Dead or Alive - Supremacy of the Miltechs - Black Bag

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Description: After DOATEC consolidated much of its operations in the wake of its crisis, many facilities were abandoned and left to rot in the unseen corners of the world. However, these facilities were primarily insular warehousing, projects and inventory left abandoned, with very little in the way of sensitive data. Less so are the command centers, which were subject to much more rigorous housekeeping. It's not easy to find much in this burned out husk of a command post in a toxic zone at the outskirts of the Thar desert, but for sophisticated enough equipment, a lone [salvageable fragmented data module] may be of use, with information regarding the movements of one of the biggest miltechs in the world. However, to find one, there might be a fight. After all, the goals of a shinobi and a mercenary don't exactly go hand-in-hand..

A full moon floats high amidst a carpet of twinkling stars, their combined light shining down upon the rocky wasteland at the outer edge of the Thar desert. Bright enough to cast shadows of boulders and burnt out walls, the light also highlights the incredibly toxic fumes that drift through the ruined remains of this unnamed command center, causing the vapors of whatever chemical weapons were destroyed here to glow a haunting silver.
It is still, quiet, and cold. Like many desert regions the area drops to well below freezing at night, the ambient heat of sand and stones leeched away to be replaced by a thin layer of frost. What wild life might have once scratched out a living here have long since fled or fallen victim to the poisonous fog, leaving the scorched ruins free of animal scavengers.
But not those of the human variety.
Drifting ghost-like through the crumbling interior of the base, a hulking shape pauses at a spot where two standing walls join to make a corner, much of the roof having collapsed into the space and piled around a chunk of fallen cement and rebar roughly twice the size of a man. The soft rush of filtered breathing accompanies the figure as it inspects the rubble, face hidden behind a heavy gas mask mated to a hazard suit of mottled black and grey material.
A thoughtful rumble filters out through the mask only slightly distorted, the figure stepping forward to grip the chunk in both gloved hands. Feet braced and stance set, muscles visibly strain against the thick material of his suit as he heaves upward, slowly dragging the huge chunk of cement free of the rubble with a loud, grinding clamor that echos off of the surrounding walls.
A low, rough grunt huffs its way from the "ninja" as he heaves over a thousand pounds of construction material up over chest height and tosses it a short ways to one side, discarding it with a thud that vibrates the ground beneath his boots. That done, he steps forward and stoops to begin sifting through a pile of badly crushed electronics once caught beneath the slab, searching for anything that might resemble an undamaged core.

There is a haunting beauty to desolation and devastation. Where the full moon in the sky catches the frost creates a glittering, glimmering landscape at odds with the toxic wreckage. Life is gone, but its detritus remains behind as twilight gemstones visible only in the thin hours of thin places. A haunting treasure of a place and a reminder of what we leave behind.

But things left behind are oft found again.

Stones shift and fall underfoot of one of those people seeking lost things. The figure, wrapped in layers, face hidden by a mask filtering the toxin soaked air. Their movements are quick, stable despite the bulk of their suit. Swift motions carry from one broken, splintered spire to the next. They end, sliding down a slope of broken floor and carry off to a brisk step.

The figure is after a single thing. Unknowing of the others here, the seeker walks at an easy amble. Until, that is, the sound of thundering material clattering to the ground. Whip quick, the mask turns in the direction of the noise. There is only the sound of breathing as they figure out the situation that may be at hand. It should have been expected that the information was out there to more than just this hunter's contacts. And it really should have been known that the information being sought was hunted by more than one.

Quickly, the second hunter seeks the first. Sprinting over the broken and barren waste to the sound. Mantling with quick, balanced steps. Climbing up to a vantage. This figure is no ninja, they don't move with stealth. But with speed and agility, they perch on a still standing support beam's shear point. And without a word, they observe.

Gloved hands come away with bits of burned and smashed electronics, hunks of melted plastic and puffs of ash. Scraps. Useless. And yet nothing about the bulky ninja's posture seems frustrated. Rising back to his full height, he cocks his head to one side, back to the spire upon which Shina perches, and seems to consider.
"I was told this place had been forgotten." Noboru states, deep voice muffled slightly by his mask yet still managing to reach the watchful hunter above him.
The tone behind the rumbled words is calm but cool, several shades short of friendly. And yet, he makes no move to attack as he turns slowly about to look up at the figure silhouetted against the starry sky, observing her through lenses that shine with reflected moonlight. Left hand cupping the closed fist of his right, the ninja rests both against his middle in a pose of monkish thoughtfulness, relaxed despite the potential threat.
"I am Miyama Noboru. For what purpose have you come?"

Fire has not been kind to this place. Concerted effort to conceal and leave naught but ash has seemingly proven effective. There may be nothing left to find at all. But for the hunter, an employer has promised her payment for recovery, that is enough to search.

Though the faint glimmer of her real prize being within was all she truly needed.

She can hear the muffled voice, that was a better sign than an attack. Scrappers tended to be more overtly protective of the precious metals that hide in the walls. But all the same, she had to handle things with some caution.

But a name, that gets the figure in the suit to tilt her head and descend from the high ground. A drop, a low landing, and a rising stand. Not as tall or broad as the ninja, not entirely dwarfed by him. "Shina," she answers through her breather. The name she uses in travels, not her given one, but real as any other.

The masked face gives away her glancing around. "I suspect the same reasons as yourself. Looking for what has been forgotten." She kicks a small burnt piece of char. "Purposefully so."

"Hrrrm." comes the exhaled response, a deep, bassy noise that cuts through the soft woosh of breath filtered through his mask. Accompanying that is the sense that he is sizing her up, weighing his own priorities against the situation they find themselves in.
"Shina," he begins with stoic resolve, "your name is known to me, but not well. This is no time for the mercenary spirit. The powers at play tamper with powers beyond their control. What we have seen on the horizon must be dealt with."
Standing across from the Miyama shinobi while he outlines the situation gives Shina plenty of time to size him up herself. No stranger to fights and fighters of all shapes and sizes, the ninja almost fits the bill of a typical brute. Big, strong, no visible weapons he could get to on his person. And yet, the typical brute tends to gesticulate, to flex or lean into their speech and actions. Miyama Noboru remains completely still, a stone statue of a man in a bulky suit, presence tamped down and subdued. It is almost like he is gathering up all that wasted motion and storing it as potential energy, poised on the edge of a single explosive movement.
"Out of respect for your restraint and willingness to talk, you may leave if you wish. Tell the one who employed you that nothing was to be found. I do not wish to fight you, but if you remain I am honor bound to stop you. You must choose which side of this conflict you will fall."

For each action there is reciprocity. A sizing, gauging and reading of the physical posture. And she sees a figure that's a little over average, but by all sounds and sights a deal stronger than average. Still, not particularly moving. Potentially mechanical. The figure would not be the first robotic man that Shina had heard of traipsing about. The stillness suggests such things.

Shina is not so still. He moves when she talks. A natural outflow of youthful exuberance and the predatory nature that resides within her. She moves to inspect, to poke and to turn things over. To look. She is here to hunt after all. And she can talk while she does.

"Did I read you incorrectly?" she asks, maybe she did, "Are you a defender of this place? Some mechanism? When they burned this place, did your bosses leave you behind?"

COMBATSYS: Noboru has started a fight here.

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Noboru           0/-------/------=|

COMBATSYS: Shina has joined the fight here.

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Noboru           0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0            Shina

It is not so ridiculous a guess that the man beneath the mask is actually a machine. Having been raised from infancy to be a weapon, a perfectly honed blade that cuts through the darkness of the world, has certainly given him the relentless drive of one. But in truth, the unnatural strength, the inhuman stillness. These are the result of thirty years of struggle. Ways that he has adapted himself to make up for what he lacks in agility and inner flame.
"I am Noboru," the big man repeats, voice deep and calm as a mountain pond, "Iron Mystic of the Miyama clan."
Head turning to track the mercenary's restless movement, he draws in a slow breath, posture as relaxed as when she first laid eyes on him. He does not look like a man gearing up for a fight. But, as they both know, looks can be deceiving.
"You have made your choice. Defend yourself."
The advice is given in the exact same tone of cool indifference, a second's pause following to let it really sink in. Then, with no warning shift or twitch, the big man explodes forward into sudden motion. Wind blown out by the sudden force of his motion, he covers half the distance between them in a single dashing step, planting his right foot and launching his bulk into a flying lunge that caries him 7 feet into the air. Left knee sweeping up to nearly touch his right shoulder, he twists his entire body into a heavy axekick that scythes down toward the top of Shina's dome, aiming to smash her face-first into the ashy ground as he passes overhead.
Unless she can somehow halt his momentum, the powerful leap will carry him another 10 feet beyond her before his right hand comes lashing out to smash into a ruined section of wall, sending it toppling over while his own mass rebounds to land with his back to the French merc, boots crunching heavily into the scattered debris.

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Shina with Cascade.
- Power hit! -

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Noboru           0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0            Shina

Defend yourself?

Shina's caught off guard by the sudden aggression from the otherwise still and placid man. "Merde. . .," she mutters. Her defense against the rushing force matches her lack of expectation. Arms rise. The suit feels clunky and unnatural. Her movements are off.

The crashing weight slams her against the ground, the mask bounces off the ground with a grunting, hacking whoof of a sound. The crashing slams behind her, while she picks herself up to her knees, and bounces up to her feet. She shakes her head and checks the slight cracking at her seals.

She is not certain if she is so entirely at risk from the nature of this toxic place. But she does not wish to find out exactly.

"The information that is here is important to me. I do not do this simply for employers," she says, "Do not think I will give it up so easily."

She dashes for the ninja's back. Surging forward, she takes quick, rolling leap for Noboru. Her body compressing into a tight ball, she opens up with a crackling, surging burst of purple lightning as her suited, booted feet aim to crack with a thunderous spark.

COMBATSYS: Noboru just-defends Shina's Double Leg Missile!

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Noboru           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0            Shina

Ash and dust billow up from the section of collapsing wall, washing over the ninja's bulky form and smothering much of the moonlight the pair are fighting by. Still, there is enough for Shina's sharp eyes to make out the darker blotch of his shape through the gloom, her tumbling approach far too fast for him to turn and face her.
Purple lightning reflects back off of the dust, banishing the darkness and allowing her a brief glimpse of the ninja's broad back as he brings his hands flashing together before his chest. Fist meets fist with an impact she can feel in her bones, a blast of wind scattering the haze away from them just moments before her boots make impact.
It's like kicking a wall. An unburnt, undamaged wall of flexed muscle and unnaturally hardened bone. Noboru's bulk does not shift an inch as she hammers both heels squarely into his upper back, lightning blasting out to dance across his protective suit before grounding itself in the dirty gravel beneath his boots.
The Iron Body technique for which he gets half of his title. A maneuver normally practiced by monks to allow them to fight bare handed against an opponent armed with a bladed weapon. If the muscles are flexed explosively just at the moment of impact, they can become a near unbreakable wall. A maneuver that can deflect all damage if timed perfectly, though normally it will only lesson it.
Joints crackle audibly within the Shinobi's suit as his muscles relax, movements a touch stiff as he whirls around to reach for Shina's rebounding form. If he is fast enough to catch her, his left hand will close around her right calf and pluck her clean out of the air, swinging her down into a jarring impact with the ground. A slam meant more to keep her off balance for the followup, Noboru sinking forward into a crouch to snag her belt with his other hand.
Only then will he have the leverage he needs to power back to his feet, jerking Shina clear of the ground and hurling her straight up into the air. Quite a ways up. Very quite a ways up. Enough that the walls fall away below her and she is left adrift, ascent slowing, then reversing as she plummets back down to earth.
Hopefully she can prove the stereotype that cats always land on their feet.

COMBATSYS: Shina dodges Noboru's Embrace the Sky.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Noboru           0/-------/-----==|=====--\-------\0            Shina

Sturdy. . .

The wall of meat that Shina bounces off continue to suggest itself as being more mechanical in nature by the passing moment. She finds nothing but purchase against his bulk. Ricocheting off.

His hands slash the air and catch her. She looks down at the grapple, and she does the instinctual calculus. Twisting, she wrenches herself forward. The motion turning to a death-spiral, free leg kicking outward. The boot strikes the earth first. Her momentum pulls her out of the grip before the final smash to the ground happens. She lands on her feet because she makes herself land on her feet.

She spins, barrel rolling, landing on a posted foot, spinning out into another roll before finally finishing with a low, predatory crouch. Within her, she feels a call to shift, to rip claw and fang out of the confines of her suit. But she bites back on herself. She needs to gauge. She needs to know just how things go.

She lashes forward, starting on all fours, rising in her rush. She rises from her approach and bursts forward with a series of sharp kicks. Two left snapping strikes and a spinning heel for the head this time, rather than the chest.

COMBATSYS: Noboru barely endures Shina's Trident Shout.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Noboru           0/-------/---====|=======\-------\0            Shina

The shifter twists free of his grip in a display of impressive martial instincts and agility. Left empty handed, the ninja plants his feet and watches, palm clasping fist as he returns to that watchful, monkish posture he first presented her with. Filtered breaths coming slow and regular, he gazes into her mask at the end of her tumble, ready.
Even still she's fast. Much faster than he could ever hope to be. A single step forward is all he can manage before she is on him, two kicks pounding against the steely muscle of his calf as he moves forward into the strikes. Huffing out a breath, he powers forward, head ducking as if to accept the heel kick on his forehead. Unfortunately, the blow slips past his improvised guard and smashes him clean in the temple, bypassing the edge of the metal mask and hitting bone.
Bone that, does not break.
Barely slowed at all by the brain-rattling impact, the hulking shinobi pushes forward, right hand snapping up in an attempt to engulf the entirety of her masked face in his palm. To latch on with fingers who's grip strength digs dents in the material as he arcs his right foot around in a quick sweep, aiming to smash her legs out from under her with his shin and hurl her head-first toward the earth.

COMBATSYS: Shina blocks Noboru's Combo Grapple.

[      \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////            ]
Noboru           0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1            Shina

No clang. So, probably human. Maybe.

A note made in a moment for Shina, but not one she can entirely capitalize on in the heat of the moment. This defender of the lost and destroyed is proving to be a considerably strong opponent.

She thinks, at that moment, of Tarmo. The Finn's prodigious power was something akin to Noboru. So maybe it would make sense to handle him in a similar manner. But Shina is not quite sure if she wants to go for broke yet. Too many things that could get in the way. And though the information is important to her, it might not be that important that she gives up the ghost in desperation yet.

Close in, Noboru's sweep comes in. Shina is quick enough to take a leap over them. But it serves only to pop her up and put her well into position for the grabbing arm. Muffled sounds come from the already muffled mask and down the woman goes.

The cracking slam is enough to knock wind from her sails. A barking cough that paints the inside of her breathing mask with her spit. Reverb echoes in her head. A shocking pain. A sudden loss of clarity.

Her body operates on instinct. Hands grab for Noboru's wrist in front of her face. She kicks up her legs to wrap herself around Noboru. A wildcat twisting and scaling motion to clamber up Noboru as if he were Shina's personal mountain to claim. To take control of the close in grapple and to slam Noboru down with preffered position.

COMBATSYS: Noboru guards against Shina's Trap Leg Through.

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Noboru           0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1            Shina

Though she has no way of knowing it, Shina is not the first opponent to think of Noboru as a mountain. There are plenty of power houses taller or broader than the ninja, but few that combine his particular brand of icy focus and brute force. Not unlike battling something elemental.
Scrabbling hands get a grip around his thick wrist and the mercenary is on the move, slithering lithely up his arm and swinging her weight in an attempt to drag him off balance and bring him toppling beneath her. Though she manages to wrench his mask partially askew and strain the clasps of his suit, the Iron Mystic keeps both boots rooted like a mighty oak, right arm squeezing in to try and trap some part of her long enough that he can reach across with his left hand and grab her by the throat.
If he manages to pin her in place long enough to get a grip, he will peel her off of him through raw muscle strength, dragging her free of his body and dangling her at eye level by the crushing grip around her throat. Off hand falling to his side he lets out a low, rumbling 'HRRM.'
"You do not fight like one seeking fame or wealth. Is it possible your goals align with my own?"

COMBATSYS: Shina dodges Noboru's Breath of the Earth.

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Noboru           0/-------/--=====|=======\=------\1            Shina

No go on gaining control. Shina curses under her breath and once more finds herself the focus of very strong and very grabby hands. She relents on her attempts to wrestle Noboru to the ground and puts her all into keeping herself safe in this close contact combat.

The heavy arm threatens her, and the grasping hand means to take the wind out of her sails. Neither of which is a very good outcome for Shina. Her heart races and inside of her mask her eyes shine with an unnatural pallor. Thin slitting pupils draw focus on the fight and with a certain feline agility, Shina curls her body up and manages to invert herself out of the way of Noboru's hands.

And so she finds herself with a Noboru shaped perch, standing on his shoulders in a squatting crouch.

In that, and she will admit it to herself, absurd position she hears the question. "Non," she admits. "I am looking for information on a man. Alan Gado. I am trying to find him. I need to know if he is still the good man I remember."

To extricate herself from the situation, she kicks hard, tossing herself back with a graceful arc. Though if the force is too much, it may see Noboru dashed against the ground. But it'll put considerable distance between her and him, and she figures he is a tough man.

COMBATSYS: Shina successfully hits Noboru with Scramble Snatch.

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Noboru           0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1            Shina

Were the stakes even a little less dire, the sight of the nimble girl climbing all over Noboru while he tries to catch her might be comical. Managing to stay one step ahead of him and those scary hands of his, she has just enough time to give her response before flipping away to safety, the strength of the maneuver sending her perch stumbling forward, his bulk crashing down into the ash on knee and fist.
He can be moved it seems. Just, not easily.
"A much greater name." the shinobi comments coolly, shoving back to his feet with the soft scrape of gravel. As he turns back to face the distant girl she can see a couple of sharp stones jutting from the left knee of his suit, but no blood. Whatever danger a breach as small as that might pose, Noboru doesn't seem concerned.
"Know news has reached me about such a man switching sides. Is he such a man to change so?"
The question, though delivered in the same calm rumble, seems somehow genuine. Even as he steps forward to meet her his presence is not an angry one, nor does he seem the type to play cruel mind games.
Boots crunching over burnt debris, the Iron Mystic focuses the full of his attention upon the young mercenary. Though his left eye has been closed for the majority of this fight, the faint flash of something, some hidden power, was not lost on him during their short grappling match. And so behind the opaque lens of his mask his left eye opens, its milky white stare piercing beyond sight to the deeper meaning beneath. Striding through a world of burning chi and crackling psi, he studies the flow of energy through the girl, sees the true shape of her soul in a way few others can.
"Why do you seek your answers here?"

COMBATSYS: Noboru focuses on his next action.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1            Shina

The emotional need of the moment. The need to discover and search for answers. The need to find out if, in the results of what made her and her father something beyond human, her father had forsaken the honor of his mercenary spirit. She needs to find out the truth. That if such a thing was even possible in the wake of the Justice incident, and the rise of mercenary needs, gears and the Darkstalker's arrival.

Her mask keeps herself hidden, but the eyes that look at her can see the the predator beyond. The leopard that wears a human skin. The beast inside is no second entity as some Darkstalkers. Her nature is hers, no split entity as a lycanthropic legend. The fangs, the shimmer of her eyes, claws, none of those are out yet but to look into her will show just what is waiting inside.

"There is rumor of information. Military spec. Movements. The data may tell me if he is part of them. This, DoAtec, is suspicious. Any money from selling, that is just to pay the bills."

She talks, but it isn't just to make her case. The predator is watching, and her low crouch, with her hands pressing on the broken ground, is remarkably like the creature that Noboru can see etched upon her soul.

COMBATSYS: Shina focuses on her next action.

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Noboru           0/-------/=======|=======\===----\1            Shina

Two more steps are taken while Noboru listens to the reasons given, comparing the truth of the words to what he sees beyond. Pieces of a puzzle that is coming together in his mind even as he squares off with the hidden beast across 5 meters of busted ground.
"You have been heard,," he rumbles quietly, "and seen. It is my hope that you will find this man, and that he will be as you remember him. But your reason is a selfish one."
Right fist lifting to hover before his eyes, the monstrous shinobi clinches it tight, knuckles cracking audibly as every muscle in his body goes suddenly tense.
"If there were trust between us, what I could learn would be yours. But there is too much at stake. Perhaps, at some future point, we will stand shoulder to shoulder."
And with that, the Ninja is moving. He does not dash so much as shoulder reality out of his way, erupting forward in a lunge that thrusts his left shoulder forward while his right fist drops back, energy gathering in his feet and rolling up through his body as the distance between them shrinks rapidly down to nothing.
Right foot impacting the ground before Shina with enough force to vibrate up through her bones, he brings his right fist rocketing forward, every ounce of his strength, momentum, and the rotational force of his shoulders put behind a single, devastating punch aimed squarely for the center of her crouching chest.

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Shina with Fault Line.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////                    ]
Noboru           0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Shina


The roil begins. Ground shaking, quaking, splitting. The glimmer of night frost that coats the earth splits and sends the glittering ice into the air. A beautiful dance of scintillating colors hangs in the air. And through it, Noboru rockets down upon Shina.

The world sparks and moves in moments. A slide show of awareness. The ninja's approach. Flash. The world shaking. Flash. Pain and air. Flash. The ground. Scraping. The world inverting. The sharp pain of rubble bending her spine. Air gone. Heartbeat pounding in her ears. The rush of blood in her mouth. Coughing.


A sharp intake of breath.

Claws threaten her suited gloves. The copper taste in her mouth runs down nascent fangs. A single word. Move.

No argument comes, the body moves as it needs. This man, Shina suspects, cannot understand family. He is only obligation. He is as much a machine as a man. She surges forward, moving with purpose.

She goes high, a leaping pounce. He is big, so she goes for Noboru's head. To hook with an overhead leap and rolling with a full body head crash to the earth. Her own body moving with unnatural alacrity to carry through the attempt and put her past the brute.

But her distance is fleeting. She runs, still moving, to a bent piece of wall that still remained. She leaps for it, bounding off of it, caroming back toward Noboru to strike from the opposite side with a falling repeat of her earlier twin booted dropkick.

COMBATSYS: Shina blitzes into action and acts again!

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Noboru           0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Shina

COMBATSYS: Noboru just-defends Shina's Strong Throw!

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Noboru           0/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Shina

COMBATSYS: Shina successfully hits Noboru with Diving Kick.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Noboru           1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Shina

Impact, and breath. The scent of plastic and charcoal fills his nose as he draws deep of the filtered air, joints crackling in protest as he forces his striking fist to open. Relaxing upright, he drops the stiff hand to his side and takes in the path of destruction left in Shina's wake. Twinkling specks of frost blasted in all directions from his stomp, a straight path of scattered debris and ploughed up ash from her backward tumble, and finally the girl herself, already having lunged free of the rubble she crashed into and quickly closing the distance between them.
Girl, or beast? Beneath the layers of protective gear his bad eye can see the emergence of her true self, the shift that marks the arrival of the bestial instincts she had been holding back.
A subtle flex of his right hand assures him that the joints have loosened up. And so, as the emerging leopard leaps, the Iron Shinobi steps forward to meet her, right hand reaching out to plant a large palm on her stomach even as she goes for his head. A fractional shift of his stance pulls his head out of reach, gloved fingers swiping across his face in a motion that threatens to punch claws through her suit and gouge the metal of his mask.
Leveraging his longer reach, Noboru guides the airborne mercenary up and over his head, tossing her off behind himself to land lithely on her feet. Tracking her by hearing alone, he takes a second step forward and huffs out a harsh, grunting breath, muscles flexing hard beneath his suit just moments before her feet impact the back of his skull.
Again it feels as if she's kicked a stone, but never-the-less she forces a stumble from the hulking ninja, his bulky form staggering forward until he nearly collides with a waist-high chunk of cement. Bracing both gloves atop it, he brings himself to a halt and gives his head a single shake, banishing the two impacts she's landed there thus far.
A long breath gusts through his mask as he glances down toward the man-made boulder he's fetched up against. Perhaps a third of the size of the one he lifted before this all began, it probably weighs twice what the ninja does.
Dropping heavily to one knee, the brute slides his hands down either side of the hunk of cement, fingers digging in to secure a grip. Then, with about as much effort as a normal man might throw a bucket of water, he surges to his feet and pivots 180 degrees, swinging the heavy stone in a tight arc to gather as much momentum as possible before he sends it hurtling through the air toward Shina like some sort of human catapult. Even if it doesn't hit her directly it's bound to take out a wall or two.

COMBATSYS: Shina parries Noboru's Large Thrown Object!

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Noboru           1/-------/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Shina

There is only Noboru in Shina's sights.

The stone hurtles at her, the crushing construction turns in the air, a deadly projectile. But still, Shina perceives little but the shinobi. Her body moves like water. She slinks low, knees to the ground, hands splaying over the broken rubble. Her frame flattens and the stone hurtles over her with merely millimeters to separate her from a painful end.

She has not lost a fraction of her momentum, slipping past the stones thrown and rising from the other side. Her frame remains human, she doesn't release the beast within. She holds back still, still human but moving with the skill that earned her a place among mercenaries even in her teens.

Closing in, her arm cocks back, crackling with violent violet lightning. Her actions are clear, this pounce and move and move and pounce tactic. It is not highly technical, but it carries the fury of the leopard.

COMBATSYS: Noboru barely endures Shina's Assault Blow EX.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Noboru           1/----===/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2            Shina

As the stone hurtles off to make rubble of an already ruined base, smashing and bouncing its way to an eventual stop a good 20 meters on, the two combatants have eyes only for one another. A focus born of respect for the others' talents, and the desire to see this through. To claim the objective.
There is no time to maneuver. She is on him before his hands have dropped from the throw, crackling fist powering forward to smash him full in the mask. Purple lightning blazes into metal, conducting from mask to flesh and jolting through the hulking man's body, setting his nerves alight.
Even that doesn't stop him.
Shina's fist is still making impact with his face, purple lightning blasting through his suit, when his left hand flashes forward in a quick, powerful jab for the very tip of her masked chin. A surprise blow meant to put her on her heels, giving him enough space to bring both hands clapping together, the cracking impact of which sends a wave of displaced air rushing out in a mirror to the first time she tried to kick him.
For a fraction of a moment, there is stillness.
Then, with a step and a pivot, the shinobi flashes his right palm forward for a surprisingly light impact against the mercenary's stomach. A single, firm tap that, upon landing would send a profound shock wave rippling through her body. Bones would vibrate, muscles crawl, organs clinch as he does, something to her. Setting up a quivering pulse that rampages through her body.

COMBATSYS: Noboru successfully hits Shina with Calm the Storm.

[                  \\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///                           ]
Noboru           0/-------/-----==|>>>>>>>\>>>>---\1            Shina

Sudden shaking. A tremulous quiver sent through her body. Deep within, it stirs the young woman to her very core. She holds still for that moment. Still as she can, that is. Still as the settled frost of the outer rings of the conflict zone.

Her foot shifts, sliding backward.

The palm rattles her inside. She can feel her skin crawl. Each individual fiber of a pelt of fur felt as it threatens to push outward. The tighten and release of muscle as it thickens, binds and stretches as her body pushes toward her pantherine shape. It threatens the already weakened protections of the suit she wears.

She knows she needs the information on the drives here. She knows it would help her in her goals. But she also knows she can't risk opening herself up in a toxic field. She spits in a pained fury through elongating fangs. The snarl that comes out is less than human, but she takes a control of herself, pulling from the shinobi's skilled touch.

She turns growing tail and runs. A dashing retreat away from the prize and the destroyed remnants of the command center.

COMBATSYS: Shina takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Shina can no longer fight.

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

Fist settles into palm as the shinobi fades back from the strike, straightening to gaze down upon the mercenary through the cracked lens of his mask. Beneath the protective gear his body aches with every breath, nerves tingling from the latest jolt. It is only decades of discipline that keep his breathing steady, his muscles free of twitches.
He can see the moment Shina begins to lose control. But rather than press the attack, she turns away and he lets her, watching quietly as she clears rubble and walls alike with effortless grace. Only once he is sure she will not return does he drop his hands to his sides and allow his head to sink forward, exhaling a long, weary breath.
"Good hunting." he offers the memory of the girl. Though he can not help her now, he hopes her search will not be in vain.
Turning away from the site of the battle, Noboru stalks into the vapors with barely a sound, looming shadow disappearing amidst poison and ash.

COMBATSYS: Noboru has ended the fight here.

Log created on 13:40:11 01/18/2022 by Noboru, and last modified on 21:59:03 03/09/2022.