KOF 2017 - Mission 7) Snips And Snares

[Toggle Names]

Description: Throughout history, it has been proven that all it takes to form an alliance is two great minds that think alike, for better or for worse. While Nagase and Noboru find themselves on opposing sides during the tournament, their goals align. In order to obtain that which they seek, they must work together... Because their enemies certainly are. Paid a hefty sum, two mercenaries for hire stand in the way of the HitBit facility's destruction. Oswald and Cooper have a welcoming gift for the intruders that is simply to DIE for.

In a remote area of India is a server farm for HitBit. The remote location is to keep any would be problem makers away from it, but for ninja obtaining information is often an easy task. And if the informants are right they are going to be taking out one of the bigger server farms and put a good hurting on Hitbit in the process.

From the outside it doesn't look like too much. A rather non descript building with only light security that even the most novice of ninja could easily handle getting past them and into the inner parts of the facility. It may also be the first warning sign that the information might not be accurate.

Inside only contains two men. Men that are far from being just a simple security guard hired to protect the server farm. They are here for far more important and nefarious purposes. They may not be ninja, but they are still both dangerous and serve as a nice welcome wagon for when the guests do arrive.

"Do remember the plan. Do not engage until both are here." The man that speaks is an older gentlemen in a nice shoot. Someone that looks more like he would be home at a fancy establishment than in way out here. Cooper is a competent mercenary, but Oswald has been around a long time and he is perhaps more interested in making sure everything goes off without a hitch. He gets paid well because he is meticulous.

The older mercenary turns back to adjusting something in a bag that rests on a desk and gives it a pat afterwards. "When the time is right we will give them the gift that we were asked to deliver. Take them down by any means necessary and most importantly do stay out of my way."

Cooper, the younger of the two men, looks exactly like what he is. A sellsword mercenary solely in it for the money. Scruffy and dressed in military-chic there's no innocent civilian or daft security guard air about him. He leisurely sits upon the edge of a desk, carving up an apple with a knife, ocassionally spearing a piece to shove i his mouth.

As much as he looks like a massive problem waiting to happen, he's not the type to make dissent among the ranks, at least not on his side, and simply nods to the older gentleman. Professional courtesy, and perhaps a little respect, at it's finest. "Don't worry about me, mate." Ah, and a glaringly obvious Aussie accent to go with the disheveled look. "I'll pull my weight."

Another piece of apple is speared and plucked from the end of the knife, chewed behind a cheeky grin that simply seems to be his default smile.

The trip from the Taj Mahal was... interesting, to say the least. Hitching a ride on top of a bus was the easy part -- tour bus drivers in this part of the world don't have a habit of putting cameras on the tops of their vehicles. But the bus would only take the flame-haired ninjette so far, necessitating a ninja-leap away from the speeding vehicle into the passing greenery. From there, it was... still a decent hike to the server farm facility.

But damn if that intel wasn't spicy. The route was traced, the signals were as obfuscated as one could expect -- no one taking part in shady activities -wants- to make their locations particularly obvious. It was a fun puzzle for the tech-ninja to suss out -- and she owed it to her boss to take care of the matter while he was otherwise engaged in battle. (Besides, that damn Hyena needed to pull his weight in this crazy tournament too. She did just -fine- last year, if you ask her.)

As expected for a ninja of her caliber, breaking in was easy-peasy. She's picked stealth gear -- a black hoodie pulled over her flame-orange hair, and a nondescript black jumpsuit. And her eyes are covered with a fully-enclosed visor, so that the amber readouts of her fashionably dated Battle Disc System were not leaking light all over the place. She'd scouted the place out for several minutes before passing through the locks, taking full advantage of the locals' urgent need for smoke breaks. The guards' patrols were simplistic and easily exploited, with her choice electronic countermeasures more than enough to deal with the best-practices taken by the security guards. So far, all was according to plan...

And yet, even before she could reach the server room, Nagase had this sneaking suspicion that she was not the only suspicious person sneaking around. That every move she had was being shadowed, despite taking every cautious contingency. She heard conversation on the other side of the door -- a loud and obvious Australian and an... older... gentleman with a silky-smooth voice.

Be still, my beating heart, she tells herself.

Concerned, she uses a shadow jutsu to retrace her steps, not willing to inadvertently stumble into the other party -- but rather get the jump on them. Translocating herself backwards twenty feet into a blind hallway, she hopes to get the jump on the shadowy person that she's positive was tailing her -- assuming it was more than simple intuition on her part, that is.

A shuriken is drawn from her sleeve -- all set to defend herself if necessary.

It can be an unsettling feeling, knowing that someone is out there, shadowing you, hunting you. To the average person such feelings might manifest as a vague unease. But to those who survive in the darkness, it is more. There is a clear certainty that comes to those who live or die by their instincts.
Nagase was not wrong.
Through the eyes of he who follows her, the world is seen in two layers. One, accessible to everyone with basic vision, shows a dark hallway perhaps 40 feet long, ending in a set of sturdy wooden doors. Little side hallways branch out to either side, leading to who knows where. But, it is the second layer that holds the intruder's interest. The layer in which the world is on fire, blazing in vibrant swirls of color and anti color. The voids, absent of chi where the psyche lives, outlined by the natural energies of the world. Furious and alive.
Pausing his slow forward progress, Noboru focuses upon one particular puff of misty chi that hangs before the double doors, already dissipating back into the world around it. There are faint lines radiating out, pointing back down the hall. Curving away toward the next intersection .
One of Noboru's golden brown brows quirks fractionally. His mysterious ally must have caught wind of him. Whoever it was has been kind enough to open all of the doors thus far, but it seems that this latest is one door too many.
Relaxing what is visible of his face back into a neutral mask, the iron mystic strides forward. Though he is large, a good bit over six feet and nearly two hundred and fifty pounds, he walks like a shadow. His bare feet make no noise on the soft carpet, and his dark-blue robe does not rustle.
A fact that might be surprising when he steps out into Nagase's line of sight. It is not often that a tall, muscular person with a pro-wrestler's build is caught creeping about.
Glancing toward the female ninja with one eye ice-blue, and the other milky white, the huge man tilts his shaggy head only slightly, lower face hidden beneath a simple black half mask, then continues on passed her ambush spot.
perhaps three seconds later she can hear the loud 'CRASH!' of him impacting the doors.
To those inside the room, the first sign that Noboru is even there comes when both doors suddenly explode off of their hinges, flying across the room to crash heavily into the far wall. Standing in their place, framed by the open doorway, Noboru lowers his extended palm and plants his left fist in his right hand.
The right is then planted in the left.

COMBATSYS: Noboru has started a fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Noboru           0/-------/-======|

Oswald says nothing in response to Cooper. As far as he is concerned he will hold the other mercenary to those words. He prefers to work alone, but the person paying him for the job insisted he have backup. Could the guests coming to this party really be so troublesome? It seems like he will find out soon enough.

There is a tilt of the head and he reaches up to tap the side of his glasses before pointing to Cooper as if signaling something. Was someone here already? It seems like Oswald isn't going to be speaking up so the Aussie is left trying to figure out what the old man was trying to say.

Oswald steps back as he pulls out a pair of gloves and pulls them on. He then gently reaches into the jacket of his suit and pulls out....a deck of cards? He just gives them a gentle shuffle and puts them back in place. At least Cooper looks to have weapons on him, but Oswald hasn't so much even shown a knife his time with the other mercenary.

He gives another gesture. This one perhaps a bit more easier to figure out. Regroup here if things get bad? Yeah, that is probably it. Not like he will get an explanation because Oswald just steps back into the shadows and is gone himself leaving Cooper alone.

%fThough only briefly because Noboru makes a rather dramatic entrance to show off his strength. For the ninja he may only see Cooper for a brief moment, but he can sense movement. While Oswald may not be a ninja he moves very well through the shadows himself and all that might be caught about his movements is the brief flicker of light off his glasses.

COMBATSYS: Oswald has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Noboru           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Oswald

There is a slow nod from Cooper to Oswald. Either the man understands the hand gestures or he's pretending he does. The apple is finished and the core tossed over his shoulder back into the shadows where it will become someone else's problem. Or maybe not. He spins the knife in his hand, giving it two quick swipes against his pants to clean off the remainder of the apple juice then tucks it away in the top of his boot. It's a utility knife, no weapon.

He hops off the desk and flicks a snap on the holster at his side, withdrawing his prefered weapon of choice, a carbon fiber boomerang. In fact, there's several nestled in that holster. He flips it around in his hand a few times until it settles comfortably into his palm as he turns to face the entrance to the room.

The brash merc has calmed himself at least a little, eye fixed ahead and breathing steady. No panic, no worry, just a man ready to do the job he was paid for. As Oswald slinks back into the shadows, Cooper is only too happy to stay front and center, one hand holding his weapon at his side, the other with his thumb hooked in oone of his pockets.

As the door comes clattering into the room with a bang, he raises his arm just enough to shield his eyes from the quite likely dust and powdered drywall the entrance has created. "I hope you intend to pay for that." He's not moving forward, not yet. But he's ready. A coiled ball of muscle ready to launch himself into combat at a moment's notice.

COMBATSYS: Cooper has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Noboru           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Cooper
                                  >  //////////////////////////////]
                                  |-------\-------\0           Oswald

The visor covers the eyes of the petite kunoichi, but her body language is more than expressive enough to show her defeat in being spotted. So not only was Noboru -not- surprised that she was aware of his presence, but he's just... going along with it? Her shoulders slump, as her head tilts to one side -- what the heck, aren't ninjas supposed to have ninja grudges or something!?

She mouths silently, "What the heck are you...", but the Battle Disc System is about 1.8 seconds late in providing the name of the pro-wrestler-ish figure before her. Physique checks out -- and the advanced AI even correlates the fact that Miyama was supposed to be at the same tournament fight that -she- ditched for this lead.

But rather than answer her silent question, he... charges ahead in a most un-ninja-like fashion, blasting the doors right off their hinges.

There was a -reason- she preferred doing things solo.
Irritably, she reaches into her sleeve and tosses a series of caltrops onto the floor of the 40-foot-long hallway -- a necessary diversion in case the guards just -happen- to be alerted by the loud collision. But then she casts her head towards the Australian voice.

Hands slap together, and then slide apart, with her fingertips stabbing directly towards Cooper.
An instant later, she has faded entirely from view.
An instant after -that-, she'll be making a move to slam one lightly-armored shins into the back of Cooper's leg. If she manages to catch him by surprise, she'd ram an elbow into his gut and wrench him over backwards, slamming his back into the floor of the server room.

"Hope you take Bitcoin, mate!"
Her Aussie accent is -terrible-, by the way.

COMBATSYS: Nagase has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Noboru           0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0           Cooper
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Nagase           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Oswald

There is a time for stealth, and there is a time to ram your displeasure down the throats of your enemies with extreme prejudice. Clearly Noboru has decided that the clock has struck half passed eat shit and die, and a very firm message must be sent to the corporation that wishes to play games with him.
Taking in the dual-aspected world, Noboru peers through the hanging dust toward where cooper stands ready, the rest of the room hidden in shadow. or it would be, if he were a normal man. Unfortunately for Oswald, the iron mystic's chi vision is not thwarted by anything as pedestrian as darkness.
While Nagase ports past to engage the brawler, Noboru tilts his chin up, hands coming apart. Slowly they rise, wrists crossing before his face.
He is very, very still.
Then, all at once, the massive ninja is moving. From statue to full sprint, he brings his fists down violently and hurls himself across the room, hurtling the desk at its center and swinging both feet up in an attempt to crash down heavily atop Oswald, feet to shoulders. Uncoiling savagely from his balled up state, he does is level best to plant the merc's face hard in the ground. If he can floor him, and only then, will the big shinobi reach down to get a good grip of the back of Oswald's coat, step off of his shoulders, and whip the man up and around with one hand, hurling him straight up through the ceiling in a spray of cheap decorative tiles and plaster.

COMBATSYS: Oswald dodges Noboru's Embrace the Sky.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0           Cooper
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Nagase           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Oswald

If anything it seems Cooper made for a good distraction. Both of the guests had shown themselves now and it seems Cooper at least has the attention of them both for the time being. Not that Oswald's presence would stay a secret for long. He was paid to do a job and there might even be a priority on the pair, but at the same time who seems more dangerous?

Noboru seems a bit of the odd duck in the case he is much bigger than any other ninja Oswald has seen over the years and in turn may not possess the quickness he is used to seeing. Then there is Nagase who shows up and instantly clashes with Cooper. More slight and quick. More proper to fight the mould he is used to seeing.

And before he can make a decision it looks like Noboru is more keen to his surroundings than Oswald had anticipated. He is also quick for his size, but Oswald is just a bit quicker this time around. He is already moved away from where he stood when Noboru comes crashing down, though the older mercenary has been revealed fully now. "Impressive."

His movements are quick and fluid as Oswald gives a flick of a wrist. A card slips from his sleeves into both hands as he quickly goes to strike the large ninja with two quick slashes with the cards before looking to kick out a leg from under him. And while the cards seem like simple playing cards, they leave something more than a paper cut if they manage to land.

COMBATSYS: Nagase successfully hits Cooper with Medium Kick.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0           Cooper
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Nagase           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Oswald

Well, disappearing and reappearing. Cooper should have expected that from a ninja. From the corner of his eye he can see the bigger ninja running off into the shadows, but the Aussie's immediate concerns are elsewhere, and the momentary distraction proves to be a a problem.

Over the man goes. Cooper may not be as big as the giant ninja over there, but he is by no means a small man. But he doesn't take the blow laying down, well, not for long. He rolls to his feet, chuckling a deep-throated laugh under his breath. "You sound like a drunk kiwi."

He lashes out with the boomerang in his hand, flinging it off to the side, towards Noboru, but it flies right past the bigger ninja, and does what a boomerang does best. It arcs back around coming from beside and above the smaller of the two ninjas, whistling through the air as it heads right for its target.

COMBATSYS: Cooper successfully hits Nagase with Platypus Toss.
Grazing Hit

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Cooper
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Nagase           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Oswald

After introducing Cooper to the floor, Nagase reaches up to pull the padded plastic visor off her eyes -- she never was a fan of such bulky headgear! Draping it about her neck, she casts a quick glance over to Noboru, shaking her head. "Damn, dude, did you just like -skip- the first five years of ninja training? What happened to silent but deadl-- y'know, don't answer that." Some answers mankind was not meant to know.

Nagase casts her attention to the boomerang that is sent sailing to her opponent. Peripherally catching sight of Oswald, she watches the boomerang sail wide. With no small amount of cockiness, she leaps on top of a stack of server hardware, perching precariously as she flashes a toothy grin to Cooper. "Well, I didn't want'cha to feel lonely, talking like a B movie villain and all!" She starts to leap off into another attack...
And just then, she gets clipped in the shoulder by the boomerang, forcing her to stumble back to the floor. But that's not all -- her unsteady position means a small stack of out-of-service drives is sent tumbling to the floor.

"Tch!" she snaps, catching one hand upon the nearest server rack to steady herself. Almost instantly, she snaps back from the server rack, drawing a ninjato from its sheath. Steel glistens, but the attack is with the pommel of the sword (decorated as a panda head wearing a black ninja mask) into Cooper's jaw. Should she land that strike she'd follow through with a quick knee strike to the abdomen, clearing the way for her to keep distance from the Aussie.

COMBATSYS: Noboru blocks Oswald's Deuce.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Cooper
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Nagase           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Oswald

With no Oswald to break his fall, Noboru's heels slam into the floor with enough force to set the entire room vibrating. Dark blue robe rustling around him, he takes a single, calm step, turns, and--
'Fwip, Fwap.'
Thick, hair-dusted forearms come up in two simple blocks, catching each of Oswald's card strikes with neat, circular deflections. They leave bloody cuts in their wake, thin lines that begin to weep red, but no permanent damage seems to have been done.
The kick bounces off of his knee, barely even noticed.
"Hrrrm." Noboru rumbles, gazing down at the white-haired mercenary with cool placidity. Large as the mountain and calm as a waveless lake, he is once more still, contemplative, with his hands raised in loose fists. A boomerang whips passed his face, his team mate snarks, but he gives no reaction.
And then he is moving.
Uncoiling like a striking snake, the golden-haired shinobi twists his shoulders, right fist rotating in a short, vicious cross. Extending his knuckles to shape his hand into a blunted spear, he drives them hard toward Oswald's abdomen, attempting to smash through his guard and into the tender meets beneath with enough force to send a rippling shockwave through the older man's body, likely doing unknown amounts of internal damage.
Across the room, Nagase is up to her own shenanigans, toppling equipment and keeping the other mercenary occupied. Perhaps soon he will have to investigate that further.

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Oswald with Fault Line.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Noboru           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Cooper
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Nagase           0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Oswald

A look of calm. That is probably the only trait that Oswald and Noboru really share. There is no look of panic that his attack was not as effective as he had hoped nor did he look too worried he was the one that had drawn the attention of the larger two. A lie. Perhaps they share two traits in the fact Oswald is also a man of few words like Noboru so far while Nagase and Cooper keep up the banter quota.

And when Noboru comes in Oswald remains where he stands. A plan devised on what to do, but the result not what he had gambled on. That powerful hand strikes home and it pushes Oswald back to where his shoes skid across the ground. He remains composed and calm even if his body is still feeling the effects of that strike. He just nods and starts to move.

The direction isn't towards Noboru. Instead his attention turns to Nagase and Cooper and he reaches into his jacket once more. A gentle flick and he sends a card into the air that makes a sharp turn and looks to seek out Nagase and give her a nice gash if she isn't quick enough.

COMBATSYS: Cooper blocks Nagase's Aggressive Strike.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Noboru           1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0           Cooper
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Nagase           0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Oswald

Another boomerang is drawn from Cooper's holster as the first one finds its mark and sinks into the floor just enough to keep it upright and wobbling. He tsks under his breath and shakes his head. Giving a snap of his fingers. "Eyes off the big guy's rump."

He spreads his feet apart as he sees Nagase go back on the move. At least this one is a bit more obvious. Cooper raises a hand, the pommel of Nagase's sword clapping into the palm of his hand rather than into his jaw. "B movie? Says the ninja." Yes, the merc does keep up a line of witty banter, it keeps the otherwise simple back and forth a bit more lively. Or he just doesn't know how to keep his mouth shut for more than a few minutes, that's probably much more likely.

He shoves the pommel of the sword out of his way. He rears his head back, and in a move the probably surprises no one, attempts to drive his forehead right into the smaller ninja like she's an empty beer can.

COMBATSYS: Nagase dodges Oswald's Queen.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Noboru           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0           Cooper
[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Nagase           0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Oswald

COMBATSYS: Nagase dodges Cooper's Headbutt.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Noboru           1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0           Cooper
[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Nagase           0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0           Oswald

The neat thing about the Battle Disc System's AI is that it incorporates data from -all- sources, aggregates it according to a custom AI routine, and spits out the most relevant data for Nagase's perusal. ... When she's not getting bashed in the face.
It is a damn good thing that Nagase hadn't committed fully to her attack on Cooper, letting the weapon take the brunt of that. As soon as she realizes that a meaty palm makes a quite different sound than a blunt impact against the Aussie's jaw, she immediately withdraws -- even as the blade is shoved away, she's already twisting with it to place the blade back into its saya. -Ninja skillz-, bruh!

"Aww...!" she coos, continuing her pirouette-scramble out of the way of Cooper's headbutt. The merc will probably feel the whoosh of air that suggests he was scant centimeters away from hitting the flame-haired ninjette, but all the headbutting Cooper will see is her feet flitting just out of harm's way. "That's *adorable*, did you think that one up yourself?"

It'd be the perfect time for the razor-sharp edge of a Karnoffel card to slice the smart-ass's ear right off, if she weren't listening to the proximity alarms from her AI. Her pirouette is cut short as she dives low, allowing the card to whistle past her and embed into the metal server rack, carving out little spiral metal shavings that tinkle onto the floor.

A heartbeat later, Nagase springs into the air, sailing head over heels in a tall parabola, while she continues to pirouette about her primary axis. Smug little thing, she is!

"See, for starters, ninjas are a -zillion- times cooler than you!" she calls out in midair, making the most of the server room's poor choice in -not- using a low drop ceiling for maximum server efficiency.

But while most non-ninjas would have trouble keeping track of her trajectory, she's (a) a ninja with (b) an advanced AI system. And she knows darn well that Noboru's right under her.

"And for finishers -- hey Silver Fox, heads up!"

This would be when Nagase's armored boots come crashing down onto Oswald's shoulders, if everything goes to plan. And if she manages to do that, then it would be a nice setup to keep Oswald immobilized long enough for Noboru to do his thing!

Withdrawing from the fierce strike to Oswald's guts, Noboru relaxes back into still placidity, hands falling to his sides and mismatched gaze taking in the whole of the room. From Nagase's backwards scramble, to Cooper's wild headbutt, he absorbs it all in an instant. Though the mouthy young female shinobi and he outwardly have very little in common, there is a core tenant shared between their styles.
They are thinkers, and opportunists.
Noboru can see the maneuver coming Together. Oswald turning away from him, Nagase slipping around the thrown card. her graceful flip through the air...
The moment Nagase's boots impact Oswald's shoulders, Noboru explodes into motion. Taking a single step forward, he twists his entire body behind his right fist as it rises up from waist height, the force of its passage causing the air before it to vibrate and shiver. It is not a fast punch, but there is something inevitable about its delivery. A sense that if it were to land cleanly, things would not end well.
Jutting his knuckles forward, he makes to ram his fist through Oswald's face with enough force that, if the attack lands, it's likely to launch him across the room,through the desk and several stacks of servers between him and the far wall.

COMBATSYS: Oswald counters Nagase Stomp from Nagase with King and avoids Stomp The Card from Nagase and Noboru.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Noboru           0/-------/--=====|=====--\-------\0           Cooper
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Oswald

The card barely misses the mark and Oswald gently lands on his feet. Dealing with the aftereffects of Noboru's strike still slowing him down combined with Nagase's speed there is just the slightest miscalculation and instead a poor server feels the force of that card.

His gaze remains fixated on Nagase, though his stance leaves it easy to keep Noboru out of the corner of his eye. He is in a bad spot, but even in this case he wasn't fully expecting what was to happen.

He bit off more than he could chew in this case. He has drawn the attention of both ninja when he was hoping Cooper to be a good meat shield instead. Nagase is coming in swiftly with the larger ninja not far behind her. THere is little wiggle room, but even so Oswald smirks and flicks his wrist to produce a card. A suicide king.

And as both ninja look to strike the card remains, but there is a flash. An almost superhuman quickness as both ninja recieve a rather nasty cut and somehow at the same time fail to find their mark. Oswald stands a few feet away with his back to them and he gives a crick of his neck and turns about to face them.

"Fight with yer head." Cooper taps his cranium, even though the ninja dodged out of the way of the blow. He flips his boomerang in his hand ready to throw it at the ninja until his eyes finally manage to take in the scene in front of him. "Oh no.. nuh uh." Cooper turns as the two ninjas disregard him and go after Oswald, growling under his breath. He flips the boomerang up and grabs it between his teeth as he runs in a headlong charge towards the pair of ninjas, perhaps trying to intercept them, or take advantage of their attention being off of him.

Neither seems to be a problem though, as Oswald just disappears, and the worried frown Cooper was sporting around the boomerang turns into a vicious grin. He keeps on his headlong course towards the ninjas, picking out the bigger of the two as his target. He's had enough of the small fast one.

As he nears Noboru, he pulls back both his hands, the air showing heat shimmers around his forearms, the only clue he's going for something particularly nasty. He skids to a stop infront of Noboru, flings both his arms forward, and with a heavy THWUMP! releases a burst of pent up energy right in front of him.

COMBATSYS: Cooper successfully hits Noboru with Drop Bear Boomer Strike.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Noboru           0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0           Cooper
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Oswald

It was all going according to plan -- Nagase's flight through the air would end with a stomp on Oswald's shoulders. Everything was going so smoothly!
And then that flash, bright enough to shut her eyes, intense enough to cause a burst of static to rise from the audio output of her Battle Disc System.
To say nothing of the complete -lack- of a hard surface for her to land on, causing the ninja to windmill her arms out to either side for balance.
But what shocks the Iga-ryuu kunoichi the most is the speed with which she goes from sheer confidence to absolute terror, brought on by the distinct sensation of razor-sharp pain slicing into the outside of her right thigh.

The sudden strike caught her completely unaware, and her entire body acts in reflex, kicking away as soon as possible as a hand clamps to the patch of reddened skin now visible from her perforated jumpsuit. Leaning against a server rack, Nagase curls her lips back, baring teeth and hissing in pain.

Amber-lensed eyes glare back at Oswald as Nagase edges away, recollecting herself after the determined slash. "So good to know -one- of you two is playing with a full deck..." she quips, with one hand pressed against her bleeding thigh, and one digging about in her pockets. She spares a glance over towards Cooper -- frowning slightly as he makes contact with her impromptu dance partner -- but ultimately decides to focus on her task at hand. Retrieving a small palm-sized device from her pocket, she reaches for the cables snaked into the nearest server. In the blink of an eye, the tech-ninja's deft fingertips reroute the data cable to pass through her device. And in the second blink, she staggers forward, making the whole thing look like a mere stumble caused by her injured condition.

Licking her lips, she slaps her hands together, drawing one hand back. In the same smooth motion, the ninja shadow-steps backwards; she's next seen crouching atop a server rack, nudging the amber glasses up upon the bridge of her nose.

"Now, let me think for a moment -- why would they hire -two- of you fancy-pants mercs to guard some podunk data center in the middle of Nowheresville, India?"
Nagase's spectacles flood with apparently endless streams of data on her two opponents -- as well as a third stream of data from the device she just implanted into the network.

COMBATSYS: Nagase calculates her next move.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Noboru           0/-------/--=====|=------\-------\0           Cooper
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0           Oswald

Once Noboru builds up a full head of steam, it can be very difficult to stop him. Unfortunately, this is true even when he is attempting to stop himself.
The iron shinobi's right fist ploughs forward through the sudden arrival of Oswald's blocking card, blasting the king into so many tiny fragments. Oswald, however, is already on the move. Through the flash of chi, Noboru can see the retaliation coming, second cards slashing up and around for Nagase's thigh, and for his own chest.So, he does the only thing he can do.
He braces for impact.
The slashing card strikes Noboru squarely on the chest, parting his dark blue robe in a long line from shoulder to hip. The sturdy fabric sags open, revealing a scarred, hairy chest, every muscle of which is tensed, locked into statue-like rigidity. His skin remains unbroken, completely unharmed.
So that's why he's called the iron mystic.
But, there are down sides to turning yourself into a living statue. The largest of these is that the recovery time is often more than can be spared. Joints pop, and bones creek as Noboru relaxes, right fist slowly dropping as Nagase tumbles out of the air directly in front of him. A quiet, annoyed grumble works its way from his chest, and he rolls his shoulders, trying to shake out the stiffness.
And then the other mercenary decides to get involved.
Still mid recovery, Noboru is caught from the left side by an enormous blast of heat that briefly consumes his entire body. When it fades, it reveals the ninja standing planted, left forearm raised to shelter his face. Most of his robe above the chest is now completely scorched away, weathered skin raw and beginning to blister. the back of his forearm, having had no robe to shelter it from the full brunt, weeps a steady stream of clear fluid, skin cracked and taught over the red meat beneath.
Lowering his arm, the hulking shinobi glances over it toward Cooper, masked expression oddly mild. Then, with a slight shake of his shaggy, somewhat singed head, he steps right passed the big Australian and closes once more with Oswald, swinging a single quick hooking punch of his injured arm toward the side of the older man's head.

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Oswald with Medium Punch.
- Power hit! -

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0           Cooper
[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|======-\-------\0           Oswald

Oswald tilts his head and he watches the movements of Nagase. Even if she is doing something with the servers it seems like something he isn't really inclined to stop. Perhaps the fact he isn't even trying to stop her is a good indicator this place isn't too important for HitBit as a whole.

"I could ask the same why you are here. Biting at any information without crosschecking facts. You seem smarter than that." comes the calm and cool reply from Oswald. More words than he has said the entire time since this battle has started.

And while it can't be said what Nagase might pull up on Cooper she will find little in the information in Oswald other than he is usually held in high regard and those that have encountered him in the past often aren't alive to say just how dangerous he is. There may even be records he has been on the Syndicate's payroll in the past.

The problem is he is perhaps paying too much attention to Nagase and not the larger ninja given Cooper seemed to have him occupied. It isn't the case and Noboru is closing in again and Oswald shifts to bring an arm up to try and deflect the blow. A blow that knocks away the arm and plants face into the side of Oswalds head and somehow doesn't knock the glasses off the older mercenary when it sends him flying across the room where he turns about and lands in a crouch.

It also seems for the moment Noboru got the attention of Oswald at least for a moment. He gets up and he leaps forward towards the large ninja and flicks out another card. They haven't looked to cut deep just yet, but it doesn't seem to stop Oswald as he gives another slash in an attempt to break through the steel like skin of Noboru.

Cooper is still grinning like a maniac around that boomerang clenched between his teeth, especially after he sees the seemingly durable ninja take quite a bit of damage from his shotgun burst of energy. But he's also breathing heavier after the assault, even if it seems to have gotten his blood roiling.

Nagase's diggining on the Aussie doesn't encounter any hinderance. There's not much information on Cooper, but enough. He's the case of the package meeting the contents. He's a merc, from a family of mercs, and a fairly respected one at that. There's also several arrests for bar brawls, but that sort of thing is to be expected.

The bigger ninja seems to be ticking him off though, stepping past him and going after his partner for the day, even after taking his time to deliver a special little attack just for the big guy. He growls his aggitation and plucks the boomerang from his mouth, eyes following Noboru with no little amount of annoyance. But that other one is grating on his nerves as well.

So while most of his attention remains fixed on Noboru, he flicks his arm out towards Nagase, boomerang whistling through the air in her direction. Unlike the previous one that buzzed by its seemingly intial target, this one is on no such trick spin, curving instead right for the petit ninja.

COMBATSYS: Cooper successfully hits Nagase with Devil Toss.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0           Cooper
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Nagase           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0           Oswald

Nagase -is- smarter than that. That's why she was a bit ticked when her meat-ninja friend decided to rush the door rather than give her the time she needed to start making proper analyses.

Sifting fingers through her flame orange hair, she lets her eyes go as wide as saucers in mock appreciation for the proffered advice. "Oh, wow, mister, I never thought of -verifying my facts- before walking into an armed confrontation with a bunch of questionably hot mercenaries! And -using my head?- Wow, thanks, you guys!"

She smirks somewhat, as Noboru shows his opinion of the needless verbosity by slamming into Oswald with his fist, but her appreciation of having a teammate for once is diminished by Cooper lobbing that boomerang at her. Eyes narrow: "Aww, seriously?!" She looks a mite disappointed!

Nagase leans forward as if to leap from the server rack, but the boomerang creeps up on her faster than she'd expected, knocking her backwards and upending a few waywardly-placed server manuals.

"Alright, enough kidding around!" she hollers back, her shrill words echoing across the aisles and aisles of computer hardware. One 'thump' can be heard coming from in front of Cooper...
One 'thump' is then heard to his left...
And then, if he's quick enough, he might be able to do something about the freshly-translocated Nagase directly behind him, in the midst of delivering a powerful, flame-wreathed punch right to the back of the neck! "HYAAA!"

COMBATSYS: Noboru endures Oswald's Fierce Strike.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0           Cooper
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1           Oswald

The impact of Noboru's scorched fist against the side of Oswald's head is both meaty and satisfying. Little droplets of watery pus patter to the ground, oozing from the hulking shinobi's burns as he stalks forward in pursuit of the tumbling mercenary, mismatched eyes focused and cool.
"We are not fools, and you are not clever." Noboru replies, speaking up for the first time since this battle began. His voice is the deep rumble of rocks down a mountain slope, full of grit and intent. "I have come to send a message. Your broken body will suit my purposes."
That being said, the big brute steps forward, powering right through Oswald's leaping strike. This time the card sinks deep, parting burnt skin and dense muscle, but the huge ninja lumbers forward through it with a savage right aimed squarely for the center of Oswald's forehead.
if he can rock the mercenary back on his heels, the brutish ninja will follow up with a series of quick, precise blows: the second aimed low toward the white-haired man's left thigh in an attempt to break his stance, the third aimed for his right shoulder to weaken and slow the arm, the fourth a heavy, hooking punch meant to flatten Oswald face down, and the fifth a vicious stomp to the back of his head.

COMBATSYS: Oswald blocks Noboru's Sacred Cairn.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0           Cooper
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1           Oswald

So the big ninja wishes to make an example out of Oswald and Cooper. It isn't the first time Oswald has heard of such a threat and even if he thinks Cooper is a bit wet behind the ears he figures that is something the Aussie has heard before. Of course with his performance the old man may even be warming up to his partner

"Very well. Do as you please." Oswald tells Noboru even as the big ninja closes in on him. Those strikes quick and powerful, but just can't seem to land like he probably would have liked. Oswald moves and shifts his weight to deflect most of the damage and slips away out of the reach of Noboru.

There is a tilt of his head and he leans forward. At first it looks like he goes to strike Noboru again, but instead he moves past swifty and he goes for Nagase once again. A card is not produced this time, but he extends a leg to deliver a kick to the guy of the spry Nagase and despite his rather tall and lanky frame he packs a lot of power in his strike if it does hit.

COMBATSYS: Cooper fails to counter Strong Punch from Nagase with Quoll Strike.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Cooper
[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Nagase           0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1           Oswald

Cooper smirks slightly as he sees his boomerang make contact out of the corner of his eye. Something about pounding that little tech ninja with boomerangs is just a bit too satisfying for the man to not take some enjoyment from knocking her off her perch.

And then he's back to being her focus, his grin dying away. He doesn't react to the first bamf by him. It's the second that he spins low to try to avoid the blow he thinks is coming. While he judged the intent right, he didn't quite guess the number of teleports he was about to deal with. He lashes out where he expects Nagase to be, only to have her reappear off to the side.

He has just enough time to utter a single word that would be bleeped on network television before the flaming punch sends him skidding, leaving a scorched trace through his shirt and leaving him a bit burnt underneath. Luckily he's close to the ground, so the tumble quickly brings him back to a crouch, glaring at his two opponents.

COMBATSYS: Oswald successfully hits Nagase with Light Kick.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Cooper
[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Nagase           0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1           Oswald

"Oh, my delicate ears!" cries Nagase as Cooper mentions something not fit for print, retracting her fist and shaking away the last embers of her flame jutsu. "And here I was expecting more scintillating repartee! You're letting down the whole Southern Hemisphere!"

A brief glance is spared to assess the readout of her AI's data stream; the results are enough to arouse a brief pout from the tech-ninja. But she doesn't elaborate on that, casting her eyes back to watch Cooper -- as she's practically -expecting- an instant rebuttal from the Aussie.

The reprisal, however, comes from aother vector, as the speedy Silver Fox comes whipping towards her. The Battle Disc System was still predicting that the enigmatic assassin would have attacked Noboru again, so she's caught completely unaware as a boot suddenly ends up in her stomach, forcing her to jacknife over in agony. "Hnnngh!"

Nagase stumbles backwards, one arm wrapped around her tummy, one eye shut from the pain. "H-hey... not in front of the other two, okay?" She raises both hands in a warding gesture, backing away from Oswald with a look that speaks equal volumes of fear and... desire?! "P-please, I... I want our first time to be special!"

Desire ... to beat the assassin's face in, anyway. Because the next time her hands move, her index and middle fingers are extended, and then cross perpendicularly. As her hands are drawn away...

Suddenly, there are two of Nagase.
And one is on Oswald's left, delivering a swift elbow to the temple.
And the next instant, the second is slamming a knee into his right hip.
The next, the ninja-panda pommel of her sword is being slammed towards his kidney.
The next, a spin kick to knock him high into the air.
If all goes according to her plans, a seemingly non-stop symphony of kicks would commence -- first on one side, then the other -- as each successive kick drives him further and further into the air. The final kick would scythe down from above, spiking Oswald down onto the top edge of a server rack!

With the majority of his blows slipped or blocked by the wily Oswald, Noboru's final stomp comes down on empty air, impacting the ground with enough force to send another trimmer through the surrounding walls. Blood and other unsavory fluids drip from the muscular ninja's various wounds, scorched chest exposed, robe reduced to a long, belted skirt of tattered blue cloth. But still he seems solid. Composed.
Twisting as if to follow Oswald at the mans' sudden retreat, Noboru pulls up short. Relaxing back onto his heels, he lifts his hands, crossing his arms at the wrists, and allows his undamaged eye to drift closed. In the world of fire he watches as Nagase is struck. Sees the sudden blossom of radiant chi throughout her body.
Can, sort of see through her clothes, which he probably should never, ever tell her.
Centering himself, the big ninja drifts his mystical gaze across the room, taking in his three fellow fighters. The various stack of tech. The abandoned satchel lying on the floor beside an overturned desk.
A long, slow breath is drawn in.

COMBATSYS: Noboru focuses on his next action.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Cooper
[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////                ]
Nagase           0/-------/-------|=======\==-----\1           Oswald

COMBATSYS: Nagase successfully hits Oswald with Punishment Mode - Mirage Assault.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|======-\-------\0           Cooper
[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Nagase           0/-------/-------|=======\====---\1           Oswald

The kick lands firm and Nagase still seems the defiant and mouthy type. He has encountered them before and the banter is nothing he is too worried about.

There is also perhaps a bit of him being too confident. He has been at this for several years and at times he gets too used to dealing with people that are all talk and nothing to back it up. In this case even if Nagase likes to be snarky she can do more than just talk.

That is when he underestimates her and soon the older mercenary finds himself on a receiving end of a rather fine beating. He would look to move out of the way of the first strike only to move right into the first strike and get pummeled and send to the ground.

There he pauses for a moment. Battered and beaten he slowly rises to his feet and a hand reaches up to adjusts the glasses her wears. And despite all the pain there is a chuckle. "Very well."

He moves quickly his body reaching out not for Nagase, but for Noboro to plant his hand into the chest of the big ninja.

COMBATSYS: Oswald successfully hits Noboru with Joker+.

[                           \\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0           Cooper
[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Nagase           0/-------/-------|>>>>---\-------\0           Oswald

For all the more size and power Noboru might have he finds himself pushed back. His body slammed against the wall of the room before Oswald leaps back. Another chuckle escaping from him as there is a weird glint that seems to come from his glasses.

He starts to move quickly, a barrage of cards flung from the older mercenary as he looks to just continue to slam them into the beefy and resistant ninja in an attempt to finally bring him down. A total of fifty-two are thrown before at one final point Oswald produces one last card.

It is a joker with a big laughing and punchable face on it. One that seems to almost laugh when Oswald gives it a toss right into Noboru to end his assault. "Weak."

Speaking of laughing and punchable faces, Cooper is on the move again. Thankfully left alone in the latest combined assault against the more experienced mercenary, the younger one is left to reposition himself. He only looks worried about Oswald for as long as it takes to determine the man hasn't been pounded into a meat paste by the two ninjas.

Where there was tolerance of his temporary partner, there's now a modicum of respect in Cooper's expression. The man can certainly take a beating, and that makes him alright in the Aussie's book. Cooper springs out of his crouch, launching himself off to the side, out of the way of the other merc's assault. But not before positioning himself with a clear shot at Nagase.

He darts in. He may not be as fast as the tech-ninja, or the card-wielding master, but he's gathering every bit of speed he can muster as he closes in on the young woman. "Suck fist." Becuase that's the first thing that comes to mind. And once he's on her, he's raining down a quick series of jabs aimed for the ninja's shoulders and hips.

COMBATSYS: Cooper successfully hits Nagase with Rapid Combo.
- Power hit! -
# Disabling hit! #

[                           \\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0           Cooper
[                       \\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|>>>>---\-------\0           Oswald

After the high-flying series of attacks, Nagase's jutsu for being in two places at once has expired! In place of the two flickering shadows, a reconstituted Nagase flutters down to perch upon the top of her servers, her torn-up jumpsuit fluttering in the wind. What wind? The wind from the big cooling fans, duh!

While Oswald is rising to his feet, she levels a finger down towards the assassin -- "Save some for later, sweet thing! I got plans for you!"

But it's right about then that the ever-stoic Aussie is on the move, driving in with a rapid series of jabs at her. Nagase rolls her eyes, her hands already moving to cross each other in preparation for a quite different jutsu -- only to change her mind at the last moment with an attempt to dodge the first fist by flattening herself against the server rack.

The net effect of that is quite different, though -- as it means she jams a cable right into the nerves beneath her shoulderblade, forcing her to flinch forward -- and plow her face right into Cooper's zealous pugilism. "NNF!" The successive strikes serve only to slam her back further and further, forcing her to stumble for balance in the aftermath.

Somehow, -somehow- she manages to complete her deferred jutsu, flickering to a distance about six feet away from Cooper.
"Aww..." laments Nagase, tentatively shoving her broken nose back into place. "... I think he's jealous!"

But, full of pluck -- despite a stream of red dripping from her nose, she lowers her hand to the pommel of the ninjato rested upon her hip. "Don't worry, Aussie -- I'll make this quick!"

With a flicker and a small puff of ozone-scented smoke, Nagase disappears again.

This time though, she flickers into view right over Oswald.

Her ninjato flickers in the reflected blue light of an array of servers.
And the sword rakes down a vicious slash across the silver-haired assassin's back. Not to draw blood -- but to finish the fight.

Oswald's palm flashes in under Noboru's crossed wrists, striking the big ninja squarely in the chest. Moving him is like shoving a tackling dummy made of bricks and cement, but somehow the aging merc manages it with aplomb, driving him back until he is partially imbedded in the plaster wall with a loud 'THUD'.
Then, the cards come. One after the other, a veritable rain of projectiles hammer into the ninja's chest, arms, and thighs, the stoic warrior lifting his forearms to shield his face and throat as he is driven back, and back. The final joker strikes him with enough force to punch him through the wall entirely, where he vanishes in a spray of blood and a cloud of construction material.
Is that it? Is the shinobi really as weak as Oswald seems to think?
All is silent from the massive ninja's end. Maybe he's unconscious, or dead.
Suddenly, the wall beside Cooper explodes in a shower of debris and Noboru comes hurtling through, chest and arms bloody tatters, and mismatched eyes full of focused intent. Moving with the cold certainty of a shark, he launches a massive right-handed punch toward Cooper's right ear...

COMBATSYS: Noboru keeps on fighting!

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           0/-------/-------|=======\-------\0           Cooper
[                        \\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Nagase           0/-------/-----==|>>>>---\-------\0           Oswald

COMBATSYS: Nagase successfully hits Oswald with Tricky Rounder.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Noboru           0/-------/-------|=======\-------\0           Cooper
[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Nagase           0/-------/----===|>>>>>--\-------\0           Oswald

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Cooper with Avalanche.

[                          \\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Noboru           0/-------/-----==|=======\=====--\1           Cooper
[                        \\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Nagase           0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>-----\1           Oswald

Noboru's fist meets the side of Cooper's head with a brain-jarring impact, smashing the sturdy mercenary clean to the floor. How Noboru didn't just break every bone in his hand must be one of his secret ninja tricks.
Drops of blood and plasma sprinkle Cooper as the big ninja steps over him, reaching down to grip him solidly by the throat and crotch. perhaps a bit too solidly, in fact. Squeezing viciously, the hulking shinobi hauls Cooper up, up, up to max extension, offering the mercenary to the heavens above. Then, he brings him crashing down, attempting to break him in half over his knee.
"Hrrrmph." he grunts, lifting the Australian one last time and tossing him tumbling away through several banks of servers. He is still bleeding all over the damn place, and seems a bit unsteady on his feet, but he's up.
Weak? Weak his rock-hard ninja ass.

And so Noboru is taken care of. At least Oswald thinks that is the case since his attention is fully turned towards Nagase. The fact is Noboru is still able to keep moving is lost in the moment when the elder mercenary looks to take on the spry ninja.

Cooper has a meat missile to deal with, but Oswald looks to calculate having a good chance of just moving out of the way of the strike intended to hit him hard it the back only for him to be off by a fraction of a second. That swing hits hard and the punishment Oswald has taken is starting to take its toll.

He staggers and almost falls right over, but he finds energy to keep from passing out just yet. He takes a deep inhale and straightens up. "Impressive. Geese always has had a eye for talent."

This perhaps isn't going to plan, but Oswald is not one to leave business unfinished. He flicks a card out from each sleeve into his hands and twirls about. He makes a quick dash to Nagase as he almost looks like a top and those cards look to slash multiple times as he passes by her.

The attack is meant to try and take her down, but it doubles for him to move and come to rest near where the bag he was fussing with laid earlier. Even if he can't finish the fight he will finish his mission if he can.

COMBATSYS: Oswald can no longer fight.

[                          \\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Noboru           0/-------/-----==|=======\=====--\1           Cooper
[                        \\\\\\  <
Nagase           0/-------/----===|

This.. is just an unpleasant situation all around for the Aussie merc. From a moment of triumph, to what he would describe as something that cannot be repeated in pleasant company. The hit upside the head dazes him long enough for the wrestle ninja to execute his back-breaker on the poor guy. The more indignant part being touched. There. By this guy. But he can't worry about this right now, not after he's pretty sure he just heard several of his bones go crunch.

It take him a moment after he's been discarded to work himself to his feet. Good. Nothing immediately vital is broken, though he's sucking air through gritted teeth like each move is a symphony of new pain that was amazingly new to him. He runs his arm across his to wipe of sweat, and instead smears blood across his cheeks and jaw. He reaches down to the holster at his waist and draws out another boomerang. He's not done quite yet.

He pulls his arm back to toss. But instead lashes out with the weapon and basically attempts to backhand Noboru right across the face with the weapon. "Next time you grab me there, I expect a damn dinner."

COMBATSYS: Oswald successfully hits Nagase with Four Suits.
Grazing Hit

[                          \\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Noboru           0/-------/-----==|=======\=====--\1           Cooper
[                             \  <
Nagase           0/-------/--=====|

The 'acquired' NESTS technology at the heart of Nagase's Battle Disc System is a work of art, able to store a practically infinite amount of data. The point at which this server farm's off-the-shelf technologies will even scratch the surface of her bespoke system's capabilities. But... the data transfer rate is still a limiting factor; the chances of the Iga-ryuu exile absconding with the sum of the datacenter's wares is pretty much impossible on such an abbreviated timeframe. Luckily for her, that was only a secondary objective.

A moment after the folded steel of her blade slashes across Oswald, the kunoichi slings the blade clean, returning it to its scabbard. A quick hop backwards places her back on relatively solid ground. And while she had allowed herself a small grin at the satisfaction of landing a solid strike to the assassin, her grin only grows larger at the amber message lighting up the lower left of her lens display.


"Well, it's been fun, but I still have a job to take care of..." chirps out Nagase, just before sliding her hands across each other one more time. In the blink of an eye she translocates a good twenty feet down the aisle to the server blade she had tampered with earlier. With one hand rubbing at her tender nose, she flicks her fingers across the latches securing the drive media. A glance to the Australian is all it takes to ensure her that her momentary ally has the tete-a-tete under control. She then places both hands on the removable drive to pluck out the rewards of her algorhythmic invasion of the datacenter...

That's when her BDS's proximity alert fires -- the assassin's speed had once again exceeded the AI's expectations.
She doesn't even stop to think about what's headed her way -- her immediate impulse is to -move-. With the drive worked loose, she grips tightly onto it and kicks backwards from the rack. But more to point -- she gets herself out of the path of the blend-o-matic Oswald.

... Almost.
The problem with kicking herself free is that she provides a -huge- cross-section for the spinning card shark to target. The whirling cuisinart tears through the fabric of her jumpsuit, cutting bloody gashes into her thighs, while a series of 'tch-tching!' sounds is heard as the sharpened edges glance across the metal armor of her boots and gauntlets, sending her into a transaxial spin. "Ngyaaaa!!"

The Iga-ryuu ninja is buffeted about by the storm of strikes, but the spin means she can't go where she was headed.
She'd meant to leap -over- the second aisle of servers.
Instead, she slams -into- it, sending a shudder through the entire aisle that is met with a resounding cacophony of high-pitched whines and alarm bells; technology doesn't -like- being messed with in such a violent fashion.

Rebounding forward, she lands on the floor in a heap, tears streaming from her face. Her shoulders and head lower, curling protectively over the hard drive -- she'd managed to control herself just enough to protect the hard drive from any more than a light clank as it brushes the floor.

"Y-yeah, I... I guess you're not bad yourself..." she mumbles under her breath, as her vision starts to go blurry. Fingers twitch in a particular pattern to input a quick series of commands.

Grimacing with pain, she takes a quick study of the scene to her right. Wincing, she reaches into her sleeve.
Muscle memory fills in the rest for her: a shuriken is flung out towards Cooper, its trajectory guided by her BDS's aim assist systems.
In a hoarse whisper, she feels it necessary to add: "... from Iga, with love."

Exhausted, the tech-ninja slumps against the server rack, comforted only by the amber notification that emergency stimulants are being injected into her bloodstream, as her blurry vision is directed back towards Oswald.

COMBATSYS: Nagase can no longer fight.

[                          \\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Noboru           0/-------/-----==|=======\=====--\1           Cooper

COMBATSYS: Noboru fails to interrupt Quokka Toss from Cooper with Iron Sentinel.

                                  >  /////                         ]
                                  |=======\======-\1           Cooper

COMBATSYS: Noboru can no longer fight.

                                  >  /////                         ]
                                  |=======\======-\1           Cooper

A single, heavy step is taken toward Cooper as the mercenary picks himself up, Noboru's various wounds leaving a thick smear of wet droplets behind him. That he is up at all is testament to the unholy conditioning he has put his body through, able to walk off not one, but two of his opponent's strongest attacks. But no man is truly invulnerable.
Locking his mismatched gaze on the Australian, Noboru takes another thudding step, then another. The two big men close on one another, and the ninja leans forward, stomping his right foot and turning, shifting his weight as if to throw himself through Cooper's opening swing.
Unfortunately, his body is giving out.
Robbed of much of his strength, the powerful shinobi is half way through his pivot when Cooper's boomerang catches him square on the back of the head. There is enough force behind the blow to stagger the big man, knocking him forward into a stumble. It is a blow that would normally have barely phased him, but he was already on his last legs. Unable to recover, the blood loss and internal damage finally pull him down to a knee, where he rests, fists planted on the ground and chest heaving for breaths.
And then, a shuriken zips by over his head, aimed right for Cooper...

COMBATSYS: Cooper blocks Nagase's Shooting Star.

                                  >  ////                          ]
                                  |=======\=======\1           Cooper

COMBATSYS: Cooper takes no action.

                                  >  //////                        ]
                                  |=======\=======\1           Cooper

COMBATSYS: Cooper keeps on fighting!

                                  >  //////                        ]
                                  |=======\=======\1           Cooper

There are moments in combat where everything slows to a crawl, adrenaline pumping, the sound of your own heartbeat in your ears. A moment where everything hinges on one stupid crazy gamble. Or one could stop waxing philosophical and get on with it, and Jack Cooper is not the philosophical type.

The fall of the ninjas fills Cooper with at least a little joy, toppling a strong opponent is a treat. He's almost distracted by it, almost. The flying shuriken is spotted in just enough time for him to bring his arm up, the bladed weapon sinking into the corded muscle of his forearm as opposed to anywhere more vital. With a grunt he tugs the shuriken out of his arm, freeing his blood to flow, but at the moment he doesn't care. Adrenaline keeps him up, the surge of battle keeping him standing. Taking a few deep breaths, he steadies himself, just taking a second to let everything wash over him. He drops it on the floor and stomps on it on his way over to where Oswald is with the mysterious package.

Cooper looks at his teammate grunting out just two words, "Do it."

Perhaps everything didn't go according to plan, but Oswald is about results and the result is Cooper pulled his weight and helped fell the bigger ninja while Oswald's own desperation attack seemed to put Nagase out of commission at least well enough the elder mercenary can open the bag he was fiddling with earlier and finish setting the bomb that was contained within.

"Our work is done. Leave now." He is hurting, but Oswald can move. Trying to exert himself to fight longer is not an option, but once the countdown of that bomb starts to tick away he is more than able to keep moving and move quickly.

He makes a mental note of the two he fought today. If they survive they will be two faces that he will not forget. "Armed. Go." He tells Cooper and he disappears among the shadows once more.

His movements are quick and he makes sure he gave at least plenty of time for himself to get out of range of the blast. Cooper? well hopefully he can move quickly because the safety of the Aussie was not part of the deal that Oswald made when he was hired. As for the ninja? This could get very messy if they can't will themselves to move quickly.

COMBATSYS: Cooper has ended the fight here.

Tick. Tick. Tick.
The countdown continues as Oswald and Cooper hurriedly make their way away from the point destined to become ground zero. The guards are given their final notice to evacuate.
And still, Nagase and Noboru remain inside the building, left for dead.

A few moments after the mercenary duo exits the building, Nagase draws in a rush of air. Her head rises, her eyelids part wide -- and the hard drive sheltered within her hands slips to the floor with a small bang.

"F...ffffffuuuuck," she announces upon getting her BDS's brief review of the battle's participants. Shaking her head groggily, she regains her grip on the hard drive and uses the server rack handles to lift herself back to her feet -- with considerable pain, despite the copious drugs swimming about in her bloodstream.

"Che..." she curses again, as her BDS's readout clues her in to the rather obvious sound of a relay clicking down the seconds until total annihilation or whatever. Hissing under her breath, she slaps her hands together -- wincing at the bruise on her shoulder. "Damn. Basic to the last. Would it kill that guy to have an original idea?"

One hand-seal later, a bloodied-up Nagase re-appears next to the ailing Noboru, leaned over in a considerable degree of ouchiness. She extends an open palm to him -- conveniently and politely weapon-free.

A brief glance to her BDS's estimated countdown timer confirms just enough time for a -little- sass.
"Hey, chief -- there's charges set, and this place's gonna blow. If you're done resting, maybe let's consider getting the hell outta here?"

Knelt forward in a steadily expanding pool of blood, Noboru tilts his masked face up, it and the tattered loincloth that used to be a robe his only clothing, and fixes Nagase with an icy stare that is equal parts stoic resolve and bone-deep weariness. The look isn't exactly unfriendly, but it is searching, the massive man taking Nagase in from offered hand to tattered costume. She looks nearly as rough as he does, though somehow, through the unfair laws of the universe, her having a tattered outfit can come across as sexy, where as he has giant bloody rents in his skin and a mangled forearm.
Blood drips from his scarred knuckles as the hulking shinobi lifts his right hand, clasping Nagase's comparatively dainty gauntlet firmly and using her to drag himself tiredly to his feet.
"We will speak of this later." the Iron Mystic rumbles down to Nagase once he has gained his feet . His tone is not angry, or even threatening, but there is a simple inevitability to his words. Reaching over, he grips one of the two doors he knocked off on his way in, hefting the heavy wooden object like a makeshift shield. "I must rest to stop this bleeding. If we are ambushed, I will have three moves at best before I lose consciousness. Let us hope the remaining guards are as cowardly as they were incompetent."
Oddly eloquent for a big guy mostly known for punching down walls.
Shield in hand, Noboru begins to make his steady, plodding way toward the doorless exit, moving with as much speed as he can drag from his damaged body. Blood drips from his tangled hair, falling into his eyes, and he blinks it away. Calm and focused.

In retrospect, it's plain to see that this whole setup was a trap for Nagase and Noboru -- their respective teams left intentionally close to the site. But in order for it to be a good trap, the bait had to be set -- which means that the server farm was still doing its jobs of providing redundant backups and content delivery. Which meant that the server farm was constantly V-Gage data -- both to and from the "cloud" at large.
In layman's terms: the data conduit to the core V-Gage Network was left wide open, constantly keeping the India server up-to-date with the latest updates around the world.

And that meant two things to Nagase.
One -- that the hard drive swinging about from her thumb had a portion of the latest and greatest V-Gage data.
And two -- that her data-rewriting virus has already taken a crack at reshaping some key elements in the V-Gage database.
Particularly: the terabytes of data collected on Nagase and Duke were effectively overwritten with a fractal reconstruction subroutine. The datasets would look rational to casual review, and indeed, when applied to a Combot 2.0 battleframe, would likely function... until large amounts of chi were output. After that point, well... who knows?

"Yeah, let's..." Nagase, her outfit torn and tattered in such a way as to turn heads in Shibuya and Roppongi, is nonetheless more than happy to wrap an arm around Noboru's waist, providing her shoulder to help the elder ninja limp his way out. But that was based on the idea that he wouldn't be stopping and pausing every few steps or so.

"No, see..." She tries to interrupt the ninja, but every moment she tries, Noboru continues his belabored speaking. Or maybe she's just trying too hard to interrupt him but not enough to speak -over- him.

She sighs irritably, sparing another glance at the countdown timer which now occupies the bulk of her eyeglass display.

She just wraps her other arm around Noboru, performing a series of handseals. No hesitation -- no explanation. Her brow creases in pained frustration.

And instantly, both of the two ninjas have been translocated outside, to a spot she'd staked out before entering, blocked from infrared sensors in all cardinal directions except north, and blocked from the sky by the boughs of a tree.
A mere second later, the sound of cascading explosions can be heard in the direction of the server farm -- the very structure of the building practically incinerated on contact.

Slipping out from under Noboru's arm, the petite ninja finds some space in the little hideaway, allowing her lithe frame to collapse against the cooler earth in utter exhaustion.
"Yeah, my idea is, we rest -here- instead. I don't wanna be leaving my fate to a grumpy ninja in a loincloth who's about to bleed out on me. Y'know, nothin' personal!"

Cooper hadn't needed any more warning from Oswald than him setting the charge to blow. No doubt the mercenaries had secured their escape route well in advance of the fight. It'd be stupid to plan to blow up a building and not have at least two routes away from the explosion. But the two also had no reason to stick together past the completion of their mission, and all things considered it was probably better if they didn't.

So it was from the safety of an alleyway down the block where Cooper watching the building going up in literal flames, leaning against the brick facade of another building. Flask in hand he took a few sips as glass and masonry rained down in the streets. He takes a moment to look at the screen of his phone, grining as the total in his special account ticks upwards a tidy sum.

And that was his signal to scram. Sure, it was slow moving, but he didn't want to be anywhere near this building once the authorities showed up. If the authorities even cared.

Log created on 19:52:35 08/28/2017 by Oswald, and last modified on 21:10:38 08/30/2017.