Kira Volkov - The Black Dragon Chapter 2: Turning Tides

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Description: With the Dark Stalker threat quicklyg waning, Lieutenant Katarina briefs the officiers of the NOL on the plan to strike back at the source of this invasion. But, before they can attack the Dragon's Den, they must first deal with her shield. An avenue to do just that presents itself.

Katarina glanced up as the sound of heavy doors being pulled closed broke her out of the idle thoughts her mind had drifted to. Her gaze swept across the small collection of people who had mustered together in the conference room, all of them officers or the aides thereof, moving past them to the rear of the room where a young sergeant had just finished sealing a pair of wide double doors. He gave her a nod that indicated everyone was present who should be - or rather, who /would/ be. A few of the seats were notably empty but that was hardly unexpected. As always, politics among the noble houses ran rampant even during a time of crisis.

The buzz of conversation quickly died down as the Shimotsuki scion rose to her feet and moved to take up a position behind a podium at the head of the room. Behind her a large monitor flashed with magical energies as she waved a hand at it, shimmering to life with an intricate top-down map of Southtown.

"This mission briefing will now commence", she said, her voice soft yet commanding the attention of all who heard it.

Even many of the officers in the Library had trouble shielding themselves against the aura of enchantment that made all who heard her voice more inclined to agreeableness. Their pride refused to allow them to admit it or they were too incompetent to even notice, so those in the room simply smiled and listened.

By now, everyone within the command structure of the NOL was well aquatinted with the imagery being displayed for them. Large sections of the city were painted in a bright neon red field indicating the areas that had fallen under control of the rampaging monsters, and more recently, roving biker gangs, unleashed by Kira Volkov. Various other colors were smeared around the city: green for safe zones, blue for areas where Libarium forces were deployed, yellow to mark the hot spots where the most fighting had occurred.

Several black bars stretched across key highways and intersections where defensive barricades had been erected in order to cut off access deeper into the city. Most of them were also overlaid with blue, as they had proven to be effective fighting positions, but at least half a dozen were now deep within red territory, abandoned under the sheer weight of numbers being hurled against their weary soldiers. Conversely, there were also several barriers that were now comfortably cloaked in green. The fighting had been back and forth and Japan's defenders had given just as good as they had taken.

"As many of you may already be aware, there has been a major change in situations at the front lines," she began, waving her hand at the map again.

The image remained largely the same but the swaths of color shifted dramatically. Most of the area that had been covered in red had receded by a significant margin leaving large portions of the city devoid of hue. The edge of the green zone had already expanded into some of the old contested zones with bright blue vanguards still pushing into the seemingly abandoned areas to secure them.

"At oh-six-hundred hours this morning, all dark stalker forces withdrew from the contested zones. Our scouts have conducted thorough sweeps of the area for the past several hours in order to determine if this move might be some sort of trap but thus far they have found no signs of lingering enemies."

There were murmurs of approval from the assembled personnel at this precautionary measure. The loss at the Dragon's hands was still a fresh wound and none of them wished to be so thoroughly embarrassed by being caught out by simple tricks again. More importantly, if the monsters were retreating in earnest, it meant that the end to this conflict might soon be within reach.

"Our forces have already been mobilized to retake lost ground, as you can see. Thus far, we have met with no further resistance. Even the hoodlums that have been running amok have yet to muster the courage to face Librarium troops without support."

That earned a few smirks and chuckles and the young scion couldn't help but to allow her own lips to quirk up at the corner for a moment.

"As you can see, this affords us an opportunity to finally break this stalemate. With our armies free to act, we can make moves directly against the person responsible for all of this."

She waves at the screen again and a large picture of the mercenary queen flashes into existence at the corner. Anyone who had seen her broadcast would recognize the image, taken from the challenge she had issued to all of Southtown only a short week ago. The woman's mouth was twisted into an arrogant grin, her entire demeanor practically dripping with confident swagger. Everyone in the room was very much looking forward to wiping it off her face with extreme prejudice.

"However, before we can crush this bug we must first dispose of her shell."

The map shifts again at her command and two small sections, one near the harbor and the other on the edge of the beach, turn a bright gold. A thin line slowly snakes outwards from the harbor location until it touches the one on the beach, connecting them with neon light.

"This location by the harbor is one of Southtown's power plants. Over the past week our teams have been investigating anomalous energy readings still coming from what should have been an abandoned facility. As it turns out, the plant is still very operational. What's more, we now know that it has been taken over by the Dragon's forces and is feeding energy to the shield which foiled our first attempt to strike at her."

Several more images flash into existence across the map in neat rows. The first shows a distant view of the power plant, a generic looking industrial complex with several towering boilers. Thick plumes of smoke billow from their tips indicating that their machinery is still active. Another shows a much closer view, zoomed in one of the many cat-walks running through the scaffolding. Several figures in full-body black armor armed with assault rifles can be seen making their way across the bridge. In another image, a massive figure that looks like a man made entirely out of biceps with bright blue skin stands near the entrance to the complex engaged in conversation with a woman wearing tactical fatigues. In another, several dark stalkers of the variety they are quite familiar with by now can be seen prowling along the rooftops near the power plant, lurking in the shadows and clearly waiting to ambush anything that tries to slip past them.

"We believe that Volkov knew that her forces would be unable to hold the line for much longer and has thus reconsolidated her defenses around the most obvious target - the power plant. This is the first time we have seen her commit actual mercenaries to the conflict beyond the engagement at her fortress so it seems likely that she fully intends to defend this facility. We have also noted sightings of what appear to be powerful dark stalkers not yet encountered before which she may have enlisted as further deterrent against attack."

Katarina turns her attention away from the images, sweeping her gaze across the assembled officers. Though her voice remains soft and calm, there is a hard edge to her words that she projects with the authority of someone utterly confident in their beliefs.

"None of this matters. Regardless of what this arrogant thug-for-hire throws in our way, the Librarium will regain its honor and retake this facility."

The soldiers in the room are too disciplined to break out into rowdy cheers but several calls of enthusiasm and a loud clapping rises up to break the silence for a few seconds. Katarina smiles, allowing them to have their moment. Everyone in the NOL is eager for a bit of payback after the past couple weeks. Once they've got it out of their system, she continues.

"While I would be quite happy to engage in this feat with only Librarium forces, it would be behoove us to take advantage of the non-military personnel who have offered their services in defense of Southtown. In particular, Heihachi Mishima approached me directly and offered the aid of his own security forces. There are also several notable members of the local community who possess high levels of combat skill which have been instrumental in keeping the pressure off our forces over the past weeks. Allowing these civilians who wish to fight to aid in the retaking of the plant will not only reduce the risk to our own forces but potentially help buy back some of the good will that we have no doubt lost at being caught so off-guard against such an attack in the first place."

A few of the lower ranked officers blanche at the talk of politics but anyone with a brain knows that winning the hearts of the Southtown citizens is crucial to their continued operations here. If it looks like turning against the NOL will be in the best interests of the politicians who supported their arrival in the first place, they'll do it without a second thought. In fact, there's already been a lot of pressure against them from such sources thanks to the influence of Jedah. But after such a flagrant attack against humanity by obvious dark stalkers, maybe things will start to change.

Katarina goes for the next half an hour, laying out tactical plans about troop movements and supply lines. While this sort of thing isn't usually her job, the opportunity to swipe a little of the glory from this engagement by setting up the tactical aspects were hard to pass up. She has no intention of throwing herself into this particular fight personally. While she may be an excellent duelist, even heroes often find their deaths in such wide-scale engagements. No, let the grunts throw themselves upon the pyre for the Imperator's glory. It is, after all, their job.

"If there are no more questions..." She leaves the offer hanging in the air, glancing curiously around the room, but no one takes her up on it. With a nod, she continues. "Very well, this briefing is over. You are all dismissed. See to it that your forces are well prepared."

Katarina smiles smugly, tilting her head back so that her expression is visible behind the tall collar of her greatcoat. Her crimson eyes flash with a hint of avarice at the thought of the carnage that will be unleashed, practically salivating over the opportunity to bask in the suffering of war. The sheer destruction that had been unleashed in the first few days of the attacks had kept the World-Song's thirst for misery and pain slaked for weeks. If the fighting is half as gruesome as she expects, there will be another feast for her to gorge the wicked artifact on.

"Tomorrow will be the end of this dragon's reign of terror."

Log created on 09:07:45 05/25/2020 by Kira Volkov, and last modified on 09:08:34 05/25/2020.