Description: NESTs has determined, with scientific precision, the easiest possible way for their fighter to make a dramatic splash in the Neo League (and earn a large number of points in the early season to boot). But can science beat passion and heart?!
A black van, polished to a shine, sits amid the compact and crowded streets of Southtown's bustling business district. Inside, several members of the notorious NESTs Cartel are sat in wait. Monitors beep and flash, screens showcase views from tapped security camera and tiny drones that take in the surroundings. One of the group of well heeled agents is a pink haired girl whose face is covered in a mask. "We have sighting, sir."
She talks to a tall, limber man in a long white coat. He pushes a pair of thin framed spectacles up his nose and nods. "Give me the information, why is this child worth my time?" His crossed arms and cold stare reveal much of his opinion toward this operation.
"Because, sir, it was determined that this fighter is a potential source of unique power. And we have it on record that she is the likeliest candidate for a healthy start in securing the next Neo-League for NESTs! Think of the data!"
The man sighs and nods. "So be it. Collect the data swiftly, I don't feel like this will take very long."
The doors at the side of the van slide open and the man steps out. He adjusts his long cost and fixes his fussily mussed hair. With a look back, the door slides closed on his agents. He slips an earpiece in and taps it. "Get bead on me and the target. Are we crystal?" He pauses a moment for confirmation and then he is off.
He cuts through the crowds. Heading around a corner. He called for a fight, threw down the challenge, and while there are Neo League officials and crews at the fight scene proper, few are aware of the additional cameras watching and taking energy readings for this curious, punchy foe.
Juliet, of course, doesn't know a thing about NESTs. Still very much a newcomer to the world of professional fighting, she has a lot to learn about just how wild and crazy it can get. Not to mention dangerous. To her, this is all about the sport - the self-discovery and the desire to push herself. She's been thinking a lot about the phrase Athena had used in her letter recently. The Champion's Road. It was humbling to think that she was walking that same path; one she had admired from afar for years, one filled with all manner of people earnestly seeking to prove themselves.
Derrick had thought there was something off about the challenge, if only because the person he'd spoken with to arrange it hadn't put up much of a struggle on the margins. Maybe part of that was the recent win, but he was pretty sure something was up. The portly man in the purple suit has actually stuck around, and there's some mistrust in his eyes as he spots the tall fighter approaching.
He doesn't want anything happening to his meal ticket.
The words were so unexpected that Juliet actually startled. "Eh?"
"... Watch yourself."
And that drew a faint frown onto her lips as she rose to meet her opponent. A quick nod of her head to her trainer, and the girl is trying to put it out of her mind as she strides forwards to stand before the much taller, much more menacing man.
"Ach, good to meet ye, pal." She says with a bright smile, offering her fists up for the traditional boxing bump, even if this guy isn't a boxer himself, "Gotta say, it feels good tae be the one receivin' the challenge fer once. I caught ye Saturday Night Fight too. Pure class fight, that."
The Champion's Road. Some time back a different man thought he was walking that road. He thought he had the chance to shine, to be a winner, to take on the best of the best. It wasn't enough then. And so that man died, and a better man walked from the wreckage of a life.
The man that looks down at and to the diminutive pugilist in front of him. He isn't a boxer. Well, he is, just a specific kind and not the one generally associated with the term. Though he isn't unfamiliar with the gesture. It amuses him and Upsilon smirks because that is the closest he is able to approach a smile. "The Darkstalker?" he taps Juliet's fist with a half hearted one of his own. "I hope you aren't so pitiful."
With a kick, he pushes himself back from his opponent. Finding his mark, he gestures to cameras and officials alike. "Let's do this," he calls out with a dismissive huff.
COMBATSYS: Upsilon has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Juliet has joined the fight here.
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Upsilon 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Juliet
Upsilon waits, but only for a moment. He takes a breath. Under his coat, the lines that run over his bodysuit begin to glow orange. "Not fast enough!" he calls out and fires himself forward. His coattails flutter behind him showing the shine on his compression suit as he hurtles toward Juliet. He wheels around as he closes in, his body torquing around while his leg cocks back and cannons out for Juliet's sternum.
COMBATSYS: Upsilon successfully hits Juliet with Strong Kick.
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Upsilon 0/-------/------=|===----\-------\0 Juliet
"Aye, well, if ye don't mind me sayin', looked like he gave you a run fer yer cash."
Those words are said in a lighthearted fashion, but maybe that is what spurs Upsilon to attack the girl the moment the referee gives the nod - a fraction of a second before she was completely on and ready. In the world of fighting, fractions of seconds can be the difference between victory and defeat - a lesson that she is learning more firmly every day. And one that Upsilon seems intent on teaching her yet again.
Twisting as best she can, the girl almost manages to evade the kick - but not quite. The blow crashes across her elbows, rather than her forearms, as she desperately tries to raise her defense and overcorrects. Immediately, the stinging snap of energy burns into her, and she hisses. That... was painful.
"Shouldae known better'n tae expect sportsmanship." She chides herself, but she doesn't focus on the banter. The moment of lighthearted 'fun' has passed. Now she's in the zone.
And she steps forwards to show just what she's made of. Pivoting, she aims to snap her own quick punch right into Upsilon's jaw, working to maintain the close distance and mark him close where, she hopes, she can make it more awkward for those kicks to come lashing out at her unhindered.
COMBATSYS: Upsilon endures Juliet's Wonder Jab.
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Upsilon 0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0 Juliet
The words sting. That darkstalker shouldn't have come nearly that close to a victory. Upsilon's pride is the easiest thing of all to wound. And it doesn't have nearly the resistance that the man himself has. His is a cold fury, though, and other than thin lips on an already hatchet face, he doesn't openly emote.
However, his physical intensity may suggest otherwise.
He gauges Juliet's incoming strike. He judges it light enough and thows himself into the strike. Rather than keeping the fight to a distance, he hurls himself for her. Low down, he begins a marching storm of body blows. Each swing punctuated with blasts of purely concussive pulsing orange energy.
He bares down relentless as his combination carries him through from body blows to a winging, arcing Roundhouse kick with enough force to carry his heel around to mark the final strike of his combination.
COMBATSYS: Juliet interrupts Iteration Three from Upsilon with Heavenly Cross EX.
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Upsilon 0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1 Juliet
The orange energy flares...
...and Juliet's brilliant white light answers it.
In the moment, he might just think that she's some pathetic amateur; the first blow hammers into her guard and seems to break it, and the second whips the girl's head to the side. But a shining light flares in Juliet's dropped fist. The third kick should have her reeling - but instead the girl steps into it with the kind of grit and determination which has made her such a fan favourite.
And whilst the first blow had been easy to ignore, the second packs an incredible amount of power. The girl slams her fist around and into the much larger man, lunging up to clean his clock for the second time. The lumiscent brilliance flares, a detonation of shimmering white force which leaves sparkles in its wake as Juliet touches gracefully back down to earth.
And only then does she start breathing again, her eyes locked on her opponent with steely determination. Her voice is... clear. Concise. Powerful, even.
"How do I measure up so far? Scale of one to ten. Come on, Big Man."
Power meets power. A clash of lights. Power from within hammers against power generated from without. The blast shakes the street. Cameras have their white balance thrown. And Upsilon himself is thrown back.
Striking the ground, he lay for a moment before kicking up to his feet. His coat opens, hanging wide, exposing the black compression gear he wears and the lines that run over it to contain and redirect the rampant chi energy that's barely held back by his body.
He fixes his glasses. The glow about him pulsing with the beat of his heart. "Five," he answers bluntly. "You have far to go."
His posture shifts, his left foot slides back. "Now face power." He whips his foot around, the pounding chi bursts along his suit. He kicks the air and from that kick comes a crashing wave of chi that roars forth and toward Juliet with crushing force.
COMBATSYS: Upsilon successfully hits Juliet with Flare Wave.
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Upsilon 0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Juliet
"From you, I'll take it."
The girl's blood is pumping. That single blow may not have been enough to force Upsilon above the midway mark, but the fact that she was able to pull it off at all has her heart soaring. Just a few short weeks ago she would never have been able to plot that kind of exchange and make it happen, but here she is, summoning up the power from within when she needs it and channeling it just as desired. It doesn't, in that instant, feel as though she is walking the Champion's Road - it feels like she's running it.
And then there's a bursting wave of force tearing towards her.
The blast hits her full on and flings the girl backwards. She cracks her head against a nearby streetlight, enough force in the concussive wave to dent it and have it suddenly twisting at an alarming angle. She hits the floor a moment later, and she's dimly aware that her so-called father is shouting in the background. If she couldn't feel the waves of self-interested greed radiating off him, she'd feel touched.
But of course, she can.
And as she rises from the ground, it is wreathed in a halo of radiant light. The girl looks right through Upsilon, and... it's chilling, really. Blood pours from the head wound he has just inflicted, covering her features in thin rivulets of trickling red. And yet she doesn't seem impeded by that injury; instead she speaks with absolute certainty.
"Power? No. You know nothing of power. You are a false and empty man who knows only *victory*. Which is why they will ever be hollow."
The girl's proclamation spoken, she darts across the distance between herself and he with impeccable grace, her fist lashing around to deliver another simple, pure and true punch - this time, towards his midsection, keeping her shoulders squared and ready.
COMBATSYS: Upsilon blocks Juliet's Revelation Hook.
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Upsilon 0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>--\1 Juliet
Above, the NESTs drones whirr and zip about with steady focus on the girl rising from her wreckage like the phoenix. Back in the van, the agents scramble to tune the dials and adjust the sensors to the readings coming through. Fluctuations in energy patterns, heightened potential, crackling power. They don't care much for the ethics or philosophical matters, the literal joules are a lot more important to them.
Upsilon stands, rolling his shoulder and keeping to a knee cocked fighting posture. He is, to a degree, surprised the girl got up again. Maybe he shouldn't have held back. He could stand to feel the burn a little more. He could see that victory coming closer to hand. "Victory is the only metric that matters," he tells her. "You think they care about your heart?"
She comes in fast, he tucks in. Despite the blasting power, Upsilon's history does bear out in his fundamentals. The tuck, though, is not held long. He isn't interested in fighting close in anymore. Now he uses his powerful legs to shunt himself away, taking a moment to catch the wall of Southdown business behind him.
Decisions made in the moment, Upsilon turns and sprints up the wall. Bursts of chi rattle the plexiglass and at the peak of his run, he jumps and the glass shatters. He turns in the air with grace and a streaking thrum as once more the lines on his bodysuit flare up and he lands with a pulsing heel kick to crown Juliet.
COMBATSYS: Juliet blocks Upsilon's Diving Kick.
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Upsilon 0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Juliet
"You think I care about them?"
When she has taken this form previously, the girl has been serene. This time, though, there is a subtle shift. There is judgement there. The unnerving sensation that she has taken the measure of the man before her, and found it wanting. As he closes in on her, the girl raises her arms, and her gloves smack together.
"You think I care about who wins? Victory is ephemeral!"
He leaps into the air, and his heel smashes into her upraised guard - raised long in advance. The strength in his kick shudders through her regardless, and the girl's teeth clench together tightly as she spits out one last, bitter, statement.
"YOUR heart is a void. Allow me to show you, mine!"
And then all of that power is erupting out of her. If it is joules that the NESTs scientists want, what they are dealing with here is nothing less than the divine spark of humanity; the animus which steers such a fragile-seeming girl and gives her the strength to stand in this arena with only her strength of will and dedication to the art to bring against people far more skilled, far more powerful, and far more physically imposing than her.
Her fist lashes upwards, with everything she has behind it, and if it makes clean contact Upsilon will find himself being carried high into the air on a trail of intense white light. Whether she has a partner or is alone, though, at the apex of the arc Juliet's power EXPLODES into a brilliant sphere of all-encompassing energy...
... and she is born back to the ground, unconscious, amidst a cloud of fluttering white feathers and a singing chorus of angelic voices.
COMBATSYS: Juliet can no longer fight.
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COMBATSYS: Upsilon just-defends Juliet's Miracle Uppercut!
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Righteous fury of the soul. Light against void. The power of the girl is true. It is raw. It is impressive. The NESTs drones and scientists watch the flowing data stream with rapt attention. This girl is truly one to watch. Her force of will has a degree of potential not seen in too many people, and her amateur nature means there may yet be in-roads.
But Upsilon isn't his support staff. He has one interest and one passion. Victory. He reads Juliet's approach and he knows it. She has so much will and so much power behind her, but she is still young and still raw. "Amateur hour," Upsilon laments coldly whe he meets his young opponent's strike.
Elbow jostles, close turning clinching, and a slippery guard lets Upsilon step through and guide Juliet harmlessly past him to burst into brilliant air as a firework to his own victory. He stands below looking back and up to watch the brilliant show.
Upsilon knows he has won. He looks ahead, scanning the crowd for the man in purple. He inclines his head to catch attention as he begins to button his coat. "When she awakes, let her know I've reconsidered my assessment. Tell her '3'."
Back at the van, the support staff don't agree with their agent, they have data that proves otherwise. But with the victory assured, they call back the drones and the pink haired agent speaks into her microphone "We have what we came for, congratulations, sir!"
COMBATSYS: Upsilon has ended the fight here.
Log created on 14:34:10 05/14/2021 by Juliet, and last modified on 17:15:36 05/14/2021.