SNF 2018.05 - SNF: We Want You!

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Description: Novus Orbis Librarium recruitment has been up for humans, but for Darkstalkers it's another story. Fortunately with the Midnight Channel marketing right for the monsters of the world, the NOL has the opportunity to really drive those recruitment numbers. Two beautiful, professional soldiers, Renka and Makoto Nanaya, are ready to show the creatures of the night how to cast away their illicit ways, register with the NOL, and demonstrate just the kind of perks you are looking at with the NOL. All with a friendly smile. Just remember the motto of the NOL Darkstalker Recruitment: If You Are Not With Us, You Are Against Us!

We Want You! Or that's what the SNF said.

The NOL recruits. Everyone knows that, and with all the magical problems in the world, people are actually volunteering to be a part of it. Darkstalker recruitment could be better, though, and so they came up with an idea to solve that problem.

Makoto Nanaya, for her part, has been publically posing as a street fighter, someone who joins tournaments, stray matches, or anything else that might interest her bosses at NOL (or her herself). Sometimes being a pretty, friendly fighter is all you need to find out some things, and sometimes it's that plus being nonhuman. She works in Intelligence. Most people outside NOL don't realize she's a member.

All this means is that, during this fight, Renka gets to show off the NOL side of things, and Makoto gets to look impressed. If the cute squirrel lady is willing to talk to the NOL, why aren't you?

Makoto is ready long before the match actually starts. She has some reservations; she's been working through some thoughts lately. Fortunately, they don't show; as far as anyone can tell, she's her usual bubbly, exciteable self. She's even already in her favourite orange and black combat gear, what there is of it.

She has also already eaten a banana walnut muffin while she waited. What? She's hungry.

The campaign in Europe over, Private First Class Renka Kaneko's transfer back to the Southtown base had only completed a few days prior to her newest assignment. The Novus Orbis Librarium is a vast, globe-spanning organization that has clearly taken cues from some of the other successful national armed forces from around the world. Not only do they invest a lot of resources into managing their public image as protectors of humanity against threats magical and supernatural in nature, the recruiting efforts are also proactive at adapting to meet the needs and interests of whatever demographics they're needing to see more numbers in.

Renka Kaneko fit the profile of just what they needed for their next promotional event and when the orders came down she was beyond ecstatic. Most of her days were spent either doing busy work for Lieutenant Shimotsuki or routine guard work around the base. A special assignment to be part of a recruiting drive was just the break she needed.

The newly completed base in Southtown would be playing host to the venue with one of the large aircraft hangers serving as the venue itself. The central area has been cleared though there are still vehicles and small aircraft parked along the sides of the cavernous structure. Cameras, lights, and SNF crew in place.

Private Kaneko stood in the cordoned off section of concrete, appreciative of the roof high over head in light of a passing late Spring rainstorm outside. Representing NOL, she wore a white and blue short one piece associated with the Magical Troops of the Librarium. At her rank she lacked some of the more prestigious trappings that distinguished officers from the enlisted with only a pair of steel rings at the top of each of her detached blue sleeves instead of some of the more elaborate links, chains, and talismans that denoted higher responsibilities. She did have a ribbon on the right breast of her dress, however, denoting an honorable tour of service in the Illyria campaign, her first accoladed, and for which she is quite proud.

She lacks the standard blue and silver lined beret standard with the enlisted uniform and the twin tall, pointed ears jutting out of her wild mane of hair are likely to blame for the approved personalization. Clearing up any lingering doubt to her demi-human nature is the pair of warm rust-orange tails with white tips swaying at her back sticking out of an accommodating hole made in the back of her uniform.

Green eyes are aglow with excitement, her lips drawn back into a bright grin every bit as energetic. Her white gloved hands tightly grasp the long metal shaft of a edged bladed spear, or naginata as the Japanese vernacular goes. Heart racing in her chest, she stands up straight at attention, left hand holding her weapon upright.

She wasn't given exact lines to say, but she knew the gist of it, and as one of the event coordinators gave her the signal to get going, the foot soldier barks out, "Hello!" She thinks she's looking at the right camera. She hopes that's the right camera. "I'm Private First Class Kaneko of the Novus Orbis Librarium." She's never done anything like this. Is this really being broadcast out to who knows how many people and possible Darkstalker recruits?

"I'm honored to be able to represent the NOL today. The Librarium has given me a home and a family in exchange for my service." Lifting the polearm over her head with both hands, she twirls it with ease before settling it down into a ready position, bladed end forward, her blue-booted feet sliding apart on the concrete as she braces herself.

"With me today, I have another wonderful member of the Darkstalker community. It is my hop- sincere hope that I can help her understand the opportunities enlisting in the NOL can afford people like her and me!"

Renka's green eyes settle on the squirrel-tailed power house as she tries to keep her heart from pounding out of her chest with anxiousness and excitement for meeting another darkstalker NOL operative. Even if she isn't allowed to acknowledge it in this match, she can't help but be thrilled.

"What would you like to know about being a part of the team?"

COMBATSYS: Renka has started a fight here.

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Renka            0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Makoto Nanaya has joined the fight here.

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Makoto Nanaya    0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0            Renka

By comparison, Makoto doesn't look professional at all. Surely no military woman would wear... well, what Makoto has chosen as her favourite combat outfit; the aggressively short top, the skirt that looks more like two sections of cloth, front and back, draped into place; the various straps that form its underlayers. It certainly isn't a /uniform/.

Makoto has never met Renka - Private Kaneko, whatever - personally before, but she's not-so-secretly pleased that other obvious Darkstalkers are doing well. She might have concerns about some things, but that is not one of them.

She gives a friendly smile at the approach of the other Darkstalker, taking in what she sees. There's both the special to consider - she's a Darkstalker, does she have powers? Makoto doesn't have much in the way of weird magic, but a lot of them do - and the practical. She's holding that weapon like she knows how to use it, and Makoto doesn't fight against pole weapons often.

"And I," she says, brightly, "am Makoto Nanaya, who you might have seen at the whole Golden Angel... thing." Her brightness slipped for a moment there, along with the smile, though it returns soon enough. "I've spoken to the NOL before, but I never was recruited by them!" Which is sorta-kinda true, anyway; she volunteered, they didn't come looking for her.

Makoto bounces on her feet as if making sure her footing is fine. On the side of her face not visible to the camera for the moment, she gives a clear and distinct wink toward Renka. Relax, she thinks. You'll do fine.

"Well why don't we start this off with a bang!"

Makoto suits actions to words, rushing at Renka, ideally before she can get her weapon all situated and sorted out; Makoto has found that the first rush can be deadly to anyone who actually has to prepare, or likes to think before they fight. Makoto's strategy is more to just do whatever comes to mind as hard as possible.

"I was wondering," she says, accompanying her question with a left-handed punch, using the weight of the metal strapped to her arm to add to the impact, "if there are lots of Darkstalkers there! I wouldn't want to be alone, right?"

COMBATSYS: Renka blocks Makoto Nanaya's Medium Strike.

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Makoto Nanaya    0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0            Renka

At the hidden wink, Renka's already energetic smile seems to grow even brighter. The officer standing across from her, even if completely concealing her status and rank with the markedly minimalist approach to clothing, is living proof of what the fox-eared recruit believes about the organization she has devoted herself to.

Outside of the NOL, Darkstalkers are hunted, persecuted, treated as monsters no matter their nature or disposition... but within NOL, they have rights and protections as well as the opportunity to climb the ranks!

"There are a lot of us in the NOL, Makoto!" Renka exclaims as she braces with her back foot, shifting her weapon's shaft into the path of the squirrel-tailed puncher's mighty fist. The sound of impact against the metal rings throughout the hanger as Renka is forced into a slide backward for a couple meters before coming to a stop, emerald eyes widened slightly. The other enlisted who heard about her upcoming assignment had warned her about the rumors concerning Makoto's striking power, but feeling it for the first time is definitely an eye opener.

Releasing her weapon with her right hand so she can shake her arm a little to work out the numbness, "But we're always looking for more to join our team." The smile at her lips looks sincere rather than nervously forced, and there is a softening in her eyes as she continues for another bit. "But there are also a lot of great humans to work with as well who understand that when we put on this uniform, we're standing shoulder to shoulder and working together." Her right hand clenches into a fist before she finally slaps her grip back on her weapon's shaft.

She hesitates one moment longer as sapphire blue spheres of churning energy shimmer into existence behind her like a swarm of tiny blue stars. Nine in total, each seems to drift in a lazy half-orbit behind the girl, their glow largely drown out by the powerful hanger lighting.

At the same time, similar azure flame ripples into existence along the top half of Renka's weapon. Foxfire - manifestations of the soul energy harvested by the twin tailed kitsune and the secret to her combat capabilities.

"Being a part of NOL is not just about getting paid and being given room and board, it's also about forming connections with others."

She bursts forward then. Impressive as Makoto's striking power most definitely is, Renka is committed to giving this her best as well. The swarm of spheres trail along after her, hovering above and behind her two tails, moving in erratic, drifting patterns but still managing to keep up as she closes in, sweeping out with her naginata in a wide arc, targeting to clip Makoto on the side with the side of the shaft with what could be a staggering blow.

Gritting her teeth tightly, she'll whip around into a complete spin the other way, blue foxfire trailing behind the polearm as she aims to bash it in from the other side, catching the Lieutenant in a hard to escape pair of wide reaching strikes!

COMBATSYS: Makoto Nanaya blocks Renka's Medium Strike.

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Makoto Nanaya    0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0            Renka

Makoto's prodigious strength is at least part of the reason she has a job with the NOL at all; her physical characteristics are top-notch. (No jokes, this time.) If you weren't expecting it, it can come as a surprise, given Makoto's height - short; she's maybe five foot four - and build. And it's not like squirrels are particularly known for their strength, either.

No wonder her weapon of choice is just big metal bars strapped to her arms to get more momentum behind her punches and hold an enchantment she's not using right this minute. She didn't rate highly in /that/ part of her studies.

Her eyes widen at the sudden spheres of light. They're pretty, she thinks, not really knowing much about them but that they're some kind of spiritual energy, which she can feel for herself. Something new to keep her eyes on. Which is a problem, if she has to watch Renka and the naginata /and/ the wispy spheres of light. She's only got two eyes.

Rather than immediately following up with another punch, Makoto circles, fists raised. She's either drawing out the fight so they can talk longer or simply feels a need to take a defensive stance against Renka - and it proves to be the second, when she catches the first battering strike on the bar strapped to her arm with a metal-on-metal clash.

It's still impactful enough to rattle her, even if Renka didn't manage to stagger her entirely, and Makoto lets herself be steered in that direction; she moves with the blow and lets it turn her, catching the second sweeping blow with the other arm. She's got two, after all; it would be a shame to use only one.

"Well, that's a relief!" Makoto makes it sounds real. "It would be horrible to be doing everything on your own. But what about the humans? What do they think?" Her tail floofs out as she draws herself back, standing momentarily on one foot as she tenses her entire body. She holds it, just for a moment: "Do they connect with you?" She knows the answer. But still... she has to ask it.

Makoto releases her tension all at once, uncoiling like a spring, driving her fist forward with all the momentum of her twist behind it. More than that, though; the sheer power of her blow causes her chi to erupt, a halo of blue-white around the fist and the tip of the 'tonfa', streaming backwards like a comet tail down her entire arm and across that side of her torso. "HA!"

COMBATSYS: Renka blocks Makoto Nanaya's Sirius Jolt EX.

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Makoto Nanaya    0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0            Renka

Following her two sweeping strikes, Renka twists the weapon over the top of her head while taking a step back, trying to ward off the hard hitting darkstalker long enough for her to prepare her defenses for the return fire.

And it's a good thing she did, as every iota of preparation comes into play the moment Makoto winds up, providing a sudden, physical and metaphysical demonstration of what it means to 'connect' as she slams her fist forward. Without a word or apparent gesture on the fox-tailed fighter's part, one of the blue orbs bursts down from its orbit behind her, stretching out into a thin sheen of shimmering azure in the path of the squirrel-girl's crushing blow. It does very little to mitigate the brute kinetic force on display from the deceptively slender arm of of her opponent, but a fair amount of the chi smashing out around the aura of projected energy encircling her fist seems to be absorbed up into the blue barrier before it shatters into a thin blue mist.

The punch itself hits the shaft of the naginata just like last time as Renka twists it into position and braces it with both hands. But while the previous impact sent her sliding back, this one completely smashes into her guard, sending Renka staggering backward, feet skipping over the concrete just to keep herself upright.

As she comes to a stop without falling over, her eyes flick down to the shaft of her weapon with a look of surprise, ears leaning forward slightly, digesting in that instant the severity of the impact. The metal length of the weapon isn't simply dented, it's bowed in entirely, like a strongman grabbed it by both ends and started to fold it in half. Looking up at her now awkwardly bent spear, Private Kaneko is quiet for a moment, trying to quickly remember what was said just before her steel weapon got bent like aluminum.

Ah, right. The humans. The darkstalker pauses for half a beat before nodding her head quickly, seeming to think through the question. Outside her conflict with her new Lieutenant, the humans she works alongside have treated her like one of their own. Sure, there was some hazing and the occasional prank amid the other enlisted, but it was no different than what she'd seen them do to each other...

Her grin warms as she continues to nod, "Yeah. Yeah, they sure do," the NOL foot soldier replies, twisting her bent spear to her left side and gripping it with just her white gloved left hand for now. "When you go through training alongside them, serve in the field with them, and fight at their side, you develop connections with other people. It's so much different than the reactions I used to get."

She plants her feet, bracing for a moment.

"Showing that I'm here to protect people just like they are really helps break through those differences that might otherwise divide us."

There's a sincerity to her words. Even though there's no doubt she was coached prior to the match, when she speaks, it feels natural. No sooner do the words leave her mouth than she bursts forward back on the offense. Her trajectory takes her into a path that would go past Makoto's right side, her own right hand, empty now, slashing out, fingers extended and bent, as if threatening to claw at the squirrel-tailed darling of the NOL. But she's well outside the reach of actually being able to hit Makoto directly. Instead, another one of azure orbs swirling about her rushes down to follow in the wake of her arm's movement, exploding into a swath of blue foxfire that actually IS potentially within range to wash over her opponent.

Meanwhile, Renka slides to a stop, trying to stay in close, hoping to use the cover provided by her last attack to do so without getting struck!

COMBATSYS: Renka successfully hits Makoto Nanaya with Mistaken Mercies ES.

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Makoto Nanaya    0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1            Renka

Makoto had honestly assumed that, like her weapon, Renka's was reinforced magically or at least physically. She seems as surprised as Renka when she feels it give under the impact of her fist, but you can't just /not/ follow through when you've put your whole body behind the blow and so it doesn't prevent her from bending it.

She recovers fast, though, not showing her surprise for more than an instant on her face; the giveaway to people who know Makoto is the flick of her ear and the way her tail puffs up a little bit, both of which are cues that she is much less good at controlling.

At least it doesn't seem to have stopped Renka. Makoto had been worried, for an instant, that that would be the end of the match - but here she is, shifting her grip. Good. That means it's not so short. Makoto likes fighting - especially, like today, when it can be fun and friendly - and she would have been disappointed if they'd had to call it off.

"Good! I'm glad to hear it," Makoto says with a grin, and means it; she'd asked the question not because she didn't know the answer but for the cameras and to hear how /Renka/ had been holding up. Makoto herself has been in the NOL for a while, after all. She knows what it's like for her.

"What about the work? Is it hard, or - yipe!"

Makoto interrupts herself by skipping aside from the clawing reach. Which she does; just because Renka was too far away to touch Makoto doesn't mean that there couldn't be trickery involved. But the orbs, which Makoto had not been able to guess the purpose of, make their reason known pretty quickly when they explode into foxfire.

That, Makoto couldn't get away from in time, and the energy washes over her; she yelps in surprise as she's caught in the blue rush and ends up staggering away from the blast, incidentally putting herself closer to Renka as she maneuvers around. Taking advantage of the sudden proximity, Makoto attempts to grab Renka's arm and yank her close, holding her near enough to her side that she can batter with...

...this is probably the first time Renka has ever been bludgeoned with a tail. It's soft and fluffy, sure, but has a surprising amount of heft to it due to sheer size. It's like getting smacked by a heavy pillow, with the added problem that getting hit in the face makes it really hard to see what Makoto is doing when she completes the throw by finishing her rotation and trying to toss Renka aside.

COMBATSYS: Renka endures Makoto Nanaya's Tail Barrage.

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Makoto Nanaya    1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1            Renka

From basic training to deployment in Europe, the darkstalker recruit hasn't been a part of the Librarium fold for as long as the squirrel-tailed officer. But while she had encountered one or two extremely difficult individuals, there was a certain camaraderie in the ranks of the enlisted that deployed with her that was unlike anything she had experienced on the outside of the para-military organization. If it was acceptance she was looking for, she could find it alongside the hard working men and woman populating the rank and file of the NOL.

But none of that is on her mind now as she completes her aggressive dash, right arm sweeping out, catching Makoto in the trailing swath of azure foxfire. In spite its flame-like appearance, it doesn't leave a lingering burn or risk igniting any of the brown haired girl's fluffy tail fur. On the other hand, it certainly packs a piercing sting that is both painful and sapping of strength at once - clearly something to be avoided in the future if possible!

Renka is already turning in on Makoto with her bent spear, clearly intending to make it work well enough and anticipating a counter strike that her polearm is in prime position to intercept. Even when her arm is grabbed, she isn't worried, adjusting her grip on her spear to hold it more toward the blunt end of the shaft, figuring that being yanked into her opponent only makes it all that much easier to land a hit.

It's when the tail ends up being utilized for an assault that she's actually caught off guard, however. While Renka might be blessed with twice the tails, even combined they lack the sheer tail magnitude of Makoto's singular thick, powerful squirrel tail. The idea that it could be utilized as a weapon in such a manner had simply never occurred to her, and in the next moment, she's getting furiously paffed in the face, thwarting whatever she originally had in mind. With the tail getting smacked against her sensitive nose, her eyes immediately begin to water

Under a fierce barrage of fluffy goodness, and generating the kind of footage SNF editors die for, Renka sputters and drops her bent spear to the ground, flailing her arms at the assault, trying to guard her face. In the end, she tries to fight back, drawing her right leg up and slamming her foot out, heel first in a bid to kick free right about the same time Makoto decides to hurl her away!

This time there's no chance to answer the question that got suddenly interrupted by her earlier attack, but it's not like the viewing audience is likely disappointed.

COMBATSYS: Renka successfully hits Makoto Nanaya with Medium Kick.

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Makoto Nanaya    1/----===/=======|=======\=======\1            Renka

Holding a conversation in the middle of a pitched battle /is/ hard. Makoto has never been good at it (just yelling shit, on the other hand, she is very good at - but she generally doesn't think much about what she's saying in situations like that. She just lets her heart handle it.

And so Makoto isn't really surprised when Renka doesn't answer, especially when she gets hit in the face a couple times with Makoto's tail. It really isn't a /great/ weapon, all told, but it doesn't need to be; it needs to be blinding and dazing while Makoto finishes a throw, something that for all her strength she is kind of crude at.

Fortunately, she is also pretty sure the audience will love it.

Unfortunately (for Makoto, not for the audience) her poor throwing technique carries a risk of getting hit right back, and that's exactly what Renka does; lashing out with her foot connects with Makoto's shoulder, which has the combined effect of breaking the hold a little earlier than Makoto had been intending to and driving her back. Oh, and hurting. That stung.

Makoto winces; she'd /like/ to try not to let that get to her, but she can feel the soreness in her shoulder when she moves her arm, and she just knows it's going to get stiff. So - perhaps because of it - she does not immediately rush Renka down, but plants her foot and lets the other beastkin come to her. And, she hopes, /not/ sit there and throw foxfire from a couple yards of reach. Getting hit with that stuff once was enough.

"Well," she says, "if nothing else you can show me what you've got!" Makoto focuses, drawing power into her; the flare of chi is tangible to those who can detect it as she draws ambient energy through herself and into those weighted bars strapped to her arms. "Show me what a NOL member does!"

That's probably a bad thing to let happen, right?

COMBATSYS: Makoto Nanaya charges her next attack!

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Makoto Nanaya    1/--=====/=======|=======\=======\1            Renka

Landing a couple meters off, Renka rolls along the ground before coming to rest in a low crouch, tails sweeping out around from behind her, one on each side, arms raised, ears pitched forward as if bracing for a follow up strike just in case. The seven remaining foxfire spheres are slow to catch up with her, but as she takes a moment to recover defensively, they eventually swirl into their half orbit behind her as before. Her eyes are still a bit red and when she sees she's not being attacked immediately, she pauses to rub at her nose, sniffing once as she blinks a couple of times.

Rising back up to standing, Private Kaneko's mouth parts back into a grin every bit as sincere as when the bout first began. There is nothing in the bout that has diminished her spirits in the slightest, and Makoto's encouragement to show what she's got back is met with a ready nod, "Yeah! And the work can be hard," she finally circles back to the earlier question, "And not all of it is glamorous."

Thoughts of ditch digging. Boring night patrols around the temporary outpost. Running errands for Lieutenant Shimotsuki. Not exactly the stuff legendary stories are made of.

"But everyone has to do their part to contribute. As a member of NOL, I get to show people that there are darkstalkers who aren't out to hurt them. That we can live alongside them. That while there are bad ones, just like there are bad people," her right hand clenches into a fist in front of her, "We shouldn't all be treated the same."

Her right hand reaches to her left side, fingers closing over the grip of a long, straight sword dangling there. With a smooth motion, she draws it out, closing both hands over its grip and bracing herself, clearly preparing to surge back onto the offense as Makoto encouraged her to.

Unlike the mundane looking bent naginata, this weapon appears to be something special with an ornate hilt and grip guard affixed to the base of a shining steel blade. Sucking in her breath, Renka leans forward, feet braced against the warehouse floor, emerald eyes studying Makoto. "I'll confess, this is not something I learned at basic training. You'll have to watch carefully on this one!" she grins back encouragingly before her expression becomes more somber, her focus now on her technique rather than maintaining a conversation.

"Here I go," she murmurs, bursting forward then, in a fierce dash, aiming to convert all her forward momentum into a savage swing of her sword, targeting Makoto's stomach in what must be a well practiced technique straight out of classic samurai stories.

Only when she gets in close does it become clear that she's striking with the flat of her sword rather than the razor's edge. Though an individual as tough as Makoto would undoubtedly survive the more dangerous blow, the two-tailed kitsune shows no inclination of using her weapon that way.

Unless prevented, Renka would slide past, taking control over her momentum with a smooth deceleration on the other side following the remarkably fast strike!

COMBATSYS: Makoto Nanaya blocks Renka's Weakened The Lonesome Road.

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Makoto Nanaya    2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\======-\1            Renka

Oh no, is she allergic to squirrel? Makoto feels vaguely guilty about that... but only a little bit. How would she know? Or maybe it was just getting hit in the face that did it.

Makoto's grin stays broad, though, as she holds her position. "Aw, I was hoping for nothing but glamour work." Though, truthfully, she's done her share of grunt work and knows exactly what Renka is talking about - Makoto's grunt work tends to be a little different, since she's not in the Magic Formula Troops, but she still gets to run her share of errands and suffer through her share of unpleasantries.

"But I guess this is more useful for showing people you want to work together, huh?" Mako is going to have to talk to her later, that's for sure - when they're not trying to beat each other up for the cameras, and they can sit down and have a pleasant chat. Maybe she should buy her something to eat. (It works on her, Makoto figures.)

Makoto keeps her eyes on Renka as she draws the sword. That /is/ a nice blade, and explains the naginata; she's clearly spent more time and attention on this blade instead. Which is fine; everybody's got a favourite. But it means she should expect more from this, and Renka seems to be telling her the same thing.

When Renka comes in, Makoto is just about ready for it. She suddenly moves, breaking her stable position - but forward, not back, and into the blow. She was actually expecting the blade and not the flat, but when she realizes it's the flat she works with it, half-deflecting it with one hand and letting it thump against her tensed stomach. It stings, but it doesn't stop her - and since her other arm is already windmilling, so it's a moment's work to use the proximity for Makoto to try to drive it into Renka's stomach with enough force to literally launch her straight upward!

"Even at a time like this..."

And if that wasn't enough, Makoto leaps up after Renka, hoping she's not embarassing herself by leaping without Renka actually having been launched. She actually jumps up so fast that she gets /above/ Renka, then drives her fist down as if trying to punch her to the ground. That would be plenty, but what actually does the punching is a gigantic fist made entirely out of Makoto's blue chi, wisps trailing away from the back of her 'hand' as she tries to smash Renka straight back down!

"...I don't really hold back! I hope you've been training~"

COMBATSYS: Makoto Nanaya knocks away Renka with Empowered Particle Flare.

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Makoto Nanaya    0/-------/---<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Renka

Makoto's timing is flawless, taking the brunt of the impact in a way that robs it of most of its threat. While Renka clearly doesn't have the sheer destructive punching force the squirrel-powered NOL officer can bring to bear, her own weapon-aided swings are far from softballs and that blazing heat-less foxfire of hers can't be taken lightly. Maybe if she had sunk the hit cleanly, she could have escaped the fierce retaliation - but the moment Makoto's fist buries into her stomach is hardly the time to consider hypotheticals.

Folding over with a gasp, the twin-tailed darkstalker is launched completely off her feet into the air, limbs and tails flailing as she desperately fights to regain control. Twisting over such that her back is facing down, she's looking up just in time to see that her opponent has joined her in the air in a remarkable feat of speed and her green eyes widen in alarm. With her right hand closed over her sword, it's Renka's left hand that moves to intercept defensively, palm up into the path of the incoming punch just as the colossal manifestation of Makoto's chi surges into existence.

One of her swarm of foxfire spheres manages to slip up from behind her into the palm of her outstretched hand where it bursts into a thin barrier of energy similar to the one she had created earlier. It isn't enough to stop the wrecking ball of chi smashing into her, the azure shield overcome and lost in an instant, but perhaps it managed to mitigate on some small level the total magnitude of force that smashes her back down toward the hanger floor!

Plunging straight down, there is no room to disperse the momentum into a roll, her upper back impacting the unforgiving concrete with a thud hard enough to spiderweb a small section of it beneath her as she bounces off into a second thud against the ground a half second later, her fingers just barely clasping her sword in her right hand.

Makoto's strike was the very definition of a fight ending blow and were her opponent any less supernaturally reinforced, it almost definitely would have ended the demonstration bout then and there. Having landed on her back, her arms sprawled out at her sides, Private Kaneko lies there dazed for a few seconds while her six remaining foxfire spheres swirl around over her head in scattered looking orbits that almost seem to resemble the dizziness their owner is feeling that moment.

But also barely noticeable are the thin tendrils of wispy energy connecting each of the spheres to the prone kitsune, subtle threads of energy transferring into her, knitting bruised bones and aching muscles. Renka's left hand moves over her stomach where she was first punched before she folds up into a ball on her side, then rolls onto her knees, teeth grit, lips drawn back into a fierce grin that reaches her eyes.

Left hand still resting against her stomach, she sucks in a deep breath only to expel it with a surprised cough. Grimacing, she breathes in again and this time manages to hold it in, forcing her diaphragm to work properly again after the abuse it just took.

"With a punch like that, you could really apply that power to helping people out. It's something us darkstalkers can bring to the fight - to use our strength to defend and protect." She pushes herself the rest of the way up to standing though makes no attempt to rush forward yet. Renka closes her eyes briefly as if to center her thoughts or steady her spinning vision, and when she resumes speaking, her tone has shifted slightly, remaining energetic as before but also taking on an edge of personal conviction. These words aren't just for show.

"I know someone like you could be an inspiration in our ranks." Her grin loses a hint of its feral edge, melting into a quiet smile of sincere admiration echoed by the look she gives the secret NOL Lieutenant.

Clenching her left hand, her right hand tightening its grip, Renka plants her feet apart slightly, leaning forward. The foxfire spheres behind her back start to agitate violently in their orbit as they are suddenly joined by several more smaller spheres of that same rich azure light.

"But of course I have to answer an attack like that with something of my own!"

All at once, the storm of blue spheres surge into a swarm that is clearly seeking out the squirrel-tailed brawler. Compared to previous encounters with Renka's supernatural energy, the storm heading Makoto's way now is several times larger and likely to be several times more painful if it isn't escaped. It will only have one pass to try and catch her, however, and a successful evasion will have the orbs jetting back over to Renka where all but five of the original spheres will wink out of existence!

COMBATSYS: Renka successfully hits Makoto Nanaya with Gateway to Exile ES.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Makoto Nanaya    1/---<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>------\1            Renka

Makoto's experience in the NOL pays off here. It isn't that Renka is inexperienced or unskilled - she isn't - but Makoto has been drilled in fighting elites and irregulars. It's where she's at her best; she should, at least theoretically, be able to hold her own against bounties, super-criminals, or wherever else she's sent.

Also, she really likes fighting and has been working on some of those maneuvers for a while. Practice makes perfect.

Makoto slams down some distance from Renka and a few moments later; she wasn't thrown down, she got to use good old gravity, and the impact from hitting Renka had actually knocked her /upwards/ for a moment. She straightens up a few moments later, looking rather battered herself. Renka's gotten some good few hits in, even if her sheer energy kept her going.

She grins right back, broad enough to show teeth, just for a moment. "I don't know about that," she says, "but I could at least try, if I was. I think it's important that someone does the defending and protecting." The momentary discomfort from before, her worry about certain things she's heard, comes back. She fights it down - now really isn't the time, not with Renka doing -


Makoto may be strong, but her magical control is... not fantastic. That wasn't what NOL was looking for in her, and she may have kind of slept through some of those classes. She can tell Renka is doing something; she can watch the foxfire spheres move, she can feel the control, but she isn't skilled enough to read what she's going to do with them before it happens, or how she's going to use those dancing spheres. So she has to rely on instinct rather than thought, something she's generally better at anyway - Makoto isn't much of an overthinker.

Makoto's instinct is to dive through them as they come at her, and that's exactly what she does. She might have managed it if she wasn't sore from those impacts from the staff, and if Renka hadn't summoned up more of the spheres; she vanishes in the rush of blue with a puff of smoke.

Not one but three Makotos come out of the smoke: one high, one medium, and one low. The high one dives in an arcing punch toward Renka, the medium one bounds in a low, long jump, and the low one slides, all at subtly different angles. She's going to have to pick which ones to deal with.

Two of them disperse as they get close to Renka, fading away into wispy energy and vanishing. The third, the low one, was actually Makoto; she performs an awkward slide takedown against Renka's legs, trying to bowl her to the ground by sheer momentum. It has to be momentum, because whether she hits or misses, Makoto tumbles on for several more meters and then sprawls on her back, taking deep gasping breaths. She's conscious but she does not seem inclined to get up anytime soon.

About five seconds after that, she sticks her arm straight up with a thumbs-up. She's okay! Probably!

COMBATSYS: Makoto Nanaya can no longer fight.

[                       \\\\\\\  <
Renka            1/------</<<<<<<<|

COMBATSYS: Makoto Nanaya knocks away Renka with Asteroid Vision.

[                                <
Renka            1/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|

The full storm of her foxfire unleashed, Renka stays rooted where she stood. It's clear that staying upright is a struggle for her with the way she wobbles forward and backward slightly, as if trying to correct for balance that is currently out of sync with reality. Having sent everything she had Makoto's way, the regenerative effect she was benefiting from briefly is cut off and suddenly she is gasping for breath as if she had been deprived of oxygen for far too long.

From out of the azure firestorm surges not one but three Makoto's, which is three times more Makoto than she has any hope of handling. Instincts suggest that it's an illusion of sorts, a subject the kitsune knows something about. So squirrels are masters of visual deception too?! She hasn't the wherewithal to escape outright, which means having to take a stand and hope for the best, teeth grit as she leans on her rear foot and braces her sword with her left hand pressed against the flat.

The preparation is for an impact that never comes, not anticipating that the true threat would indeed be the lowest of the three. The brief enigma is solved the instant her legs are completely smashed out from under her with so much force that she actually ends up flipping forward where she stands, landing hard on her back for the third time in the last several seconds.

Another gasp as her only recently recovered breath is expelled from her lungs as she mirrors her opponent in lying on her back, arms at her sides, her fingers finally relaxing their hold on her sword. Closing her eyes, her mind whirls with ideas of what to say, not realizing that until she can successfully take a breath in again without coughing, she won't be saying anything at all.

Hopefully she did her part. It's likely those who selected her for this assignment didn't even know what all she might rattle off once she got in front of the cameras. But for now, at least, she had a platform from which to share her own heartfelt message and an ally to facilitate the circumstances in which she could share it.

Opening her eyes, she lifts her chin so that she is looking up over toward Makoto, catching sight of the raised thumbs-up. Grinning, Private First Class Kaneko wipes her left hand across her mouth to draw away the small flecks of blood left on her lips from earlier blows and brings her right hand up, mirroring the symbolic gesture of the darkstalker Lieutenant before allowing her arm to flop down, eyes closed as a recuperative need to rest finally takes over.

COMBATSYS: Renka takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Renka can no longer fight.

Log created on 22:10:07 05/30/2018 by Renka, and last modified on 00:05:36 06/04/2018.