Description: Mint and Katherine put together a party for the members of Metal before the draft. Kenzo and Djamila seem to be the only ones to manage to get out of bed for it. Kenzo for his part decides to hand out gifts in case he doesn't get to see them again.
The Rumble was a gauntlet of torment, both physical and emotional, and ... unsurprisingly, there weren't a whole lot of words spared at the end of it. Team Metal had, largely, treated it the same way they handled every challenge in the past -- with every fighter throwing their best at it. And the end of the day was much like the end of every other day at Fort Metal, with the fighters largely keeping to themselves after a long, hard day.
The morning would be different, though. For as the team members awake, they'll find that the pint-size pugilist in charge has transformed the central workout area into a completely different space. Banners have been hung from the ceiling rafters, loudly proclaiming 'CONGRATULATIONS!' and 'THANKS FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK!' Balloons have been hung, brightening up the gloomy corners of the industrial, otherwise spartan decor. The workout dummies, and every piece of equipment that had been laid out in the floor before? Those have all been shunted to the side, with their shipping crates placed just alongside them.
It's a celebration -- but also a time of transition. The first season of the New Fighting Generation had ended, and in a few short days, the new draft will be taking place. And not long after that will be the second season -- kicking off in a brand new city. Team Metal will be there too -- in some form. But due to the 'surprise' announcement of the so-called 'Teamsplosion'... the transition may be bittersweet.
Minal Panesh had been working hard on this -- trying to keep the noise levels to a minimum as the fighters enjoyed a well-deserved recuperation from the unbridled panic that was the Rumble. She'd apparently been working a bit -too- hard, because she can be found sprawled out in one of the chairs in the kitchen lounge, snoring lightly. In front of her is a big bowl filled with ice and colored liquid -- her last task before finally collapsing from stress and overwork, and just generally not knowing when the four fighters would have felt like waking up. Because of course Mint had to be the one to bring the punch.
After Kenzo had got back from the Dragon Arena post Rumble, the nin-gineer had been hard at work making parting gifts for his teammates. When he was finally done, he fell face first onto desk of what he has made his temporary workshop.
Morning comes and he wakes up to go get breakfast and sees that Fort Metal has turned into party central. Kenzo immediately turns in the other direction. There's a few moments of quiet before the ninja comes back in carrying a stack of boxes of varying sizes back into the room and then places right next to a particular dummy that has distinct gouges in its plating.
Kenzo reaches into the stack and pulls out a box for Mint and walks her way and hands it to her.
In the box is a remote control flying drone with a glitter cartridge and spray adhesive cartridge as two different types of attachment points for the drone. One of them is designed to attach to her knucks and the other to her forearm if she's wearing the everyday prosthetics.
"To thank you for your support."
Djamila needed rest too, to help her arm heal after the cut she received. She was pretty happy with the whole rumble over all. The only bad thing is she might not be on team metal anymore and maybe not with Kenzo anymore. Or both. It's ok, new friends, new opportunities, but still.
She wakes up in the morning, after Mint, after Kenzo. She does her morning routine then she comes out with her staff.
She can't see the party things around per say. Or at least shouldn't, but she still ends up saying. "Oh wow that's so cool." She heads toward the people she feels around. She puts a hand on Kenzo's shoulder if allowed giving it a squeeze or on some armor part if his shoulder is covered. "Hey Kenzo, Hey Mint." She promised herself she wouldn't be sad, but she can feel the sadness a little. "Thank you both for all you did. Mint, you've been awesome. Kenzo, you've been there when I needed you to." She takes a deep breath "Would you let me kiss your cheek Kenzo?" Just in case he really didn't want one.
With Djamila being the next to arrive, he feels a squeeze on his shoulder. He can't help but smile a little.
"While I have no objection to you kissing me on the cheek, I ask that you hold off on that until I grab the gift I have for you."
With that, he goes back to the stack of boxes with the only one that is labeled in braille. He carries the box back to her hands it to Djamila before offering up his cheek for a kiss.
In that particular box is a robotic canine but it also has a function of firing a tracker into someone upon biting someone. Solar panels on the top of the head and back power the machine. There are instructions for it in the box, also in braille.
"Thank you for helping me sharpen and refine my skills."
He has a gift for her. She doesn't have gifts for anyone. She hasn't grow up in a gift atmosphere. "Yeah, it's fine, I just didn't expect anything. I don't really have anything." She takes the box. But does not open it before she can give that kiss on his cheek. It's tender and full of promises that haven't been said into words. It's more than a thank you, which is what comes out from her lips next. "Thank you." She reads the brail on the box, she has to open it after that. "Oh my." She, of course doesn't read the instructions yet, but she knows the general idea about it. "This is really cool. Never had a dog." She grins.
She takes a moment to pause, not saying anything, but then she has to answer Kenzo about the help. "You've helped me grow too. In more ways than one. If we end up on a different team, I will still never forget what you did Kenzo. But I won't make it easy on you, and you better not make it easy on it when we end up fighting." She grins. "I own you a favor. One day if you need anything, come get me. I will help you, no questions asked."
Katherine Flake meanwhile has seen to the... 'refreshments' and 'entertainment' of the party going on back at 'base', so to speak. There has been catering food ordered and a few cases of Miller Lite brought in (so cheap they were practically giving it away, she'd announced in amazement) and hired a bunch of the girls from the Pink Paradise. Not as 'fun girls', or anything like that--not quite, just as general... entertainment.
The little corpo gremlin woman thus has been having quite a bit of fun so far, standing there behind one of the tables that have been set up to serve as an adhoc bar, suit jacket hung on one of the chairs behind her, presumably. She's still wearing the black trousers, black leather dress shoes, button up white shirt and cravat, mind--the latter is a royal blue today, she does change out parts of her attire here and there. She's still wearing her hat, though, which is a bit amusing--blue bobcut beneath it. Thanks to her, the atmosphere might have a bit more of a frat or mardi gras style celebration than something more heartfelt or emotional, a few card games have broken out and guys are slipping money to the Paradise girls as they put on a performance in the corner.
"Very proud of you all, the showing was excellent this season--almost better than the last!" she congratulates the team over her bluetooth headset, one of the really small variety that only goes around one ear.
When Kenzo feels the dancer pull back from the kiss on his cheek, he can feel warmth take the place of Djamila's lips.
"I wouldn't dare take it easy on you. I have a feeling that that Mint would, as I heard my guards put it, 'Give me an ass chewing of epic proportions before spitting me into the trash like chewed up bubble gum' regardless of whether or not I'm on her team."
It's at this point that Kenzo sees Katherine Flake and so he waves to her before moving once again to his stack of gifts and pulls out a small box and hands that to the sponsor.
In the box is a small gadget that can either be attached to the underside of a watch or to the included wristband that sprays a liquid and small cartridges of pepper oil, poison ivy oil, and liquid hand sanitizer.
"Thank you for supporting the team."
She laughs at what Kenzo says. "Yeah Mint could probably destroy us if she went full power with any of us. I am fine with that."
She lets Kenzo speak to the sponsor before she also says something. "I don't know a ton about you, but thank you for taking care of us too. I had a grant time at Team Metal." She will miss that team. Well really, she will miss Kenzo, she didn't interact a whole lot with JD and Nixie to be honest. It's like schedules didn't match very well. She idly wonders who she will be with now. What team and which other NFG challengers. She heard there would be some new ones in there.
Mint had been working so long without rest -- and coffee -- that the fatigue had finally caught up with her. But after that good, much-needed rest, her name seems to have been enough to rouse the corporal from her slumber.
She awakes with a jolt, metal fingers clanging against the table as she sits up properly. She starts to look towards the sound -- but notices a box in front of her. With her... name on it?
It isn't long before she finds herself in the doorframe, with Kathy and ... a lot of people! And of course, the two Metal rookies she'd spent the most time with.
"Hey, you guys! I wanted to surprise you... but I guess the surprise was on me!"
Toting the box in her hand, she walks around the room with a broad smile on her face. "And yeah -- congratulations, you two! Did a -fantastic- job there in the ring, showin' off everything you've learned. I'm really glad at how strong a showing you gave us out there!"
She sees that Djamila has a dog now -- "Oh, hey, how about that! Robo pup!" Cracking a grin, she gets to work with the boxcutter attachment on her gauntlet. Making quick work of the seam, she pops the lid on her own box.
"... Oh, heyyy! A Kenzo custom here, is it? And two attachments!" She lifts out the one suited for her knucks -- and seems -overjoyed- at how well it fits to the scale. "Man, when did you find the time to work on this? Thank you!"
She holds out her hand to offer a knuckle-bump to Kenzo, and offers a very light touch on the shoulder to Djamila. "Hey, sorry I was zonked out there for a bit. Guess things just kinda caught up with me..."
But even as she's talking... she's still kind of coasting over to Kathy. Who she greets -- with a quirky grin.
"Hey! Glad to see you could make it out! You... er... brought a lot of friends!" Mint curls the gift box in the crook of her arm, not wanting to set it down anywhere just yet as she drinks in the sense of just being... -here-. With Team Metal.
After reading the braille instructions quickly. "The dog is awesome. A Kenzo original." She grins at Mint.
She keeps her grin. "I think we all did our best. It made me think of a direction to go. Well, that and talking with a friend." She sighs. "You really helped me Mint. I wish this draft wouldn't happen in a way. But changes are good. I just... Yeah you know."
She purrs at the touch of Mint on her shoulder. "You did a marvelous thing with the fort. You're allowed to be tired. You must have been up very very early." When Mint is dealing with the other sponsor and Kenzo, she goes greet the girls from the Pink Paradise. She did perform there once with Ayala. In her line of work, she finds it easy to make friends. "Hey, funny how things go right?" She hugs them all, before she goes into a bit of introspection again. She did know the direction she wants to take, and wherever she ends up at, she knows she will learn things that will add to it.
Kenzo, for his part, is going for the punch bowl considering he isn't legal to drink in the United States just yet. Once his cup is filled, he turns back to Mint.
"I had been planning some of them for a while though others are a more recent inspiration."
He glances at the robo pup in particular. He was not willing to verbalize what inspired it since both knew what it was.
"Teamaggedon adjusted my timetables a bit though."
As he sips his punch, he watches as Djamila goes off to greet Pink Paradise entertainers. He gets a bit of an eye full of the ladies but he doesn't join them like some of the members of the security team who are on light duty. He still has gifts to hand out and he needs to keep some awareness for when the other members arrive.
Mint finds a spot to where she can talk with both students comfortably. Part of her wants a fresh cup of coffee, but the corporal already slumbered through the start of the party and doesn't particularly want to miss more of it.
"... Yeah! You could say that. Or you could say I never really -got- sleep. So glad to have you on the team!" She laughs, waving to Djamila as she goes to hug the other dancers. The sightless dancer might feel the air pressure or hear the giant gauntlet's mechanisms.
After a moment, Mint is happy to turn to Kenzo. "Too cool. I can't wait to see what you've cooked up for the others..."
Mint frowns slightly. The NFG's sudden about-face really did throw a monkeywrench into her plans -- and much as she'd -like- to make handmade gifts as Kenzo did, there's just been so much to do for the next season...
Mint swallows her dissonant thoughts. Another thing that'd be easier with coffee. She raises her gauntlet, masking a brief yawn (of fatigue, not boredom!). "... So tired. Ugh. Sorry! I... I really /am/ delighted at how well you'd done in the Rumble, Kuroiwa-kun. You really did a great job of keeping pressure on those folks. I'm..." She claps a hand onto his shoulder. "I'm really proud of you."
She takes in a deep breath as she looks up at the techno-ninja. And she just stares at him wordlessly for a moment. It's rare to ever see Mint at a loss for words, but here she is.
She just wanted to be nice to the people of the same profession, but she comes back near Mint and presumably Kenzo as well.
"No sleep is believable too. You care for us so much. I wouldn't leave if it was up to me. That was a real surprise. I just want to add. Wherever I end up, what you taught me will stay with me because it was deeper than just the fighting itself. Bah, I really don't like the possible change." She chuckles. "I've been domesticated." She kids. Anyway, cool goodbye party." She gives her a smile and turns her head in the general direction of Kenzo to give him a smile as well.
Kenzo shrugs when Mint compliments his performance in the Rumble. He felt his performance was adequate for the most part. He did the things that he set out to do.
"I achieved most of my goals for it. I knew going into it that I was ill-suited for a deep run so my goal was to put to rest the ghosts of my NFG past. Got a decent shot in on Coco, got a decent shot in on Genie since I had trouble getting anything stick on her during Fightfest. I would have liked to get a shot in on Buford on principle but out of respect for Ichika-kun I stayed my hand."
He takes a sip on his punch as he eyes the kitchen while contemplating making coffee for everyone.
"With all the data I got from the Rumble, I can't help but try to put myself in the sponsors' shoes and try to imagine how the draft will go."
There's a lot of things Mint could say. But the fact is, operating on such little sleep, and still waking up to boot... She just shakes her head, smiling through most of what Djamila says. But when she says the last remark, Mint just holds up one of her mecha-fingers -- holding back an audible sniff.
"It's -not- a goodbye party," she insists. "It's a celebration. I didn't print up any farewells!"
And then Kenzo shares his thoughts -- and she lets out a small snicker. One of the reasons she'd held off on enumerating his successes was the knowledge he'd be able to expound on them in even greater detail. She smiles, and nods, and smiles and nods some more.
And then she looks up with a laugh, and tearful eyes.
"I ain't gonna lie, it's probably gonna be the toughest fight I've ever been in."
If the four-foot-nine woman still had the arms she was born with, she wouldn't be able to do this -- but with her enhanced reach, she manages to reach both her hands out. Right hand on Kenzo's hip, left on Djamila's.
And she'd pull them both closer to her.
Her voice flutters, just that little bit.
"I wasn't ready to say goodbye to either of you. And I still ain't."
"I admire how you can analyze yourself so well Kenzo. Out of curiousity, where do you think you and I will go? If you don't want ot say, I will respect it. I am just curious, since you're so smart." She msiles.
Then Mint explains. "Ok Mint, I am sorry. I am sad a bit, and I keep a smile on my face, because Metal is a great time. Always." She might have wet eyes right now, if she had eyes.
"She giggles a bit as Mint, after discussing with Kenzo, grabs her hips and pulls her close. "Well I will say this. If I come back in Metal, it will be an honor. I want to focus on some things, and I won't share them now, but I am ready to share with my future sponsor, and if it ends up being you, I will hug you." She hadn't mean to say so much, but it came out. Her cheeks blushes a little.
The Justice High alumnus doesn't get a chance to respond to Djamila before he gets pulled into a three-way hug. While the other two are talking, he's considering his answer.
"Where we go will depend on who has control of the draft picks each round. You in particular, I could see going in the first round but if you do, it probably won't be Metal but Blaze. Particularly if Zog has control of the pick. Me? I could see myself going second or third round depending on how highly valued the 'intangibles' are. Stuff like fight IQ, drive, leadership, mental and physical toughness, team chemistry. The only two teams that seemed to openly value those things are Thunder and Metal."
He pauses to fill his cup with more punch as he thinks about what else he wants to say.
"If I were in Metal sponsors' position, I'd take JD first round. Points leader, weathered multiple instances of taking on attacks from a variety of sources and lasted longer than multiple people who came in after him. If you are expecting team fights at some point, you want someone like that on your team or at the very least, deny the other teams someone who can deal with multiple attacks at once and come out okay. If Metal picks JD, I could see Blaze picking Coco for a similar reason but based on what's publicly available, they might not have foresight to grab her right away or if they do, might not account for the fact that she might become a locker room cancer if specific other people are picked."
Minal isn't normally subject to the tides of emotion. But standing here and talking with the two fighters she'd spent the most time with -- two who -really- aren't that much younger than herself -- she finds herself reluctant to say anything that might push them away, or ruin the bond they'd had together.
Fortunately, between Djamila's open expression, and Kenzo's keenly analytical discourse, she has time to step back and rein herself in with a few calming breaths. Though for a moment it looks like she might be about ready to give Kenzo a little slug in the shoulder for approaching the issue with such detached calm.
Pausing to let out a little laugh -- and finally cram those mushy emotions back into their little box -- Mint gives Kenzo a nod. "That's a pretty rational breakdown of the situation, yeah. I'd have to agree that Coco can run a rampage, but we also got some new blood to factor into this -- and some of -them- might actually be able to keep pace with her."
At this point, Mint turns back to Djamila. "I know things might've been a little rough for a while, Djamila. But you've made -huge- improvements."
She steps back, grinning. "More people in the mix will help, too. You've both made friends outside this team, so I know you'll do great wherever you go. And I want you -both- to know you can count on my support wherever that is. N-F-G or beyond!"
Djamila listens to Kenzo answering her question and even talking about Metal's sponsors and Coco. Kenzo is so smart, yet he's also kind. He's a good catch, definitely. She's keeping the box with the dog close by, because it's something precious. " This shoulds like a good analysis. Now that you mention it, it all makes sense. I will be looking forward to see the predictions.
Then she turns her head to Mint. She lets her say her piece to kenzo. Then, when she addresses her, Djamila smiles. "I would like to think so, and I am going to make more. I am going to take more control of my life. I am ready to be Djamila 2.0. You gave me good foundations, Mint." She nods her head. Ayala for one. It wouldn't be bad to be on the same team as Ayala, it would be fun. Ayala, Kenzo and herself. Along with two others. That would be grand. A girl can dream. But the last words of Mint, brings her out of those thoughts. "You can count on me too. I don't know if I can help you, but you can count on me. You will also see me, even if I am not on your team. You're stuck with me." She laughs a bit.
Kenzo, meanwhile, thinks about some of the people who he would want on his team. Honestly, he had a whole bunch of people he wouldn't mind joining up with and he felt he could make it work with nearly any combination of them. He especially felt so after getting so much data from the Rumble.
"If I somehow get snatched up before you have a chance to pick me, I will be rooting for Metal, as long as I'm not facing you."
He gives Mint a playful punch to the shoulder before heading kitchen-ward to start making coffee for the others.
Mint can't help but smile as Djamila responds to her. The idea that Djamila feels she -hasn't- taken control of her life -- having started with such a bad situation and turned it around into something so fulfilling and positive -- is a thought Mint had a little bit of a trouble with at first. But some people can be their own worst critic, and Minal resolves that she's just glad to be a signpost along the way. And the thought of being -stuck- to Djamila? "Pff. I'll survive, -somehow-." She flashes a broad grin -- the kind you can hear. "I'm glad to hear it, though, seriously! I can't wait to find out where your path takes you, girl!"
She's still beaming when she pivots to face Kenzo again. The way he's just so calm and collected about this all. Even with Mint's slight lead time on certain crucial information, he's already processed everything and triple-checked it. And he's already thinking ahead to the picks of her and her sponsor peers! "... Your prep is -unreal-, Kenzo, I mean, you're already plotting three weeks in advance here. Minimum!" She laughs -- and nods. "I'm glad for it though. Thanks for looking out for me, you two. If we aren't able to keep hold of you, whoever nabs you is a lucky dog!"
She willfully accepts the slug to her shoulder, miming out her head and shoulders lolling to the side from the supposed impact. "Hehe."
As Kenzo walks off, Mint stretches both arms hiiigh overhead, yawning. She seems grateful that Kathy brought in the extra crew!
"Hmm. Maybe I should go check on the real sleepyheads..."
She listens to Kenzo speak. Then, her attention is back to Mint. She gives a smile. But when Mint says she will survive, she can't help but letout a good hearty laugh. When she is done, she answers Mint about her path. "I am going in blind." She can't help saying that and laught again.
She cocks her head when Kenzo leave, as if she was listening to his footsteps for a moment. "He's going to go far." She smiles.
When Mint says she might go check on the others, to wake them up "Good luck getting them to be here, Mint. I might mangle with the girls some more and use the wind to speed up healing."
Log created on 07:38:05 08/29/2023 by Kenzo, and last modified on 07:50:00 09/03/2023.