Mortal Kombat - MK: The Lessons of Civilization

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Description: With information on his nemesis being on Shang Tsung's Island, Aranha seeks her out in order to not only end her threat once and for all, but to gain power for Earthrealm as a last ditch chance to save it from the invasion of Outworld. But can the capoeirista remain unchanged by this tournament?


After Juri had informed him that Fio Tessitore was here on Shang Tsung's island, he had a mission. However, before he went after the Doctor(in skill level if not in actual accreditations) he had to get a few things in order. Thanks to the information stemming from the Scarlet Guard, he had a location. It was possible that Tessitore already knew he was coming. He didn't care. He had planned to go all in. If he didn't do this now, he may not have another chance.

Earlier In The Day:

Juri dropped a bomb on the capoeirista letting him know that Fio Tessitore was here on this island. He spent a few hours deliberating on what he should do. He knew the tournament would be coming to a close soon and he knew that the Dahlia would need all the help she could get. Especially after feeling the dread when Juri kicked the hornet's nest. He also knew that Dahlia needed information if she stood to end up having to fight a particular enemy in this tournament.

He walked up to her door and gave a tap on the door. He hoped that she was there. Worst came to worst, he'd have slide a note under the door and pray that she was able to see it in time.

There is no immediate answer to the tapping. In fact -- it does not even seem as if anyone is around; the Scarlet Guard numbers have dwindled as the brutal tournament has progressed, and not many are left. Those remaining are in an adjacent room just down the hall.

In truth, the Scarlet Dahlia had taken a moment to collect herself after a prearranged meeting with Kenshi Takahashi went awry. If Aranha had happened by her door just a little while earlier, he might have taken the brunt of the aggravated puppetmaster's wrath. But now...

Now, the Ainu woman had taken some time to cool off. Her hair and face glisten with moisture - the signs of someone who has recently washed her face. She rounds the corner to notice Aranha standing by her door.

If he is quick to notice her, he might catch sight of the mild irritation on her face.
But it is, as with many expressions of her heartfelt desires, short-lived, as she puts on a bright smile.

"Ah, Aranha, I am glad to see you again. I had just stepped out for a moment... " She senses an emotion from Aranha -- one she can only chalk up to... hesitation?

The cheongsam shifts, as she lets both her hands fall to her sides -- no confrontation here, just an amiable conversation. "Is something on your mind?"
She does, as always, have an ulterior motive, though...

The ever observant capoeirista does catch the irritation on the Scarlet Dahlia's face however, he's fairly certain that he wasn't of the cause of it, for once. As a result, he's willing to brush it off and move on to business.

"A lot can be learned from how one treats their allies. I have seen the way you treat the Scarlet Guard, and I think I can trust you." He mentally added as far as wanting to protect Earthrealm was concerned which for the purposes of their alliance was all that was needed.

He pauses thinking about how he wants to phrase this. This conversation needed to be handled carefully.

"If not for me bumping into an associate, I would be offering the power from my shard. She told me how she ended up being killed by the one who would later kill Kamon aka. Vega. She was convinced that he was a demon and considering what I've seen, I'm inclined to believe her. She advised me to tell anyone I cared about to avoid fighting him but if you draw him the tournament, you're not going to be able to."

He stops to let her absorb all of that before he continues, "This leads to the second bit of information that my associate gave me. Someone responsible for turning my sister into a Darkstalker is here on this island but not exactly as a participant. I plan on going after her and hopefully bringing back their power to you."

He shifts, leaning against the doorframe. "So. I'm going to need to hold on to this power a little longer."

What remains unsaid but probably can be read from his surface thoughts is, and even his body language, 'Do you trust me to come back alive?'

While the Scarlet Dahlia -was- displeased at receiving a failing grade from Kenshi Takahashi's test, it's still balanced out by having passed the test from the Kamui-sent heroine Nakoruru. So... it does bring out a more sincere smile from the Dahlia to learn that she has met Aranha's approval as well. The young lady in the Chinese dress bows at the waist to the capoeirista. "I am glad to be working with you rather than against -- that much is certain."

It is a common negotiation tactic, though, to begin the disbursement of bad news with acknowledgement of the good; the executive has seen the expressions enough in the past to associate them with the face Aranha bears now.

And all things considered, she can't even be upset at the guy.
"... An associate, hmm?"
Her smile tightens. She can fathom guesses as to who Aranha is talking about, simply because her intelligence network has a pretty good recollection of who has been slain by the Raging Demon...
Still -- even if she knew -some- of the details before, placing a narrative together is informative. She had not, in fact, -known- of another being resurrected in the same manner as she had brought back Zach Glenn...

"This island gets more curious by the day -- here, it's harder to call home than to raise the dead."

A faint smirk had started to form, but it's replaced with a smile after the woman bows her head to Aranha in appreciation. "That said, I won't be so foolish as to seek out his fists after such a warning -- thank you."

The second bit of information, though... Even though she had expected it to be -bad- news, the way in which Aranha is hesitating shows he might not trust her quite as much. It shows that he might even fear reprisal.

And yet, she knows him to be stronger-willed than that. The fear... the language -- it's all politeness. Courtesy. She may have misjudged the Dancing Spider in her earlier paranoia, but she is beginning to understand him better now.

Moistening her lips, she draws in her breath. Even longer must she go without the offering of soul energy -- and yet, for the reasons he has stated, she can't even be -angry- about it any more. A warm and honest smile spreads upon her face as she laces her fingers together before her.

"This island does present some unique opportunities for obtaining closure. By all means -- take this opportunity while you can. We will need all the power we can get, and it sounds like she's most certainly on -our- side, so...."
And, by extension, anyone working with darkstalkers is most likely working against the interests of the Shadow Council -- such as it can even exist with its aforementioned guarantor deceased.

"Do you know where this person is? It's possible one of the Guard has crossed paths with her..."

Not agitated or anything like that. He's assuming from her demeanor that she at least understands why he must delay just a little bit longer and in this particular case he hopes that this delay doesn't bite her and, by proxy, him in the ass since now he's pinning all of his hopes on to her for the survival of Earthrealm.

"Unfortunately I don't know at this time. I wanted to talk with you first before I started making moves in that direction. If the Scarlet Guard had bumped into Fio Tessitore, I'd be grateful for any information. She tends to wear lab coats with designer clothing under them, has spider limbs." After their history, he'd cut his feet and cajones off before he'd admit that Tessitore had a decent body. And if the Dahlia were to call him on those thoughts, he'd vehemently deny til the day he dies.

He pushes himself off of the door frame. "As for my associate, after I helped her with her funeral pyre she decided to kick the hornet nest to get the Demon's attention. I decided I didn't need to stick around for that."

Yes, the Scarlet Dahlia -could- be at risk without the gracious contributions Aranha is on the verge of offering. But the bargain is one that interests her -- shown more brazenly by the raised eyebrow she raises when the Dancing Spider confirms that the target is a certain "Doctor" Fio Tessitore.

Fio Tessitore, with the white labcoat and the spider limbs.
Fio Tessitore, the mad scientist assistant of Lord Jedah Dohma, Scourge of Metro City.
Fio Tessitore, the reputed love interest of a certain Agent Daniel "Jack" Little.

The Dahlia's information network may not be as airtight as her connections in Japan and elsewhere, but there are some pieces of information that stick in her mind even -without- the aid of computers or companions. And a woman with spider limbs who happens to be the love interest of one of her nemeses is definitely one of them.

So when she smiles, she has to make an extra-special effort to not make the smile too large. That could be creepy -- and that could ruin the goodwill she's been trying to establish with the Dancing Spider.

"I... =do= remember hearing from my associates just a few minutes ago that they had seen her downstairs. Shadows, cast long against the wall from the torches of the excavation. It is bound to be dangerous, but someone of your skills might have a much better chance against her than anyone else I've run into."
Which suggests... hazards. Obstacles. Lots of jumping.
"... I wish you luck. But just make it count." Mild disfavor takes hold on her face, as she brings to mind the people her Earthrealm associates had fought -- had taken the -chance- to kill, and failed to follow through. "That is -- finish her. We can no longer afford to take half-measures, to show mercy against enemies who show none. We do not need any more surprises in this tournament: the more resources our foes have to expend to bring her back, the better off we'll be."
Yes, she's talking about this mortal warfare as if it's a simple war of attrition -- for to her, it really =is=. So much so, that a sickly pallor begins to fall over the features of the Dahlia -- as if simply discussing the grave topics is beginning to unsettle her. Granted, she's bound to look pale next to the extravagant crimson of her cheongsam and matching jacket, but for a time she seems even -moreso-. Exhaling, she raises a hand to her forehead. "Forgive me of speaking so blithely about such matters. Just... the sooner we win this tournament, the sooner we can get back to a normal world -- one with friends, with family -- one that =doesn't= revolve around such unchecked violence."

"Your... associate, then...? She's... a ghost? She doesn't sound too bright if her first thought upon coming back around is to harass the guy who caused her condition. Does she think her chances will be -better- the second time, somehow?"

Color slowly returns to her cheeks as she passes a brief glance at her door.
"I shouldn't keep you much longer. There is no telling what that mad scientist is up to down there." She forges a brief, but polite grin: "I wish you the best of luck. May the Kamui be at your side."

With the raised eyebrow, on his ally's face, and especially with the smile forming on her lips, the Dancing Spider had to wonder if the Scarlet Dahlia had more skin in the game than was originally expected. He has no problems with his personal objectives with the Dahlia's.

He's quiet as he receives the Scarlet Guard acquired intelligence but he's planning out how he intends on going after her. He's snapped out of his planning stage by the wish for good luck and suggestion to make it count.

"I plan on it. I can't let her repeat what she did to my blood. I only wish I wasn't surrounded by her weird ass creatures the last time I fought her. I would've been able to toss her unconscious ass out of the sky scraper."

He bows out of respect for his ally. "And you as well."

With that, he turns to leave.


Aranha finds himself navigating the Condemned Excavation for a safe path. As he does so he glances around as he seeks out the Spider Mad Scientist. Looking for web traps and attempting to duck any minions Tessitore may have around.

The path down through the Condemned Excavation is fraught with peril. Wooden scaffolding towers above, projected in multiple directions. Warriors of the past have been deconstructed into their component elements, their bones strewn about as macabre decor. Indeed -- it's quite likely that many of the bones -belong- to those who sought the darkness as a haven from the madness of the Island.

Spiderwebs are as much of a part of the environment as anything else. In some cases, the spiderwebs have lent structure to the rickety scaffolding; in many others, they serve as traps to alert their maker to potential intrusions. She would need such advance warning -- for the signs of her presence can be heard to anyone entering the excavation proper.

"Stop -whining-, you big baby..." chides the Italian, amidst a horrid grinding sound of erratic pace. Her patient has, admittedly, every right to complain about his live tissues being torn asunder by a makeshift bone saw -- the shadows of the two casting flickering shadows on the cavern walls. "You're gonna be better, faster -- stronger. Just keep your eyes on the prize, forget about the here and now!"

Fio Tessitore has undoubtedly planted minions about -- though they would be of the suspended variety. In that they are unlikely to fight back -- only their eyes have been left visible to the air, their mouths and limbs bound up by hardened webbing. Unable to do anything else aside from swinging back and forth, the cocooned patients strain in futility against their bonds, unlikely to achieve much shear force against the durable fibers.

"... Hmm, what is that? Is someone stepping into my lair...?" Tess does not look up from her work -- indeed, she seems to be -grinning- as she continues the indelicate operation against her latest victim/patient.
It almost seems as if she is starved for companionship in the midst of this horrid island.

Aranha was already familiar with his target, especially with her tendency to use her webs as an alert system, so he avoided when he could. The problem was that it wasn't the webs that gave him away. It was the suspended victims. The moment they stopped struggling against their bonds would probably be the moment they give his appearance away. It was as if they saw this traceur as their salvation. Aranha for his part is getting an extreme sense of deja vu right now.

As he moves closer, her body language changes. He didn't know if he managed to avoid her alerts but knowing how she works, he figures it's safe to assume that getting any closer would insure that she knew he was there. If he couldn't guarantee that it would be a surprise, he'd at least attempt to strike first.

His hand glows blue as he lashes out, sending a spider web of his own at the doctor's general direction

COMBATSYS: Aranha has started a fight here.

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Aranha           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore has joined the fight here.

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Aranha           0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0    Dr. Tessitore

COMBATSYS: Aranha equips a warm Dusty Yellow Soul Shard.

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Aranha [E]       0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0    Dr. Tessitore

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore blocks Aranha's Web Shot.

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Aranha [E]       0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0    Dr. Tessitore

Tessitore has not had the -best- of times on the island. But once she found -this- place, and was able to set it up as a makeshift base of operations, things got a lot more comfortable for the Arachnid Doctor. Which is to say, the webspinner was able to enlist patients from the many competitors of the Tournament who had been defeated and left to their own devices. Which, in turn, is to say that she was able to defeat them in combat, claiming their lives easily as they were stripped of the protections provided by the divine Accords.

But while she has an army of patients, not all of them are combat-ready -- in fact, very few -were-.
This excavation-turned-operating-theater was really more of a playpen than a barracks.

The doctor's voice runs cold as she casts her gaze about the room, the flickering torches providing little in the way of illumination. "Don't everyone answer at once, now."

And then, the flash of light. It's only a little light, but her enhanced eyes were able to catch it, and lock on. The arachnid arms swing into motion as the voluptuous Italian turns her shoulder towards the shot -- the sharp projections of the pedipalps pierce the surface tension of the chi-borne spider web shot her way, weakening their sticky grasp. She's forced to readjust her positioning, bracing herself with her remaining limbs.

Unfortunately for her patient, this means jarring the operating table, which elicits another groan of pain.

The bone saw is carelessly left on the table as Tess rises to her full height, her blue skin a bit more apparent in the torchlight now. She is different from the last time Aranha may have seen her -- her eyes have red irises, but the sclera is now a dense black, as true a sign of her Darkstalker-afflicted DNA as she has ever shown.

"Ahhh, it's you!" she chitters, clapping her human hands together as her two pedipalps work the rest of the chi-web filaments between them, pointed projections ripping the chi into shreds. "So you're come back to take me up on my offer? You finally want to climb the evolutionary ladder with the rest of the class? I'm so happy!"

All the while, the good doctor is staring him down -- her demonic eyes flicking between him and the surrounding environment. It takes only a moment...

And then suddenly, she pulls sharply on a strand of webbing near her. Aranha may have the chance to hear scaffolding tumbling down behind him -- and on top of that tumbling, a rather large bag of recovered minerals that seemed to have gone neglected! Perhaps he will get out of the way in time; perhaps not?

COMBATSYS: Aranha dodges Dr. Tessitore's Large Thrown Object.

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Aranha [E]       0/-------/-======|======-\-------\0    Dr. Tessitore

It's official. Dr. Tessitore has gone full darkstalker. Everything he had thought about her earlier while talking to Honoka is gone. He just wasn't sure how to react to the red irises and blue skin. Maybe if he managed to get out of this alive and or with his mind in order, he'll have time to actually process it.

Aranha had more pressing issues at hand like the sound of a bag of minerals tumbling his way. From his point of view he didn't see what was coming but once again, his knowledge of his adversary comes in handy. He doesn't need to see it. Just to be in a place other than where he's located. He takes a diving leap over a long abandoned cart and rolls back to his feet with no loss of momentum as he runs towards the doctor.

"Blue skin now? I wonder if Smurfette will be happy to know that she's not the only female anymore."

He drops low performing a scything kick toward her human legs and then swinging himself upwards as he balances on one hand and delivers a roundhouse kick to her head.

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore fails to counter Spin Kick from Aranha with Metastasis.

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Aranha [E]       1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0    Dr. Tessitore

It has been much too long since Tessitore had seen Aranha to really judge any particular changes. In all reality -- she's surprised to see him here. She had not figured him for the 'heroic' type, nor the one who would be willing to put his life on the line.

Smurfette? Aww, that's sweet, Aranha was comparing her to the Katy Perry character? ... She then realizes that she is not being -called- Smurfette, but rather that the name is being given to someone else.

The blue-skinned Italian frowns somewhat, as she pulls at another set of webbing, fully intent on triggering another one of her jenga towers to fall over. However, in trying to figure out -exactly- how to reply to the quote, she finds her pop culture references flagging somewhat: "Lord Dohma is -not-, he is more like Papa--"

She is not -quite- able to finish her statement, though, as her countermeasure was not in the -perfect- place for dealing with the unpredictably low kicks aimed at her shins. It would've worked against someone other than a capoeirista -- maybe! Black-sclerad eyes go wide as she finds her balance failing, pain shooting up her legs -- but she has much more to worry about as the legs sweep onward, wheeling around to crack into her head.

The arachnid doctor twists about rapidly; she pulls her arms inward to keep the fragile limbs from getting broken right off in the midst of her twisting. Only when she's about to hit the floor are the taps of her antenniform legs heard, pressing down to give her assistance in rising back to her feet. A purple bruise on her temple is beginning to form, the place where she was kicked -- similar wounds are shown upon her lower shins. "Sorry to hear about your girlfriend... the Raging Demon has made his opinion quite clear, wouldn't you say? It will be a shame if Earthrealm loses all because of another Earthrealmer succumbing to their own primal... =primitive= bloodlust, hmm? And yet... he won't be alone, when the armies of Outworld march in...."

A low rumbling laugh begins from deep in her throat. "You might even need that primal urge in order to beat me, haha!"

When he lands on his feet, that's when he is not only able to take joy in landing those shots but to also respond to her comments.

"One. She is an associate. Two. She got better... For given values of better. And three. She's the reason I knew you were around in the first place."

He drops low to the ground and plants single hand on the ground as he pushes himself into a handstand. He takes a couple of steps in said handstand and then delivers a short barrage of kicks down upon the Spider Doctor's head. As he kicks at her head, he says almost conversationally. "Funny. I had him pegged as Grouchy Smurf."

He's way more talkative than he usually is but in this fight much like their last fight, he was hoping to get inside her head a bit.

COMBATSYS: Aranha successfully hits Dr. Tessitore with Inverted Flurry.

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Aranha [E]       1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1    Dr. Tessitore

Associate... girlfriend... whatever! Tess never seemed all that concerned by the comments herself, but as long as the capoeirista insists on correcting her, she'll know the barbed microaggressions were continuing to be successful -- which can at least bring a small smile to her face to ward off the pain.

All around the room, the captives swivel their cocoons about to get a better look at the fight, hopeful that the traceur may be able to provide some salvation to them. Though -- it may be a mystery on whether the denizens are more willing to help him or tear him to shreds to fuel their -own- dark ambitions, but that's just a bridge that'll have to be burned later.

"Oh goody, I have entries 368 through 370 in the list of things I don't care about! If I get to 400 I get a free slurpie."

More webs are cast, more traps are lain -- and some of the captives swivel about sharply from the toss of spider silk, made almost impossible to see in the dim light.

"And why are you so obsessed with that movie? It seemed like terrible American trash to me. Stupid people, predictable plot, terrible special effects and a sappy end--"

Tess' sass talking and trap laying is interrupted as Aranha veers close. She sees the handstand, and reflexively hops sideways to keep her shins safe -- only to find the attacks actually coming down onto her head instead. Wham, wham, wham! Dizzily, she takes a step back, her human hands clasped to her head to try and clear the air.

"Look, I'm not judging, okay? One night stands are totally cool in this day and age. Heck, you can admit it -- she's pretty hot! You see her again, tell her to come visit m--"

Her eyes cast about the room, and she begins to bite her lip. "Oh wait. No... You won't get a chance to, haha!" Her pedipalps move into a different formation, framing a picture with Aranha in the center of it. "Juuuust lemme rethink this a bit, haha..."

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore calculates her next move.

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Aranha [E]       1/----===/=======|=======\-------\1    Dr. Tessitore

Often capoeiristas are taught to focus in on the eyes and seeing everything else with their peripheral vision. Aranha does exactly that. It's especially important with an opponent like the one in front of him since she tends to use the environment to either set up web traps or use her webs to pull objects toward her or him. Eye direction and hand placement, once noted, are kept in mind as he plots his path towards the pseudo arachnid.

"See? That's why I didn't go watch the movie. After the Alvin and the Chipmunks movie I swore I'd never see a live action movie remake of childhood cartoons again." Behold! Quite possibly the only thing that Aranha and Fio Tessitore will ever see eye to eye on.

Based on those previous glances and the noted hand placements Aranha darts, not directly towards the humanoid spider but towards a nearby table and kicking off of it as he attempts to thread the needle through where he believes the likeliest locations for her webs to be and throw kick towards her shoulder before she can make any adjustments.

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore blocks Aranha's Sky's the Limit.

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Aranha [E]       1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1    Dr. Tessitore

Tessitore may not have remembered -everything- about that movie, having dismissed it along with the other movies she wasn't crazy about, so she doesn't -exactly- have more commentary in that line of thought.

While Aranha moves, it appears that the arachnid doctor's red irises widen, manic glee spreading across her lips as her head swivels to keep him in view. Indeed, her eyes seem to glow in the dark -- a brilliant red light that places him in stark silhouette against the surroundings, thin strands of web casting their own shadows.

When he kicks off the table?
Tess is ready, this time, stepping back to give herself the time that Aranha had tried to eliminate from the equation. Her pedipalp whips upwards as she turns herself into the blow, bracing the thin arachnid limb with her own human strength, as the opposite antenniform limb braces itself into the rocky cave floor.

Her limbs shudder from the impact, but she is already wheeling about into her next maneuver... "We may miss those movies, though..."

Aranha may have avoided the webbing, but there are a few elements that change in the transition. For one -- there are a number of threads across the ground. These threads are the ones scooped up by her antenniform point as she twists around in a circle -- these threads are the ones that aim to close in on Aranha like a Venus fly trap.

The Italian Darkstalker cants about into a cartwheel, her lab coat flaring outward in the motion as she continues to entangle the webbing further. If Aranha had been snared within her trap, he would find his limbs suddenly being pulled outwards by the criss-crossing, twisted-up webbing, while the wooden scaffolding shudders under the shear strength. His only release would come when the scaffolding gives way, the strength of the webbing cleaving right through the decaying, ancient wood...

"No time to make movies when your people are being mowed down like blades of grass!"

COMBATSYS: Aranha dodges Dr. Tessitore's Connective Tissue.

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Aranha [E]       1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1    Dr. Tessitore

This was a move that the capoeirista was familiar with. When he last encountered it, he had avoided the torture chamber aspects of shearing the web that was pulling him away from her and as a result he got pulled towards her. This time, he decides he wants no part of it. He performs a dive roll over the threads and rolling under the table that he had previously kicked off of.

He slides from under the table and circles around large chunk of stone to come in close to Tessitore. From there it's trying to keep her on the defensive and keep this fight going at his tempo rather than hers.

"Well at least I have a pretty decent DVD collection."

That's as much as he gets a chance to say right before he delivers a side kick. This one in particular isn't designed hurt from the impact but rather to shove her away. The destination? That would happen to be a small pit where a hole was dug.

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore dodges Aranha's Medium Throw.

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Aranha [E]       1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\1    Dr. Tessitore

Tess frowns as all her fancy web manipulations again amount to nil -- with her opponent fully healthy and hale throughout it all. Irritation sets in upon her features as she rises back to her feet, severing her webs before their ramifications end up signing her own death warrant..

Her cocooned captives swing back helplessly at a fair distance -- undoubtedly they would be cheering him on if only they could.

The repartee is only frustrating the Italian more, as she whips around to return her gaze to the traceur. Antenniform legs lift up, points aimed groundward in anticipation. "You actually think humanity will win, don't you? The clock is ticking, and you want to wait it out with glib humor rather than building your own strength.."

Tessitore's eyes narrow as the kick comes towards her. Two clicks follow -- the points of her antenniform legs slamming into the cave floor. And the spider-woman flies upwards, the side kick whistling harmlessly beneath her totally impractical high-heeled shoes, doing little more than kicking up a breeze to rustle the tails of her lab coat.

The doctor sails upwards, landing on the table with the balls of her feet. Her wrists flick out, and silken threads erupt from them.

"I'll give you some free advice, human -- share it with your friends, if you survive!"
Her words echo out, as she slings herself around in a wide arc around Aranha -- no longer willing to play in the arena he's come to understand as well as she has. No -- she repositions herself against another set of scaffolds, running along the support poles with the aid of her own webbing.

"Your foes won't hesitate to kill you. Return the favor."
Before, her tone was teasing, almost playful. But now, with the battle swinging so far against her, reality seems to be setting in. In truth -- kombat with Aranha could release her from the accursed contract with the Vampire Savior in ways that no other fight could.

This is not to say she will relent in her attempts to bring down Aranha, no. She is still trying that! In this case, her knees rocket towards him, the purple welts more than obvious as this point. But with them, she reduces her attack profile, presenting less of a target to the capoeirista. Her ultimate goal is to slingshot her lower torso past him, allowing her long spindly arms to grab hold of him, and apply her momentum into hurling him bodily into the wall of the cave.

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore successfully hits Aranha with Crushing Throw.

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Aranha [E]       1/-----==/=======|=======\=------\1    Dr. Tessitore

The verbal barbs, the jokes. They were tools as far as he was concerned. They worked for him in their previous encounter and they seemed to work well in this encounter as well. Then thanks to the words coming out of her mouth, she tries to up the stakes. 'Tried' is used because Aranha did come into this with the intent to kill. The stakes were already high as far as he was concerned.

But then she slingshoots herself right by him. Standing there and taking it was bad idea. He however was caught by surprise because of the angle and velocity. Any attempts to evade or guard fall by the wayside as he's taken off of his feet and smashed into the wall leaving an imprint of his back in the wall. The impact was excruciating. In that moment, the Dancing Spider was grateful that was the only pain he's felt during this fight.

He then takes a small step and then he begins moving in closer. His movement isn't that quick but his strides are long and before long he's in Tessitore's face as he takes a swipe with a chi enhanced pimp slap from hell followed up with a roundhouse to her floating ribs.

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore counters Dead Man's Hand from Aranha with Intravenous Therapy.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Aranha [E]       2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\===----\1    Dr. Tessitore

Letting the agile traceur determine the pace of the fight was Dr. Tessitore's mistake, it would seem. While the Italian is certainly flexible, her dexterity is better suited for fine-tuned surgical work than the hard calculus of dealing with a capoeirista at close range. This much was effectively beaten into the darkstalker's head, multiple times.

Flying through the air, though -- that's where she is in better control. The intricate network of webbing serves a number of purposes; first and foremost, it enables the grad-school dropout to flit from one end of her infirmary/laboratory with the greatest of ease and a minimum of effort. If anyone asks -- it's because there's a certain process of triage required to deal with a number of patients in varying states of decline. It isn't -just- laziness. In doing so, though, she has also been honing her maneuverability.

While her quick twisting motion is enough to slam Aranha into the wall of the cave, this also means that she hasn't quite stopped -moving-. A smirk crosses her lips as she releases one strand, flicking her wrist at another portion of the cave, and redirecting herself back to the ground -- cutting the old line, and taking hold of only the new one.

Taking a few steps to regain her balance, she flicks her fingers through her curly bangs, keeping a close eye on her long-striding opponent.

"There -- that's a bit more of the brutality I've come to expect..."
More of the cockiness from before, meted out with a measure of self-awareness...
The doctor steps backwards. As the pimp slap nears, Aranha's hand will be come to a dead stop, with the 'twang' of a flexible membrane being the culprit. Tess' hand has lowered, and the spiderweb strand -- still anchored to the ceiling -- had pulled taut, keeping his hand from connecting with her faintly smirking face. But she doesn't remain motionless -- already releasing more of the silken fibers from her wrist-implanted spinnerets. She sprays the webbing outward, blasting a loop of the spiderwebs outward and adhering it against Aranha's outward leg as it kicks towards her.

With a jerk of Tess' arm, the loop closes, stopping the kick a mere inch away from her tender ribs.

"So close," she lilts, with a shuddering arm. While it's true that she could have used her spider arms -- the truth of the matter is a bit more difficult.
As =two= of her pedipalps are clutching syringes, filled with a neon green fluid.
"But perhaps this should be ending soon."
Tess leans forward to grab hold of the immobilized leg with her human arms. Meanwhile her two pedipalps slam into Aranha from either side, aiming to sandwich him with symmetric blows from either side: one syringe plunges into his chest, while the other into his back.

Gritting her teeth, she spins quickly, allowing the sharp spines of her pedipalp to slice through the lines securing Aranha's leg to the cave ceiling, and giving him the leisure of mobility -- that is, one moment before her antenniform legs sweep him off his feet and send him skidding across the cavern floor.

"Most of humanity doesn't posess the ability to kill, you know. Civilization has taught it not to."

It was clear that as much as Aranha learned from the grad school dropout, she learned just as much from him either at the hands of capoeirista or when he used that move on her lab subject during said subject's foray into the world of underground fight clubs.

Seeing his powerful hand strike stopped cold in that fashion was surprising. Everything that follows turns into a world of pain. As the two syringes pierce his body, he screams as the chemicals course through his body. His mental state becomes uncertainty as he wonders whether or not he'll be joining his sister fate and become a Darkstalker like her. He has no clue of what just got forcefully pumped into him and he isn't given much chance to contemplate it before he's sent skidding away.

As he rises to his feet, he takes a breath and reminds himself to worry about the enemy in front of him. It's not often that he's outmatched in aerial superiority. Most of the time, he's not facing arachnid Darkstalkers.

He needed to snatch back the tempo from Tessitore before he can worry about taking her life. Part of that required putting her on the ground. He stalks the spidery 'Doctor' dancing and swaying as he comes in closer and then when he moves into kicking range and swings a nasty roundhouse across her jaw before swinging that foot back the other way hooking it behind her neck and attempting to drop his weight downwards to slam her face first to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore blocks Aranha's Face Down.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Aranha [E]       0/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\====---\1    Dr. Tessitore

"Does it worry you, now, that you might turn into a darkstalker, like your sister?" Tess smiles with barely-contained glee, as her pedipalps hover just over her shoulders, defensively. "The serum works differently on every person. So maybe it will... maybe it won't, this time. It's why I doubled your dosage! I can't take the risk of it -not- taking full effect..."

She stuffs her human hands into her lab pockets -- and then an eyebrow is raised. A moment later, her two hands withdraw two -more- syringes, of a more murky shade of green -- as she backs away from the Dancing Spider. A giddy, almost disbelieving smile is painted across her face, as all four of her spider limbs now make a motion to defend the woman: "... Well, damn, maybe I got the vials mixed up -- guess we'll just have to find out!"

When the roundhouse comes, though, the red-eyed Tessitore is ready for him. Pivoting away from the kick, she's able to interpose both of the arachnid appendages in the path of a kick -- a feat possible only for those with limbs grafted onto their backs, clearly. Even with the limbs doubled up, the Italian is still forced forward a couple steps, almost losing her balance.

The followup, though, is aborted with a quick shove in the opposite direction, combined with a nimble hop forward to moot the attack entirely.

"I mean, it might have been the blood thinner. You could collapse into an anemic puddle! Or it could've been the Black Plague. It's remarkable how easy -that- one was to secure..."

When she lands from that hop, she's almost instantly swiveling about. The spider limbs are still quivering from absorbing that strike -- but her human limbs, no longer possessing those syringes, are moving to make an armlock around the capoeirista's neck, hoping to make the most of her whirling momentum.

"Science can be so =fun= sometimes!"

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore successfully hits Aranha with Choke Hold.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Aranha [E]       0/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\=======\1    Dr. Tessitore

Aranha says nothing at first. He knows that all of that is coming out of her mouth is as much mental games as the jokes he had used earlier to shake her up. But even still, he was glad that she had brought up her guard to deflect his brutal roundhouse. The only way it could have gone better for him is if he managed to smash through her defenses and force her to kiss the ground. Even still the fight still has to go on and he chose to bet it all. His life and quite possibly the fate of Earth on this encounter. The fate of his sister on this encounter. What doesn't quite go to plan however is the swinging momentum utilized to perform an armlock around his neck making it both painful and difficult to breathe.

The dusty yellow, spider-shaped shard around his neck begins to glow as a unity of purpose takes place between the Aranha of this world and the Aranha of a different world. This alternate Aranha being willing to kill his own parents to protect his remaining sister, the one that left a trail of death and destruction to rescue his sister when she was kidnapped.

He digs his fingers in between her arms and his neck so he can speak. When he speaks it's with an echo as if the same voice was overlapping. "It's funny that you had mentioned that humanity doesn't posess the ability to kill."

It's at this point that Aranha's entire bursts with blindingly radiant green energy catching the mad scientist if she doesn't choose to let go.

COMBATSYS: Aranha channels the veins of the burning blood.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Aranha [E]       1/-----<</<<<<<<<|=======\=======\1    Dr. Tessitore

COMBATSYS: Aranha channels the glare of the vicious eye.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Aranha [E]       1/-----<</<<<<<<<|=======\=======\1    Dr. Tessitore

COMBATSYS: Aranha channels the strength of the killing fist.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Aranha [E]       1/-----<</<<<<<<<|=======\=======\1    Dr. Tessitore

COMBATSYS: Aranha successfully hits Dr. Tessitore with Joker's Wild.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Aranha [E]       0/-------/-----==|=======\=======\1    Dr. Tessitore

That blinding green light coming from his body pushes the traceur from Tessitore's grip just enough to for him to break into a run as his body flickers between the dusty yellow of his soul shard and the blue of his own personal chi and leaving both trails of blue and yellow afterimages in his wake as he bounces back and forth between Tessitore, the supports, the tables, the walls, and assorted rock forms in the area to kick her from every imaginable angle.

While the once human darkstalker had aerial superiority for most of the fight, in this short moment, the air superiority belongs to the Dancing Spider.

With her lock around his neck obtained, Tess had already begun digging her forearm into the traceur's windpipe. Would he resist the warmth of her felblood-animated body pressed so tightly against his, with only the thin layers of fabric separating the two? Could she bring him so close to unconsciousness that his muscles fail to resist her might, while his brain continues processing each tender emotion? Or should she just... end his life, for failing to live up to the demands that her master had placed upon him?

Tess tugs backwards sharply, hoping to drag him off-balance, so that her arms' grip is the only thing suspending him upwards. To remain in any one place is deadly against a man who must obviously know as much about other people's joints as about his own -- hence the need to continue placing him in increasingly untenable positions. All she has to do is keep him moving, and make sure he doesn't--

One misstep.
One miscalculation.
And Aranha has taken advantage of the movement to interpose his fingers in direct opposition.
Tess curses under her breath as the man speaks.

To her credit, she isn't immune to the massive buildup of chi. She =is= deaf to the cry of the dusty yellow shard about his neck, as she cannot quite -see- it.
She starts to release him
She gets the thought to drive her knee into his back.
Her indecision costs her greatly -- for she's not able to escape the outrush of verdant energy. She recoils, howling in agonized terror as she covers her face with her hands, her eyes blinded by the "scienced" she had hoped to bring out.

Her arachnid limbs sweep around to defend her -- but without any particular knowledge of where the twin Dancing Spiders will emerge, the limbs are ineffective. Feet slam into her upraised arms, whistle past her arms to assail her defenseless core, slam into her spine just north of the grafted limbs, crack into the side of her temple.
And all the while, she staggers backwards, her body moving like a frenetic marionette, animated by the whirling tempest of kicks.

It triggers a bitter reminder of the trials the student was forced to undergo in her initial introduction to Majigen. Locked within a hellish portal, forced to drink in the Savior's blood through her mouth, nose, ears, and eyes -- kicking and screaming against millions of souls of the undead. She gasps for breath, finding none in the ichorous memory of her past...

And just as soon as it began, the memory ends -- with Tess left crumpled into a pile, sobbing terribly with her arms curled around her head. Beaten -- bruised -- with her spirit decimated.

Failure -- was not an option. Not even a gracious one.

And then -- she realizes the scent of the Savior is not surrounding her -- but just a small vial, crushed in the onslaught, and staining her dingy labcoat in dark crimson, sticky against her blue fingertips as she prods against it in disbelief. Her nose wrinkles -- she was used to the scent of death. But the scent of the Type-J Blood has so much more meaning to her.

She exhales, pushing herself back to her feet, struggling to see through a swollen right eye -- she had been forced to punch -herself- in the face in the midst of the fracas.

Blinking dully, as she lists unsteadily to one side, she gives her delayed response.
"Funny... funny is not the word I'd use..."

Her limbs twitch unsteadily, as she looks at the network of webbing all around.
Her left hand reaches for the small vial around her neck. The liquid within grows red -- and flares into brilliant light.

Her right hand flicks out to the side. Webbing is flung outward -- and one of the cocooned captives is pulled towards her, fiercely.

She hits the captive, full-on in the stomach, with a kick. A groan is definitely heard.
But in the next second, the cocooned prisoner is rocketed backward -- while Tess flies towards Aranha in an improbably high arc, inverted so that her four spindly limbs can be brought to bear.
While glowing with that same hideous crimson light from her necklace, casting her creepy, inverted leering into a macabre sight indeed.

A multi-pronged attack from overhead, threatening to grab hold of Aranha and slam him right into the ground -- but if she lands, she would twist about to stretch his limbs to their maximum extent.

To test the limits of his human skeleton.

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore equips a dim Dark Red Soul Shard.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Aranha [E]       0/-------/-----==|=======\=======\1[E] Dr. Tessitore

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore channels the glare of the vicious eye.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Aranha [E]       0/-------/-----==|=======\=======\1[E] Dr. Tessitore

COMBATSYS: Aranha blocks Dr. Tessitore's Rebound Throw.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Aranha [E]       0/-------/-----==|=======\=====--\1[E] Dr. Tessitore

With the spider limbed darkstalker coming in from above, he has no choice but to raise an arm as he shuffles away from the descending limbs in an attempt to escape the worst of her joint manipulations. Unfortunately, the arm that Aranha sacrificed to the cause(from a figurative standpoint)still gets caught and violently yanked. He manages to wrench his arm free.

His body is severely battered and fatigued but looking at the unsteady adversary before him he knows that he is close to victory and that it will come down to who will make the next and more than final mistake. He desperately tries to squeeze a little more speed out of his body.

Aranha is still in close proxmity and he doesn't want to give her any room to manuever and so he throws a pair of elbows to her jaw and then suddenly drops down to pull her human legs from under her.

Does Aranha have enough heart to make up for the pain and exhaustion his body went through during this fight?

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore fails to interrupt Bad Beat EX from Aranha with Vivisection.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Aranha [E]       0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Dr. Tessitore can no longer fight.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Aranha [E]       0/-------/-------|

Tess may not have had the opportunity to land the entirety of her planned assault, but gaining at least an arm is enough to put a smile on her face. She twists about before landing in a low crouch, her spider limbs twisting Aranha's arm about before he's able to wrench his arm free.

The spiderwebbed captive groans in sheer agony as his pendulous swing draws him back to rest -- it's hard to tell his exact condition, but it's likely Not The Best considering everything Tess has been able to do here. He's not alone, of course -- the others are hiding in the wings, waiting breathlessly on the outcome of the encounter...

Tess, for her part, is shaky. Her felblood-infused body will undoubtedly begin to regenerate over time -- but that would require her to stop taxing her body well beyond its limits. But to slow down against the traceur... that's just not an option she's willing to allow.

Her hands fold up to reach within her lab coat. Inside, from holsters, is the sound of metal withdrawing from sleeves.

Spider limbs wrap around her protectively as she tilts her head in acknowledgement of her opponent. She completes her own statement from before.
"'Sad.' 'Pathetic.' Those are words I'd use. Every other creature on earth kills to sustain its own race. But here humanity is, on the cusp of extinction, and people like ... like Daniel... just can't bear to kill. They think that it will teach the Outworlders a lesson..."

She smiles, scraping the keen edge of one cleaver against the back of the other. And then vice-versa. Leaning back, her spider limbs flick out to either side. Proudly.

"And then Outworld comes along with this tournament. Lord Dohma claims it was the prophecy all along. So far... everything has fallen perfectly into place within his prophecy..."

Confidently, she even smiles back at Aranha as he charges in, swinging his elbow at her jaw. The cleaver flashes in the dim torchlight, reflecting the Dancing Spider's face back at him, and then the lower chin of the blue Italian darkstalker. She's fast enough -- she knows it! -- to cleave his arm right off before it can do any worse to her.

The cleaver is knocked out of her hand with a cry of alarm -- blasted aside from the sheer tenacity of Aranha's strike.
And then the elbow ploughs right into her orbital socket, knocking her backward. Blackness crowds in upon her vision from the impact -- not just the injured eye, but the second one she finds shutting as well.
Her heeled shoes shear under the stress -- the heel of one snaps clear off. She stumbles to the side, arachnid limbs flailing outward to regain balance...

And then the -other- elbow is flung into her jaw, hammering her backwards even more. The antenniform legs tap down against the floor...

And then, just like that, the blinded and unbalanced Tess finds her ankles pulled out from under her with the final sweep of his arms. She falls, slamming her head against a scaffold support in the process. The long teetering wobble which ensues will most likely result in the flimsy structure falling to its doom momentarily...

"Nngh..." she mumbles, using the head of the remaining cleaver as support so that she can push herself back to her feet. Her right eye opens, sanguine iris flaring as she attempts to regain her bearings..."

She swings her cleaver wildly from side to side, in anticipation of an upcoming attack. "Ahahahaha! Excellent! But you---"

It came back to her in vivid detail. The memory she had suppressed.
The memory of walking back from the University's hospital, in the harsh illumination of the lights. She had just stepped from the light into the shadow. And then, just like that, her ankles were grabbed.
There was no one else around her.
And an instant later, she had been pulled into a pool of bubbling blood.

Crimson tears drip from her left eye socket, the eyelid pinched shut in vain. She stammers, "Y-you can't even =do= it, can you?" The cleaver swings wildly from side to side, a keening whistle as it disturbs the airflow. "You damn... you damn humans are so smug, thinking you're s-so so much BETTER! The king of the jungle doesn't need to kill -- why should the head of the food chain have to?! You're -wrong!- This is the next =phase= of your =evolution!=

Her left eye twitches, the lid creaking open. She stops flailing, as her good right eye finally catches sight of Aranha.

Her jaw falls agape. And the cleaver swings for him.
One moment too late.

When the 'Doctor' rises to her feet, he stays back as she wildly swings. It kept him safe but it also allowed him a chance to listen to her rant about the smug superiority of humans and how humanity thinks that they don't have to kill. Aranha smirks. From inside the spider shaped soul shard, the alternate world version of Aranha smirks unseen but felt by the traceur of this world.

He sees her arm raise to swing one last time and rushes in to shoulder check her arm before she can get a full swing and then he whispers into Fio Tessitore's ear with both versions voices overlapping once more.

"I would go to the deepest darkest hell, murder almost anyone, to make sure my sister remains safe." Then his voice, takes over, "In this world..." His mouth doesn't move but the soul shard around his faintly glows pulsing with each word spoken but it is the same voice, "... Or the next."

That's when the final onslaught begins. He begins with a backhand slap, follows with a palm slap, and follows up with spinning backhanded slap before turning away. He then repeats that sequence, three more times. He then pulls out a small bottle of baby powder. Where the hell did that bottle come from? His hand glows green as the two versions of Aranha operate in a union of intent as he pours it into his open palm.

"Come on wit it..."

The Dead Man's Hand is a chi pimp slap from hell. The chi pimp slap that occurs next comes from the lowest, darkest reaches of hell as he puts his entire being into this one last slap taking the Spider Scientist's head from her shoulders with blood gushing from the neck. When the rolling head finally comes to a stop, a powder palm print is left behind on the face.

Overwhelmed with manic desperation, Tess finds herself staring back at Aranha for that one deliriously long moment. She swing the cleaver -- but Aranha's shoulder interposes itself, forcing her arm to veer aside. Torchlight flickers off the blade in scintillating patterns as it spins away from her grip, a dreamy blur of colors as it sails back to the rocky floor.

Tessitore paces backwards, her mouth contorting in pain at being shoulder-checked. Her good eye fixes upon Aranha as he speaks -- her bad eye struggles to open in the face of adversity. Incredulity pulls her lips upwards in disgust -- "You put the life of -one- over the life of a -world?-"

That is all she has time to say before her chin ratchets to one side, then the other. The cleaver clangs against rock, deflecting off to a safe distance. And then after a pause, the sequence repeats again, with Fio Tessitore losing ground with each strike, like a reciprocating lawn sprinkler that has broken loose of its mooring.

And then -- it is over.
The marionette's strings are cut -- the limbs fall limp, their travel restricted only by the limits of their skeletal joints. The decapitated body falls first to its knees, before slumping over to the side. The arachnid limbs twitch of their own accord, but without an intelligence to guide them, the only offense they can provide is the irritating sound of nails on stone.

The captives swing back and forth in their imprisoning cocoons, holding their breath. The mad doctor has been slain -- but is this savior going to be better than the known evil, or worse?

A fair distance away, shrouded by darkness and dozens of scaffolding towers, Fio Tessitore's last patient whimpers in pain on the makeshift operating table.

COMBATSYS: Aranha has ended the fight here.

Log created on 14:43:27 12/02/2016 by Aranha, and last modified on 11:36:54 12/05/2016.