Description: After the first rounds of fights had come, tragedy struck the International Task Force with the death of it's Russian, The White Angel of Death. Having been killed by a vicious criminal in mortal combat, the soldier was given a burial in the gravemarker. The team's own mortality has come into question, as they convene to discuss what it means to have a... Death In The Ranks. (The cover shows a graveyard, where a lone tombstone sits by a tree. It states 'White Angel of Death,' with an effigy of the woman on it, scarred and all. Three people are beside the gravestone; Agent Bolivar is embracing Lieutenant Lita as she sobs into his chest over the grave, while Major Charlie Nash is saluting the gravemarker, a single tear in his eye. A cutaway to below ground, however, shows that The White Angel of Death is NOT buried underneath, but in fact Agent Little himself. The detective is in a coffin, pounding up on the lid of the coffin, shouting aloud in the hopes that the others can hear him.) (45 cents)
After her match with Aya Hazuki, Lieutenant Lita Luwanda of Delta Red isolated herself. She was upset with herself. In that particular match, she went out of her way not to target vital areas and all it took was one mistake(one born out of being unable to account for Aya's movements) and things went out of control during their match. Powerless, to stop Aya from falling, she looked out and couldn't find her. And now she's stuck with the thought that she might've killed her opponent.
As upset as Lita was, she turned to her coping mechanism. She worked harder. She went to the one of training quarters and trained. She went through various forms from various martial arts she had experience in both armed and unarmed. Even in training, she was off. Her forms were stiff, her footwork would occasionally be slightly(barely even perceivable) out of place. Even her breathing would be off at times.
Lita had been at this for a while and he was too damn stubborn to rest. And she needed to since she was too upset to really get anything useful out of this particular training session.
Daniel Jack wasn't handling this very well.
The detective had a.... extremely bloody fight. His fight with Princess Kitana nearly cost him his life. He was... there was so much blood. She was going to kill him. He was not going to kill her. The detective had barely managed to emerge victorious... and alive. Daniel was crudely patched together; he would be dead if it wasn't for his experience and training. He needed to convene with his fellow Interpol agents.
And he found one.
The detective was practicaly a mummy as he enters the training quarters. His face, his arms, his legs were all bound out. He was dressed in an orange silk shirt and purple silk pants, with the inverse of each as moths flying upwards. The detective doesn't move with a limp, but with a focused, stilted stride. The detective crosses his arms, letting Lita finish her training. He wasn't gonna say anything yet. He wanted her to finish. He... He found out the results of the other fights.
She needed to get it out of her system.
It's not so much Lita finishing her exercises, staff training at this particular moment, as her hearing a noise. The staff practice comes to a halt as she points it to the origin of the sound ready to act but then holding it to her side when she sees who made the sound.
At first, she's relieved to see him but then she sees the physical condition that he's in and cringes. "You're in shambles! What happened to you?"
Lita never got her update on results. She was too busy hiding in the training facilities and sleeping quarters and isolatingherself from others when she was in the dining hall.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
Perhaps she could distract herself by talking to the Interpol Agent and it may yield something useful for further matches in the tournament.
The detective was... better off than Lita. Emotionally and mentally, at least. The expression was cold, though. He didn't know how to put it. His hand begins to glow a deep red, the gem in it embedded deeply. He doesn't hide it. "I can talk about it. There is a lot to talk about." He shakes his head.
"Where to begin..."
"A beautiful woman, a Princess not of this world, tried to murder the hell out of me, because she believed it was the moral thing to do." The detective pauses a moment, taking in a deep breath, and exhaling. Everything hurt. "Nicked an artery. If it wasn't for the practice I had for you, she would have killed me. This tournament- Bolivar's fine, I don't know if you met him, but he's an ally. Charlie's alive. Sergei..." The detective falls silent a moment. Sergei's dead. His opponent killed him. And..." The detective pauses, unsure how to continue.
"... What the hell happened in your fight, Lita?"
Lita is quiet at first, more focused on the news report from her ally than her own problems. It was a distraction she needed, at least at first. Bolivar... Didn't know him was an ally, probably will meet him somewhere along the lines. Charlie's alive, good news. Sergei dying however reminds her of their fight and how she tried to kill Sergei on live television.
"He probably went vicious on his opponent and forced it into a kill or be killed scenario."
Sure it was cold and somewhat callous but she was likewise pushed into a kill or be killed scenario with him in a professional, live television bout. She wasn't going to mourn his death.
Then the question Lita was posed was the one she had been dreading. The colour of her cheeks go red in rage at herself for a fight that went out of control. "I accidentally killed my opponent."
With those words, a weird cocktail of emotions fill the woman soldier. Relief in getting it off of her chest in addition to pre-existing frustration at herself. Sadness at taking the life a potential ally and someone who won her respect in the art of swordsmanship even if they were differing sword styles.
"She was an Earthrealm warrior. That entire fight, I was avoiding vital locations so if worse came to worse, we'd still have a strong ally on our side. At the last moment, I threw my kunai. There was something strange about the way she moved and the way the air moved around us. The way she moved and the way the air caught my kunai made impact with my weapon worse than it would've been otherwise. One of them caught her in the neck and she fell. I never found her."
Getting it off her chest helped but she still can't move past the anger she feels inside.
"Yeah, yeah, you're probably right."
Daniel Jack remembered Sergei's only words to him. 'We will need it.' Sergei was going to go into this tournament to kill, because he could, and because of his orders. Kill or be killed. Whoever his opponent was... saw that, and fell for that. But Lita was worried... she was worried. That was good. That was very, very good. The detective stares solemnly at Lita as her face turns red. "She's..."
"Right? Aya?" The detective looks away. "She survived. She was recovering on the grounds; she's in the next rounds. You didn't kill her Lita. Don't... don't beat yourself over it." The detective stares at his hand, the gem continuing to glow. He could feel the pull. Fight her. Defeat her. Take her souls. The detective almost half-mindedly asks aloud.
"What is your gem, Lieutenant?"
She's in disbelief. She saw all of kunai connect with various spots on Aya driving her back with each impact and when she saw that final one hit her neck, she thought that she'd might have a small chance to save her before it was too late but it was also the kunai that pushed Aya over the edge and didn't even give her a fighting chance at administering first aid. Hearing that her opponent was alive and capable of fighting the good fight.
"Good. We'll need warriors like her if this tournament goes straight to hell. I'd rather not shrink our available force verses incursion if I don't have to even if it's a civilian fighter. Outworld forces however, I'd rather take them down and reduce their available numbers if they do win this tournament. The less potential invaders they have the better it is for Earth."
In response to Daniel's question, she remains silent but pulls a lemon yellow triangle shaped pendant from her Delta Red leotard. After a few moments, she tucks the pendant back into the neck of the leotard.
"Personally given because of our team's performance in the King of Fighters."
So that was the story about the gems. Daniel Jack holds up his hand, the red gem glowing. "So these are... 'gifts' from the tournament. They are creepy things; I think it was telling me to kill the Princess I was fighting. The whole tournament is creepy; all obsessing over murder." Murder, murder, murder.
And then there was the circumstance he came to the island.
"The Chief uh, well, I was basically 'officially' kidnapped over here. Chief thought it was cute to have me get the real hijacked experience." "I think there are good people. Only two people died, I think. I hope that... I hope that will be..." And the detective trails off, face contorting. He shakes his head fiercely.
"I can't believe Sergei's dead though."
"I must be deaf to mine. I heard nothing of the sort. I just had this gut feeling that something was up with it but no clue beyond that."
Lita takes a moment to think back to something that Daniel said. 'Not of this world.' She lets that particular phrase roll around in her head in quiet thought as Daniel continues to talk.
However, the mention of the Chief having Daniel get kidnapped to have him participate in this tournament cuts through that train of thought and causes the rage that she had built up towards herself before she found out that she didn't actually kill her opponent to be channeled towards the Chief.
"I swear that if I live through this, I'm ramming my cricket bat so far up his bleedin' arse that he'll be coughing splinters for a minimum of a year. I /don't/ give a rat's arse if I get arrested for it because it'll totally be worth it."
The grip on the staff she was wielding gets tighter to the point where her grip is leaving deep imprints on the wooden weapon. What she doesn't say can be seen in the rage on her face and confusion in her eyes. Confusion at how their own commanding officer could have someone kidnap their subordinate and throw them into a tournament like this with no briefing or anything. Whatever she was going to say about the mysterious princess goes by the wayside.
"Don't take it out on him, Lita..."
Daniel Jack moves to stick his hand in his pocket. He has no pockets. Still, he holds it there, as a nervous habit. He twitches his mustache. Don't take it out on him. Why wouldn't he? Why would he stand up for a man who has abused him again and again. "I kinda deserve whatever he sends my way. I..."
"... I nearly got his daughter killed."
Daniel Jack looks away from Lita. "Daisy Mallone, former ace detective of Interpol, a partner, and the chief's daughter. When we were investigating 'The Butcher' case, the guy was... well, a Darkstalker type. Ate souls. Ate most of mine, but she.... she got it worse. She found out where he was holed up, and he went alone and..." Daniel Jack shakes his head. "I recovered thanks to Doctor Tessitore, but she... I'm worried. I'm always worried. So the Chief is mad at me? I deserve it. I deserve every moment of it, for what I did to his daughter." He raises a palm in the air.
"And now I get Sergei killed."
Lita can't stand seeing Daniel like this. She feels an obligation to help Daniel because he came through for her when she was being tormented. Unfortunately she doesn't know how to help outside of giving him tough love. She just hopes that she's not pushing in the wrong direction.
"Are you daft!?!?!?"
She grips Daniel by the collar. "Are you so bloody daft that you actually believe the words that are coming out of your mouth? He wants you to suffer for nearly getting his daughter killed. That's fair. But you don't get your subordinates kidnapped, ship them off unprepared to a fighting tournament where the outcome is the only thing standing in the fucking way of an invasion from another realm, where people are playing for fucking keeps? This is Earth's final chance, if we lose. Then there might be nothing standing in the way of his daughter being killed in the resulting invasion. And you're going to defend the Chief for being such a short sighted asshole?"
She releases the collar and then shoves Daniel with her index finger. "Were you at Sergei's fight? If not, you don't get to take responsibility for Sergei's death. And if I die, I don't want you taking responsibility for mine. We're soldiers. Soldiers. This is a war. We knew that our lives can be ended."
"Lita, I am responsible."
The words come cooly, precisely, as Lita releases his collar. "Just like I was responsible for our team losing the tournament. I have to be responsible. I can't just stand aside, acting like I'm a small player in a bigger game. I've done that my entire life, Lita. I've always been the pawn. Well, I'm not going to let myself be that. When my team, my partners my fri... my friends..." He nods firmly at Lita. "When my team suffers a loss, when my people suffers, I suffer. Because I can't allow your burden be just yours. I have to take lead. I have to take the point. Not because I'm good at it. Because i have to. I have to, Lita."
"Did you know what the princess said, Lita?"
"You know what she told me? Nine of Ten. Out of the ten tournaments, earth lost nine of them. You know what she wouldn't tell me? If this was number ten or not. I'm just part of a team, holding the world at the edge of oblivion from conquering tyrants who only understand death and murder, who worship it, who wrap it around them like a cloak. Evil, oblivious to its evil. Cruelty oblivious to their cruelty. Death, Lita, absolutely meaningless death and conquest. These aren't soldiers we're fighting. It's a dieseased culture from beyond our world, who only seek to deal and experience death."
"And I'm the vanguard against them."
Daniel Jack straightens himself up. "I have handled the worst the chief has thrown at me. And I have endured. I have dealt with General Zima's shit, and have gotten only stronger. I have faced down a rioting mob, screaming at me for having the gall to not only fight with women on equal footing, but actually have the dumb fortune to win every once in a while. Every day, Lita, is an assault against me. And I break through." Daniel Jack rips at his bandages, tearing them off. The blood is dried. The wounds are closed. He holds up his limbs, where he was torn up, nearly to death. "I endure, I survive. I have to be tough enough to handle it, Lita. Beacause if I'm not tough enough to take this abuse?"
"Then I'm not tough enough to save the world."
Lita's shaking her head in disbelief because of what she's hearing from the mouth of Daniel Little right now. She knows that right now, she is needed to be the voice of reason because as far as she can see, his desire to take on responsibility for everything, is clouding his judgement.
"You're a fool, Little. Just because you can handle it mean you should. Your Chief... Your superior should be putting you in the position to accomplish your objectives because as it stands, lives other than your own could hang in the balance. He didn't give you any type of briefing or any type of prep. That's his responsibility and he wasn't living up to it. Your responsibility is only towards the things that you can affect. You're a fool if you think Sergei's death is your responsibility. I'm pretty sure you weren't in the same area as him when he was killed, and you couldn't fight his battle for him. Not. Your. Fault."
"As for my prep, I was given briefings and told to rendezvous with you for mission particulars. Your chief informed my C.O. that you would be here. They expected for your chief to give you some type of run down before sending you here. He didn't and they didn't know and if I get out of this alive, I will inform Delta Red about this and they will know your Chief is an incompetent fool. They didn't know. Not. Their. Fault. They're only responsible for the things they can affect. You are only responsible for the things you can affect. I am responsible for the things I can affect."
She takes a step away and turns away from Daniel. "I'm not a religious person but there's a quote that is extremely appropriate. 'God grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.' Focus on the things that are within your power to change, and I'll focus on the things that are within my power to change. I have to do that or else I'm going to drive myself crazy over shit I can not affect and then I'm no help to anyone. I'm not asking you to not care, to not hurt over the loss of Sergei." She mentally adds, 'Though I have no clue why you would after all the shit Sergei and Zima put you through.' She speaks again picking up from where she left off. "I'm just asking you to be realistic about where responsibilities start and end. You can't be there for my battles so if I die, don't take responsibility."
Daniel was out here, naked and alone. Lita was reasonable, absolutely reasonable. Daniel would have agreed with her five years ago. He would have agreed with her a year ago. But now? Now, he was in a world where he could do something about this. Before, he wasn't. He had power now, the barest of authority. But what could he do with it? What should he do with it. When Lita tells him that he shouldn't take responsiblity, he shakes his head. "I can't do that, Lita."
"I can't leave you behind like that."
"If you die, I have to be responsible. Because who else will be? Your CO? The Chief? Friends and family? I have to do what I can, Lita. The same with Sergei. Everything is so... mortal now. If Sergei killed his opponent? I'd hold myself responsible for that. And if you killed Aya... I would make it my duty to make it right. I am a fool, a damned fool. I've constantly made mistakes since being that fool. But I have to keep being that, Lita. I have to put myself on the butcher block. I'm no soldier, I'll never be a soldier like you, or what Sergei.... like what Sergei was. But I have to do something. I have to be that fool."
"... Because it's the right thing to do, Lita."
Daniel turns around, facing the door way. "I... I am going to his grave. I'm going to do something. There has to be something I can do. Even it is just exhuming him, and finding his body a way home. He might have family. He... at least General Zima owes it that he has a hero's body. Died fighting to defend the world, maybe, in his own sick mind." He walks to the archway of the training area, coming to a rest as he places his hands on the stones. You..." He trails off. "I can't stop you from dying either, can I. I can't stop anyone from dying, except whoever I face." A spectre of despair? Or a shadow of realism. He grips the stones, a spasm of energy coming over him. The rocks splinter in his grasp. "Oh my god." He states.
"They could make us fight each other."
She's about to object to Daniel's bout of responsibility and she wants to slap him and tell him snap out of it but avoids it because she sees in him a tendency towards self-flagellation and it's something she has no desire to enable.
As he continues though, he approaches something more reasonable and perhaps she's finally getting through to him and that urge to slap him silly melts away. "Making sure the bodies are treated with respect that's something that you can own take responsibility for but you can't take the blame for something you can't affect. I'd be ok with you making sure I had a decent burial but I don't want you taking the blame for my death. Just like I wouldn't want you taking the blame for Aya's death in my fight had she actually died."
And Lita watches as the realism sinks in and Daniel realizes he can't stop anyone from dying which then transitions into the thought that they could possibly fight each other.
"If we face each other, may the best fighter win. But I'm not going to rob our army of a decent fighter in case we loses this upcoming tournament. That was one of the things that bothered me when I thought I killed her. That I might've made our fight against that diseased culture a little bit harder."
Lita was too proud to admit that she wasn't too fond losing someone who seemed to be a kindred spirit based on the interaction they had in their battle. She tosses the staff with the grip imprint over to Daniel.
"I think my training session is over for the day."
Daniel catches the staff, with his free hand.
"It's not blame, Lita. It's never about blame." He says to himself. It might have been to Lita. He wasn't sure. Blame was for nobodies. Responsibility... was something else. But Lita was right, in a pragmatic way. Even Sergei would agree. But Daniel... it wasn't about allies. It was about humanity. If it was about allies he would have killed the Princess. No, it was something more. "Thank you Lita. I'll try and watch your fight, if I'm able to. And if you need any help? Don't hesitate to ask." He keeps the staff, as he walks away, using it as a walking stick. He should have trained himself.
But he had to make a visit to the graveyard .
Log created on 13:22:26 09/27/2016 by Daniel, and last modified on 14:48:47 10/05/2016.