Neo League 0165 - NL#0196: Mint vs Roland

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Description: The battle of the cybernetics! Does two giant fists match up with one entire arm? The pressing answer to this question is hidden inside...

Shibuya Station is, without a doubt, one of the busiest train stations in the world. During weekdays, the station is filled with throngs of people going to and from their daily work. And on weekend nights, the station is packed with a completely different crowd, as Shibuya is the number one hotspot for the youth of Japan with their fingers on the pulse of the latest musical or fashion trends.

But this here's a Saturday morning, and nearly all of the station's usual clientele is fast asleep. Why, it's probably only older folks and jet-lagged foreigners who would even think of traveling through Shibuya station's halls at this hour...

Foreigners like Minal "Mint" Panesh, currently leaned against one of the white-tiled walls that encloses one of the larger vestibules leading to the ticketing area. And, despite her short, 4'9" height, the chocolate-skinned South Asian is hard to miss, as her two olive-drab gauntlets are easily the size of a medium dog each. She wears a pair of baggy, taupe-colored cargo pants and a black mock turtleneck sweater, along with a camouflage eight-pointed patrol cap. And her left hand is currently curled around a foam Starbucks cup, about half-filled with piping-hot coffee. She apparently needs the caffeine, judging from the bags under her eyes, and her occasional need to yawn.

A large portion of the common area has been set off with plastic, water-filled barriers. Mint's leaning against the wall just outside said barriers, not far from a small table topped with a banner that reads 'NEO LEAGUE SEASON 7' And every so often, she glances over at the clock on the opposite wall. It's true that she's a few minutes early for her scheduled match against this... 'Roland' person. But instead, she's using it to nurse the coffee cup in search of the wakefulness it brings.

Roland is a lot of things, but he's not quite so sure he's still youth. Far closer to 30 then not, and having generally had an awful taste for music or art, his cultural ignorance doesn't extent to the fact he knows it's one of the more public fighting venues. He had been half-heartedly pursuing the revival of his own fighting career, glowering at the popularity of the maybe-fake?-Darkstalker girl known as Lyraelle. Sure, if he was cute and female and had a tail, he'd have ALL the fans! ...doesn't mean he's not going to try to steal some ideas, all the same.

Yet this also has some degree of business to it. A missive from a certain annoying manager in Ultratech indicated there was a large interest in this woman's own cybernetics; a free agent of potentially unique combative engineering skill is doubtlessly going to draw attention. It somehow makes him bitter, as Roland would have accepted the invitation regardless... the implication it's part of his job really ruffles his feathers!

Of course, a few minutes early leads to Roland being a few minutes late. He's no less foreign, clearly; tall, dark skinned, looking like someone who just walked out of an American Western movie; he's a black leather jacket, although the right sleeve is torn at the shoulder, revealing the ceramic and steel of an impressively cutting-edge cybernetic prosthesis. The majority of interest in him now is having it; he's the 'Cyborg Cowboy', and he's not entirely sure how much of a fan he is of that name catching on... Adjusting the brim of the worn wide-rimmed hat, he muffles a yawn of his own -- yet he has no signs of meaningful exhaustion, himself. If anything, he seems nearly refreshed.

"Oye, oye... Sorry I'm late..." he offers. A lazy leap too the water barrier, followed by him dropping into the makeshift fighting stage proper. Mint is given a once over, although it doesn't seem to result in anything said. In fact, his brow furrows, a look of genuine contemplation and worry creasing his forehead as he settles into position. Does he truly respect the capabilities of the smaller girl's high-powered boxing?

.oO( Damnit. She really IS short. That makes it really hard to to most of my ambushing techniques... )

Minal, too, is closer to thirty than twenty, though she's done enough research into current fashion fads to know she wouldn't be able to pull off any of the teenager looks successfully. Moreover, she's not -trying- to be popular, per se -- just to challenge herself to become a better fighter!

And indeed, it becomes clear that she's engineered her weapons and her looks with an aim for utility first. The precision machinery barely makes a sound as she raises her hand in a friendly wave to the arriving Roland. Metal joints move like clockwork as she tips the last of her biodegradable cup to her lips, sipping it dry. She pushes away from the wall, tossing the empty cup into a garbage can before side-vaulting over the barrier. Military-style boots, military precision.

At least, it's all precision till she gets -into- the ring. Her eyes open wide, and she draws in a deep breath. The air inside the station isn't exactly -fresh-, but the motion nonetheless serves to revitalize her, putting a spring in her step. She bobs lightly from one foot to another, getting the blood pumping.

"Oh, hey! I hardly noticed!" Bright-eyed and ebullient, she starts to bow -- before remembering that that's a Japanese thing, and less so for folks from other cultures. "It's... Roland, right? Minal Panesh, nice to meet ya! But you can call me Mint!"

Despite the clearly implied weight of the gauntlets, she moves as if they weigh nothing at all. She balls her hand into a loosely-clenched fist. Behind her, a Neo League fight official makes himself obvious -- and a few of the cameras snap over to Standby mode.

"Coffee's kicked in, over here... So are you ready to roll, Roland?"

COMBATSYS: Mint has started a fight here.

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Mint             0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Roland has joined the fight here.

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Roland           0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0             Mint

All things considered, engineering's closer to a hobby then most things. Back when time and money allowed, he had a motorcycle he tried to tinker; might be a worthy endeavor to see about picking that up again, now that it's considered. Given the oversized nature of those hands, he expected them to move less smoothly and articulately, yet he's seeing no sign that Mint's handicapped herself with her chosen weapons... and weapons they are! Why else build them in a size so optimal for punching?!

Somewhat comically, Roland also begins to bow back, although in a rather stiffly informal way. He's been in this city multiple times, yet not so much to follow certain etiquette properly. "Mhm! I've never quite got off the ground making a name for myself, but I've gotten close once or twice..." He's any number of questionable reputation facets, from being horribly cheap to being a horrible flirt... to someone who has been properly trained and focused, his stance is loose and his attention apparently careless. It couldn't be called combative; even honed instincts would find his actions questionable. Yet Roland could have been quite the actor in another life, and such casual deception for an opening advantage has been his mainsail since his first bare-knuckle fight when he realized he had a knack for it.

"Hey, check it out." he offers Mint, lifting up his arm and flexing his own fingers. "We're metal limb buddies, eh? Unless those are just badass mecha-gloves..." Yes, yes, Magi; he's going to try to go through your list of questions. Such as confirming if those are actual prosthetics or not. Even though it's not live, he can almost feel the bastard's gaze... he better not be hiding out in the crowd. "Although this one's pretty recent, eh? Got lucky to test out an Ultratech prototype! Not sure how good my story is for losing it, though..."

He kicks at the ground, left hand slipping into his pocket. "Well, let's put on a show, eh?" The fight kicks off officially, although Roland still seems to be busy with a slow, grunting stretched, apparently having not caught on that he's about to lose the opening initiative...

"Oh, that's pretty cool!" Mint grins in reply to Roland's affirmation, nodding amiably. If she and Roland were meeting in the Midnight Channel she might have taken the opportunity to do a bit more research, but Neo League has -generally- been good enough to her that she can wander in blindly. The corporal tends to make her assessments based on what she sees with her own two eyes -- and she sees a loose, diffident stance to match his self-effacing demeanor. So that's about as far as she reads into things.

Until he draws his attention to something she'd passively observed, but never really -noticed-: his metallic arm. Mint's eyebrows raise, as she nods along -- impressed, really, at how much more compact the limb is than the behemoths attached to her elbows. "Oh, hey, how about that! And nah, I lost my real hands in Afghanistan. I've got -smaller- prosthetics, but they don't do so well in fights." She wiggles her fingers with a proud smile -- a thumb and three fingers instead of four on each hand, so that each digit can be extra chunky and durable. "Whereas I can punch as hard as I like with these!"

Mint closes her fists, lifting them to either side, about shoulder height. "Yeah! Let's have a good fight, we can test 'em out!" And just as she finishes, the turbines at the aft end of her gauntlets begin to spin up, whirring with a not-unnoticeable whine.

The official at her side gives a signal to start. Like, -everyone- hears it, so Mint just figures Roland did too. So that casual stance is just his fighting stance, she figures. But just to be safe, she calls out, "Hope you're ready for this!"

She tilts forward, loping forward in long strides to close the gap between herself and Roland. She starts off simple -- throwing a stiff right cross, and following with a wide left hook to test that metal arm of his out! "Oooraaaah!"

COMBATSYS: Roland dodges Mint's Hook Punch.

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Roland           0/-------/-======|=------\-------\0             Mint

Oh, by all accounts Neo League is likely full of good-natured people out to publicize themselves and find good brawls; and any sort of place has their fill of exceptions, with Roland not particularly being the best of the bunch. For most of his life, he was after a paycheck first and foremost, and doing whatever it takes to win is not the most ethically sound method of making a good impression... that's less of a concern now, although old habits DO die hard.

"Ohh...?! A war hero? Huh. I respect that a lot, actually. My dad was in 'Nam... never was interested in enlisting myself. He didn't have much positive to say about it..." Idly he wonders if he's ever fought someone from his homeland in Southtown; if he has, it was long enough ago that he's forgotten! "Nice to meet someone who can appreciate a hamburger, and presumably doesn't also call soccer football..." A bitter pill to swallow. He knows he's wrong, and at some point it turned into spite!

Yet he can't help widening his eyes at the sound coming from Mint's creations. And indeed, it seems he was just being coy; her advance into a fierce strike ends in a... strangely listless shift to the side. He's flaws in his footwork, and she'd readily confirm he has no apparent style... but his center of balance is incredibly high end, and he's ridiculously athletic. The sort who rides on natural gifts, instead of technical training and effort, most like.

"Whoa...! I don't wanna get hit by fists that huge!" he complains. Before rolling his bared cybernetic arm; vents hiss open on it as well, disgorging heated air in a billow, but far more quiet then Mint's upended ones. Green energy ripples to cover his knuckles, before he twists and lashes out a sharp, fierce hook punch of his own; twisting into it, letting his own mechanical limb do most of the work. His chi is the wild card; it would not immediately do anything, yet if it made contact, would cling tenaciously like an ephemeral stain... before violently exploding in an emerald blast!

COMBATSYS: Mint dodges Roland's Fierce Punch.

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Roland           0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0             Mint

War hero...? Mint's smile fades slightly as she hears -that- particular appellation. She wasn't in the front lines of the Afghanistan combat, so she wasn't a 'hero' there. And the last time the corporal had been in combat, she was definitely not the -hero-, so there's that memory. But after a moment of wrestling the demons of her past, she reminds herself that Roland is just trying to be friendly. Even as he makes wild assumptions about whether she likes hamburgers (which, thankfully, she does) and whether her term for soccer agrees with FIFA's.

So yeah. She's American. Point of commonality. Belatedly, her smile brightens at that realization. "Hehe, yeah!"

But then she wonders, don't they call it 'soccer' here in Japan, too?

That's neither here nor there, now that the battle has begun in earnest. Roland's lazy slide to the side is noted -- for in order to -really- get a feel for Roland's technique, she'll have to make him work for it. And he has the hustle! "Well, I'd -hope- not!" There's only one person who seemingly -does- want to get hit by the fists. And, well, he's not here now.

Mint follows through on her punch, stepping off to the side afterward so she can adjust to Roland's new position. And when his own arm opens up, and green energy ripples out, well, that's enough to pique her interest. "Oh, neat!"

But, likewise, curiosity does not mean she wants to get cuddly with it. The fist streaks near, and Mint's upper body sways out of the side, while her feet carry her the rest of the way out of harm's path.

"That's cool," she comments, raising her fist defensively. "Is that chi, or something neat like aerogel?"

In the next moment, she lunges forward, throwing two quick jab punches, then stepping in with a hard right straight punch to follow up. She'd step forward again this time, though, thrusting her left fist forward in a deep cross punch aimed at his right sternum!

COMBATSYS: Roland blocks Mint's Knuckle Dragger.

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Roland           0/-------/=======|=------\-------\0             Mint

Just a faint bit of surprised frown at Mint's reaction. He always figured your average soldier would like being called that... although he does make quite the mental note that her uncertain frown is almost the exact same as his father's, who definitely never agreed with that common compliment. Well, that's the issue with playing cards, he supposes... can't always get it right.

"Definitely not a masochist, no... the 'getting hit' part of fighting's what I like least... can't say I'm any good at it..." He seems relaxed, and conversation within the flow of battle comes natural. His focus doesn't seem the sort that requires constant attention, or he's just sufficiently experienced in being a blabbermouth that it's second nature at this point.

Swing!! She's fast. Is she strong, or are the prosthetics that light? Maybe both? "It's my own Roland-brand chi... supposedly it's kinda unusual. I couldn't say. It can route through this cybernetic limb just fine!"

Jabs, though, force him to bring up his humming cybernetic arm. Metal clashes on metal twice, even as he shifts to take the more fierce blow in his palm rather then the chest. It sends him skidding back a foot, with a mild "!" of respect for the force the little girl can build up. If this were a boxing match, she's probably able to throw a punch above his... but it's not, is it?

"Okay, think we got our opening volleys out of the way... hup!" Roland leaps backwards, landing in a crouch upon one of the heavy water barricades. Before rearing back his right arm; there's way too much distance to reach her, though. Yet when he swings, the reason becomes clear -- there's a flash of green light, before his forearm goes flying! A metal tendril connects it with the joint of his arm, but the fingers flare open, as he aims for it to grip Mint by the throat, as it builds up another charge of humming chi... and if he connects, it will explode once more, while he twists and kicks in the mechanism; trying to reel her in, while all staggered, towards the other fighter!

Does SHE have dirty tricks built in?! He hopes to find out! Well, the people who hired him hope...

COMBATSYS: Mint blocks Roland's Roulette.

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Roland           1/-----==/=======|====---\-------\0             Mint

Mint can... honestly say that it's been a while since he's come across anyone quite as talkative as Roland. Particularly in the midst of combat like this. "You're a funny guy, Roland," she comments with an amiable grin. She doesn't mean any harm from that, of course -- though she works with Marines and Special Forces agents all the time. Being honest about her emotions just isn't something she gets the pleasure of doing all that often.

Mint keeps her footing grounded for the follow-through, even though it might be better strategically to keep the pressure on. It probably has a lot to do with the casual nature of the encounter. "Oh, neat! I just know it's a handsome shade of green." And considering Mint's gauntlets, it would appear she likes the general -color- green, if not his exact variant of it.

Still, the Marine is impressed at how he's able to move in the ways he is. Crouching like a gargoyle atop a barricade. And rearing back his right arm -- as if he might plan to -hit- her from that distance.

Her eyes go wide as he actually -moves- to hit her. She turns, reflexively, interposing her left gauntlet in the path of the gripping hand!

"Uhh-whuh?" she stammers, as she finds her gauntlet caught in the grip. But even as the South Asian is stunned, she can roll with the punches, so to speak -- and as her left arm is reeled in, she hits the ground running. She guns the throttle on her right arm, and leaps into the air -- a sideways vault that has her clearing a good three meters. "Uwahaha! That's a neat trick...!"

Her boots hit the ground again, and she -leaps- into the air, threatening to outpace the reel mechanism on Roland's arm. "Here's mine, though!" At any rate, she's able to bring both her gauntlets out to either side, like wings...

And then she brings them both hammering down at the perched Roland! Pneumatic pistons fire in mid-movement, to give her punches just that little extra kick on the downstroke! "OOO-RAH!"

COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Roland with BFH.

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Roland           1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0             Mint

"Hey, hey...! I've not even TRIED to be funny yet. I'm told I'm quite the dashing and charming guy, now and then..." Crackles of his energy continues to flirt around the trenchcoat-laden fighter, as he smirks in a rather more playful way. "And of course. Handsome green energy from a handsome green-eyed guy~"

Although he didn't end up grabbing what he was hoping, he still tries to play a game of 'Fishing for Mint', bracing his heels and holding his right arm bracingly as the taut cord continues stubbornly trying to reel. It's... not really giving him any tactical advantages, at this point... only for her to launch at him, making Roland briefly stagger forward with an expression of surprise...!

Both fists slam into the top of his head. He's spiked down, impacting the concrete past his perched, and rolling a couple meters with a dazed expression. Notice for Report: Those giant fists hurt as much as he expected. "Hff... ow..." Usually, he takes and maintains the initiative; but the carefree small girl is not at all falling into a rhythm he can take advantage of...

"Time for me to GET... SERIOUS!"

Roland draws knees to his chest, kip-upping to land in a crouch. He then twirls, facing Mint with a strange, exotic-looking pose. He leans back on his rear leg, other edging forward. The palm of his left hand extends to face her, the right rearing back as if preparing to throw a punch. An exhale, as if doing some kind of focusing breathing technique...

Then Roland's left hand snaps. Sparks of green energy ripple and explode, a dazzling flashbang meant to surprise Mint and drop her guard! So he can shoot forward, aiming to grasp her by the back of the neck. Green energy ripples about his knee as he aims to drive it into her compact midsection, before twisting around to shoulder-throw her into the ground with a "HYAAAAH!!"

...which is right around when that energy of his would vividly detonate, hopefully with some more effectiveness the second time around!

COMBATSYS: Mint interrupts Sleight of Hand from Roland with Foxtrot Oscar EX.

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Roland           1/--=====/=======|=======\-------\1             Mint

For her training in both boxing and infantry, Mint was strongly encouraged to excel in drills. Consistent delivery provides consistent results! But Mint has learned fast that consistency leads to very predictable patterns, and she's tried her damndest to avoid those in any way. Drills are good for the basics. Less for actual brawling!

"Well, don't force it, then!" she replies with a grin, taking the self-admiration in stride. That, at least, she has plenty of experience with from hanging around Marines as much as she does.

As Mint slams her fists down, she hops backward, boots landing about three meters away. She stays light on her feet, raising her gauntlets in a ready boxing stance, left arm leading. She nods, as Roland makes his bold claim to get serious -- one that she answers with, "But not -too- serious! That, and she winks back as well. She's happy she gets to enjoy this fight on its own merits, at any rate. And she's also happy to see Roland kipping up to his feet after her double impact punch -- she knows it packs a whallop!

She does get wary, though, when he raises his left hand. The Marine never puts much stock in that sort of thing -- if you're gonna strike, you gotta use the rear hand. That's just physics, right?

So it takes her by surprise when the left hand snaps into a font of green energy, forcing her to squint her eyes half-shut out of surprise. She's had training, though -- and backs away a step, squaring her shoulders so she can keep both arms raised in front of her face.

But in doing so, the shorter fighter leaves herself vulnerable to Roland's longer arms, allowing him to grab hold of the back of her neck. "--rrrgh?!" she elocutes, even as Roland draws her forward.

But even with her guard raised, the -size- of her huge gauntlets means that they're still covering her midsection, so that Roland's knee catching right between her elbow fairings, jarring the gauntlets Mint upward for a short ride with a resounding, stereophonic **CL-CLANGggg!**

"Hey--" she starts, but then realizes that Roland is a -bit- too close for comfort, wrapped around her left gauntlet. And that's when Mint slams the back of her left gauntlet into Roland's armpit, forcing a gap in his grip. The emerald green light starts to detonate -- but luckily for Mint, her guard means it detonates on the far side of her right gauntlet, the green energy searing against the powdercoated metal and carbon fiber with hisses and crackles.

And an instant later, Minal -- with her left arm still wedged in Roland's armpit -- presses her momentary advantage all the same. She hammers his chest with one, two, -three- quick rabbit-punches from her right fist, before rolling her left gauntlet outward, hopefully moving to sling Roland off of her!

"Whew...!" she starts. "That -was- serious...!"

Being a natural at coordination, balance, reflex... all has little to do with taking a hit. That requires dedication, training, exposure; a lot of words that Roland outright despises! He's not quite recovered from that blow to his head, and for all of his experience he is more of the sort to ride an early, crushing lead to rapid success than something more drawn out and sluggy. "I never get TOO serious..." Even if he has to keep reminding himself the paycheck for a round of Neo League is well beneath what he's pulling in for Ultratech...

New to the report: Kneeing gigantic gauntlets is painful and unwise. Also, they are DEFINITELY heavy. A partial success of his deceptive technique is not enough, for sure... a brief strain and struggle as he wrestles with the much shorter fighter, before she unleashes a few sharp blows. That breaks the tie rather quickly, immediately writhing away in that base, exploitable human instinct -- seems he never got past that weakness, before he's flung away and thumps on his back into the middle of the ring.

Okay... he's not doing well. Here it is. Emo Roland!! Why not just give up? He's here for easy wins, right? The idea of going to the last moment, fighting until the end... it's never really been for him. A shaky will's been his main weakness, but... he's on a job. Ugh... he tries to imagine the smug, snarky tone he'd hear about half-assing it when on the clock. Damnit.

It's a less epic rise when Roland pushes up, smoothing the sides of his dark hair, adjusting the brim of his hat. Cracking his head to the left then right, he does seem to be finally focused on things. Definitely still nearly predatory, however... that lax, casual attitude seems dangerous now, the thrum of his fighting spirit no longer dormant!

His booted feet shift, bracing himself on the ground. Then he launches forward; green images seem to trail after, as his chi ramps up intensely. He was already fast, but this shutters him another rung upwards; actually looking to be an attack he has refined and practiced intensely. There is no misdirection here of any sort. His right cybernetic fist clenches, and a plasma blade of energy is lashed down, trying to rake across Mint's chest.

"One... Two...!"

A second flash of energy to create a cross, before he makes to drop both arms about Mint's shoulders in a clinch, and then drive his knee towards her sternum, intent on launching her skywards as the twin coatings of his aura would make to detonate once more. The one move of his he's actually put his all into mastering...


COMBATSYS: Roland successfully hits Mint with Three Card Monte.

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Roland           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1             Mint

Neo League isn't really a -job- for Corporal Panesh right now, even if it has won the approval of her command structure. It's a means to an end -- both for her personal growth, and for her professional development as a Special Forces agent. If she does well here, there's a good chance that her augmented battle armor will be deployed in service against darkstalkers -- a possible last line of defense for humanity itself!

But right now, right here? This was a casual fight, between casual warriors that just happened to be wielding potent weaponry.

Which is, thankfully, not... too serious? Mint can't help but keep a grin cracked at Roland's antics, particularly when he manages to pick himself back up after her punishing up-close strikes. "Yeah! You're -tough- too!" she cries out, keeping her elbows by her side. It seems that the pint-sized pugilist is -cheering- for her opponent, doesn't it? Or, at the very least, she's having fun...

But the earlier pace of battle seems to have thrown her off a smidge. She'd -expected- misdirection. So when Roland charges forward, she shifts her left foot back, narrowing her profile.

It's a good strategy -- just the inverse of what was needed. For when he lashes out with a plasma blade, her left fist isn't fast enough to close the gap. The blade digs into her, tearing a diagonal rent across through the front of her turtleneck and forcing her back a meter. "NNNRGH!" A flash later, the second blade carves a perpendicular stroke across her, driving her backward even further. But she doesn't have time to react to that before Roland is already right on top of her, grabbing hold of her vulnerable shoulders and slamming his knee up into her sternum..!

It's worth noting -- she's not just small, but =light=, too. Especially with her gauntlets momentarily hanging along as dead weight from the shock of the attack resonating through her frame!

It all seems to pale, though, in comparison to twin shells of emerald chi, ripping outward with a double boom of concussive force! It's enough to blast her upward, fast and free of his rising knee, her body describing a perfect parabolic art as she sails back down to the ground.

She hits hard, shoulder blades first, and skidding across the concrete, her gauntlets showering with sparks as they slam down. Friction works in her favor here, though, as she skids to a halt before her head can do more than bump into the water-filled barriers.

Mint groans, eyes screwed shut from the fall. Wincing, she lifts her fists into the air -- her whole -body- seems to be hurting from that barrage of attacks. But luckily, she has more than her body to rely on here.

Turbines spin up into a whine, which soon becomes a thundering roar. Mint's body flies upward, and in a half-second she rocks forward, back onto her feet. The gauntlet thrust fades as she slumps forward, drawing in her breath. It'd be easy to just call it quits there. But that's -so- not her.

"Alright... not gonna lie," she starts, her voice raspy and thick. "... That was pretty kickass."

She lifts her head afterwards. And, totally on-brand, she is once again smiling, her fists now horizontal, elbows stretched out to either side like wings.

"My turn."

The turbines roar once again -- and Mint thunders forward. She leaps into one stride after another, quickly closing the gap with turbine-boosted assistance! And when she gets close to Roland, she hammers out a left straight, then a right straight, then a left uppercut, then a wild right haymaker aimed at devastating Roland's defenses! But just when he thinks he's done, well -- she's still blasting herself forward, when the boxer slams her left knee up into -his- sternum...! "OORAH OORAH OOORAAAAH!" And if she manages to carry him upward with the blow, she'd latch hold of his right hip with her oversized left hand, and hammer a series of rapid blows into him with her right!

Maybe she really does like her job...

COMBATSYS: Mint blitzes into action and acts again!

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Roland           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1             Mint

COMBATSYS: Roland dodges Mint's Heavy Punch.

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Roland           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\1             Mint

COMBATSYS: Roland full-parries Mint's Lock and Load!!

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Roland           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Mint

"If I seem tough to you... then..." Roland says, for the first time frowning in earnest. He's certainly blessed with a good physique, and does grudgingly work out extensively, on top of enhancing it with both passive and active aura... yet amongst those he considers his peers, he definitely does not feel very sturdy. ...mentally or physically.

In this case, it's that sort of edge which allows him to strike Mint. He can already tell that she's trained harder, worked longer, and likely even had the will and spirit... all he has is the blessing of whatever gods exist, and a good bit of experience. Normally, he's been the underdog... a rare case where he certainly feels less enthused. Chi comes to him as easily as breathing, and he's scarcely tried to bring out it's full potential!

"There... I finally got you back." Roland declares, cracking his neck to the side as he looks down at his mechanical arm. Reaching to twist the dials, apparently messing with some kind of setting. There's a dull hum, before bright lines of green energy ramp through it. His entire body then seems to shimmer, covered in a sheathe of emerald aura. Muscles bulge slightly, tendons strain on his visible skin, eyes seeming crisper, sharper...!

"I'm gonna try something new, here... so bear with me!!" He watches the assault, and he can't help but admire something so straightforward. A soft leap backwards takes him away from the fierce onslaught of punches, riding on raw reaction and athleticism. But... her setup is perfect. It's clear from Roland's expression that she has him; he didn't expect the boxer's leaping knee...

Of course, he's already prepared for this... his hand flicks out, aiming to throw a small piece of metal barely the size of a pinky to stick into Mint's clothes. Then, there's a flash of green light...

And he's gone. Teleporting opposite the girl, her brutal assault flashes into the open air. Both of Roland's arms extend, fists clenching as he summons blade-like extensions of chi on both. "Let's go...!"

Mint wouldn't quite reach the ground before she had to deal with what comes next. A flash of green light, and he's suddenly to her left; striking out a sideways cut towards her side. Only... shink! He's then on her RIGHT. Another cut, aimed towards her hip. He can teleport?! With the aide of that beacon, he can manifest within a bit more then a meter... a series of six more attacks, changing the angle each time, attempts to rip into the girl.

Only to appear in a crouch right beneath. As each other time, the cuts would only end in his odd energy digging into her, not yet exploding. Planting his hands, Roland curls up into a tight ball, heels pointing upwards... then erupts into an upwards, spiraling kick! Trying to slam into Mint's midsection to send her skyward...

To finish with a last teleport, and aim to wrap his arms around her. For a spiraling, head-first powerbomb aimed towards the center of the ring... the moment she'd hit the ground, he'd shink! away as all of that accumulated energy explodes in a festive onslaught of green bursts, appearing nearby in a suitably suave pose, hand in the pocket, other tilting forward his hat.

Cool people never look at explosions, after all.

COMBATSYS: Mint endures Roland's #House Always Wins EX#.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Roland           0/-------/-------|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2             Mint

Gosh. For some people, accepting compliments is like a drink machine's trying to accept a wrinkly dollar bill as payment. Pull it out, unfold it, try again? She can see his physique, and she can tell that he works out. The thought of someone getting an injection to make themselves that lean and muscular is just not a possibility she's willing to accept, after all. So... yes. She -was- trying to help! "...It's a compliment, man, don't read so much into it!"

For all intents and purposes, 'underdog' is the role Mint finds herself working best at, as well. Always shorter, always punching up. She's -used- to getting a mauling like the one she'd just received, and in a lot of ways, it's forced her to take a good, hard look at the gaps in her defense and the shortcomings of her offense. And she's also forced herself to realize that every single time, she's come back stronger than before.

So when her punches fall juuuust short of Roland, leaving him to be assaulted by nothing more than harmless bursts of displaced air? She doesn't lose hope. Because she sees Roland right there in front of her. She -has- him.

And then she... doesn't. Her knee -- not -just- an homage to his earlier attack -- plunges harmlessly through the air.

She straightens out again in mid air, pulling her gauntlets forward. And it's then that she notices the small marker beacon glistening on her left sleeve. Well, damn. The man just straight-up disappeared. Which can only mean one thing.

Mint braces for impact. And soon she gets it. With her gauntlets raised in a boxer's defense, her sides and her legs are vulnerable. A tear opens in her sweater, a crimson arc splashing outward. She grits her teeth, screwing her eyes shut and fixating on a specific fleck of paint on the water-filled barrier dead ahead of her. A second cut on her right side, stressing her belt to near breaking point. A third, a fourth -- one by one, her tactical deficiencies are exposed by exceedingly precise strikes, taking full advantage of her dogmatic stubbornness in sticking to her boxer's stance. Six slashes of green energy, insistently glowing green.

There are signs that something -might- be awry, though. She's clenching her teeth and choking back the urge to scream out in pain, though only -partially- successful from the mild whine coming from her throat. But there's also a thirteen-segment LED on each of her gauntlets, building from red up to green...

%And then suddenly, he's beneath her. Looking up, at a sweater-wrapped torso beset with green slash marks and red wounds. And above it -- the face of a cheerful fighter straining to keep it all together. Feet drive up, sending her skyward --

And then her parabolic flight is sharply interrupted, the tiny woman's body squirming as it's suddenly jerked out of its flight. Twirling, spinning around -- with her gauntlets doing the only thing they can, protecting her head from the danger of the ring itself.

This time, =this= time, there is damage to the concrete, borne from the sounds of metal grinding against masonry. Thick, billowing clouds of grey dust erupt outward, making for a wonderfully -dramatic- shot of green energy erupting outward, hundreds of shafts of light piercing through the dustcloud.

Cool people never look at explosions.
And this might be a drawback to such a strategy.
Because Mint had a strategy, crazy as it might seem.

For while Mint played the part of a pincushion, her gauntlets were firing up a trick of their own. A pre-ordained sequence was triggered into existence -- one that could be executed even when their owner was operating on limited capacity. She had one thing, =one= thing to focus on, =one= thing to execute. And this was it.

The early morning audience would see it before Roland does -- the transport beacon flying out of the dust cloud, sailing straight at Roland -- because he's not watching the explosion. He -might- feel the thing as it sticks to his shirt, but would it feel different than any of the -rest- of the debris? The audience would also likely -hear- the roar of twin turbines, kicking to full blast from idle, before he does.

All she'd had to do was point her gauntlets and give the initiation command. And off she went. It starts with one punch -- plunging into his upper spine, right between his shoulder blades. It will continue with a barrage of a dozen -more- punches, thrown with wild, reckless abandon -- high punches, low punches, punches to the ribs, punches to the thighs, punches to the shoulders, even a punch to the back of the head.

It'd culminate in Mint blasting herself upward, clear of the fracas, and the dust cloud. Her right fist is reared back, rising high above her shoulder as she hangs in midair for just one fraction of a second. Her face shows a weary committment to carrying out her plan. And only then does her jaw hinge open with one singular shout, a blood-curdling roar expressing -everything- she'd just been through. "OOOOORAAAAAAH!"

And then time moves once again, bringing the weight of her metal-backed gauntlet crashing down onto Roland. **BOOM!**

COMBATSYS: Mint has reached second wind!

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Roland           0/-------/-------|>>>>---\-------\0             Mint

COMBATSYS: Mint successfully hits Roland with Alpha Mike Foxtrot.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Roland           0/-------/-------|>>>>---\-------\0             Mint

That dogged tenacity of Mint's is certainly a powerful weapon; after all, fights are not solely determined by who has the strongest offense, the fastest attacks, the greatest ability to manifest energy or exert strength. The world of raw statistics leaves plenty of room for unknowns and variables... and little of this fight has gone down according to Roland's preferences, to be sure! For some reason, he's rarely come across people who seem to just enjoy a good brawl. Even now, the cold edge of Ayame's gaze lurks in his mind; someone who applied herself to the gifts she had and kept striding further and further into the horizon. He just doesn't get it... the sight's going to always be the same. The mountain peaks will always be through the clouds above, so far that an entire lifetime won't let you break past and see what the *real* apex of the world can see. ...right? That's what he always thought, at least. The Ryu's, the Terry's, the Ken's... the world stage isn't meant for people like himself...

And that sort of listless complacency is what truly leads to the upset. He's hit Mint hard enough to take her down, and even her most ferocious assault won't drag Roland into the proverbial grave with her. He wasn't wrong on either account; that Mint would defy such mundane expectations, though, is another thing entirely.

"...!!" Twisting around his head to look back, Roland's desire for a good photo op costs him a precious couple seconds. Mint's also pushing herself into moving faster then usual... and the little firecracker's never been slow. And isn't punching people in the spine frowned upon in boxing?! ...Probably so are gigantic mechanical fists, now that he thinks on it...

Just riiiide it out, Roland. Riiiiide it out. He's still covered in the faint flow of his own aura, and unleashing that onslaught of punches does make it clear that lucky physique he has; he might not consider himself solid, but when that final thrust of the fist drives him into the already cracked concrete with a great, explosive disruption of force, he is definitely still conscious...!

Oof. Okay, he's used to people putting it all into one last attack, but... that was beyond his expectations. Still, she should be... standing up, still able to fight?! Roland grimaces as he thumps his palms upon the newly uneven ground, and does a lazyroll to get to his feet. Everything hurts, now. He got punched in places he's never had the privilege of being punched before -- the gift that keeps on giving. "D-damnit... that woulda been a sweet end to the fight. Don't you have any feel for cinematics...!" A slow exhale follows. Mostly, his own energy ramped into overdrive is keeping him fighting fit... but there's not a lot in the tank to draw from right now...!

He then darts forward, and after a moment of being unsteady, makes it clear that his own personal speed is not much decreased. Both fists flicker with green energy once more, before he takes a poise that seems intent on throwing a punch...

Only instead to try to grasp Mint by the sweater, and yank her off-balance into a few furious blows with his elbow... both fists lifting up to lace overhead and aim his own "ORYAAA!!" in a hammerblow he aims between her shoulders, aiming to use his trademark explosive to slam her down into the ground before him once more...!!

COMBATSYS: Roland successfully hits Mint with Charged Combo.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >                                ]
Roland           0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>----\1             Mint

Mint loves a good action movie as much as the next person. She -gets- the idea of cinematic excess. It's just that, well, she's not a fan of movies that end early, without the twists and turns she feels to be an essential part of the plot.

Also, she's a bigger fan of Bollywood flicks. So there's that.

Her body's got a litany of complaints waiting to be read out, but the adrenaline-fueled Corporal Panesh is -not- in the mood to listen to any of that garbage. No, if anything, she's putting her faith in the pre-programmed sequence that's playing out, one punch after another, that ends with Roland landing on twice-cratered concrete. She pulls her fist back, panting heavily as she takes two sauntering steps sideways to collect herself. At this point in the fight it becomes clear just how heavy her gauntlets -- now throttled back to idle -- truly are, her stance sagging and desperate. She shakes her head slowly as Roland rolls back to her feet. "... Yeah, but you gotta keep raisin' the bar... Lookin' away from explosions is so last century, man!"

Her shoulders are drooping. She's... taking a less proactive approach to her own defense. Her sweater's been through hell and back, torn and stretched from any number of attacks. And while her stance is saying she's ready to be done, her facial expression suggests that she might be -welcoming- the reintroduction of simple, straight-out brawling to the mix. And yet, she nonetheless tries to hop back, to give herself a -bit- more space so that she can take advantage of an unstable footing...

Only to find that her complaining body is not having it. She finds herself pulled back by the sweater -- earning a mild "tch--!" from the Marine.

Pulled close, Mint finds elbows slammed into her, her gauntlets hanging weakly at either side. Each blow stresses her sweater even more, such that on the last one, a rather large tear happens, baring her chocolate-hued shoulder to the camera. It all passes so quickly though, with the hammerblow to the base of her neck, and its subsequent burst of emerald-tinged flame driving her down to a crouch.

Her head lolls forward, limply. She sucks in a large gulp of breath, forced into such an awkward position. But then that breath becomes a laugh.

"Hey, what's your favorite movie?"

The turbines of her gauntlets start to spin up, drowning out any possible response. The left one first -- as the gauntlet suddenly springs to life, jumping up with an attempt to clock Roland right in his jaw. But then the right one fires -- kicking up to full throttle with a furious plume of orange flame spouting out the back. It's simple, it's direct -- a straight punch right to the sternum. And if she connects, both gauntlet turbines would be aimed backward, propelling both her and Roland into the back wall!

COMBATSYS: Mint can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Roland interrupts MOAB EX from Mint with Roland Rocket.

COMBATSYS: Roland can no longer fight.

"Nnngh... some cool things endure the test of time until the very end..." Roland complains. He feels a relentless full-body ache top to bottom, and really couldn't explain what's keeping him motivated. There's merit in giving up sometimes, damnit! To save yourself this kind of pain. At least all the video and observation of the fight, beyond whatever else Ultratech uses to bolster monitoring, ought make sure his mission was a technical success...

Shifting backwards after his storm of blows upon the diminutive brawler, he briefly perks in confusion at the question. "Spaghetti wester--" he still tries to answer, before she's revving up her gauntlets once more. She's vulnerable; this is a sheer assault with no care for defense. He leaps backwards, planting his hands on the ground, twisting up at the same time she's finishing the startup for her blow...~


Heels do hit Mint first; slamming her in the chin as he erupts upwards, spiraling with green energy. A moment later, her amplified fist slams into his side, a hearty CRACK even if the forward momentum that would have straight into the wall never comes. For a few brief moment both of them would remain airborne... before Roland crashes to the ground, sprawling out on his back and staring dazedly towards the ceiling.

His everything hurts. He's just gotta get up, right? Get up... although it quickly becomes apparent the fight's already been called, when a couple medics stoop over him. Looks like this particular brawl is being settled as a draw...!

Mint's first startup punch swings wide. That's trouble. But she's already committed to the firing sequence. Feet crack into her jaw, rocking her head backward -- but still her gauntlet plummets forward, crashing into him. A Pyrrhic victory, in that regard...

But no. No one ends up slamming into the wall. Automatic safety protocols kick in, and the turbine fire goes out, leaving nothing more than rippling air in its wake. Both fighters collapse onto their backs -- and both staring up at the ceiling.

For a moment, Mint's eyes close. But in the next, she finds her eyelids cracking open, as she hears the medics scooching past the barriers and sweeping in to tend to the two fighters. Was it seconds, or was it -minutes?-

"Spaghetti," comments Mint. "Yeah... I could go for some spaghetti right now."

Indeed, a draw!

Log created on 15:47:26 07/04/2021 by Roland, and last modified on 22:38:13 07/05/2021.