The Bell Tolls - TBT Act 3 - Breakdown

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Description: Having heard of Shadaloo's machinations from Kasumi, Ryu Hayabusa sets out to cleanse such evil. His quest brings him head to head with one of Vega's greatest weapon: the dangerous V1. Faced with such a deadly opponent, can Hayabusa free the old soldier, or will Vega maintain his claim on Zach Glenn?

It's unclear what was so important for Shadaloo to move through this secluded checkpoint, but it is a mystery that is meant to be unraveled in time. The operative in play against that shadowy organization tonight is, after all, patient; zen-like in his focus and precision.

So it is that the skeleton crew defending the post is executed without alarm, cut down in ones and twos by an unseen force from the shadows, one that creeps into their midst with the descent of the sun, comes upon them with the twilight. The sudden stop to reports from this squad prompted reinforcements: a transport gunship with another, reinforced squad of troopers.

This chopper was taken down, satellite imagery suggesting anti-air weaponry that the border station simply does not possess; naturally, this quickly leads analytics to the conclusion that a powerful fighter is responsible, and steps are taken to amplify the response. It's unclear by the time that response responds whether what they are responding to is even still in the area: the bodies of the troopers are gone, or hidden somewhere, patterns of precise bloodspatter and the fallen carcass of the transport helicopter the only real indications of conflict.

As one approaches the checkpoint itself, the air takes on an unearthly, crisp quality-- like a spring breeze answering a cooling rain. It's acrimonious, antithetical to the psycho power possessing the spirit that was Zach Glen-- immediately agitating and uncomfortable, the calm and temperate environs spurring the opposite impression in any and all dark energies and entities. Sitting atop the lone watchtower observing the empty scrubland beyond is an unassuming shadow, a meditating demonslayer who is not yet finished applying his art for the evening.

It would be easy to take the intelligence he's gathered and slip into the darkness, leaving little indication how or why any of this had happened-- but the Dragon Ninja is not done here. It is not information that drew him here, not these base troopers that led the dreamings to demand his presence. No, the last scion of the Celestial Dragons waits under the gibbous moon for one man, one key-- the question is, can that warrior even be made to see it, anymore?

The man only referred to as "V1" in this facility stalks the corridors, attempting to investigate what has struck the compound. The man that he was would have likely sensed the Dragon Ninja moments after the first soldier had fallen, but the experiments and procedures and the sheer oppression of Vega's will had dampened Zach Glenn's ability to sense much past his immediate area.

If the situation were not what it was, if he were able to make subjective assesments, if he were able to question and evaluate anything past a tactical situation? Zach might have been grateful to not be aware of all the people around him for a moment.

But V1 will not, CAN NOT, voice such a sentiment. He is unable to do the critical thinking to reach such a conclusion. He knows that there is an intruder, and that this interloper must be dealt with.

The Shadaloo enforcer strides onto the helipad, violet energy wrapped around him like a cloak against the elements as he regards Ryu Hayabusa. The Soldier is dressed in an immaculately tailored business suit and sunglasses that do not seem to impede his vision in the slightest.

"You need to leave," he says flatly. "You will not enjoy what follows, otherwise."

COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn has started a fight here.

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/-------|

By the time the gaze of the V1 falls upon him, Hayabusa stands tall, perched gracefully at the very edge of that watchtower roof, looking down to the helipad. He's silhouetted by the moon, the fervent breeze carrying clouds behind him to darken and lighten the surrounds in cyclical but asymmetrical periods of illumination. The moonlight glints from the dull silver accents of his armor with a subtle shimmer, and then the Dragon Ninja is in motion, an arc of descent, already flush with power from his meditative path through the night's combat.

Like his namesake, Hayabusa strikes like a predator from above, building momentum impossible from gravity alone. "I enjoy no part of this, Zach Glen." The Dragon Ninja's voice seems to come on the breeze itself, to murmur around and through the V1 as much as be called out to him. Ryuken is the first point of contact, descending in both Ryu's fists with a businesslike pommel-strike meant to daze Zach squarely in his forehead.

As feet touch ground, as his stance steadies with a delicate, catlike grace, the Master Shinobi would follow through with a singular, perfect crescent slashing an arc downward across the Shadaloo servant's torso. "It is simply what must be done; for you, for all of us."

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa has joined the fight here.

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa

COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn just-defends Ryu Hayabusa's Blade of the Wisdom King!

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/-------|====---\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa

V1 takes a half-step back to dodge the pommel strike even as both hands clap the incoming blade to a halt. His eyes lock with Hayabusa's, showing nothing of emotion as he holds the weapon in place.

"It's business," he says, almost agreeing, "Not personal." He shoves the blade back and to the side, forcing an opening between the two of them before dashing forward. A blade of psychic force leaps into V1's hands as he slashes at the man's flank in passing, turning to face Hayabusa with a gaze that takes in everything.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Zach Glenn's Swift Blade.

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa

Unswayed by the expert defense, the Dragon Ninja pivots with the deflection, dropping one sleekly armored gauntlet perfectly in line with the surge of Psycho Power. The stinging stroke is largely turned aside in turn, the shinobi's eyes narrowing, conveying the resolute set to his features behind the mask he wears.

Hayabusa wastes nary a bit in striking out anew: once, twice, thrice he makes swift strokes with the blade in his hands, culminating in a lunging elbow conveying force enough to shift a wall. Ryu's stance firmly plants, the desert scrub rustling outwards in answer to the invisible shockwave.

"You will need to fight with me, Glenn-- this cannot have subsumed the whole of you."

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Zach Glenn with Redan Gekisai Sho.

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/----===|=======\-------\1     Ryu Hayabusa

Blood splatters on the asphalt as the blade strikes true, the psion staggering back under the force of the elbow. The cuts are already closing in front of Hayabusa's eyes, V1's augmented and formidable energies working to keep the Soldier in fighting condition.

A hand reaches out, and a larger hand formed of violet energy grasps for the ninja. "There is only me," he says. "I will hold this facility," he states as the hand starts to close its grip around the ninja!

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa interrupts Shining Finger from Zach Glenn with Phoenix Ascendant.

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/-======|=======\===----\1     Ryu Hayabusa

The hand reaches out, and Hayabusa hurtles -through- it. The punishing psychic force is cleaved in twain by a descending stroke of Ryuken, its sheared intensity ripping through the Dragon Ninja like luminescent shrapnel.

In the same instant, the ancient artifact against evil returns skyward in a fearsome slice, carrying V1 skyward. Ryu pursues him in a flash, translocating into a second rising cut, his lithe frame twisting about itself to bring even more force to the singular stroke.

"I pray to prove that wrong. But your cause is already lost, regardless if Zach lives." It might seem callous, at a glance-- but the man Glenn was would appreciate the stalwart sentiment. It has the air of an oath. Hayabusa will never stop fighting, never stop tearing down what tyrants and fiends forge in their world.

Zach Glenn would most certainly appreciate such a sentiment. The problem is that V1 is in charge, tapping into Zach's abilities and talents to do the work of its Lord Vega. V1 crashes back to the ground, rolling to his feet to come up in a low crouch. There are a plethora of incorporeal blades hanging in the air, forged of pure will power.

V1 does not reach for them just yet. He watches Ryu carefully, energy roiling around him. "We both have our missions," he says. "We will see who is more determined to see that mission through."

With that, the psion charges, energy building in both fists as he closes the gap to lay a flurry of punches into Hayabusa in an attempt to overwhelm the man's guard!

COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn successfully hits Ryu Hayabusa with Detonation Combo ES.

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Zach Glenn       1/------=/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2     Ryu Hayabusa

It's a tumult that Hayabusa is sure he can avoid, reposition, gain the upper hand in this fight-- and then it happens. Perhaps it's a missed step, perhaps testament to that very determination still present in Zach, redirected to its horrific purpose by the mental influences of a madman.

Regardless: The end result is one thoroughly pummeled, exploding Dragon Ninja. Sent hurtling backwards, Ryu skids end over end across the helipad, smouldering where he tries to rise, crouched a moment at its edge. His eyes narrow, his own mind and spirit focusing beyond the pain that suddenly fills him-- the magnitude of the Psycho Power was not surprising, but the Shinobi Prince cannot allow his own mission to fail, either.

It's a rare display, and one witnessed now only by the pair of them-- one of whom is of questionable cognition in the first place. A graceful kata brings Ryuken in line with Hayabusa's stance, and as if from nowhere and everywhere at once, a brilliant stream of white-cored flames flicker into being and suffuse him.

The Dragon Ninja's eyes burn with that Celestial power, and the entire battlefield crackles as if with awakened energy. His eyes locked on V1, Ryu himself shimmers, fades, vanishes and transmutes in the same moment into a creature of impossibly greater mass.

The black-and-emerald dragon's scales shimmer silver in the moonlight as he takes to the sky, body long and serpentine as the beast curls about himself, and covers the whole of the helipad in ancestral fire. The blaze rages for moments that seem incessant, the serpent diving from on high in a fury of claw and tooth, seeking to quite literally devour the V1 in a shearing maw of teeth.

The dragon's teeth are like unto Ryuken: the fangs of ancient, godlike dragons, once more ushered into being, if so very transitorially, by the greates Ninpo Art known to the last inheritors of the Celestial Dragons. It's a painful, bloody purification, but of a flavor few evils have ever withstood intact.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Zach Glenn with #Art of the True Inferno#.

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Zach Glenn       2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa

The psion's eyes go wide at the transformation. V1 had no frame of reference for something like this, could not steel itself to maintain control over Zach Glenn, who is in awe of the feat. The dragon descends and the pain is force of nature in its own right, and the man screams out in pain.

It takes long, torturous moments before V1 can get clear of the dragon's fangs, slumping to the pavement in a bloody and ragged heap. However, something brings V1 to its feet. "No," it seethes, its voice a growly raspy thing. "I. Will. Not fall here."

The swords that were forming had not disappated with the onslaught of the celestial dragon, still hanging in the night air. "I WILL BRING YOU DOWN!" V1 roars, blood spraying from its mouth as he dashes past Ryu, pulling the first pair of blades from the ether before turning to slash the ninja with them.

V1 charges back in, gripping a second pair to strike at Hayabusa. Then a third. Then a fourth. And a fifth. The number of swords dwindles in the seemingly endless onslaught of blades before V1 skids to a stop. It wobbles in place, and then there is a sizzling sound.

Followed by a muffled pop and a spray of blood from the back of the Soldier's neck. Zach Glenn collapses in a heap, his breath ragged from pain and exhaustion before curling up into a ball and retreating from everything without going anywhere.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Zach Glenn's #Claiomh Solias EX+#.

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/-------|>>>----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa

The magic involved in such an art impacts more than the target; the avater of the Celestial Dragons leaves its mark on the air, on the land, on the shinobi who conjured it. To say it takes a great deal of concentration and raw energy is to understate the extreme effort, and even still: it is matched in kind by the outraged psychic fury of the V1. Hayabusa reforms to a point that seems to manifest the Dragon Ninja's typical form, and just in time for Ryuken to align for each incoming psychic sword.

It still tears into the Shinobi Prince, each block and parry sending the shrapnel, the after-imaging wave of brutal psycho power through him. It rends Ryu's very soul, threatens to consume his spirit, but each time V1 lashes out, the master ninja is in place. He weathers it as well as any man could, testifies in resilient action to his own determination to see this through.

"Even if you manage to stop me, to win this fight--" Hayabusa breathes, drawing a steadying breath, "-- it will be no victory, only another step of an unecessary fall." The last scion of the Celestial Dragons draws a forgotten kanji in the air between him, a resonant tone of chi surging almost audibly through the purified area, the general seals focusing in on the corruption-- in on all that is not-Zach within Zach's frame.

"I know you are in there, Zach Glenn. Both the sadism of your slavemaster and his need for your experience and instinct demand it. You are no mindless drone, seek me through the pain, through the grief-- hear my voice. I can seal this evil; /we/ can defeat it. Walk past this battle to the next."

Along with the Dragon Ninja's unwavering sincerity, the paradoxical and deep compassion of a man who's killed repeatedly, this very night, is the melody of magic, the rebuilding of power that suggests in intangible terms that, perhaps, Hayabusa can in fact do what he claims.

The man who is both V1 and Zach lays in a fetal ball on tarmac in a pool of his own blood. Wounds from the dragon's fangs and the apparently sudden wound at the back of his neck still leak. He is silent for a moment before weakly raising his head to regard Hayabusa. There is light in those eyes, though it is weak through the blood and the tears it is still there. He pulls a breath in through burning lungs.

"...kill me..." he says weakly before coughing up more blood. "...gave him too many people... Chun-li..." Anything else is consumed in another fit of coughing. "...can't..." More coughs follow.

And then the body starts to move as the light fades out of the person's eyes. Another blade of psychic power fizzles into existence. Their movements are halted, disjointed, as if Zach is trying to halt V1's movements, but not quite succeeding. More blood and sparks fly from the back of the neck as the body turns to face Hayabusa.

But none of the strength or determination previously shown are there. Hayabusa is facing a shelll, not even a puppet at this point.

"Death is easy." The Dragon Ninja calmly asserts. "You have unfinished business, Zach Glenn." The moment in which the haggard, defeated warrior peeks through is proof enough of that, to the young master. The energy released by his sign of power lingers in the space between them, a blue-white shimmer that seems to filter everything in that moment. The myriad, uncountable points of minute luminescence surge and gather as Hayabusa calmly focuses, Ryuken flashing into its saya as the Shinobi Prince works his limbs and fingertips into a precise, kata-led posture.

In the midst of one set of braced, spread fingertips that power gathers, a fearsome and focused purity. "Redemption you must seek that will never come if you are struck down here." The Dragon Ninja kills to avert tragedy-- to stop the monstrous. It is a duty, a sacred quest that must be applied with the utmost diligence. With empathy, as much as the Hayabusa Clan's legendary fury.

"You have a duty beyond this distorted destiny." It's a fate that Ryu seeks to avert. The gathering energy surges to a single, sub-molecular point, the eye of a singularity that flares and whirls wildly, impossibly, in a scant fraction of an eyeblink.

With a -heave- of that tensed, tightly corded arm that belies the sheer intensity of the miniaturized black hole, Hayabusa seeks to abruptly overlap its all-consuming mass with Zach's solar plexus. It's only somewhat more pleasant than the dragon's teeth-- but now, at the point of exertion, and exhaustion, the V1 is vulnerable to it.

All that dark energy would be consumed, ripped forcibly from Glenn's body, torn from what remains of his spirit, and locked away; in the moments that followed? Only that harried spirit could make the choice to fight or fall. To live or die.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hits Zach Glenn with Art of the Piercing Void EX.

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Zach Glenn       0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa

V1 surges forward, the blade raised and poised for a thrust. Zach stops, and lurches in place, the psychic sword shuddering at the halt. Hayabusa's strike is on a perfect course but the energy of the sword, surges forward at V1's direction. It is a halting thing, inhibited.

It does nothing to stop the Dragon's strike.

Zach lets out a heavy breath as he is sent flying back, bouncing several times before skidding to a halt on his back. The suit is in tatters, and Zach's wounds are still bleeding. This fight is over. Zach's fight is only just beginning.

COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn takes no action.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Zach Glenn can no longer fight.

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Ryu Hayabusa     0/-------/-------|

The veins running up Hayabusa's tensed, braced arm burn a sickly, dark violet as Vega's will is forcibly excised from Zach, and subsequently grounded through the ancient arts of the world's premiere fiendslayers. It's a subtle exercise of power, internal more than external, as Ryu in turn wrestles with the dark force that seeks only to dominate; to corrupt. It is a struggle he's fought many times, and one the last scion of the Celestial Dragons sees through to its end, tonight.

A heavy heaving sigh of relief follows, the Shinobi Prince tempted to fall as well-- to rest. Instead, Ryu paces forward to his fallen adversary, to his lost comrade in an endless war, and delicately, gently plucks him up. It's a practiced move, and despite his exhaustion, Hayabusa scarcely jostles Zach or stumbles on his path to the edge of the helipad, as a black chopper touches down as if on perfect cue.

Glenn would awaken later with his injuries expertly (and mystically) dressed aboard that same Blackhawk amidst the Dragon Ninja and a small team of CIA spooks, armed to the teeth. "You have unfinished business, Zach Glenn." Ryu echoes his earlier words to the warrior whenever Glenn first opens his eyes, the words heavy despite the smallest of smiles on the Dragon Ninja's now unmasked face.

"Where will you find it?" Below them, the cerulean and silver seas churn shrouded by night, an infinite mass of swirling chaos, changing currents, and symbolic potentiality.

Log created on 03:11:35 10/09/2018 by Zach Glenn, and last modified on 18:13:59 10/17/2018.