KOF 2017 - Act 2: Mission 5 - Assault On Battery

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Description: Noboru has finally found the location of the V-Gage Battery Warehouse, the central wholesale warehouse of the V-Gage batteries. With the international market shutdown, 90% of the V-Gage batteries are located here. But not all dealers of HitBit are wicked souls; Fei Rutherford, the billionaire philanthropist, had recently been handed over the warehouse by Lee Chaolan himself, granted unmitigated access to the batteries to serve for medical research. Noboru has the opportunity to cripple the chi-drain technology in the world for good. Will he do so at the cost of the cure of diseases?

It was late in the afternoon before Fei managed to make his way to the Southtown Harbor to inspect the warehouse that Lee Chaolan had left behind to him in order to continue on the research he had started with the Rutherford Medical Branch. There were many things that a person with his position in the company had to take care of during the day even if he was not tied to a desk like a regular employee: press conferences, interviews, meetings with other powerful men and women. He had wanted to come to inspect the warehouse earlier and examine the assets within, but now he had but a couple hours left before nightfall.

Having inputted the passcode on the wall to the door and leaned over to pass the retinal scan, the heir to the Rutherford Conglomerate mentally thought about the security measures that Lee had left behind. As the door made the telltale sound of a locking mechanism switching itself to unlocked, it made him wonder just what Lee was expecting to have happen to these warehouses. Were there enemies of which Fei was not aware that the Violet Systems head had made? The memory of his converation with Lee regarding the Darkstalkers made the young man shiver unconsciously.

That was a thought for another time.

Mentally pushing aside what had come unbidden to the forefront of his mind, Fei steeled himself and set forward into the warehouse, the door clicking shut behind him.

This particular warehouse was unlike the classical representation. Fei could already see that upon entering. It was insulted just like a regular building, which he appreciated considering that his current dealings were in medical technology. Chi was not an indestructible force and could likely deteriorate with extreme temperatures. The battery housing for the Chi Batteries could take quite a bit of stress, but that did not mean that the quality of what was inside them would not fluctuate.

And quality control was extremely important given what Fei was dealing in.

Making his way past the security desk with a curt nod, the young man made his way among the stacks of boxes sitting on heavy metal frameworks that created the hive-like aisle structure within the warehouse. Tapping another passcode on one of the metallic boxes, he unlocked it and reached inside. Amid the burst of steam from the difference in temperatures within and outside the box, Fei withdrew a Chi Battery, its transparent housing allowing the chi within to glow and be seen with the naked eye. This was exactly what he needed to continue the research. It would not be long until he could cure the worst of the childhood diseases and give children the future they deserved.

Retinal scans. Multiple security checkpoints. Lee Chaolan was sure to provide every locking mechanism and air-tight security procedure expected of a modern facility storing bleeding edge technology. Perhaps such precautions are merely what is expected, divorced from direct cause. Or, perhaps they have everything to do with the recent terror attacks on Lee's holdings. Two buildings destroyed. Each coinciding with a round of the King of Fighters tournament.
High up in the rafters of the gloomy warehouse, held aloft by a hand braced against the wall and a foot against a support beam, the primary cause of those explosions gazes down toward the top of Mr. Rutherford's head. Large for a ninja, much too bulky for anyone to suspect him being capable of stealth, the Iron Mystic holds his precarious position with silent poise. Blue robe hanging loose from his muscular form, shaggy hair drifting upward in a slight chill draft from below, he studies his foe, gaining a silent measure of the man.
If the news is to be believed, Fei has not had an easy life. It makes sense why Lee would leave this warehouse to him. It cuts it clean of all messy projects. Allows the technology to remain stored, ready for later exploitation. Its medical uses may even win it partial or full legality in the end.
But at what cost?
To Fei's eyes, and indeed the eyes of many, the battery resting in his hand glows with a visible representation of the energy within. Noboru can see that. But the Iron Mystic of the Miyama does not need visual aids to experience the energies of the world. Through his damaged eye he can see it all. Every spark of life, every void of psionic potential. The warehouse below him seethes like a sea of flickering flames, each containing its own color. A distinct signature. A tiny portion of the life it was stolen from. It is not unlike hanging above a warehouse full of amputated limbs. Nauseating in its barbarity.
Closing his eyes briefly, Noboru draws away from any personal thoughts, bringing himself back into the moment. Back to his mission. As he hangs there, taking the strain of his weight without apparent effort, he draws his own chi signature in, ever in, leveling it out and smoothing it into a uniform grey. For anyone else with the ability to see the world as he does, it would appear as if a cloaking device had been switched on, his aura becoming a seamless reflection of the world around him. The talent has no effect on his physical appearance, but it has saved him many times regardless. So often fighters rely on their sixth sense, some without even realizing what they do.
Reaching back to the rough cloth sack strapped securely to his back, Noboru slips free a fist-sized sack of soft grey cloth and presses it to the beam supporting him. After a moment, the contents within seep through enough to adhere it in place, and he hooks his thumb through a string loop, tugging it free and setting up a chemical reaction within the sack that will cause it to detonate within 5 or so minutes. All throughout the warehouse, other such sacks have been left, the first of which still has three or so minutes before it is primed to explode. There aren't yet enough to bring down the warehouse, but if he is allowed to finish his work, there will likely be very little remaining of the miraculous technology Fei has staked his hopes in.
Releasing his hold on the wall, Noboru drops from the ceiling to land near silently not 7 feet behind the other man, slowly rising from his crouch to stand at his full, mildly impressive height. In contrast to Fei's lithe build and mixed features, Noboru has the sturdy construction of a pit fighter or a wrestler. Thick in the shoulders and arms, with curly golden brown hair running up the backs of his hands, his visible features are hard and chiseled, good eye arctic-blue and focused with a certain depthless calm.
"For the sake of what you intended to do, and the research you would attempt, I give you this warning." Noboru rumbles in perfect, though somewhat folksy Japanese, his voice the grinding cascade of boulders tumbling down a barren slope. "Leave now. Know that a great evil was averted. What has been done here is wrong. There must be a reckoning, before all time is lost to us."

COMBATSYS: Noboru has started a fight here.

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|

The shinobi was silent enough that Fei had not heard him at all until Noboru's voice came from behind him. Someone had managed to get past all that security and take his back without so much as a sound? Turning around, the young man was met with the full height of the Iron Mystic, at least a full head taller than himself and much more heavily muscled. What was he here for? Crystal blue eyes flicking around the warehouse quickly, his mind began to race. News reports he had heard began to click together. Terrorism, explosions. His own meeting with Lee Chaolan. Now that the Violet Systems head was in a tight spot, the person raining unilateral destruction had come to destroy this place. Inclining his head respectfully at Noboru, the young man sighed.

"I appreciate the warning, Sir Ninja," he said, his manner reflected in his voice. "But why must you do something like this? Surely you have seen that my company and I have already used this technology to cure a major disease that has plagued the world and claims one hundred thousand children a year! I will be the first to admit that Mr. Chaolan probably did not gain these resources ethically. However, I am trying to do my best with them. I have already made plans to gather these resources more ethically similar to how we give blood donations currently. But, why must we waste all of this? It all has been gathered already! Would it not be a disservice to not use it for the benefit of all?"

Straightening, Fei walked toward the Iron Mystic, his eyes hardening as he began to take in their surroundings with his almost inhuman perception and intellect. Dust on the floor. The weakness in the metal frame just to their right side. The partially cracked bulb in the score that made up one of the lights above them.

"I do not wish to fight you, Sir Ninja," the young man stated keeping his hands wide to show as he approached that he was being true to his words. "But, at the same time I cannot let you do this for so many children that need our help. Surely, you do not do this out of malice--I can tell from your words. Perhaps we can come to some sort of understanding? Explain to me what is going on, and I can try to work with you. But, for now--" He stood, blocking Noboru's way with his own body. Perhaps not the most intelligent thing for a person who was losing in both height and weight to do. "--I cannot let you go about your business here. Please, be reasonable."

However, Fei was the furthest thing from a naive young man. While his words and emotions were genuine, he was not simply playing into the lion's jaws with no plan. No, the entire time he was walking toward Noboru and blocking his way physically with his own body the Rutherford heir was analyzing the ninja's muscle structure, physical posture, even their moisture in the air around them in order to better be able to defend himself if it became necessary.

He sincerely hoped that the Iron Mystic would choose the path of nonviolence in this and talk to him about his concerns. But, he was not foolish enough to leave himself in harm's way if Noboru chose otherwise.

COMBATSYS: Fei has joined the fight here.

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0              Fei

COMBATSYS: Fei calculates his next move.

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0              Fei

"Here rests the stolen essence of the innocent." Noboru rumbles in quiet confirmation. As Fei drifts into a slow approach, the Iron Mystic remains unnaturally still. it's likely that the ultra perceptive warrior can feel the kinetic energy gathering about the hulking shinobi. Like a spring winding itself tighter and tighter, he focuses all of his potential speed and power into a single, brutal motion. What that motion will be is anyone's guess, but it seems Mr. Rutherford has stumbled across a kindred spirit. One who knows the value of observation, picking each strike with care.
The larger man's eyes track Fei with an all too knowing sense of awareness. One does not earn the title of Iron Mystic for no reason, after all. The Iron clearly refers to his body, the lay of his weight, combined with how he holds himself, hinting at bones and muscles made superhumanly dense through years of training. But the Mystic? That story is told only in his eyes, which have seen far too much.
"You hold in trust the mutilated remains of souls, given to you by one who wishes to build an army." Noboru murmurs, words coming slow and calm despite, or perhaps because of, the knowledge that bombs set all throughout the facility are steadily counting down. "Your intent for good does not outweigh the evil done, and the wrath that this technology will call down upon us. Already powers shift throughout the world. I can not see how they will settle, but the disturbance is great."
Lifting his eyes, Noboru gazes off over Fei's head, obtaining the far off look of one pondering things only he can see. Even then, however, there is the sense that he is aware on some primal level. Fully alert to the dangers around him.
"I am of the Miyama clan, who's duty it is to safeguard the world from destruction. You hold in this warehouse the keys to prosperity, and ruin. You can not choose to open only one. Perhaps in better times, through less tainted means, this technology can be revisited. But to do so now invites death."

COMBATSYS: Noboru focuses on his next action.

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Noboru           0/-------/-======|===----\-------\0              Fei

"You are slightly incorrect, Sir Ninja," Fei replied, holding up a hand. "This was not all stolen. In fact, quite a bit of it was freely given by those involved. And I have been working to make sure that the amount stolen becomes zero." With a sigh, he shook his head and continued. "And I have been made aware of what the technology was designed for, but that does not mean that it has to be used exclusively for that purpose. In fact, I am opposed to militarizing this discovery or any other one. There has been too much death already in this world. But, what you are doing is akin to saying that we should not have nuclear power or any of the discoveries that came from its discovery because of the fact that it was first used to create the atomic bomb. A surprising amount of human innovation originated from weapons, but that does not mean that has to be all that comes from this technology."

Just then, a ripple passed over Fei's analysis. Something was...off. Even for a ninja, Noboru was far too relaxed. Out of the corner of his eye, the young man caught a glimpse as to why. There, far up on a pillar, was the side of what looked to be some sort of bag that had been adhered to it. The Iron Mystic had already planted his devices. Now, he was simply making conversation while the time passed.

Meeting Noboru's eye with his own, the Rutherford heir's voice hardened slightly. "It seems you had already made your decision before you even spoke to me," he stated, turning both his feet outward then inward until his feet were shoulder-width apart with his body square toward Noboru, easing himself into his fighting stance. "I wish you had taken it upon yourself to talk to me first without having planted explosives here. I do not want to resolve things this way, but you have forced my hand having already resorted to tactics like this. I cannot afford to let this chance slip away to do a great amount of good for the children of this world. I hope you understand that I do not hold ill will toward you, Sir Ninja of the Miyama Clan. Should you fall, I will see to it you are treated fairly."

Instead of simply raising his hands to move into his fighting stance, Fei began to gather his own energy within himself. All around the two of them there was an audible clattering sound as the young man's energy began to resonate with the Chi Batteries within their metal boxes. Within a moment, his right hand began to glow with crimson red chi--Autumn's Chi. While Noboru's attention was momentarily distracted by the flash of color, Fei's right leg snaked outward to attempt to hook behind the Iron Mystic's and sweep him off his feet, sending the chi-filled punch toward Noboru as he fell to the ground and impact him from above as the floor impacted him from below.

COMBATSYS: Fei successfully hits Noboru with The Fall of Autumn Leaves.

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Noboru           0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0              Fei

Fei's response that 'quite a bit' of the surrounding chi was freely donated brings Noboru's distant gaze back to him. There is no warmth in the look the big ninja gives him. No dawning understanding, or regret.
"You are a child, playing with the tools of giants. With every day, the threat of nuclear war is made, nations walking the edge of self annihilation, and you would advance us higher. Unleash a power much greater."
Remaining still and calm as a mountain pond, Noboru meets Fei's eye squarely when his stalling is discovered. Powerful hands at his sides, postured tense but very still, he allows the smaller man's disapproval to break over him like waves upon the shore.
What is less easy to ignore is the chi-infused fist descending toward his chest.
Slipping forward, Fei hooks his leg through the ninja's, giving a good yank that, while spirited, isn't quite enough to uproot the brute. It seems as if the indignant fighter might have made a critical mistake, tugging on Noboru's leg not unlike trying to uproot a tree. The glowing punch, however, slips passed Noboru's forearm as it is lifted to deflect, and hammers hard into his center mass, forcing a grumbling grunt from his lungs and pitching him into a backward stagger. Only once he is in motion does Fei's tripping foot finally bring him toppling down, back impacting the floor with a solid THUD.
But he is not down for long.
A short, guttural roar of effort tears itself from the very depths of Noboru's gut, all of the ninja's stored energy released in a brutal surge of upward movement. He does not so much leap to his feet as smash reality out of his god damn way, exploding from his back into a forward lunge. Shoulders rotating, he brings his right fist blurring forward, knuckles extended in a half-fisted punch aimed for a precise spot just to one side of Fei's gut. If the attack lands, not only will the force of it rebound through Fei's entire body, the Iron Mystic known for his ability to shatter stone with the strength of his hands, but the energy will travel deep, focused into a very small area of his liver. The results could be rather gruesome.
"Fei Rutherford." Noboru rumbles, tone hard as granite and gaze cool. "You mettle in things you can not understand. Your opinion does not matter. Speaking to you, was a courtesy."

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Fei with Fault Line.

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Noboru           1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0              Fei

The partially-fisted punch struck home, causing Fei's right side to crumple slightly on reflex as he tried to cover for the injured location with his elbow. Still, he felt the internal damage that hit him with enough force to cause him to want to retch. It was not an overt amount of force that would have caused him to skid across the floor or try to maintain his stance--it was much worse than that. Internal damage was something that even trained martial arts masters would be hard-pressed to come up with a counter-strategy for: it was possible to train muscles against external damage, but how precisely would one be able to train their own organs to absorb the damage of a blow?

All he could do was grit his teeth and try to suppress the pain he felt. He could not let it cloud his judgment of what to do next. But, here he was faced with an opponent who was basically a mountain of a man, and he had taken damage from an attack that was most definitely meant to kill. What was he supposed to do? He was not a warrior. He had not trained for his entire lifetime in order to fulfill some enigmatic duty. In a world full of monsters and chosen ones, how was someone like him supposed to compete? But, it was at that point in time, he could hear Master Leung's voice in his mind.

~If you ever find yourself in doubt, shoot your fist forward. True Wing Chun is not a style that requires thought. You think too much!~

So, as if by instinct, the Rutherford heir simply thrust out his left fist, taking the impact of the blow to his liver and using it to rotate his body clockwise and throw out his left straight toward the Iron Mystic's center line--his solar plexus given that their heights were so different.

All Fei's style had were straight punches. Master Leung was right. He thought too much.

COMBATSYS: Noboru just-defends Fei's Straight Punch!

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Noboru           1/------=/=======|====---\-------\0              Fei

There are those among the fighting community who live or die on the knife's edge of their instincts. Years of combat, or an innate understanding of the flow of battle, gives them the ability to read situations as they unfold, well-trained muscles reacting before the conscious mind has time to process.
Noboru was never such a fighter. Insanely tough, sure. Brutally strong, yes. Able to see things many could not, of course. But his natural reflexes never were as sharp as his peers. So, he adapted. Learning to read his opponents on a mental level. Moving before they have consciously decided to themselves, which is usually just enough of a head start to put him on even footing.
So it is that as Noboru rebounds back from his punch, he already knows that the counter attack is coming. The rest must fall to timing.
Sandaled feet slamming to the floor at shoulder-width, the Iron Mystic lets his breath out in an explosive huff, ruffling the black silk stretched taught over his lower face. AT the same moment he brings both bare fists streaking up, knuckles meeting before his nose with a meaty THMP. The force of the gesture causes the wind caught between his hands to blast outward, flapping the elbow-length sleeves of his robe and tossing his golden-brown hair back from his scarred face. It might seem like an odd gesture to a normal outsider, but not to Fei.
Just moments ago, the younger martial artist had wondered how a man could strengthen his internal organs to withstand the killing force of another.
Now, he has witnessed just such a technique.
Every muscle locked into sudden rigidity, the Iron Mystic transforms his body into an impenetrable fortress, bones and muscles tensed into an iron cage around the delicate workings within. it is not a sustainable maneuver. Even Noboru's body, trained to withstand the pressures, can only hold it for a moment. But if that moment is timed just so...
Fei's fist hammers into Noboru's abdomen with bruising force, but he might as well have punched the earth beneath his feet.
Joints crack and pop throughout the big ninja's body as he relaxes out of the brace, the technique no doubt hard on his more delicate connective tissues. But, for now, it has seen him through, and he has no time to slow down and worry about his health.
Taking a single step with his left foot, Noboru twists once more at the shoulders, stepping quickly passed Fei's extended arm as all of his weight and momentum is flung behind yet another of those half-fisted blows. Unlike the last one, however, this punch is aimed squarely for the center of Fei's eyes. it is not a fast punch, but it unfolds with a certain vicious inevitability. This is a blow that can shatter cliffs, or break spines, if not properly defended against.

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Fei with Crag Breaker.

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Noboru           1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0              Fei

One sign of a truly skilled warrior is the ability not only to strike quickly, and with force, but to correct a blow that could otherwise kill your opponent. It is difficult to hold back. Once a certain level is reached, holding back can mean your death, so most fighters train such instincts out. But Noboru is not most fighters. He is a thinker. A planner.
So it is that as Fei begins to twist out of the way, both fighters realize that it will not be enough. Not this time. Rutherford is smart. his powers of observation are great. But he simply has not fought as long, or as hard against opponents far superior to himself. He has not taken the blows that Noboru has. Witnessed the power of the gods first hand.
Fei Rutherford, a man who has struggled against his own mortality for most of his life, may die.
Shifting his weight back just a fraction of an inch, the Iron Mystic pulls his punch just enough that when it makes contact with Fei's skull, there is no snap. No horrible crack of finality. There is only a meaty THMP, followed by the solid 'thud' of a falling body.
Stepping over Fei's unconscious form, Noboru reaches into the sack on his back, withdrawing another bomb.
Sure,a lot of good could be done with the technology in this room. But a lot of bad already has. Perhaps one day humanity will be responsible enough to deserve such miracles. But now they are children, playing with tools as if they are toys. Tampering with powers they do not understand. It would have been better if Fei had seen this. Understood. But of course he can not. So few men can look passed themselves. Passed the things that may save them. Those who can too often die young.
Two minutes later, the initial charges go off. The warehouse is rocked by explosions, guards scrambling to evacuate. Fei is found and rushed to the nearest hospital.
The second round of charges leave nothing in their wake but a smoldering crater, and the smashed dreams of thousands of children.
Of the ninja, there is no sign.

Log created on 23:25:40 09/19/2017 by Noboru, and last modified on 22:53:47 09/30/2017.