Description: After obtaining the security codes to DOATEC's cache facilities with relatively little resistance, the warlord is now moving out to an undisclosed location in the middle east north of India on a flying dual-rotor military-grade cargo carrier. The weapons and advancements of DOATEC could be enough to shift the balance of power away from long-stagnant players and into new hands entirely. Unfortunately, Kira finds it won't be as easy as rolling up and knocking on a door, as the world governments have begun to mobilize their own forces into the tournament. When she sees the robotic Zepp flight exoskeleton airlifting a single massive soldier up to boarding altitude, she'll know that the worst case scenario is underway.
"You know, for someone who doesn't breathe, you sure sigh a lot, boss."
Despite her restlessness, Kira couldn't help but smile. Though her untimely demise and subsequent revival as some sort of eternally cursed hellspawn had been handled with surprising amounts of understanding by her crew of mercenaries she couldn't help but notice that very few of them spent much time around her any more. In the past there was hardly a quiet moment to her day with someone always swinging by to chatter about the local gossip or cheerfully brag about their latest accomplishments. She relished that sense of camaraderie between herself and her subordinates and had done everything in her power to make sure everyone felt like family. Her people weren't loyal because she paid them well, though that certainly didn't hurt, they were loyal to her because she was loyal to them. She was one of them, just as willing to get down in the dirt and fight, to put her life on the line for fortune and glory instead of hiding away in the safety of her underground fortress while sending others to do all the real work.
And, while that hadn't changed, there was an obvious shift in the attitude of those under her employ. Many of the people who approached her seemed nervous and reserved, hearts beating rapidly as if they expected her to pounce on them at any moment. She had done everything in her power to reassure everyone that she was the same old Kira, still the crude, boisterous, relatable soldier of fortune that she'd always been. But that was a lie and everyone, including Kira herself, knew it.
Pointedly sucking in a slow deep intake of air, the small vampiress let it out in an obnoxiously long and noisy sigh in response. Sitting on a small couch arranged opposite the large coffin that she currently occupied, Carlos rolled his eyes.
Of all those she had been close to, only the preening Spaniard had proven unfazed by her transformation. The man had an stark lack of regard for his own personal safety that bordered on suicidal and it had quickly earned him a place amongst her inner circle. Few people were as willing to step forward and give her a piece of their mind even when she wasn't in the mood for listening to backtalk and she had learned the value of having diverse opinions amongst her council. So naturally the shift from the possibility of get his wise ass shot in annoyance to being used as a chew toy hadn't really altered his assessment of the danger.
"I thought vampires were supposed to be noble and aloof," he said, running a hand through a mop of black hair that always seemed to be in a state of casual disarray. "Not children that can't sit still on a car ride."
Kira affected her voice into a high-pitched nasally tone meant to be as annoying as possible and said, "Are we there yet?"
"So help me, I'll turn this car around, young lady!"
Both of them fell silent as they grinned in a shared moment of levity. Before the demon Demitri had gotten his hooks into her, Kira had been slightly taller than Carlos. Her new form was a rather startling change compared to the imposed tattooed mercenary queen she had once been. She still found herself struggling to cope with the sheer magnitude of what had been done to her sometimes. The joking helped. It made her feel like things were still the same between them even if the punch lines were different.
"We should be crossing into Indian airspace soon," Kira said after a few moments, changing the subject. Carlos frowned and glanced down at a small data pad sitting on his lap. She said nothing as he double checked her estimate but was quite certain of her information.
One of the more useful changes that had come with her newfound powers was a profound ability to measure time. Even cloistered as she was within the cargo hold of the massive dual-rotor carrier they had 'liberated' from DOATEC she could tell that the sun was already starting to set outside. As it turned out she didn't actually burst into flames when exposed to daylight but nor was it a very pleasant experience. Simply being awake while the sun was still in the sky was wearying but she wanted to ensure that she was ready to deal with any mishaps that might occur during their voyage. The megacorp had a great many powerful allies and she was almost certain that at least one of them would voice an objection to her raid on their facilities, abandoned or not.
Surprisingly, breaking into the DOATEC lab had proven rather easy. Most of the guards and staff had already been evacuated by the time her group arrived and it was a simple matter to overwhelm the automated defenses which were entirely unprepared to handle the likes of a vampire noble. Once the turrets and traps were dealt with her engineers had ransacked everything of value, both physical and digital. Among the captured loot had been this fine addition to her air fleet and, perhaps even more valuably, the access codes to a secret cache hidden somewhere in northern India.
That DOATEC would fail to scuttle their own sensitive databases was highly suspicious. Considering the cutthroat nature of corporate espionage, she fully expected the entire building to be wired to explode if given the proper command. Yet no such sabotage was present nor were there any signs of a even a casual attempt to wipe the servers clean on the way out. It smelled decidedly like a trap.
And yet, she couldn't pass up the opportunity, could she? Getting her hands on such advanced hardware would be a massive windfall for the Dragoons. Even with all of her money and connections, cutting edge tech like that was almost impossible to procure because no one wanted to draw the ire of such a massive paramilitary organization down upon themselves. Even Kira avoided stepping on the toes of the likes of DOATEC and the Mishima Zaibatsu. She was reckless and greedy but that would just be stupid.
At the moment, however, DOATEC was engulfed in some sort of internal chaos that afforded a prime opportunity. Kira was curious about the nature of the mix-up, of course, but the chance to augment her soldiers with the best modern tech available was far more deserving of her attention.
"Doesn't look like they've picked us up on their radar yet, " Carlos said, swiping through various displays. "Looks like those ECM systems are as good as you expected."
Kira nodded and closed her eyes, shifting slightly as she settled into the soft cushions of her coffin. It still felt a little strange to even think about the necessity of such a thing, almost like she was playing into some stupid stereotype from a cheesy old horror movie. But her first couple weeks of trying to sleep in a regular bed had nearly driven her stir crazy. It wasn't until Zhenya suggested that she might need a coffin that she had even considered it. And to her great surprise (and embarrassment) the damn thing did the trick. Yet another among the many ridiculous things she continued to learn regarding her nature as a vampire. At least it was more pleasant than the first time she tried to shower.
"Do keep watch, will you? As soon as we are noticed there is certain to be a response." She lapsed into silence for a moment then added, "And inform Z to double check everyone's chutes. We may have to abandon this fancy bird and proceed on foot."
Potemkin could really use a win right now. A success. Something to boost the morality and to make navigating the treachery, confusion, corruption and insanity that is being perpetuated by this new tournament all worth while.
But at the end, it's all about duty. Doing ones duty, being committed to the task at hand and and fulfilling ones obligation as a champion for ones people and a representative of their will. It's all rather cumbersome and tiring, this sort of burden. Made all the worse when you have quite the public loss in battle such as against his previous opponent. Still, his shoulders are meant to be large enough and strong enough to bear victories as well as losses, so he must soldier on.
But he could still use a win. And he intends to get one.
And so, when an experimental Zepp made stealth exo-suit/stealth craft lifts into the air just below and behind the cargo carrier.. it bears with it a very determined, very menacing, very big Potemkin. The altituude, the rush of the air, the cold, and the pressure of the thrust of the exosuit at the rapid speeds it manages may as well simply be a light breeze against the behemoths pressure-suit uniform and superhuman physique for all it does to hamper his movements. Instead he readies himself in position keeping pace with the ship he pursues and then rumbles into his communicator.
"Potemkin in position. I will begin the operation now and enter from the aircrafts cargo hold. Placing The Vajra in auto mode and readying for launch."
"Understood. I wish we had other means to support you. Good luck with your mission."
"It's fine, Mr. President. I'm the only one that can pilot this thing after all. It's a good test. Activating silent mode now. Beginning to engage."
The exosuit levels off raising to the rear of the ship and the bay doors as Potemkin switches to verbal controls of the craft.
And the ICPM is away. One arm draws back into a massive fist as the other reaches forward to grasp with confidence for the metal of the exterior cargo bay doors. His imminent impact certainly to be a seismic event for the sturdy military craft.
Things are quiet for a while.
In the past that would have left Kira feeling uneasy. Missions like these never go according to plan. That was a golden rule that was so close to being universally true that she tended to get antsy when trouble failed to rear its head. That usually meant that it was waiting for just the wrong time to strike, a moment of distraction or an unforeseen danger threatening to turn everything tits up in before anyone realizes something has gone wrong.
Carlos continues to chatter in his jovial manner to pass the time but the vampiress only lies silently in her coffin and listens to his voice, grateful for the company but too tired to engage any further. While her body no longer requires rest to function in a medical sense, operating during the day is draining. The risky and sensitive nature of this operation has required her full attention and for the past several days she'd found it too difficult to retire to her coffin long enough to get a proper rest. Little breaks such as this are all she has time for, especially now as the mission reaches its critical final stretch. Everything has been too easy thus far which can only mean that trouble is just waiting for her to lower her guard to come knocking.
As the sleek craft streaks quietly across the cloudy skies the sun continues to dip further below the horizon. Steadily, she can sense the oppression of the daylight start to fade away and her strength return. Her body feels lighter somehow, as if a great weight has been lifted from her. All around the young vampire's body the shadows seem to thicken and quiver, stirring like an inky mist in the dim recesses of her macabre resting place and spilling out over its edges.
Her subordinate's steady stream of conversation dwindles slowly as the unnatural phenomenon catches his eye. Carlos lets out a low whistle and pointedly scoots the small couch he's sitting on further away from the coffin.
"Spooky. I keep telling you, boss, smoking's bad for your health."
Cracking one eye open, Kira smirks at the man, lifting her lip high enough to flash one of the dainty fangs hiding beneath. A dull crimson light sparkles to life in her eye, smoldering like a glowing coal in the dim illumination of the cargo hold's overhead lights.
"You are enjoying this way too much," he says, shaking his head. Carlos rises from the couch a little more quickly than usual and turns to head towards a large bulkhead door. "I'm gonna go make sure that..."
The deck of the plane suddenly pitches to one side in a violent shudder as something smashes into the exterior of the craft. Whatever Carlos had meant to say is lost as the man is hurled clean off his feet and sent flying into the far corner of the bay. His body impacts against the metal bulkhead with a dull thud and he drops out of sight behind a pile of crates with a soft groan.
Whatever lingering fatigue had gripped Kira in a lazy torpor is thoroughly dispelled as the trouble she had expected comes knocking in a more literal manner than she anticipated. Not wishing to share her unfortunate companion's fate, she remains lying flat within the confines of the coffin as the craft shudders and shifts around her. Only when the pilots regain control and level out does she finally rise and turn her attention towards the source of the unexpected turbulence.
Against the incredible might of Zepp's augmented soldier the cargo doors prove no match. A shrill squealing whine fills the bay as the thick metal is bent and crumpled only to be quickly joined by the sudden ferocious howl of the wind once the pressurized seal is breached. From the confines of the elaborate coffin the young vampire noble rises to her feet and drifts slowly towards the center of the bay. Her disarmingly innocent face shows no signs of worry as the uninvited guest slowly peels himself an entrance through the ruined doors. Lacking both the adrenaline to spike her senses and a heartbeat to accelerate it through her veins has, somewhat unsurprisingly, dampened her emotional reactions to such surprises.
And so she waits, standing silently like a dark wraith in the dim interior. The large space is mostly empty save for a handful of heavy crates that she had the foresight to ensure were secured tightly by thick straps to the walls. A dull klaxon screams its warbling alarm somewhere deeper inside the vessel while panicked red emergency lights spin wildly in their housings sending stripes of crimson illumination dancing through the darkness.
She must look a strange sight to the massive figure that bullies his way into the craft. Where Potemkin is a veritable mountain of compressed muscle and augmented armor, Kira looks like little more than a young girl barely old enough to drive. Her slender form is clad in something in an outfit that can only be described as 'futuristic', eliciting the aesthetics oft found in dystopian cyberpunk entertainment. A heavy coat of smooth black fabric hangs open around her shoulders leaving an equally dark leotard visible beneath. Thick bulges at the chest and shoulders betray the presence of armored reinforcements beneath while a more visible pair of heavy vambraces shield the outside of her forearms. All across the coat and armor, small glowing stripes creating striking patterns in brilliant red neon.
Though half the size of the hulking soldier and without a hint of muscle to show on her slender frame, the vampire turns a crimson gaze filled with disdain upon Zepp's warrior as he clambers his way into the hold. A voice that is far too gentle and melodic for the contempt it bears lashes out at the giant with words lilted with the heavy accent of a native Slavic speaker.
"Hmph. You've a great deal of nerve to barge into a lady's quarters uninvited. And you've gone and smashed my new toy as well. I trust you are prepared to face the consequences of your foolishness."
"I would say I am authorized to provide reimbursement for dmages to your new toy but I am guessing that it wasn't really yours to begin with."
Potemin's deep voice rumbles out from his vast chest as he looms before her, framed by the massive entrance he forced into the cabin and braced forward against the howling forces of suction that would certainly send even bolted down seats at risk of being pulled out into the skies outside, let alone lesser individuals.
"You will order this cargo plane to the ground and surrender your stolen technology to me or I am authorized to see that both it and this craft go no further. I will survive any violent landing. The rest of you will not. So take my offer and we can discuss you keeping the craft to return to your home."
He brings his monstrous arms up, biceps shaking and then bulging thunderously, giving the impression of a Buick under his skin as his pressure suit strains at the seams and his gargantuan physique pushes out against it as if it were just saranwrap. A gout of steam blasts forth from the ventilators on his gauntlets. "Comply." he orders.
He fully expects her not to and that she appears so slight and frail in contrast to him may be visually disarming at first..but Potemkin is no fool. He's faced others both small and slender who have proven a menace and her lack of wariness may be not simply because of her emotional detachment but a sense of confidence in the face of his titanic presence.
"I caution you against becoming aggressive in this situation. Perhaps you are confident enough to believe you can engage me on even footing. Can you say the rest for your comrades should this cargo sustain heavy damages?" It's a card he has disdain for playing but there's no harm in putting it out there.
In response to the giant's claim that her current means of travel is stolen property, Kira smirks and huffs out an amused breath. Her own voice remains soft and measured yet somehow still easily scythes through the howling wind filling the cargo bay.
"Surely you know the old saying? Ownership is nine-tenths of the law."
Her attention remains lazily fixed on Potemkin while the monstrously large soldier delivers his ultimatum. Her mind, however, is focused elsewhere. With her supernatural senses she reaches out to scan the room, invisible tendrils of power questing into the darkened shadows at the corners and behind the crates. She finds Carlos first and is relieved to discover that his brutal impact with the bulkhead was not fatal. His pulse is slow but steady and his breathing constant - alive but unconscious.
The second presence she had expected to find comes into focus a few moments later. Off near the rear door leading deeper into the craft's interior a shadowy figure sits crouched behind the small set of stairs leading down into the bay. Zhenya picks up on the contact almost immediately, her mind reaching out to intertwine with Kira's own forming a psychic connection between them.
'Should I kill him?'
The message brushes across Kira's mind more as a concept than actual direct communication. Images of Zhenya's deadly shadow form sweeping around behind the unwary giant and descending upon him with precisely lethal strikes at his neck and eyes flicker briefly through her imagination. The vampire purses her lips, no doubt seeming to Potemkin as if she is considering his ultimatum. After a couple of moments she sends back a response.
'No. Save Carlos. Escape the plane. We continue by ground.'
Her own thoughts travel back down the psychic link. A flash of memory as Carlos flies across the room and smashes into the wall. An image of Zhenya carrying the unconscious soldier over her shoulder. A dozen figures in black tactical armor leaping from the emergency doors as parachutes snap open to ferry them safely to the ground.
Though there is no message attached to it, a sensation of amusement ripples back to her from the other woman at the mental image of Carlos being tossed around like a rag doll. The rivalry between her lover and the most shameless flirt in her army is well known. Kira makes an effort of will not to sigh in exasperation.
'Gloat later. Hurry. I will deal with this one.'
She doesn't wait for a proper acknowledgement before breaking the connection and returning her full attention to the behemoth. Zhenya will do as she says, now her problem is delaying this Frankenstein wannabe long enough to let everyone bail out.
Reaching into the folds of her long black coat, Kira withdraws what appears to be a small metal cylinder. Twirling the object deftly between her fingers, she holds up it up in front of her and upon closer inspection it appears to resemble the hilt of a sword. Several glowing red lines decorate its cross guard in similar fashion to her armor though it bears no obvious blade.
That changes a few moments later as the vampire focuses her dark powers into the device. With a sharp crack of energy a searing neon shaft of crimson light shoots up from a small hole in the center of the hilt, black fire dancing around its edges in a tainted corona of unholy magic. Despite its eye-searing intensity, the blade casts no light upon its surroundings - in fact it seems to do the opposite as the shadows around Kira slowly begin to flow into her, thickening into a cloak of midnight as she draws energy from the darkness.
"Your terms are rejected," she states matter-of-factly, unconcerned by his threats against the safety of either herself or her crew. "My soldiers are big boys and girls. They can take care of themselves."
Her free hand is lifted up towards her face and she taps a button on the back of the gauntlet opening a priority radio channel to everyone aboard the craft.
"All hands abandon ship. Regroup at Waypoint E."
Closing the connection, Kira rolls her shoulders and neck nonchalantly as if warming up for a bit of morning exercise. Whatever fatigue she had from staying awake through several sunrises has been mostly suppressed by her eagerness. Sitting around doing nothing was exceedingly boring. Testing herself against this golem should prove quite entertaining.
"Now then, my rude guest. Let us see precisely how much violence you can survive, shall we?"
It is fortunate for them that such tactics of subterfuge were not employed as the presumption that the highly trained and powerful super-soldier would have not been prepared for attempted ambushes would have been a foolish one if acted out on. If he is indeed aware of the nearby presence or the readiness of the rest of Kira's men, he gives no notice of this aside from a warning:
"You and your actions are not unknown to us. However I am not interested in capturing you or your people. They may escape if that is what you wish. There are other means to solve this. We only want the tech."
Nevertheless, he's not about to simply leave now can he? Heavy steps begin to rumnble the quaking plane as he starts forward. The rumble of his own myscylar physique an audible thing even other the sound of his armored boots and the hissing of his chi-tek gauntlets charging up. He'd straddle the line between amused and insulted if he realized she thought him some sort of golem or frankenstein construct as opposed to a flesh and blood man whose uniform is little more then a means to limit him and protect the rest of the world from him and not the other way around.
Perhaps, considering her nature, its best she doesn't know that.
"I suppose we can begin then. Try and survive."
COMBATSYS: Potemkin has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov has joined the fight here.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Potemkin
And with that stated - the behemoth lunges forward - not quite closing the distance between himself and Kira before he leans into his own charge and suddenly slams his vast body into the ground. The impact would undoubtly cause the military jet to violently shake and buckle but Potemkin, despite his previous words, is not actually interested in trying to deal with a plane crash. Not yet. SO even though he could have certainly plunges his entire vastness through the floor of the cargo hold, there is some restraint involved even if a shockwave is still kicked off that rolls across the deck towards Kira while also sending crates tumbling and the steel buckling.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov just-defends Potemkin's Slide Head!
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Potemkin
When she was mortal the prospect of facing such a lumbering monstrosity of a man would have given Kira a great deal more pause. While she has more than her fair share of courage and temerity and has plunged into the jaws of danger on more occasions than she can even remember, there is a distinct difference between bravely facing down a powerful opponent and pointlessly risking her life. But what does someone who is already dead have to fear from bodily harm? She is an immortal now, a cursed creature of the night that is beyond the normal laws which apply to mere humans. No man, no matter how large or imposing, can truly harm her now.
Thus it is with a dismissive lack of concern that the vampire extends one slender hand towards the on-rushing tidal wave of concussive force. A shimmering barrier of sanguine energy flares into existence in front of her, a half sphere of unholy power upon which the force of the giant's fall shatters and breaks apart. Runes of some ancient and profane language pulse hungrily across the shield as it absorbs the kinetic energy of the shockwave, snuffing it out so utterly that the vampire's long cloak doesn't even stir in its wake.
Kira's mouth quirks upwards at one corner, her faint smile twisting into an amused smirk as her crimson eyes starts to glow with a demonic yellow fire at their center. The shuddering crash that had set the entire craft trembling beneath his incredible bulk once again seemed to have affected her no more than his attack. The reason for her sure-footedness becomes apparent a moment later as the small vampire rises a foot into the air, hovering freely above the deck like some kind of super villain out of a comic book.
"I'm afraid that you shall not lay claim to anything this night, mortal, save perhaps some of my spare time."
Oh yes, she is more than aware that he is a living breathing entity. Her predatory senses can smell the sweet blood flowing through his veins; hear the thunderous beating of his oversized heart; feel the powerful presence of his mortal soul. Were he nothing more than a construct she would have wasted her words upon him, save perhaps to mock someone foolish enough to build a weapon that spends its time chatting rather than killing.
"These plunders are mine by right of conquest. If you wish to take them then you shall first have to best me. And if falling down aggressively in my direction is a demonstration of your martial talent then we are both going to be sorely disappointed."
With a wide sweep of her extended arm, Kira makes a grandiose gesture as if performing for an audience at the ancient Coliseum. Her expression likewise transforms into an exaggerated mask of haughty amusement, her lips peeling away to reveal the obviously inhuman fangs hidden beneath.
"Come now, brute! Surely you can do better? I seek entertainment! The thrill of a good fight! And if you cannot provide it - then begone!"
Thrusting her open palm once again, Kira conjures forth a crackling bead of black lightning into being before it. The deadly ball of dark magic swells and churns for a few instants as it feeds upon the inky midnight surrounding the vampire, rapidly growing in size until it engulfs her entire hand. Then, with a deafening roar of unleashed power, a veritable deluge of corrupted light erupts back at him.
The beam of Kira's attack is monstrous in size, practically filling the entire center of the cargo bay from floor to roof. The howl of the wind is drowned out by the keening scream of the unholy energy as it floods outwards towards the Zepp warrior, tearing past and through him to streak out into the night, staining the darkness like the inky finger of an evil god.
Kira maintains the barrage for several seconds, pouring out a reserve of power the likes of which most mortals could never hope to contain within their fragile bodies. If she can simply sweep the giant warrior out the back of the plane then there is no need for them to abandon it. And if he isn't strong enough to keep from being blown away then he wasn't worth her time to begin with.
COMBATSYS: Potemkin blocks Kira Volkov's Phantom Black ES.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Potemkin
This is..interesting. "Magic?" questions the giant as he lumbers back to his feet to begin to close the distance more more as Kira lifts upwards and begins her dramatic monologue and magnanimous gestures. His eyes, glowing crimson in the depths of his helm by means of his faceplate, narrow a touch at the gathering storm of power being summoned in her hands.. and then it is unleashed upon him.
He brings an arm up and thrusts a hand outward against the incoming torrent forcing the energy to break against him and splay wildly out in every direction like the force of water from an oversized water host blasting against the side of a fortress. The energy scorches armored gauntlet and mammoth torso where it dances across his body in crackling waves bu the's neither pushed back nor bowed by its force and instead, after a moment or two begins walking against it to close the distance once more. His footsteps are steadied and unhurried at first. An unstoppable advancement against the torrent before he suddenly springs forward and lunges fully into it and through it while bringing his other arm around, immense fingers opening up as he lunges in for a grasping assault against Kira.
His Chi Tek gauntlets begin whirring, loading a shell to charge them up, their sides opening up to reveal their complicated servos and rotating pistons, glowing red as they work at regulating his own raging internal energies. Upon contact, this energy would be discharged in as his hand squeezes and crushes, resulting in a blast of force erupting through the giants hand and into the vampire's body. A bright burst that dissipates Kira's darkness like a cannon going off.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov fails to counter Heat Knuckle from Potemkin with Tyrant's Decree.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0 Potemkin
To her great delight, the lumbering armored figure does not simply get swept out into the night like so much refuse. Rather than look distressed as Potemkin rises to his feet and begins pushing forward against her onslaught, the vampire's smile only widens, her eyes sparkling with a hint of manic glee. Finally, she might have a fight worthy of actually pushing this new body to its limits! Even the battle against the ancient specter of a dead assassin had proven thoroughly unsatisfying, the Asian revenant's wrath unable to withstand the fel powers she now commands.
The torrent of black magic continues unabated as it continues to pour freely from Kira's hands, her wellspring of magic more than capable of sustaining such an assault thanks to her long period of inactivity. The metal of the plane's interior structure bends and warps at the touch of the corrupting magic, turning black and foul as it is torn asunder and sent spraying into the gaping hole of the mangle cargo doors like shrapnel.
When it becomes clear that she will not be able to hold the brute at bay, Kira suddenly ceases the outpouring of power and lowers her hand. She seems to offer no resistance to the lunging grasp of Potemkin's crushing oversized gauntlet, allowing herself to be snatched up and held tightly within those powerful fingers.
But though she seems resigned to her fate, Kira's actions are not without plan. Her eyes begin to shimmer with a brilliant scarlet light as she turns her gaze upwards to meet the giant's own crimson stare. Dark power flows out from her through that brief moment of contact, a sudden and potent mental compulsion hurled into the giant's mind. The old legends about the hypnotizing power of a vampire's eyes hold more than a small kernel of truth, as it turns out, and with all of the authority granted a dark noble such as herself she wills him to stay his hand, her own glimmering blade ready to thrust true the moment he pauses.
But, he does not obey. Perhaps she was a mite too slow in attempting to turn away his intent, the deadly gauntlet already primed and ready to trigger before he could react to her compulsion. Or maybe he is protected against such influences. Already she has met a few such people who are capable of shielding their minds against outside influences. Whatever the cause, her gambit fails in spectacular fashion, leaving the small woman all but entirely helpless as the powerful cartridge detonates directly into her chest.
Kira's haughty smirk twists into a pained grimace as the fiery burst slams into her, searing at the surface of her armored suit and leaving it scorched and sizzling. Had she still been human such a blast might well have killed her outright. Even now, the experience is far from pleasant. But, stinging as the strike might be, it was hardly enough to truly harm a being such as herself when she is so well fed.
The arrogance immediately returns to the girl's face as she turns to sneer up at Zepp's attack dog, somehow seeming to look down her nose at him even while clutched helplessly in his monstrous mitt.
"I am still waiting to be impressed, brute."
"Unfortunately my mission parameters do not include amusing you."
Potemkin's remark is stoic, disciplined and conditioned. He's not unfamiliar with this rhetoric. This arrogance. This confidence. It's not enough to infuriate him or drive him into emotional acts that compromise his technique and mission goals. Not yet at least.
Besides, actions speak louder then words as the saying goes and her bravado does not change the fact that her previous assault failed to take purchase against him and she is within his grasp. A fact he takes advantage of by swinging his arm around violently and shifting his grip on her to hold her by the leg to slam her forcibly and seismically for the floor of the craft.
:I am afraid it is unwise to underestimate me despite your obvious arrogance and regal bearing. I am particularly motivated to be a problem for you this day."
They've moved far enough in at this stage that such an attack does not risk simply slamming her into and through the floor into the air outside, mind you, but it does visibly dent the craft interior and send more crates tumbling from the shockwaves and this is made worse when his massive fist hovers overhead and then comes plunging downward for her, capable of completely enveloping much of her body with its width.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov blocks Potemkin's Grasp And Pound.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0 Potemkin
Kira's eyes go wide as the hulking soldier swings her up into the air, immediately understanding his intention. Being thrashed against the interior of the plane by someone as incredibly powerful as this suped-up gorilla would have doubtlessly been a death sentence if she were still alive - several shattered bones and the end to the fight at the very least. And while she is fully aware that her new body is significantly more durable than before, her experience in fighting beings on the power scale that she now faces is extremely limited.
As a mercenary that spent most of her life dealing with upstart warlords and underworld crime bosses she rarely had cause to tangle with demons and super soldiers. Not until she foolishly stuck her nose into their business when Jedah decided to start opening gateways into a forgotten realm of monsters.
Such thoughts tumble through Kira's mind as she is slammed into the floor. That, in a sense, is somewhat surprising to the young vampire. That she is still capable of thinking clearly at all, even as her slender body smashes so hard into a piece of solid steel that it dents downwards around her in a Kira-shaped divet, is a fresh reminder of just how much the scales have shifted thanks to the dark 'gift' bestowed upon her by her sire.
Her eyes squeeze instinctively shut against the force of the first concussive impact, expecting it to knock her senseless. Yet what she experiences is not the bone-rattling trauma of being used as a human fly-swatter but something altogether more tame. She can sense the incredible force of the blow as her back smashes into the floor, feel the metal crumple and bend around her.
As she is lifted up to be smashed down for a second time, Kira's eyes flutter open, her stare wide and full of confusion. A pitiful squeal fills the air as her torso is hammered down again. But it is not own voice crying out in pain but rather the very metal of the craft wailing as it divets further around her.
By the time she is hoisted aloft for a third and final slam into the ruined floor, the little vampire has succumbed to a fit of giggling laughter. The last downward smash practically craters the superstructure around her, sending out a blast of concussive force that rips several of the smaller crates from their mountings and sends them tumbling freely out into the open air.
The massive Zepp warrior attempts to finish things off with a final blow from his monstrous fist, the armored gauntlet easily large enough to completely flatten the mercenary queen. But rather than smear her like a bottle of raspberry jam across the uneven dent she currently occupies in the floor, Kira simply thrusts one of her dainty arms upwards, fingers splaying wide like a catcher preparing to receive a fast ball.
Impossibly, the titanic fist comes to a dead halt against the pale upturned palm. The little vampire's lips peel back in a wide grin as she continues to chortle through clenched teeth, clearly struggling against the sheer mass and strength of the strike and just as clearly enjoying the contest. For a couple of seconds, a fist the size of a dumpster is held at bay by that tiny limb. The screech of warping metal cries out again as the floor buckles further, high-grade steel proving unequal to the task of supporting this supernatural clash.
A sudden flash of crimson power behind the vampire's eyes betrays her choice to abandon the contest of strength. Mighty she might be compared to a mortal but this man is something far beyond any regular soldier and her own powers are yet in their infancy. In the blink of an eye Kira's form melts into an inky black mist, flowing fluidly around the armored fist as Potemkin's punch is finally allowed to drive home.
The cloud of darkness moves like a writhing snake, coiling around the titan's arm and flowing up towards his helmeted head. Twin glowing points of red light briefly flash within the maelstrom of midnight mist as it hovers ominously before his face like a cobra rearing back to strike, the vampire's youthful laughter echoing hauntingly through the bay.
But, rather than make the good on the obvious telegraph, the cloud of darkness suddenly dives downwards. Flowing all around the giant in a confusing swirl of motion, it slithers down his bulky muscular torso and into the floor creating a quickly expanding black stain. It takes only a short breath for that corrupted pool to gather enough density to erupt in a column of raw unholy magic, blasting upwards with such force as to tear several beams from the upper structure of the plane and send it drunkenly weaving through the air yet again.
Within the quickly fading pillar of darkness Kira starts to reform, the blazing saber of sanguine clutched in her hand crackling with ambient power as the cloud of mist solidifies into her slender body.
COMBATSYS: Potemkin blocks Kira Volkov's Killing Shadow ES.
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Kira Volkov 1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0 Potemkin
"I am encountering resistance that could br best described as supernatural in nature. We may haev to consider our alternate options within the mission parameters and risk the destruction of the stolen tech and recovery of its fragments for study.."
The exchange between soldier and presidential mentor is quick through the communicate systems built into his helm and it occurs as Potemkin's fist fails to complete its final strike, pushed back by the impossible use of power being wielded by Kira. His arm quakes and bulges, pressing out against the fabric of his uniform as the metal of his gauntlets creaks and gornes fro the increase in pressure from both the giant and the slender vampire. Potemkin yet holds back though. The force of his strength violent but somewhere in fractional amounts compared to what he could truly do. Regardless she wisely disengages from the contest and the behemoth stumbles forward slightly from the abrupt shift and then straightens back up again rapidly as darkness envelops his body and swirls beneath his feet. Instinct and timing saves him here as the move is telegraphed just enough for him to brace and tighten his monsterous body and then bring his arms infront of him as he turtles downward and lean into the force of the blast, letting it erupt around him ripple over his form like a curtain of crackling darkness.
Then he moves again. This time a sudden lurching lunge that sends him right for where the darkness swhirls to reform into Kira. Both of his colossal arms pull back and sparks fly as he skids across the shorn up ruins of the cargo deck. He comes in like a semi truck and as he moves to slam into her, both fo his arms swing around and push forward at her. She'll either be caught between his fists as they slam together or the force of his body will simply blast into her and possibly further into the plane.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov blocks Potemkin's Hammer Fall EX.
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Kira Volkov 1/------=/=======|===----\-------\0 Potemkin
The swiftness with which the small vampire noble reforms proves faster than Potemkin's attempt to take advantage of her brief moment of vulnerability. That he was able to mount such a well-thought counterattack against someone of her rather unusual powers is a testament to his experience and tactical awareness. Having only seen her transform the one time, his swift reactions tell her that the giant is either used to fighting creatures of supernatural origins or simply got lucky and lashed out at the only obvious thing in sight. Either way, he continues to prove an entertaining opponent that keeps her on her toes.
However, Kira proves that her dark gifts are more than capable of standing up to the stampeding onslaught. That dainty hand flicks forward with a graceful gesture even as her body is still only half formed from the black mist and the sanguine barrier flashes into place around her just as his fists smash in from either side. The twin hammers crash heavily into the arcane shield, now a full dome that covers her from all sides, setting the demonic runes swirling across its surface ablaze with angry black fire. Small cracks splinter across its surface in a pair of chaotic cobwebs as if the dome were made of some impossibly resilient glass - but the barrier holds.
Kira's slender fingers sweep to one side, brushing across the fractured interior of her bloody shield as if caressing the polished surface of the giant's armored knuckles pressing against it from the other side. She speaks with the casual aloofness of a princess commenting upon a knight's prowess in battle as he fights for her amusement in a tournament. The vampire turns a slow circle within the safety of her little dome, fingertips sending tiny motes of red light sparkling through the air as she sweeps them around to the other monstrous hand.
"It seems I was somewhat hasty in dismissing your potential. Perhaps you will prove an entertaining distraction after all!"
With a sudden pivot on her heel, Kira drops the barrier and hurls herself directly into the face of the towering Zepp warrior. Her body once again seethes with tenebrous corruption but inside of dissipating into a cloud of mist the darkness congeals around her like molten tar. Like a demonic little butterfly casting off its shell, the fairytale beauty of the young woman is replaced with a horrific vision of pure evil. A winged mass of pure midnight flies at Potemkin upon writhing wings of black shadow, its face a featureless pool of darkness save for twin points of hellish red light. As it closes the distance in a flash of supernatural speed, a ragged maw splits open where its mouth should be revealing an array of dagger-like fangs.
The shadow demon spreads its arms wide, the limbs unnaturally long and gangly and tipped with wicked scything talons. The claws tear and rake as his bulging muscles, seeking to find purchase in the tough hardened flesh. With an unearthly screech of inhuman hunger, it snaps its head forward and burrows those ghastly jaws into the gap between his gorget and helm, attempting to sink those umbral teeth into something soft and vulnerable and drink deeply of his potent vitality.
COMBATSYS: Potemkin barely endures Kira Volkov's Wicked Embrace.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1 Potemkin
That was all he needed to see, really. He mentioned already being motivated before but this? This reveal of her true nature? One might say it's an extra kick in the ass.
"I am executing that mission parameter! We cannot allow the weapons to fall into the hands of a creature like this---Rrrrngh!"
Potemkin braces, bringing both of his arms up to try and shield himself and press back against Kira's revealed vampiric state but it's not enough and she lunges in on him, finding the flesh behind the uniform and searing her claws and fangs into his impossibly gigantic form.
Chi rages within. Truly gargantuan amounts. A burning power that acts as the true source of the weaponry he wields, his vast body a furnace of enhanced energies and strength that would well nourish any who sought to sap him of his vitality. There's so much..too much. Power that is barely controlled by its own wielder save for the aid of the technology he wields. Technology that does nothing to save him from Kira's hunger.
His arm lunges up to grab for the shadow-demnn and to pull it free, heedless of additional damage that may cause as the claws slash and the fangs tear at his flesh. Instead he now leaps backwards, seemingly disengaging..though soon it becomes clear that is not the case.
"Execute Order Garuda." he rumbles, voice still stoic despite the raging pain. Then to Kira "I'm afraid your men are out of time, thanks to you. I pray you survive this if only to find some peace in the Makai where you belong.."
There's a loud clanking sound as one of Potemkin's gauntlets unclamps and disengages. "Releasing Limiter!" he roars, chi blazing up and his muscles seemingly engorging larger and larger, beginning to swell and tear at his garments, cracking apart the gauntlet of his punching arm as he pulls back and braces his enlarging body. His eyes flash red, trailing light as he weaves backwards and then:
It's like One Punch Man. The behemoth surges forward with a strike so immense that the shockwave from the swing ripples out ahead of him to begin tearing apart the plane and ruining its structure as it races forward ahead of POtemkin's fist which hurtles for Kira. HIt or miss, the shockwave will continue and blast apart the front of the plane as cargo crates tumble and are violently blown apart like tinfoil.
Outside, Vajra enages its thrusters, sensors seeing the imminent destruction of the cargo jet as the shockwave blows through it.
COMBATSYS: Potemkin successfully hits Kira Volkov with Magnum Opera.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/--=====|-------\-------\0 Potemkin
The shadowy creature gorges itself as its ephemeral teeth sink into the augmented soldiers flesh - and oh such a feast it is!
Kira almost goes dizzy at the onrush of raw vital energy that floods into her through her prey's blood. Drinking blood has been a particularly distasteful element of her immortality, one which she has done her best to keep hidden and dignified. Save for the first terrible night of her undeath when she was all but driven mad by the gnawing hunger, she has never killed anyone while feeding. More often than not her sustenance comes from volunteers among her men, though whether they offer their vitae to her out of loyalty or fear she cannot say.
But as the sweet ambrosia of Potemkin's blood pours into her demonic maw she cannot help but revel in the sheer potency of his lifeforce. Her vision goes blurry as if she had downed an entire bottle of fine wine all at once, the taste of that power literally intoxicating to her inexperienced palette.
The demon's claws slash and burrow into his flesh as the warrior struggles to pull her free. She lets out an indignant screech, like a child struggling to keep hold of their favorite toy as it is taken away. Ragged black teeth snap at his still bleeding neck, and when that doesn't work, a long tongue like a tendril of shadow darts out from between her jaws to lap at the crimson wounds like a dog until he finally manages to drag her free from his body. Realizing that her prey has managed to slip free, the vampire unleashes a final mewling howl of frustration as she is thrown aside.
Even as unnatural and gangly as she appears, Kira gracefully twists in the air and lands in a low crouch upon the metal floor, her black talons digging furrows through the steel plating as she skids to a halt. The shadowy mass around her disperses a moment later, wings and claws vanishing in puffs of acrid mist, leaving behind the techno-armored young girl again.
There is no time given for her to engage the hulking soldier in further banter. Her eyes widen slightly as the monstrous swell of energy builds within Potemkin's body, his armor no longer holding back the incredible power upon which she had just supped. Her hand thrusts forward again, palm extending toward the building catastrophe as if she might command it to stop with but that simple gesture.
Only now at his words does she regain awareness of where they are and the reason which she had originally engaged with him in combat. Had she bought them enough time? Surely by now her lover had managed to rescue the Spaniard and slip back into the shadows but what of the others? Were the pilots still dutifully manning their positions at the helm, desperately struggling to keep the bird aloft while she indulged herself in personal entertainment?
The sudden look of concern and the desperate plea for cessation come too late, if they would have been heeded at all. Once again that shimmering red barrier flares to unholy life in front of the vampire, blazing more brightly than ever before as the full power of Potemkin's unleashed fury smashes into it with a cataclysmic detonation.
For a brief moment the shield holds firm, diverting the worst of the rippling wave of power out around it like sheets of water. The back end of the DOATEC jet flies apart as if being fed tail-first into a wood chipper, the titanic shunts of raw force shearing it apart into so much metallic confetti. Kira brings both hands forward, jaw clenching with strained effort as she attempts to push back against the monumental outpouring of energy. But it's simply too much for her.
Howling with defiant frustration, the vampire glares deadly murderous rage at the titan even as her shield flies apart. With nothing holding it back any more, the rest of the kinetic energy cascades into the girl like a sledgehammer sending her blasting backwards through the ruined remains of the aircraft and straight out the cockpit's canopy.
This, unfortunately, gives her an answer to at least one of the questions that had raced through her mind a few moments ago. Both the pilot and his companion don't even get the chance to realize the danger before their commander explodes violently into the seats behind them, plowing both mercenaries out into the open night sky alongside her.
Hissing in frustration, Kira throws her arms wide, her long coat billowing out dramatically as she arrests her momentum to hover in place. Her head swings around in a wide circle as she scans the darkness all around, searching for some sign that the other crew had managed to make it clear in time. To her relief, almost a dozen tiny figures come into focus well in the distance behind the now flaming wreckage, each swinging lightly beneath the dome of an unfolded parachute. That just means only the unfortunate pilots were left behind to suffer the brunt of her mistake.
Below her, the two forms of those unlucky souls plummet in free fall towards the earth below. While they are almost certainly already dead, she twists about and dives with the alacrity of a swooping eagle, overtaking them within moments. Her hands feel around for the emergency release upon each man's pack and with a pair of soft 'whumps' both of their parachutes deploy leaving them to drift slowly to the ground.
"No one left behind," she whispers softly, anger flaring brightly within her chest. Though that fury should likely be directed at herself for her foolishness, a much more useful target yet remains. The vampire's body flies apart in a sudden explosion of screeching and flapping wings, a cloud of bats turning to streak back towards the ruined aircraft like a black meteorite.
The blazing contrail of Potemkin's specialized transport craft isn't hard to see as it comes rocketing up through the sky to offer him a swift and safe evac. The cloud of bats turns sharply upon spotting it, swarming down upon the surface of the Vajra only to condense into Kira's human form once more. Crimson light blazes in her eyes as she draws power into herself, the saber of dark power once more humming to life at her side like a neon beacon of challenge.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov absorbs power from the shadows!
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Kira Volkov 1/------=/=======|-------\-------\0 Potemkin
He takes no pleasure in this. Success is, of course, a thing that is sought after and desired but Potemkin is not a killer by vocation. He's a soldier and what he does he does for comrades, country and the global community. So their deaths weigh on him - but they do not bow him or slow him down. They made their choice as did Kira and now Potemkin has had to make his and the mission goes on.
Sadly it's not going on quite as anticipated as Vajra sends proximity alerts to his helm and he grimaces while lumbering through the wreckage of the descending plane towards an opening in the hull to look beyond it to see his exosuit and Kira standing upon its back defiantly.
"She can fly. Of course she can fly." he rumbles and then into his comm system he addresses his own observing support crew though they be a distance away.
"Track the cargo ships descent. I have to rejoin Vajra to deal with an wanted passenger. Prepare to recover the weaponc cache and also for potential extraction is Vajra is damaged and I need to be recovered away from the rendeavou point.."
With that, the behemoth leaps, springing from the planes wreckage and towards the expanse of Vajra's back whre Kira stands. Both of his massive arms raise upwards, fingers lacing together as he hurtles through the air and then plummets down towards the cratt.
"Vajra! Security Protocols. Begin descent!"
His fists come hurtling downward, thundering towards Kira.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov counters Hammerblow from Potemkin with Devouring Dark.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/----===|====---\-------\0 Potemkin
Kira doesn't bother sending out orders to her subordinates. Like any mercenary worth their salt, the contingency plans for any sort of emergency were laid out well in advance of the DOATEC plane even leaving the ground. Secondary flight paths should the skies above India prove too hot, rendezvous points for the mercenaries to regroup at, and locations of black market safe houses to retreat to. Any injuries could be tended to or at least stabilized by the team medic. And if they were put out of action, basic field triage is standard training amongst her Dragoons.
Which leaves her free to focus entirely on venting her outrage against the interloper who had the nerve to barge onboard /her/ new plane. Losing the DOATEC jet wasn't a huge problem in and of itself. After all, the real prize was the codes for the cache of technology and materials hidden away in the secret base they were heading towards. Everything that had been loaded in the crates on the cargo carrier was valuable but not irreplaceable. At least a few of the heavy containers would likely survive the impact and she had rigged up most of the smaller ones with auto-deploy parachutes with altitude triggers which meant that at least something will be salvageable from this mess.
But none of that matters to her right now. The possible deaths of two of her precious subordinates weighs most heavily upon her mind and she fully intends to see the violence wrought unprovoked upon her subjects returned in full.
Turning her furious crimson glare up at the falling titan, Kira snarls in wordless outrage and challenge. Beneath her the deck of the Vajra suddenly pitches downwards at the command from its master, most likely in an attempt to throw her off balance and create an opening for his plummeting strike. But as before, Kira proves entirely unaffected by such tricks. The vampire's feet remain firmly planted atop the metal craft, her stance widening only slightly to compensate for the sudden shift, a creature such as herself, beyond the laws of Logic which govern reality, largely unaffected by things like momentum and gravity.
Tainted midnight corruption once again begins to spread across her body but, instead of fully morphing into the twisted shadow demon, only Kira's midsection turns inky black. In a horrific display of her inhuman nature, the vampire's shadow-clad stomach splits wide from hip to hip as another demonic maw takes shape. Practically splitting her open like a pez-dispenser, the nightmarish mouth yawns wide revealing another array of jagged umbral teeth eager for a fresh taste of the giant's essence.
Well before Potemkin comes within range to deliver his sundering hammer blow, the gaping maw lets out a bellowing roar and the very night around the plummeting Zepp warrior seems to suddenly press in upon him. Rippling waves of unholy power buffet him like a physical force, holding him fast a dozen feet in the air above the vampire. An utter bone-chilling cold begins to seep into his body as his very life is drained away, the power and vital essence that composes his mortal soul absorbed by that fel magic.
Smart enough not to make the same mistake twice, Kira takes only that which she can reasonably stomach. After only a few seconds of siphoning at the soldier's enhanced life force, the sharp inhale of power suddenly reverses directions. A writhing mass of crimson and black shadow vomits forth from the gaping demon maw, twisted shapes of long clawed hands slamming into him and casting him to the surface of the Vajra.
"I will devour you piece by piece," Kira hisses, sweeping a hand dramatically through the air. The shadowy mouth quickly fades away, returning her cyber-suit to normal, though the image of that unholy transformation is likely to linger for far longer. "I will ship your ruined husk back to those who sent you and let them live their final moments in fear until the darkness comes for them as well!"
Vajra shudders violently, nearly flipping fully over as Potemkin impacts against it and skids backwards, halting his fall from it by a grip of his monstrous revealed hand. He grimaces, not from that, but from the siphoning that drained more of his prodigious energies and seemed to have granted more vigor to this dangerous foe.
And yet he remains unrattled. Determined, stoic and focused even with the absurdity of their current combat stage being taken into consideration. He straightens up, balanced against the movement of Vajra and his immense body immovable against the forces that hurtle against it. With portions of his flesh exposed now from the shredding of pieces of his limiter suit, he seems that much more immense as if no longer contained by the pressure usually used to hold him back. He's not -fully- unleashed as that would also potentially prove harmful for himself let alone Kira and the rest of the world of cardboard around him - but the sight of him would halt most in their tracks.
"Save your hollow threats." he rumbles while taking note of the position of the dropping cargo jet as Vajra keeps pace with it on its descent. "Empty and meaningless. -You- choose this. Have the decency to own up to it over hissing vacant words at the consequences of your own actions.."
With that he's suddenly on her, waiting for the right positioning to take place as he lunges in and spreads his arms wide. His body bears down on her like a falling meteor--
COMBATSYS: Potemkin knocks away Kira Volkov with Potemkin Buster EX.
- Power hit! -
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Potemkin
Vajra lurches away, violently, nearly spinning out of control and saved only by the fact that it was speficially designed to withstand Potemkin. He's the only one that can even fly it. That doesn't make this antic any less thunderous as the behemoth leaps upwards away from it and towards the bottom of the cargo plane with Kira in his grasp.
The two titans erupt through the landing gear, into the cargo hold once more, and up through it to just above the descending plane.
the two drop, violently exploding back into the ruined cargo hold to impact powrefully with a spreading shockwave that roars back against the howl of the windd. Careful application of force even in this moment of fervor, used to keep them from immediately plunging through the plane once more though Potemkin releases Kira after the touchdown to let the force wave continue to carry her away from him.
"You dare thrust the blame for your unprovoked attack upon the victim?!"
To the surprise of probably no one, the hulking brute's capacity for logic is rather lacking it seems. That he has the temerity to literally rip his way onto her plane, threaten to steal all of her cargo, and then unleash his wanton destruction upon her crew, only to lay the blame at her feet for not simply capitulating to his demands is beyond infuriating. Two good men may very well have died in his reckless attack and he would dare hold himself aloof to the responsibility while lecturing /her/?!
For a moment, rage literally blinds the vampire and she screams in uncontrolled fury and indignity at Potemkin, actually stamping one of her feet on the flat surface of the Vajra like a spoiled princess throwing a tantrum. That he chooses that moment to hurl himself at her is either a carefully timed attempt to provoke her anger and exploit it or simple luck that her emotional stability is on rather shaky grounds these days. Either way, by the time she realizes the danger, it's too late.
Kira attempts to throw herself backwards, fearlessly leaping off the rear of the screaming jet with a powerful backwards hop. But the massive gauntlets snap shut around her before she can slip free of the closing noose. Struggling to bring her blazing sword to bear against the behemoth's exposed flesh, the vampire is driven into the flaming wreckage of the cargo jet yet again. Twisted beams and jagged bits of metal slam into her, tearing at her flesh, but her immortal body merely strains under the ferocious onslaught rather than being broken apart.
"Wretched man! You will suffer for-!"
The sudden plunge back down into the plane YET AGAIN cuts short her hissing threat, driving the words from her useless lungs as Kira once more is subjected to punishment that would have reduced any normal woman to ragged bits of bloody meat and shattered bone. The angle of their impact inside the cargo hold sends her flying to one side rather than punching straight back down into empty air but it would hardly have mattered either way. So much of the craft has been shattered apart at this point that the cargo hold is little more than a few creaky metal platforms still stubbornly clinging to the superstructure by spit and bailing wire.
Riding the shockwave away from the thunderous crash, Kira spins tail over teakettle towards the gaping void where the cargo bay doors once were. But as she proved before, things like gravity and momentum mean little to a vampire lord, and with a furious cry she simply arrests her motion in mid air moments before tumbling out into the darkened skies.
Whirling around to face the object of her ire, Kira thrusts her empty hand towards the giant and a burst of dark magic explodes forth. A first nothing more than a giant mass of writhing shadows, the fel energies rapidly begin to split apart into dozens of individual entities. Monstrous demonic shadow bats, winged nightmares with blazing red eyes and wings as sharp as swords, unleash a cacophony of screeching hatred as they swarm into the super soldier. They assault him in a frenzy of murderous flapping and ear-grating cries, biting and slashing and tearing at him only to detonate one by one in bursts of searing black flame as the magic animating them expends itself a final conflagration.
COMBATSYS: Potemkin blocks Kira Volkov's Vespers of the Damned.
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Kira Volkov 0/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0 Potemkin
A criminal organization has laid hands on stolen and dangerous tech only to be confronted by a military operative assigned to recover or destroy the tech lest it fall into the wrong hands and further tip the balance of power in the region. They are offered a chance to surrender their illegally gained goods only to have their leader refuse and trigger a battle that causes collateral damage to her own people as a result of her scorning dialog in favor of testing her personal limits.
And she's also a vampire queen of some sort.
So yeah placing the blame at her feet for this present absurdity seems reasonable to the giant and many others that might examine the sequence of events.
But personal perspective matters and if anything Kira has proven that she sees only her assessment of things as the true and correct one..ergo the situation she and her people find themselves in. She's hardly lacking for power or the ability to continue a deadly retaliation against him in the form of another out pouring of cruel fel magicks which envelop and blitz the giant and the remains of the platform he stands upon.
And yet, they would not find his flesh easily marred or scored as if the release of his limiters has further engorge and hardened his superhuman physique to durability that would shame the most reinforced of fortress walls. He weathers their assault like some sort of immovable object until the area flashes bright before him and the entire platform is enveloped in unholy fire and shadow.
The giant then erupts forward, leaping through the fire flower and the rest of the ravaged cargo hold exploding into ruin behind him as he brings both of his massive fists upward. His gauntlets emit a birst of chi and flame, firing off a shell that further sends him rippling through the air as the tech there unfolds and builds up a devastating charge of energy .. A charge that will unleash in a bright billowing explosion of flame and crushing force should he manage to grab hold of Kira.
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov fails to counter Heat Knuckle Extended from Potemkin with Edict of Blood.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Kira Volkov can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
Regardless of which of them holds the moral high ground, neither Kira nor the titanic soldier are prepared to admit fault nor accept defeat. In such situations, things return to a more basic and primal means of determining the victor - might makes right.
In ages past, when mankind was yet squabbling over patches of muddy land with pieces of sharpened metal, the idea of a mortal managing to stand toe to toe with even the weakest of vampires was almost laughable. Entire organizations were formed to hunt down such creatures, men and women of devout unshakable faith willing to pay their lives for the safety of their fellow man. And pay dearly they did. For even with the sharpest of steel and the purest faith, facing a denizen of the darkness was all but a suicide mission. With stake and garlic and cross and whatever else they could muster to their aid, those holy soldiers marched by the score to confront even a single vampire.
Yet, as the wheel of time has continued to turn and mortals understanding of the Byzantine laws of reality grew the gap between monster and man has narrowed considerably. Looking upon the two beings who face each other now, which of them seems more the monster? It was not Kira's powers which rent the behemoth cargo jet asunder, tearing it apart as if it were naught more than cardboard. Nor would the visage she wears now send people cowering in fear at the very sight of her.
Absurd as it may seem, technology has allowed man to finally stand on equal footing with the creatures that once commanded the fear of legions. And though she may be but an infant in the grand scheme of things, newly awakened to her powers and fumbling around like a new-born deer, that dread legacy yet remains a part of her. She is no longer the woman that she once was, reborn in darkness and blood, bequeathed the almighty power of a vampire noble by one of the oldest and most powerful of her kind!
And she just got punched right in the mouth.
Hand still extended, Kira snarls as the hulking soldier once more seems to tear right through her assault as if completely unfazed by the deadly energies she hurls at him. Once more she focuses her will into being, attempting to ensnare her opponent mid-leap in waves of dark power. But as she calls upon that fel magic, it proves insufficient. Tendrils of wispy darkness wrap around Potemkin's massive arms, encircle his torso and legs like a mass of writhing snakes, but his thunderous plummet is hardly slowed by her efforts.
Eyes going wide in disbelief and perhaps a little fear, the vampire hurls herself backwards, attempting to escape the crushing grip of her foe's monstrous hands. She succeeds, if only partially, managing to avoid the grasping fingers that sought to hold her fast as her body begins to mistify. But the violent blast of power that detonates around that hand is too quick and destructive. Screeching in fury and pain, the little vampire noble is engulfed in the flaming explosion.
A black comet wreathed in orange fire rips across the night sky, carving a brilliant contrail through the darkness as it plummets to the earth below. The soft earth proves a more gentle impact than Potemkin's victorious final blow even as her body gouges a long furrow through the dirt and mud. When she finally comes to a halt, Kira spends several long moments lying utterly still, crumpled in a messy disheveled heap like a broken corpse.
And yet even that calamitous fall did -not- break her. Feeling for the first time something resembling actual pain since her transformation, she slowly opens her eyes and stares up at the stars in quiet introspection. This was certainly not the outcome she had desired. That a small little backwater nation like Zepp possessed such a powerful asset is disturbing news, more so that they would brazenly send it to attack her in such a fashion. While it is true that she had stolen the plane from DOATEC, the dumb brute had so much as admitted that he was there to claim the cargo for himself, and she very much doubted they planned to just hand it back over to the megacorp with a nice little bow on top.
"Bloody hypocrites," she sighs, pushing to her feet.
Well, it could have been worse. She survived that insanity, further solidifying her confidence in the whole 'immortality' aspect of this queen of the damned gig. And while most of the cargo was probably lost - the larger crates for sure would be too difficult to recover without some sort of transport - she still held possession of the most important treasure that had been taken from the DOATEC base: the location and access codes to the hidden storage cache.
Wiping a large clump of mud off her vambrace, Kira brings up the holographic keypad and taps into a secure frequency.
It takes only a few moments for the calm voice of her second to grace her ears in quiet acknowledgement. Kira's shoulders sag in relief, releasing a tension she had not realized she was still holding.
"Alive," groans the Spaniard, his voice somewhat muffled as if the man is somewhat distant from the microphone. "Gonna have a knot on my head the size of a melon though."
"Keep whining and I'll tell Z to give you another one," she quips cheerfully, casting her gaze towards the slowly descending remains of the cargo plane far in the distance. "We need to move with haste, there is almost certainly large armed forces en route to secure the remains of the cargo. Gather the wounded and whatever you can carry that happened to land nearby and regroup at the way point. I shall see to the recovery of our pilots."
Kira falls silent for several long seconds, her eyes narrowing with cold fury. When she finally speaks again, her voice is low and dangerous.
"Remember this night, my Dragoons. For we shall have vengeance against those who dare oppose us ere long. This I promise!"
Nope there will be no handing of this back to the megacorp. In its own way worse then Kira and her group if by sheer potential scale and the global rammifications of their current actions. Hypocritcal - perhaps - but far from dumb and really now, when the tale of the tape is read who is likely to come out looking the most clean and sympathetic here? All of that has been taken into consideration. Perhaps not so dumb after all.
Not that Zepp isn't without its skeletons or involved in shady dealings. Quite the opposite. But nobody is losing any sleep over Kira's loss here, save Kira herself so to speak.
Make no mistake..yes..Potemkin -is- a monster when the question of his actual abilities is laid on the table. The technology helps, of course, but it is his own natural abilities - mutation granted or otherwise - that seal the deal and in some ways the tech is meant to hold him -back-. Sometimes to a fault and sometimes in concert with his own self doubt and mental limitations. But the measure of monster and man is not truly one of appearences alone and Kira has more then placed herself on the side of the line she belongs on while otemkin's heart remains solely with humanity even if he could crush a man with his fingers.
Vajra bends but does not buckle or break, crafted to withstand a portion of the giants pressure as he lands back upon it and balances like a surfer atop some monstrous surf board. He crouches low, gripping the chassis of his exo suit as it descends to follow the path of the remains of the cargo. "Mission accomplished, but my pressure suit was both partially disengaged and damaged. We will recover the wreckage and what remains of the cargo but I will need a refitting if I am to continue to act in the tournament in any capacity." Losers bracket aside. He grunts and allows himself a moment of sardonic annoyance at wishing Whitney had observed this. Though he'd likely have just dismissed it all as him being a tool of the military industrial complex or something. Of which he wouldn't be wrong.
The report is satisfactory for Gabriel and Potemkin looks into the darkness where Kira disappeared into. "Hmm..we're both fools, mm?" he muses before dipping with Vajra down towards the landing point.
COMBATSYS: Potemkin has ended the fight here.
Log created on 07:59:30 02/18/2022 by Kira Volkov, and last modified on 23:57:45 03/09/2022.