook, but that's just a windup for a hard right uppercut, aimed at launching Clio back into the air. And if she connects with that, she'll hammer a barrage of rapid-fire punches at Clio's airborne form, before delivering a broadside backhand to knock her back to the ground!
COMBATSYS: Mint knocks away Clio with Charlie Foxtrot EX.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
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Mint 1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Clio
Skipping one foot to the next, Clio hefts and checks on the chain still wrapped about her arm. The explosive force with which she moved taxed the makeshift version of her usual weapon. Metal strain and fatigue is a real danger when she was working with stuff she picked up laying around the harbor districts. "Good," she calls back to Mint, "I'd think you were taking it easy on me because you still have a crush."
The engines rev. Clio looks up. She locks her chains together and turns to lean into the force, to use it to balance and carry her as she has before.
The spellwork sparks and crackles, the chains crack under the pressure. Clio's body hurls bodily to the ground, bouncing and tumbling away into a small and huddled heap. A cough, sputtering, a muddled "fuck" from the ground. "Don't have a lot of clothing right now, can't get these too dirty," she laughs off the force of the blow, defensively, as she hoists herself back to her feet to a spinning world.
Clio shakes herself off and squares up her shoulders. "Try to keep up," she says, and she takes off with a skipping step. Running down toward Mint. Her chain rattles and flashes up with a dark and shadowed flame. Closing in, she lowers herself. A sharp rise with a slashing spike, rotating to a heel kick as she throws herself at Mint like a top. A loop of chain released to catch up Minal's heavy arms to jerk her here and there by the weight alone.
COMBATSYS: Clio successfully hits Mint with Charged Combo.
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Mint 1/-======/=======|=======\=------\1 Clio
Turbines settle back down to idle as Mint's boots tap back down to the floor. She turns back to face Clio, wincing a bit as her friend's laundry day outfit gets a bit more laundry-dayish. She scrapes the back of her hand across an itchy nose. "Tch... if we're testing, we gotta go balls-to-the-wall!"
After Clio hits the proverbial dirt, Minal takes a moment to catch her breath, holding her heated gauntlets away from her body. Lightly panting, she shrugs her singed shoulders -- "I doubt any of my shirts would fit. Not that I'd mind you modeling it, but whatevs!" A light stain forms across her cheeks, but she forges a plucky smile in disregard. She might still -have- something of a crush, but the engineer's current priority is clearly resting upon putting up a good fight...
Not to say that Mint isn't -trying-, but rather it just shows how fast Clio really -is-. The chain helps, of course -- Mint doesn't have much in her arsenal that can contest the increased range. And as such, when Clio rushes in, Mint reads her correctly in that she guards for a high attack rather than a low one -- but Clio's got two advantages. One, in that Mint guards against a strike, but not one that loops -around-, socking her in the left shoulder, with a followup heel kick. And as Mint staggers backward, Clio's chain loops around and wrenches at her gauntlets -- not a painless process, to say the least. "Nnngh!"
However, there is one considerable penalty to staying -close- to Mint -- and that's that she can hit back pretty hard. She tugs at the chains entwined around her gauntlets. A normal boxer might be hamstrung by the attack. But the spin-up of the turbines suggests that it's less of a problem for her. "Believe me, I'm trying!" she quips back, attempting to grab hold of the cracked chain.
And then suddenly Mint rockets forward -- not only planning to -hit- Clio, but also plow her backward into the nearest support column! "HYAAAAAH!"
COMBATSYS: Clio dodges Mint's MOAB.
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Mint 0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1 Clio
"Then test me!" Clio shouts out, hanging on for the ride, tossing Mint to the ground and sticking close in when Mint grips onto the length of chain used to rip the small soldier here and there. She's practically perching atop the knuckle when those turbines begin to spin once more. This close, there's a good chance of getting caromed off the beams again.
She looks back, thinks fast, and goes downward. Dropping to the floor, she hits her knees and folds herself back and low to the ground. Mint's might fist sucks in the air behind it and slams against the support column with a deafening clang and crumble as steel support and concrete crack under the titanic assault. Clio, ever the lucky, lets out a whoop from the ground before she rolls back to her feet, adopting a low down, three point stance.
"That's more like it!" Clio calls out with a laugh. "And by the way, nothing you got can be worse than having to borrow Mai's clothes."
The banter only a momentary distraction. Clio's already begun her run up. A clip clicks and Clio's holding her chain's spike like a kunai. With a grunt and a flick, the sigil covered spike hurtles toward the turbine of Mint's knucks.
COMBATSYS: Clio successfully hits Mint with Spike Throw.
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Mint 1/-----==/=======|=======\==-----\1 Clio
It's... a good thing no one's using this warehouse at the moment! It's probably also a good thing that many Metro City companies have opted for fighter insurance...
Even still, punching a fortified support column with a thirty-pound gauntlet has its own stunning effect -- and Mint takes a moment to recuperate while her double vision resolves back into plain-ol' single vision again. "Whuuuuh..." Luckily for her, the sound of Clio's voice allows her to reorient herself and get her head back into the battle. "Well... thanks for that... I think?" she replies, turning towards the sound of Clio's voice. And as she does so, she can already presume -something- crazy is about to happen -- and those turbines start whirring back up to speed, accompanied by the intake shroud pulling back. Beneath the lip of the engine's intake, there's now a small gap where additional air can be allowed in...
And just as Mint starts to leap out of Clio's way, the spike wedges itself in the gap. True to Mint's earlier prediction, the spike didn't manage to make it through to the compressor blades -- but it -does- offset her retreat just enough that it pulls the bionic brawler off-balance, tugging her forward instead of backward like she'd planned. With surprise lighting her features, she's left momentarily dazed as the slack chain buckles around to bash her upside the head -- which, combined with the heat from Mint's earlier attacks, -may- just leave a mark...
Minal stumbles sideways, gritting her teeth as she tries to ignore the pretty field of stars which now grace her vision. A quick tug of her gauntlet allows it to pull free of the spike. And the already-amped up turbines flare up again, allowing Mint to thunder forward. This time, she brings an overwhelming barrage of piston punches to bear upon Clio's center mass!
COMBATSYS: Mint has reached second wind!
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Mint 1/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Clio
COMBATSYS: Clio fails to interrupt Foxtrot Oscar EX from Mint with Stygian Fist.
- Power fail! -
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Mint 1/-----==/=======|=======\====---\1 Clio
Clang! A solid hit, aim is still going strong. But Clio doesn't have the time to celebrate her accuracy as Mint continues to push on and bear down on her. She had counted, calculated, considered her approach. And Clio meets Mint head on.
Clio's hand draws a small circle at her side, iridescent glow flashes and sparks at her motions, symbols and numerology flash and shine as power from beyond manipulates the function of reality, and every bears down to blur Clio as she bursts forward.
Clio's chain-wrapped arm pulls back opposite Mint's might knuckles. The air twists to shade and writhing dark fire. Clio flashes forward, snapping, to snap a heavy slug to Mint's belly.
In that moment, science beats magic. The knuckles clang against Clio, wind sucked clear from her body. A second shot strikes and with a wincing, pained cry, Clio St. Jeanne hurtles through the air, soaring and crashing along the ground halfway back across the warehouse floor.
Battered, Mint's moment lays before her as Clio remains supine on the concrete floor.
There is a momentary pang of remorse once the reality of slugging her friend catches up with her, but the rush of adrenaline is a potent drug -- as is the distant recollection of all the -pain- rushing through her shoulders. After all, only moments ago, Mint was a hair's breadth away from succumbing to unconsciousness from the accumulation of heavy chain hits, which are even now ripening into bruises and blisters. Adrenaline, and the recent rush of wind through her hair, allows her to keep the pain cemented in the larger context of a spar.
Drawing in her breath, she raises her fists -- gauntlets shuddering from the sudden reduction of throttle -- to guard her injured shoulders. She doesn't rush her advance, taking long, loping strides to close the gap. Well, 'long' in that it's about as big a stride as the pint-size pugilist can take.
Clio may be down for the moment, but Mint has seen her fight enough to know the score. Even though her voice is nigh breathless, it's still full of friendly encouragement: "Hey, no time for sleeping! I -know- you got more than that!"
And once she closes in, the turbines roar once more as she thunders forward with another jet-powered speed boost. As she's assuming Clio still has ways to deal with it, she swings one hand in a wide, sweeping hook, aiming to scoop Clio off the floor again so that she can deliver a followup punch from the opposite hand! "OOO-RYAAAA!"
COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Clio with Heavy Punch.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > //////// ]
Mint 0/-------/-======|=======\=======\1 Clio
Dazed, downed and reeling. Clio remains on the floor, only starting to hoist herself up when the next crushing blow picks her up off her feet and once more sends her hurtling through the air to land splayed out on the ground, bouncing as she does with the sounds of crashing clattering chains along with the wet crack of her body.
Got ahead of yourself, Clio thinks, watching the world spin around her. Blinking the situation back to clarity, she calculates her position on the battlefield. She can't keep going toe to toe with Mint, the muscle in the knucks is too much. So she'll have to think smarter. She has to plan. "I know I got you good," Clio says, "How much gas you got left in that tank?"
"Catch me if you can!" Clio taunts, her fingers mark a circle on the ground. With a slap, she's off in a large circle around Mint's position. Her chain whirls and whirls, whistling in the air as she runs. The strike comes oblong, the weighted end let fly as Clio strikes while moving, a blur of a person that stands crouched and distant in her passing. Her chest rising and falling in big gulping breaths, she uses her swift assault to by herself some time to recoup.
COMBATSYS: Clio blitzes into action and acts again!
[ \\\\\\\\ < > ///////// ]
Mint 0/-------/-======|=======\=======\1 Clio
COMBATSYS: Clio gains composure.
[ \\\\\\\\ < > //////////// ]
Mint 0/-------/-======|=======\======-\1 Clio
COMBATSYS: Clio successfully hits Mint with Evasive Strike.
[ \\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Mint 1/-----==/=======|=======\=======\1 Clio
Mint circles about Clio, opting to avoid pressing her advantage further in the name of this friendly spar. She keeps her right gauntlet raised, while firing off a series of four speedy jabs into the air -- jabs that sound like humming due to the spinning turbines. "Pssh, no Marine takes off without some bingo fuel stashed away. I'm still comin' in hot, don't you worry!" While it may be true that Mint's taken some serious blows to the head -- both in this fight and many others -- she seems confident enough about her chances.
It's probably a good thing she'd kept her arms raised -- for if not, Clio's glide-by attack might have tagged her in the head again. As it is, the weighted end cracks right across her ribcage, whiplashing around to tag her in the tricep on the return route. "Nnnnrgh!" grunts Minal, forced to step sideways as she chokes down the pain. Luckily, the boxer's been practicing her footwork, and she reorients to face Clio's new position.
"Huh, that's a neat trick! Didn't know they taught ninjatsu in the academy!" The turbines spin up -- and Mint takes one giant turbo-boosted leap for tiny womankind to close the gap yet again! Her right fist sails out to the side, scything around for an underhanded punch. And just after that, her left throws out three rapid-fire jabs, high-low-high. And she'd finish off the combo with a stiff-armed right punch, just as her turbine throttle begins to let up. Each punch is delivered with a small puff of breath -- but from how ragged her last breath is, it may become obvious that Mint has much less gas in the tank than she wants to let on!
COMBATSYS: Mint blitzes into action and acts again!
[ \\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Mint 1/-----==/=======|=======\=======\1 Clio
COMBATSYS: Clio blocks Mint's Hook Punch.
[ \\\\\ < > /////////// ]
Mint 1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Clio
COMBATSYS: Clio blocks Mint's Mix-Up Combo.
[ \\\\\ < > ////////// ]
Mint 1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Clio
"I'll give, I'll give the NOL this, they teach a lot of ways." Clio's grinning at the retort, feeling the rush in her head, the start of sear in her limbs, the pounding in her chest of a good fight. It drives her.
Clio stands her ground. She shakes her arm, the chains clink together. They flare with arcane light and the wide, sharp, predatory eye of Clio in the moment.
The chain ignites, fire streaks along her arm, fire black as pitch and bending the colors of the world immediately around it. "I am the light in the darkness, I am a knight of the Azure Flame," Clio speaks the mantra even if she is a soldier no longer.
Then she explodes.
Clio flashes forward, her image still remaining a shadowy afterthought for a split second. Closing in on Mint, running low and leading with her chain wrapped shoulder. Close in, she torques, the fire flashes, a heavy cutting upper with the weighted fist toward Mint's chin.
If it should hit, Clio's follow up is less ninjitsu and more the style of fighting she grew up with. To loop the chain and it's burning weight at Mint's head and shoulder. To throw the spike hard enough to anchor the chain to the ground, and for Clio to finish things with one more launching backflipping kick to send Mint as far away as the wrenching weight of the chain will allow before snapping back to earth.
COMBATSYS: Mint endures Clio's Chains of Fenrir.
[ < > ////////// ]
Mint 1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>---\-------\0 Clio
Without their weapons, it might be tough to consider either Clio or Mint as a viable threat from looks alone. But with the burst of fiery light -- and the fact that the former NOL officer just warded off the bionic pugilists ferocious attacks with little more than her chain and fortitude, it becomes clear that Clio is undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with!
Mint isn't shaken by the declaration of the Azure Flame -- in fact, it would seem that she shows every sign of following up with another flurry of punches. But it becomes clear from the delay in Mint's reactions that the fight's obviously taken a toll upon her. Her reaction time is tardy -- and her fists are starting to feel super heavy.
For a moment, it looks as if she's completely given up. Her guard lowers -- and her weariness shows in a sagging expression.
When the chain cracks against Mint's chin, she rolls with it -- going right along the course carved by the chain's travel. A spatter of blood spills from her mouth -- sign that she might've clipped the Marine a bit -too- hard.
Mint is only -barely- conscious when the weight scrapes against her bruised shoulder, when the chain coils tight around her head and upper torso. Her eyes fall closed, as she's wrenched off the ground -- and she yields like a sock puppet under the force of Clio's backflipping kick. She's little more than a weight as she's slingshotted away -- and hurled back into the ground.
And yet, while every forceful change in direction was punctuated with a hard impact, there strangely -isn't- one when she hits the ground. It's the squeak of rubber -- the tread of Mint's boot -- as she rapidly snaps out.
"Our DI only taught us one thing..."
The chain isn't just holding her back. It's tethering her to Clio.
"... Never... say... die...!"
And with a roar of turbines, a punch-drunk Mint is closing in. Not with anything special, or clever. But just pure, direct force -- a cross-arm punch aimed at clocking Clio right in the jaw, intended to send her spinning away in a dizzying lurch.
COMBATSYS: Mint can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
Of course... that's when her dizziness -really- catches up with her. Success or otherwise, she'd start to lose her tenuous grip on consciousness, starting a slow collapse to the warehouse floor.
COMBATSYS: Clio dodges Mint's Cross Punch.
[ \\\\\\\\\\ <
Clio was raised with the idea and fascination of knights and heroes. She knows, however, that sometimes things just get brutal. Clio stands, head low, hands gripping the length of her chain once more. Her thumb runs along the links, the faint glow had faded in the immediate aftermath of the kick, but it's quickly returning within Clio's hands.
"Just cause you don't say it doesn't mean it isn't true," Clio says, faintly bitter in a distant, internal way when she's confronted by Mint's resilient never give up attitude. Total dedication to the fight, and complete intensity. Holding the chain, swinging for Clio's face. Even just a basic cross from Mint's great knuckles is like getting hit by a truck.
But the fight's taken it's course. Clio can see it with the lack of focus in Minal's eyes. A snapping kick, skipping back, boots scraping the concrete flooring. Mint's cross catches air and the whole of the marine and her materiel crash to the ground.
While Mint lay, Clio starts to wind her chain back up, at times, the chain bends and coils in ways and angle unnatural. In the end it's once more coiled serpentine about Clio's left arm. The spiked end hangs loose across her front, curling about her right wrist. "That was good," she says with a laugh. "Just as close as before. Next time you might have me."
Clio's head lolls back and she closes her eyes. She feels the pain, the creeping edge of sparking adrenaline ebbing away to daytime's peaceful sleepiness. It feels good. "So, was agreeing to all this just a ploy to get ice cream again?" she asks, smirking and content with herself.
And then Clio blinks in realization. She looks down toward Mint. "Shit, you're not out out are you?"
COMBATSYS: Clio has ended the fight here.
Mint's open palms clank down against the hard floor -- she'd had enough presence of mind to keep herself from taking a harder fall. But as soon as she's stable on the floor, the exhausted soldier's muscles give out on her.
Her cheek falls onto her shoulder as she lies there for a moment, eyelids fluttering shut. Her ribcage heaves, forcing air back into starved lungs. Her gauntlet turbines hum away at idle speed; small red LEDs on top of each gauntlet blink their warning of an impending sleep cycle.
One comment goes without a witty retort. Then a second. And a third. And so would a fourth ... but for a belated response, some five seconds later. "... whuh?"
A few seconds later, those eyelids flutter open again. And with a flick of a wrist, turbines start to spin down.
"n-nah. Just... catchin' my breath." Weary and exhausted, Mint looks up with a faint smile. "... you gonna get mint again?" Mint ice cream, because of course.
Drowsily, Mint rolls over, flopping her now-inert gauntlets out to either side with a light clamor. She'd make a snow angel, if she were lying on snow instead of concrete. Her clothes show a number of burn marks, her skin aggreived by a ugly set of blotchy bruises. "... hah." After a moment, she adds, "I told you I'd fix the intake problem..." But then her gaze drifts from the ceiling back over to Clio and her amazing chain. "... oh... so did you... ever get up with that metallurgist?"
Clio walks, shoulders slumping, each step a heavy one, toward a support beam to add herself to the list of things being supported. Slowly, she slumps down into a sit and leans her head back. Closed eyes and content smile, she takes a long minute to breathe.
"Yeah, mint sounds good. I like mint. The flavor," she says, speaking staccato between her breaths. She tugs at the battered gym top, adjusting the lay of it under the chain. "I'm going to be a bruise from the neck down after all that," she mutters, hissing and starting to feel the adrenaline fade and the rise of each blow from Mint's knuckles. At least her arm, the chain, part of that pain is dissipated by the arcane power she puts into it. The same used in that powerful circle she summoned earlier.
"Yeah, found him," she says, still amused at the idea of Abigail being a metallurgist. "At least I found the guy with the tools I needed. Still not as good as before, but getting there."
Mint draws in her breath, sighing contentedly. Yes, the pain has definitely caught up to her. The Marine has always had a contentious relationship with pain -- it reminds her that she's still alive.
"Yeah... ice cream sounds good. Dunno what flavor I'd go with. Maybe... maybe it'd be a good time for a good -soak-..."
Mint's hands move a little, the metal gauntlets scraping across the concrete. Some people might be concerned about the finish of completed metal pieces, but not Mint -- she shrugs off the latches, wriggling her arms free of the gauntlets.
"Did you find any room for improvement, or adjustment...? It seemed... like a good bag of tricks... I guess?"
She could've slept right now, right here, sitting in a warehouse on the harbor. She could be content with simply napping. But she can't, she has much more to do before she can rest. With a sigh, she shifts her position and rests her arm on a raised knee. "I want a hot shower," she admits, "Or a cold one. Just a shower. Shower good."
She laughs through a sigh and opens her eyes, looking over to see Mint free herself from her gauntlet. Clio doesn't move quite yet, she's pretty comfy where she is. "The hermetics are better in line with my understandings. The initial etchings were good, but made a while ago. I'm not the same person as I was then. That changes the flow of everything."
With her smaller, more reasonable hands, Minal feels comfortable enough to just relax and breathe for a few moments. "Yeah... just about anythin', really..." She brushes the back of her left arm against her mouth, offering a drowsy snicker in commiseration.
"... So like... are you able to -adjust- what you have in the chain, or does it all have to get redone? I mean, I can do like... small tweaks to my knucks' software without needin' a full retooling, which... gosh. -Crucial- in getting the power ratios tweaked." She considers for a moment, grinning over to Clio. "But like, how does that even -work?-"
"We finish a fight and you want a lecture on thaumaturgic theory?" Clio says with a coughing laugh. She shakes her head and gives a helpless little shrug. "This thing? It's kind of a mock Ars Magus, the weapons you'll see the NOL Infantry use. Think, magic powered weapon."
Clio looks at Mint a moment, she looks down at her chain. She rattles the links together, sliding them in a way she wants before holding her arm out. "Most Ars Magus are attuned to the fighter using them. They're connected and trained with them. They've been ritually treated and designed so the user can contain and channel magic through it. That's, well, that'd take me a while to explain. It's hard."
Clio lowers her arm and with her other hand she draws a circle on the ground. "Now, I'm a bit different," she says, "And I think I showed you this before but." With a focal point, Clio draws a writhing, shadowy flame from within the circle. It dances and lashes in a ring, bending and warping to hold the faint look of the fel hound like jaws that snapped at Mint earlier in their fight. And with a wave, Clio dismisses it. A second display has Clio holding out her hand, and that iridescent ring of arcane maths shimmers. The same deflecting shield Clio had used to close in on Mint earlier.
"With some thought, effort, and focusing on the formulae I can draw on the Boundary to shape effects. It's dangerous, but I can do it naturally. So I don't always need a special item for it. So this chain is just something for me to put through it." Clio tries to explain the conduit nature of her chain, and as she looks at Mint's gloves, she jumps on an analogy, "It's like power cables or circuits and I'm the battery."
Mint makes a show of the effort it takes to raise a limp pair of arms off the floor -- "Well, it's not like I wanna -go- anywhere right now, geez..." That thought is punctuated with a snort of laughter.
The engineer nods along as the witch details the inner workings of how an Ars Magus works. It... starts to make sense, but Mint's also been on the explaining often enough to know that interrupting isn't conducive to a deep explanation. And it might have also delayed the resurrection of that fel hound, from the fight earlier -- an apparition that was mildly discomfiting in mid-fight, but is -much- more terrifying with her flat on her back and nigh immobile. It's enough to draw her upper lip back in momentary fear.
But, just as soon as it appears, the fel hound is replaced by mathematics. Which earns narrowed eyes from the engineer, of course. "...Ah. So... the Boundary, that's the leylines you were telling me about," she affirms with a nod. "... so if I got this right, you... won't have to -redo- the whole thing, you can just 'bend' it into doing what you want with practice and discipline? That's..." She pauses, struggling to find an appropriate word. And then she settles on a set: "That's pretty damn cool, Clio."
She laces her fingers together -- though that also means tweaking her shoulder, evoking a wince of pain through her expression. But she eventually settles on relaxing her palms upon her stomach, flashing a sunny smile. "All that power, and yet I take it you can't just -magick- yourself a new shirt from the Boundary... I mean, that sounds like a pretty hip store, come to think of it -- 'the Boundary'..." She laughs softly. "Heck, closest ice cream shop to here's in the fashion district anyway..."
The explanation is not the best. Clio at night and with some thought would probably argue it's a weak one. One given to someone when you don't really want to, or cannot, take the time to explain the intricacies of how it all works. Not through any particular genius of Clio St. Jeanne - she would be the first to admit that fact - but rather that she simply went through the academy and was exposed to magic in the same way Mint was exposed to engineering. Familiarity and knowledge over genius. Which is why, when confronted with having to explain a number of details regarding leylines, how magic works and more, Clio settles for, "Yeah, something like that." and a tired smile.
Using the support column, Clio starts to push herself back up to her feet. "An. . .," the sentence gets a false start as Clio's train of thought jumps tracks, "Yeah, I can make any chain do the thing. I just might overload it and blow it to hell. Which is kind of the reverse of someone just picking up a really good Ars Magus and trying to go ham."
Clio steps off the wall to give her back a good cracking stretch and a yawn. "I'm not an engineer. I could never just make a legit Ars Magus. I never really needed one, so it looked better that I just made it look like it, I guess. Still, I'd love to get my hand on something legit someday."
Stretching for a toe-touch, Clio works the cracks out of her swiftly stiffening muscles post being hit with a sedan sized fist. "Subways exist, Mint. They are your friend and ally in trying times. And since, no, I can't just magick up a shirt or ice cream, we'll need to take the train."
Mint smiles cheerfully. She gets some of the concepts, at least as much as they've been distilled down for her layperson-grade consumption. "It's pretty neat though -- the idea that something that looks so simple can be the vessel for something super complex. Those Ars Magus things sound... pretty wild."
As the flopped-over engineer sees her friend pushing away from the support column, she figures her rest period is over. Her two hands are slung forward, allowing her to pull her aching shoulders off the ground again. With a moment of rubbing some sensation back into her wounds, she manages to use her arms as a raised surface from which to push back to her feet.
"Not to mention, kinda painful..." she adds as a belated footnote. "I'm just glad you have the -control- you do, sheesh."
Looking around for a moment, Mint's first objective is to walk over and retrieve the cases. "Always fun walking onto a subway with blood caked on and bruises up the wazoo. But at least no one wants to start -more- shit that way, hehe." Reaching over to pluck up an empty case, she winces a bit at the pain induced on her injuries. "...Did you have any other plans for the day, Clio?"
Working the last kinks out of her neck, Clio watches Mint's rising with a still fairly self assured smirk. "That control's more recent," she admits. "It's a bit different when you're fighting Darkstalkers or monsters. Everything's about survival. You don't really think about how you're trying to avoid killing someone when you're all out."
Once up and rested, Clio starts to wind the chain back across her body, shoulder to hip. "This is Metro, looking like hell just tells everyone around you you're alive," she states with a dismissive shrug.
She considers things, the idea of future plans for a day after taking a beating. A good shower is still high up on her list. But, in the moment, as she looks at Mint gather up her hefty cases. "Plans? Yeah, I think I'm going out to get ice cream with a friend. And give them a hand in carrying their crap."
"Yeah. Always better to be -prepared- for the worst. S'kinda why... I pack so many gadgets and stuff into these gauntlets." Mint trots both cases over to her gauntlets, and begins loading them back up for travel. "GPS, compass, and flashlights -- the usual mobile phone junk. Better stuff, signal flares and whatnot." Mint secures the gauntlets into their respective latches, nodding slowly. "So that way when I -do- need a thing, I don't need to think about where it is -- I can just whip it out, like flexin' a muscle."
Mint shakes her head, with a playful roll of her eyes. "A /hand? Really?" She pushes the 'close' switch on one case, and it begins to close itself up on her super-sized prosthetic. The bionic soldier is more than used to the innocent turns of phrase that could have a different meaning to her -- and she brushes it off with a knowing smirk.
The dramatic pause is short-lived, though. "But yeah. That's why I said -other- plans, sheesh. Thanks -- I'm glad you carved out time for the shorties in your life." Another case is closed up -- and the soldier straps one case over her better shoulder, hefting the short strap from the other in her artificial hand.
"Where -is- the closest station to here, anyway? I just came up Bay Street..."
"Just whipping it out?" Clio snirks, "Kinky." She's already slipping back into a fairly languid and contented composure. Things have turned out well today. The rush of a fight, the ebbing pain, knowing she can still keep up even after her 'time off'. The control she has over her skills. That what she's learning around Jubei is showing effect is a good sign. The KoF tournament is looking more positive than she hoped.
She looks down at her chain, she reads the sigils and the hermetic maths. Things aren't perfect, but she's feeling free and good about herself. "Yeah, I said hand, it's what I'm giving you," she says with a shrug and no shame. "And no, I don't have a lot of plans. Might nap. Might find somewhere to go. I still want to see a few things from the Majigen."
She shrugs and starts to stroll. "Keep up if you can," she says, "And there's an old station not far from here. When the subway was more for workers here. Come'on"
On the mention of easily-retrieved tooling, Mint shrugs, casually flicking aside a panel on her right wrist and retrieving a flat-blade screwdriver from the cavity within. "Heh, whenever the mood strikes, yeah!" The tool gets stowed away before the absent-minded engineer can have a chance to forget it somewhere though.
Minal may be aching, but the impromptu sparring match filled a void she'd been needing to address. Confidence. And coupled with her new job, it's turned out to be a great week for the pint-sized Marine.
She's got one case secure upon her shoulder. She won't put up much of a fuss if Clio takes the second, considering her shoulder. And ribs. And everything else that's competing against Mint's desire to just bully past the pain and go on with what's sure to be a fun day.
"Yeah. That sounds like a good plan to me...!" she chirps in, trotting along after Clio. "There's tons of places they still haven't gotten around to fixing yet. Stuff that just hasn't healed right."
Mint flashes a grin back up at Clio. It seems like it'll be a good day, indeed. And it'll probably be better after a brief nap on the train.
Log created on 10:39:38 05/28/2019 by Clio, and last modified on 14:23:36 06/01/2019.