KOF 2017 - Act 2: Mission 20 - Ice to Meet You

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Description: Meanwhile, a covert operations team of Spetsnaz infiltrate outside of Southtown, to stage their advance into the dark forest. Intercepting them are NESTS Special Forces, led by Kula on a scouting mission that quickly turns into something much more. As Sergei and NESTS duke it out in the woods, a cold heart battles against a fiercer chill. Who will triumph, to claim the prize that lies beyond the foliage? The Command Gear of Japan, sought by both the UN and NESTS, so close yet so far...

=Southtown's western forest: 00:12=

The forest was dark and quiet. The pristine silence was interrupted by a drunk stumbling down a particularity old path. The young man had a pompadour and smelled of smoke and cheap drinks. He was cursing loudly to no one in particular. "Those UN tyrants! Thinking * hic! * that they can take us on. I'll take down everyone one of those * burp! * pansies. The cowards won't know what hit em, the mother..."

There was a slight rustle, and the forest went silent again.

After taking care of the possible liability, Sergei Dragunov received a call on his Chi-Tec.


Zima: Dragunov, you are receiving me? Excellent!
Zima: here is your mission update.
Zima: The Japanese Command Gear, currently referred to as -Nippon-, is believed to be in the nearby Darkstalker village.

Zima: You will need to reach it without any witnesses.

Zima: Once you can confirm the Command Gear presence, the rest of the team will be called in.


Zima: Also your other contact.
This Chi signal will also be used by our informant.
Zima: He will provide you with any information he can on the local area.


Zima: Do not forget that the Chi-Tec's communication is instantaneous, and you are able to use it almost any time, even in combat if need be.
Zima: But remember, no witnesses, signs of UN presence.


Call finished, the Russian continued his approach. He would need to find, Command Gear Nippon

There is little to appreciate in the woods at night, and even less when surrounded by unfamiliar comrades in arms. Men with the same face who are all of the same height form a dense, coordinated pack around a single girl, possibly only fifteen years of age. Featherlight strands of blue ripple with her every step, undulating like the tide. Ruby red gems pale in comparison to the brightness of her eyes, framed by thick lashes and set in creamy alabaster skin. She's a doll amongst them, pretty and small. An anomaly. Perfection of technology and science given life. Her name is Kula Diamond. Together, the group proceeds. The foot soldiers are completely silent, and traverse through the trees like wraiths...

Kula, on the other hand, could wake the dead.

The leather of her full bodysuit creaks and squeaks, and each step results in a broken twig or the audible scrap of foliage against an arm, leg, once even snagging in her hair. She tries, poor Kula, to sneak stealthily. Where are the animals, why are they gone?

Eventually, the advancing party of NESTS comes to a halt, Kula casting bewildered looks around. Why did they stop? In her ear, a direct communication link to her superiors, a small pearl hums with activity: "Human, male, recently deceased, killer could be close in proximity. Be careful, sweetling."

She blinks at unexpected news. "All right."

"This is a scouting mission to discern the location of the Command Gear and its long-term viability," continues the voice with objectives, professional but friendly, "Do not attempt to extract, please leave that to Special Forces and eliminate all interference. Sound good, kitten?"

"I understand." The child answers in a tone soft and gentle, chillingly innocent. There's no malice to Kula or her actions.

Instead of resuming the late hike, the main body of the troupe parts to grant Kula a wide berth so that she can clearly see ahead. What lies beyond is a natural clearing, lit by the moon. Someone is there, hidden on the other side. This is her purpose, as an advanced construct with killing instincts honed sharp like a blade. She passes inferior products and takes cover behind a more solid object than another body. Her arm, scorched beneath the padded sleeve, aches as it's lifted.

A freezing gale of wind answers her siren's call, drawn to the ice princess and crystallizing the air. Snowflakes dance and fling themselves around in celebration of winter reborn, however brief. Nothing else happens, waiting for an assailant to come flying at her or someone with a similar goal. Maybe a returner to the Darkstalker village. Kula is patient, and some of the rear guard move to suss out the presence, forcefully if necessary.

COMBATSYS: Kula has started a fight here.

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


???: Hello? You hearing me? Great.
Spanglecon96: I'm Spanglecon96. I'll be assisting you today as your behind the lines support.
Spanglecon: Just so long as you guys hold up your end of the deal.

Spanglecon96: So I see some one else decided to show up.
Spanglcon96: It looks like they weren't fooled by the fake suicide.

Sanglecon96: Wait a minute, see that girl?
Spanglecon96: Oh yeah, pin her down!

Dragunov: .......

Spanglecon96: I mean, uhhh.... Take down the loud one, while the bulk are trying to flush you out elsewhere.
Spanglecon96: If you leave her unconscious, then you should be able to take down the rest of them in silence.

Spanglecon96: I'll try to research who they are for now.
Spangle: Yosu- SPANGLECON, Spanglecon96 out.


Dragunov acted following the agent's recommendation. He silently approached along the treeline, remaining unseen. He encroached into the cool air around the target. Once the vision of the nearest interlopers were away, Sergei lunged to get a choke hold on the girl.

COMBATSYS: Sergei has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kula             0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0           Sergei

COMBATSYS: Kula blocks Sergei's Medium Throw.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Kula             0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0           Sergei

Surprise attack! The eyes of the guard never turn away, but they're all glazed over. It's as if... the girl were the only one alive, conscious, and aware. She sees too late, and comlink transmission is even further behind in alerting her. Kula reacts with a gasp, and blocks with both arms in a swirl of snow.

If anyone were to happen upon the scene while it plays out, it would appear as if Kula were the interloper. Her comrades from NESTS do nothing to prevent Sergei from dragging the child off her feet and into the air.

A choking hold is difficult to secure when limbs are in the way, the girl's strength enough to break it. Her attacker will find himself unable to lock it in beyond the initial squeeze. Kula slips out with a whip of blue sheets, turning gracefully on the spot on skates made manifest.

The crackle in her ear earns a tilt of the head, a heartbeat to listen: "More light is required for identification. Can you get him to the clearing?" As if on cue, as if controlled by a remote, the foot soldiers close their ranks and form a wall. The scouting regiment completes the perimeter search and rejoins. No escape.

Nodding her head, Kula, who has her orders, leaps away, never allowing the Russian to leave her sight. A ball of wet sleet and packed snow collasces in her outstretched hands, but swords pierce through the barrier of the sphere, each made of ice and elongating to not only stab Sergei, but split the tree that she had originally sought refuge behind in twain.

There is nothing but cold, innocent efficiency. The Anti-K' doesn't feel anything, at least not for now.

COMBATSYS: Sergei blocks Kula's Critical Ice.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Kula             0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0           Sergei

The sleet spikes sliced shattered the shrubbery, yet the Spetsnaz stood. He placed himself in between the growing blades. They cut through his sides, but he remained firm.


Zima: Dragunov, I heard you've encountered another force.
Zima: We will try to identify who they are.
Zima: Until then, try to take her down before the rest of force can take action.

Zima: If she is removed, the rest can be taken out silently.

Dragunov: ...

Zima: But, do take care when listening to that, guy.
Zima: He is only helping us for amnesty, and something against Violet Industries.
Zima: And never open any links he sends you.


Dragunov returned from his call and went to grab the girl. He would throw her over his shoulder, then kick her in the underarm.

COMBATSYS: Kula fails to interrupt Purge Slam from Sergei with Behind Slash.

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Kula             0/-------/-----==|=------\-------\0           Sergei

Best of luck to the operators on call with Sergei; ahead of them is a difficult and trying task of identifying those who do not exist in official capacity. There are no records of birth, no solid hints of association, and the rank-and-file have no distinguishing features. It's as if each face was moulded from clay and duplicated ad nauseam. Kula retracts the glowing icicle lances as they shred through the sides of the Russian and cleave through the tree trunk, shedding moonlight on her party and the advancing man in tandem. She shimmers with particles of frost.

Scarlet eyes flit about, wondering. Was that enough to enable the same checks that NESTS on her end are running? For now, the comlink maintains a radio silence. Kula doesn't know how else to illuminate the situation...

No matter.

She collects her sheets of blue hair, the chilled air stirring around her thin frame. Fluttering flakes chase the leather-clad princess, and right when she thinks she has lured the tall man into a trap, Kula's arm is nearly wrenched from its socket. Her fey features contort in pain. Pulled up and swung down, her back hits the dirt and every vertebrae pops to align. "Eek!"

Ice confetti explodes in a harmless shower, raining down as droplets meant to be something else entirely. A shame. Twisted uncomfortably, Sergei's heavy boot buries itself into the joint of her armpit, stomping on the Anti-K' in a manner that should hurt more were it not for the padded material providing a modicum of protection. Kula's pretty thankful for that, as she winces, followed by another squeak.

The release of her limb allows the human weapon to sweep a leg in beneath herself, spinning up onto her feet like an ice dancer, recovering from a faulty triple axel. Kula Diamond doesn't have a particular fighting stance or style, but the temperature plummets once again, and every exhalation is misty. Her comrades don't have one, even though they clearly radiate heat. Are they... Cyborgs? When NESTS is involved, suffice to say, anything is possible.

The Russian did not receive any signals once he uprooted the interloper. Sergei's grapple with the girl left her open for another strike, and he followed it swiftly. He drove a fist towards the face of the icy ballerina. He was acting with swift, cold efficiency. Almost as cold as the enveloping air.

COMBATSYS: Kula blocks Sergei's Fierce Punch.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Kula             0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0           Sergei

Was there an opening? Perhaps a brief window of opportunity, and one that she cannot fault the Russian for pursuing. Kula can respect efficiency, even while she regains her bearings, working the pain through her shoulder. As she was taught, no fight should ever be conducted without calm, patient focus. Lack of that leads to defeat.

Really, this isn't the time to berate herself over failing to subdue the renegade K'...

Cerulean strands are stirred by a breeze that nips at any skin found exposed, and Kula's cheeks turn rosy. His fist seems to settle on the trajectory that would lead to her nose, with no preamble or dalliance about it. The ice princess won't have it. Pupils narrow in shrewd appraisal.

Denial is swift, and it's cold. Waiting until the last possible moment, when knuckles present themselves in personal space, it impacts against a solid wall that appears as though it were dropped from the ether. Standing on the other side, the arctic doll's slender form ripples and distorts. Kula breathes in deeply, feeling every single stab that comes with the harsh air that fills her lungs...

And when she exhales, it has condensed into shards of ice, sleet, and snow. Cleaving a path through the ice slab, shattering it as easily as if it were glass, the falling pieces don't hit the dirt so much as they vanish mysteriously. Her wintry breath continues, far faster than a glacial shift, to foist the bitterness upon Sergei, whether he likes it or not.

Her entourage of faceless companions fill in gaps between the trees, but it would appear that some have departed from the group, again. Their numbers haven't thinned significantly, but enough to notice. Kula doesn't hear anything through her comlink, and they're not autonomous, so deserting the mission is out of the question... What's happening?

COMBATSYS: Kula successfully hits Sergei with Diamond Breath.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Kula             0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0           Sergei

The encroaching ice approached Sergei, and he was already planning on how to avoid the frozen breath. Just as he was about to act....


Spanglecon96: So about that new Waifu!
Spanglecon96: I was think^&* Sh$*#$ _#$%!_%##_%(*_..
Spanglecon96: !()_# $(_)@#_)($__)($&%^@*$(_*@#&%*)!_*#$


then Spanglecon96 called him right in a vital moment of combat. Sergei was caught in the sharp hail of shards. Dragunov pulled himself up and dusted off the ice. He would not be caught unawares by this girl again he would!


Spanglecon96: Hello. Hello? You hearing me there Winter Solider?
Spanglecon96: Phew, glad your there.
Spanglecon96: For some reason, the signal seemed to have overloaded or something.
Spanglecon96: But no harm done on that, am I right?


Spanglecon96: But that Elsa girl there, look closely at that leather.
Spanglecon96: Now since she is so young looking wearing such tight leather with a bunch of brain dead minions, wouldn't that narrow down who she is working with.
Spanglecon96: I ain't got a clue to who it might be.
Spanglecon96: I told Mr. Zima my thoughts about it already, he told me that my suggestion was much appreciated.
Spanglecon96: So, you go back to what your doing and I'll keep on working my magic on these magical girls.


Sergei was beginning to understand why the General did not like this guy. But he did have a point. He watched this girl very closely and very carefully. He began to process who she could be and where she was from. He backed away from his target, and looked at the idle men around them. They did seem to be far from normal, perhaps robots, mind control, maybe even augmented humanoids. That certainly narrowed down who it could be. But he had to narrow his sights back on the cold girl.

COMBATSYS: Sergei focuses on his next action.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Kula             0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0           Sergei

I am intensely curious as to what truths are revealed by her clothing, beyond the designer's persisting love affair with leather. Is there a mark, or something else? The words 'Pussy Cat' are written in a fancy scrawl across her shoulders, set above a decorative heart. Doesn't really define a whole lot, honestly. Kula Diamond straightens with grim determination, to see her task through.

She wonders... just why the Russian's attention does not waver. For the most part, he's staring at her. If Kula was an ordinary girl, she may have compared Sergei to a common pervert.

Or slyly asked if he likes what he sees.

But the Anti-K' is without emotion, aside from the perplexed tilt of her head to the side.

What is his plan? What are his thoughts? What is his next move? Kula meets focus with focus, settling onto the trailing foot, her lithe frame coiling like a spring. The jacket creaks, echoing loudly in the otherwise quiet clearing. Frost twinkles as it kisses the tips of browning blades of grass. Her pale hair billows out softly, a beautiful fan of sky blue.

"Kula," The comlink crackles in her ear, a woman's voice loud and familiar.

Arm lifting, the ice ballerina touches the earpiece to transmit her reply, "Yes?"

"We suspect that the man you are fighting is from the United Nations, but have not as of yet been able to determine his identity."

Kula frowns, because the information is largely unhelpful and unimportant. Japan and the UN are currently flexing at one another, and that means nothing to the sheltered doll. She sighs gently, the microphone picking up the noise with absolute clarity. O..oops!

"Aw, kitten, don't do that. We may need you to disengage to avoid an international incident. Special Forces will meet you at the following coordinates..." They're relayed quickly and in one breath before the link between Kula and NESTS lapses back into enduring silence.

Orders have changed, but Kula is reluctant to believe that she will just be allowed to pass, unhindered. No doubt the grave man has his own directive. She explodes into motion, the space that lies in between vanishing. A bitter wind chases her, catching up with a sweep of her tresses. As she commits herself wholeheartedly to action, the child blitzes into an ice-imbued uppercut, dazzling crystalline shards trailing her glowing fist!

COMBATSYS: Sergei fails to counter Crow Bite from Kula with Red Alert.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Kula             1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1           Sergei

Dragunov saw the powerful strike coming, and he was ready. He would grab the uppercut and force her to the ground. He just needed to time it just right...


Zima: Dragunov! We have important news!.

Spanglecon96: Camrads, I've got it!

Zima: Spanglecon96? What are you doing?

Spanglecon96: I figured out that figure for yah. It's obviously gotta be the Tekken force.
Spanglecon96: I've heard them do all kinds of weird stuff.
Spanglecon96: I would not put this fine leather piece past that Lee guy, I heard he like that kind of thing.

Zima: What are you talking about you useless pervert!
Zima: DO you have any idea of what is going on beyond your "Ant-Violet Cell".

Spanglecon96: um...

Zima: I really hate that fool that decided to hire you.
And I hate myself for thinking you would be better than nothing!
Zima: Any hopes you had about getting out, forget them!

Spanglecon96: Woah, I am the only here knows a guy who was inside Lee's labs.
Spanglecon96: You need me.

Zima: I don't need incompet...

Zima: there are two of us talking via another person.
Zima: This system was not made for this.

Spanglecon96: wait? So how is Dragunov doing?

Zima: ....

Spanglecon96: ....

Zima: Dragunov? Can you here me?
Zima: Sergei? Sergei! SERGEEEEEEEEEEEI!!!!!!!!!


Sergei began to have a seizure spontaneously as the Chi-Tec glitched out horribly. The icy uppercut not only hit him, it launched him high into the air. He then crashed down several dozen meters away, out of view.

COMBATSYS: Sergei has left the fight here.

[              \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Kula             1/-------/=======|

Crow Bite, as the technique is called, is one of many borrowed attacks from her predecessor, a flamewielder that relies on pure, unfettered violence. The Anti-K' flies up with a graceful twirl, knocking Sergei heavenward, before her elbow impacts against him. Hard. He spirals off into the distance, vanishing as he hits the ground beyond the perimeter of the foliage. Kula lands in a three-point stance and raises her head.

The girl hesitates for what seems like an age, as her chi and biometrics spike on the monitors back wherever NESTS happens to be issuing commands. Ready, Kula's crimson eyes stare unblinking at the point where the Russian disappeared. Has he been subdued, if only temporarily? It's difficult to say.

Sounding pleased, the woman contact nudges gently through the communication channel, "Sweetie, proceed to the rendezvous--"


She starts in fright, scrambling to her feet and collecting her arms to hold them pensively in front. A soft scream slips past the barrier of full lips. The clearing and surrounding forest, even this far from the epicentre of the blast, is awash with insufferable heat. Above the trees, a smoke cloud drifts high into the air. Kula's communication lifeline transmits a harsh blare of static, before there is a more forceful replacement, a man, who hurriedly assumes command.

"This is an evacuation order. Leave the area immediately!"

Sticking to her skin, she's a boiling mess trapped in a leather catsuit. The ice doll frowns, considering, "But..." Kula only begins to protest.

"We have no more readings on the Command Gear, so we must assume either it has been removed against its will or destroyed. If you do not evacuate, Kula, your life will be at risk for nothing. Return to the city, and leave Special Forces behind."

At that, stunned beyond measure, it would appear that Kula has no choice but to abandon ship, as well as her featureless comrades. If they were alive, then maybe she might've experienced a small iota of guilt, saving herself. The chilly ballerina whirls around to balance on the skates that will carry her to safety...

What about that man? She can't help mulling over the consequences of retreat while he still lays prone in a bush. It was Sergei's interference that prevented her from entering the blast radius earlier, so essentially, he saved Kula's life. The little miss also saved his, by the same logic. "..." Starting forward, compelled by feeling that cannot be understood, her approach is as swift as the artificial voice that bellows in her head.


Leaping back, with a whip of her blue sheets of hair, Kula Diamond skates off, as per the demands. In private, later... She will consider her actions here today.

COMBATSYS: Kula has ended the fight here.

Sergei lay in the brush, attempting to recover from the terrible glitch in the Chi-Tec. Then he heard the explosion. Still recovering, he got a call on the Chi-Tec again.


Zima: __La ___Li Lu__ Le__ ___Lo
Zima: @&%+ =gunov? Did you hear me?
Zima: You need to retreat.
Zima: It seems that if the Command Gear was in there, it has left.
Zima: You need to get out quickly before you get caught in any fallout.


Dragunov carefully started to stand. He felt the heat of blast, and saw the emanating light. The Spetsnaz returned to the shadows. Whatever evidence left would be hidden by what ever happened in the blast. And this was just one step closer to finding Command Gear Nippon.

Log created on 16:49:42 10/21/2017 by Kula, and last modified on 01:37:58 12/05/2017.