Description: What starts as a Neo League match between two Finnish fighters turns into a race to find out -- just where did those blades come from?
With the New Fighting Generation events underway, the longer-term Neo League has grown... quieter, is perhaps the word to use here. But the fact remains, that the event itself is certainly still open, in spite of the slow start.
And for that matter, a certain name among the startups has even made an open statement; or perhaps, an invitation? Either way, the Finnish Bear Fighter, Tarmo, has thusly declared that anyone could simply approach him at any time, at any place, for a fight for standings within the league's rankings, without even asking ahead.
Presumably such an invitation is still open.
The Finn is in general pretty easy to find, though on this particular heated summer day, a bit more legwork might be required. Nothing terribly difficult with anyone savvy enough with information gathering, or access to adequate resources.
Of all things, Tarmo has actually secured part-time work in a certain japanese forest as a woodcutter. This might not necessarily sound as absurd if it wasn't for the fact that the Finn has been effectively given a stretch of territory all for himself, and the most high-tech machinery he is using is a simple woodcutting axe and a saw. And yet? The stretch of forest assigned to him has piles upon piles of neatly-cut lumber filling the area -- enough to keep up with actual woodcutting crews with dedicated machinery. And why exactly is he doing all this? The simple enough reason that he's paid decently enough, and he gets plenty of exercise while he's at it. Mostly through the actual process of cutting down trees and carrying them off, but there may or may not be rumors of him actually wrestling wildlife while he's at it, too.
Understandably, neither the lumber company nor the Neo League organization wish to comment on those rumors.
At least he can be found doing the actual woodcutting instead of anything else right at this moment. The now-sparser area of trees here echoes with the rhytmic thunks of an axe cutting into the base of a thick tree, more than enough to give a final lead to the location of the Finn -- where he is swinging away at yet another tree now, the massive bear of a man topless and sweaty amidst the hard labour done in the middle of the summer heat.
He probably hasn't even noticed the presence of a camera drone approaching high above the tips of the trees.
There will be no fanfare for the arrival of the mystery visitor, no sound, pomp, or circumstance at all. One minute, there was no one in this clearing but Tarmo, and the next minute, a 1.5-meter tall woman is there. That her arrival happened to coincide with a camera drone is, of course, -not- a coincidence.
The point being, though -- she will make no particular overtures to attract his attention. The bespectacled young woman with bright, teal blue hair seems far more interested in watching and observing: collecting data, for who-knows-what purposes. She looks like a scientist of some sort -- a pristine white jacket, blue shorts, some electro-mechanical apparatus wrapped around her hands, knee-high tights... and high heels. She will simply watch... and wait.
Until Tarmo looks her way.
At which point she will offer a perfunctory smile. 2.3 seconds later, she will make a statement.
"Mister Tarmo Karmala." She would then offer a greeting in his native tongue, with perfect tone and inflection. That of a native speaker, even.
"I am here pursuant to your standing invitation. I would like to engage in a Neo League battle with you. However, considering the circumstances, I feel it necessary to ask..."
She takes a breath -- though with how quickly she speaks, perhaps it's to give Tarmo's ears a rest. "... Is this a good time to engage in such a battle?"
Tarmo himself does seem completely, blissfully ignorant of the unexpected company approaching him. It takes long enough for the labcoat-clad woman to get to witness the final few hits of the axe against the tree, and even the tree tipping over and falling onto the ground with a hefty THUMP that echoes through the partially-cleared stretch of land, before he finally turns around...
And even that turn is just one that he happened to make while swiping sweat off his brow. He looks surprised enough to see *anyone at all* there, much less someone dressed like that.
The surprises just keep coming, though, with that very familiar language flowing into his ears.
"You've come a long way for that, havent'cha?" He eventually responds, similiarly in his own native tongue, complete with a wide, almost ferally-toothy grin. "Any time is a good time for a fight, don't ya know?"
Having said that, he swings the axe still held in one hand down onto the remaining stump of the tree that had just been felled, freeing his arms up to be stretched over his head. "Shouldn't I ask that of you, though?" He asks of her while going through those prepatory motions, with his eyes pointedly turning down to the woman's shoes. "This ain't exactly a dance floor, ya know."
The teal-haired prodigy seems content to converse in Tarmo's language of choice. Her voice is, however, completely dispassionate, lacking in emotion of any kind. The rhetorical statement is answered with a flat, "Yes." And so is the follow-up statement. "Yes."
As Tarmo swings the axe, the young woman hardly seems alarmed at all. She merely raises her thumb and forefinger to her glasses, adjusting their position upon her nose.
"... Ah." She gestures to her attire with a hand, without shifting her focus away from Tarmo's eyes. "My garments are coated with a chemical that aids in the cleaning process. My heels will not pose an issue. So I affirm that yes, I am indeed prepared to engage in battle."
A brief, performative smile is offered. "My name is NiCO. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
And with that, she draws both hands into an 'L' shape, curling her left hand in front of the right. Electricity begins to crackle from her fingers. "The camera drone stands as our official observer. The experiment -- that is to say, the -battle- -- may begin whenever you are ready."
Pencak Silat -- a martial art from Indonesia. The fighter may be nearly half the size of Tarmo, but she's confident enough in her style to give the towering man the first strike, if he so chooses.
COMBATSYS: NiCO has started a fight here.
"Hmmmm...." Tarmo seems disbelieving of NiCO's statement regarding her clothes -- especially the assurance that her chosen footwear in particular would be of any kind of issue in an environment like this. In fact, he does not appear convinced at all. But in spite of that, he eventually gives a shrug of his enormous shoulders, and audibly decides simply, "If you say so."
That decided, and his stretches evidently done, the big bear of a man hunches forward slightly in his stance, with his arms spread wide open. A not at all unusual grappler's stance that, on a stature like that, might truly make him seem as though he is mimicing a bear.
"Experiment, huh?" He repeatch that slip of the tongue from her, eyes glinting faintly with his grin. "You ain't plannin' to turn me into some test subject, are ya, little girl?" Not as if though he's going to wait for her to actually *answer* that question, though, apparently. Not with the speed at which he is suddenly stomping forward to clear the space between him and the much smaller Finn. Faster than anyone of that size should have right to move, but--
As much as Tarmo himself might seem like a freight train when he moves, his momentum is quickly halted directly in front of her with one powerful stomp of a boot just before her, and that initial first strike he has chosen to take advantage of is... more of a quick, light jab than anything most people might have expected to come out first. Either it's a probing test to see what this mysterious girl is made of, or...
Or he is erronously and severely underestimating her.
COMBATSYS: Tarmo has joined the fight here.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Tarmo 0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0 NiCO
COMBATSYS: NiCO blocks Tarmo's Quick Punch.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 NiCO
NiCO may not -seem- like she's much of a conversationalist. But when Tarmo expresses skepticism, she simply nods and responds with a more exhaustive explanation.
"One of the founding arts grouped into Pencak Silat is always performed within a muddy field," notes NiCO. "I have trained in that art with heels on. However, should worse comes to worst, I am not above fighting barefooted." The chemical coating probably won't help if the stockings are shredded, but it doesn't seem to be a concern.
He asks if she isn't planning to make a test subject of him? Her response is delivered in a level monotone: "On the contrary: I am." She offers another perfunctory smile. "But you need not worry," she continues, unconvincingly.
The stomp is enough to signal to her that her challenge has been accepted, and the match has begun in earnest. Her expression hardens into a neutral mask at the strike; she's still got her arm raised as before. But as Tarmo leans in with his first strike, the little woman is quick to snap into action, swatting the jab away from with an unhinged forearm -- the tautness of her muscle showing that yes, she -has- done a good deal of resistance training.
"You do not need to 'go easy' on me, Mr Karmala," she insists -- stepping sideways, and then hopping to deliver a spin kick with her right foot. Given the opportunity, she would then spin around in midair to deliver a followup kick with her left foot. Momentum is the principle that the scientist is intending to demonstrate here, as she delivers two kicks with the power of someone much larger!
COMBATSYS: NiCO successfully hits Tarmo with Kinetic Theory.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/-----==|====---\-------\0 NiCO
Much to Tarmo's shame, he did go easy on her with that opening move. And much more to his shame, he recognized his error only after it was too late.
Namely, that moment is when she is already spun up into the air, and her first kick has already landed against the massive finn's side and the second is on it's way towards his head.
"Guhh--" It's surely enough to cause a smaller man to topple over, and Tarmo does wobble back a bit with his hand going up to press his palm at his temple from the jostling pain.
"Noted...!" He grunts right there though, with two more steps wobbled back there. "But cut it out with the whole 'Mr' thing...!" He goes on to complain, with a deep, guttural grunt preceding him suddenly stomping his foot down and forcing himself into a forward lean. "'Mr Karmala' was my father!"
The stomped foot seems to press hard enough into the ground, that when he suddenly pounces forward, soil and grass is sent flying behind him from the force of takeoff. An even more intent charge than the one he set himself at her with initially.
...And he doesn't seem to be intending to stop either. He's even turning his body subtly roughly two meters away from her, so that he is facing her shoulder-first. Now he really is coming at her like a freight train, on a direct collision course!
COMBATSYS: NiCO counters Rynnakko from Tarmo with Kirchhoff's Closed Loop.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/---====|====---\-------\0 NiCO
NiCO is agile, and strong for her size. But that does not change the fact that the size is, by almost all measures, -small-. It's true that she can leap up to Tarmo's height, mitigating some of the disadvantages of her diminished stature, but the fact remains that if Tarmo manages to get hold of her, he will no doubt dole out some pain with her name on it.
NiCO is, fortunately for herself, able to delay that inevitability in certain choice instances. She lands not long after her kick, smoothly reassuming her Pencak stance of choice. She stares unblinkingly back at Tarmo as he steadies his stance.
"Noted," she echoes back to him, with no discernable emotion. She holds her position with that robot-like calm, even as an earthshaking stomp is delivered. She anticipates the minuscule chance of his stopping -- and acts accordingly, leaping once more into the air. Though her last attack was a visit from her feet -- this encounter involves a visit from her leg, which wraps up and over his neck -- as she grabs for the Finn's elbow. Holding on tightly, she leverages his forward momentum against her core strength, allowing her to twist him forward, to the ground, onto his back. Which itself rocks the earth considerably.
The grappling maneuver completed, she dismounts with a half flip, slipping back into her previous stance.
"And I am sorry to hear about your father. Perhaps in our shared lack of paternal presence, we may find another point of commonality."
That's strange. Nico isn't there. Tarmo could swear she was just there in front of him. In fact, pretty much exactly where his foot is stomping down, now.
The sensation of tights-clad leg wrapping about Tarmo's neck quickly resolves the mystery of the disappeared NiCO, then. However, this is once more a realization that comes when it's already too late for the male Finn to do anything with that information.
"Gaaaaah--?!" The world spins around in his vision, up becomes down, down becomes up, and the sturdy sense of the ground below his feet is soon found greeting his back instead, in a cruel leveraging of gravity that slams him down there with such weight that the trees around the two of them seem to shake upon impact.
"S-slippery..." Tarmo grunts out, with stars still glittering in his eyes from the sudden motion he was forced into, before turning to roll over and spring up to his feet. Large and weighty he might be, he keeps coming for her stubbornly with repeated ferocity -- like some manner of beast, indeed, reaching in for the smaller finn in an effort to grab at... well, anything, more or less, with the sole intention of pulling her closer and leveraging his own weight to forcefully shove her back-first to the nearest tree that hasn't been subjected to his axe yet.
While that hand reaching out is opening itself up for the attempted grab, there's... a glint of metal, of all things. If NiCO manages to get out of the way, she might actually see the cause-- jagged edges pushing out from within Tarmo's enormous paw of a palm, like a dozen, tiny see-through daggers extending out from within. If she doesn't, well... she might *feel* it instead.
Either way, though, in a blink of an eye after the fact, they appear to be gone again in an instant, as if they'd never been there.
COMBATSYS: NiCO dodges Tarmo's Improvised Throw.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/---====|=====--\-------\0 NiCO
At work, NiCO is a very demanding person. She has a great deal of latitude in her cross-disciplinary efforts, and she does not readily accept 'no' for an answer. Anyone who has stood against her has quickly been instructed to understand why opposition was a bad idea.
But, in engineering such a sophisticated and nuanced workflow -- one that exists largely to serve her own selfish interests -- she has painted herself into a corner. A corner with no further conflict -- and one that is wholly and utterly devoid of interest or meaning. One where, as no one is left without fear of her, no one chooses to visit her at all.
And that is why she is forced to find her own fun. To seek out fighters on her own volition, and awkwardly initiate a humble, but honest, exchange of words. But even that -- is a prelude to a throughly mechanical exchange. An action that leads to a reaction, which produces yet another reaction. NiCO rises. Tarmo rises. NiCO prepares. Tarmo initiates attack.
And NiCO fulfills her role in the exchange: she coldly assesses the attack, and decides she wants to avoid it. Legs hinge, forming a coiled spring of potential. Elbows rock outward like wings. Shoulders tilt backward. And then legs uncoil, sending her springing backwards.
There is just one thing.
An array of tiny, translucent blades thrusting out at her.
An unforeseen addition to the complex calculus of avoidance.
One that comes -far- too close for comfort.
Blades teasing their honed edges just millimeters from her face.
Weight is fractionally redistributed. Adjustments are made. NiCO escapes unharmed -- all according to plan. But the new element of -fear- has entered the equation. And the young Finn finds herself gritting her teeth in anxiety. And even... -smiling-.
"Fascinating. None of my previous analyses revealed this capability in the test subject."
A moment later, NiCO touches down a meter from where she stood. And just as quickly -- she springs back in to close the distance. "Show me the blades again..." she insists, delivering a string of punches, followed by a rising knee strike. "... Please." If she succeeds in landing those, she would follow that attack with a vicious wheel kick for a knockdown!
COMBATSYS: Tarmo interrupts Strong Kick from NiCO with Moukari-Isku.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/=======|=======\=------\1 NiCO
Fingers snap closed amidst empty air, just barely missing NiCO's face. And just like that, the blades are gone, and--
Tarmo gives a very, very confused look at his opponent. "Huh?" Eyes narrow, even, in a suspicious squint.
He has to put up his guard before he can properly question her, though. Arms rising, but.. they don't seem to put up a very effective guard in on themselves. THey don't move to intercept the few jabbing punches, the Finn merely soaking up the impacts of her knuckles with low little grunts while one of his feet slowly shuffles itself closer along the ground.
"I don't know--" He starts to say, just as she turns into that spin to lead into the vicious kick. And that's when he strikes.
Those upraised arms suddenly snap in from that subtly closed distance. One hand snapping to clasp onto her left shoulder, the other going to wrap about the bicep of her other arm -- a grasp that his enormous hand manages almost *worryingly* easily. And with that hold, he yanks her up, making full use of the fact that she'd just raised her other foot a fraction of a second earlier for the originally intended followup of a kick.
"--what you're talking about!!"
The final words of his protesting declaration echo out in time with her getting swung overhead with his own spinning turn, the hand on her shoulder letting go at the apex to use just the hold on her arm to swing her the rest of the way through; over and down, to slam her violently upon her back on the other end -- and he's even ducking down some with that swing in order to maintain his grip on her arm, like some kind of leash.
At the start of the fight, the diminutive researcher was dispassionate about the whole affair. Did it feel 'good' to speak with another Finn? Yes. But she can open up voice chat and speak with associates whenever she chooses. Seeing this... new power manifest itself is an exciting development.
And this man who towers over her does not even know what it is she's referring to. Bother.
The bigger bother is that his reach has overcome her agility. Gritting her teeth, NiCO braces for both the expectation of pain when he lifts her off the ground, and the loudness of the man's voice. A powerful counterattack that leaves her grounded, upon her back -- her arm still retained as insurance.
The researcher pants for breath, pain wracking throughout her lithe frame. "You were unaware that blades popped out of your hand just now?" she asks with a pained grimace, her free hand clenching tightly into a fist.
But then her fist ignites: tendrils of lightning entwine their way around her hand, empowered by the sizable ring bound to her glove. In her current position, mobility options are limited. But she still has the capacity to express her art.
In an instant, she slams the back of her hand into Tarmo's, hoping that a powerful jolt of energy will provide a compelling explanation for her release. In the next eyeblink, she delivers a second argument -- an lightning-wrapped knuckle payload to whichever portion of his body presents itself at the moment. If she can loosen his grip just enough, she would kick herself off the ground to freedom and plan her next move.
COMBATSYS: Tarmo endures NiCO's Flux Theorem.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////// ]
Tarmo 1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1 NiCO
"I don't fight with knives!" insists Tarmo, still. It's not the *first* time someone has accused him of sneaking a knife in to the fight, but he's always thought they were just rambling crazy amidst it all. This continued insistence from NiCO now, too, is a subject of equal amounts of confusion and frustration now, too.
Before he can prompt her for anything further on the subject, though, lightning crackles into being. Tarmo sees it, for certain, but he's not fast enough to do anything to stop NiCO's hand from smacking against his own, still clutched like a vice about her arm.
"Hrrghrlherl!" is roughly the best approximation of the noise that comes out as electricity is sent coursing through him -- but even then, that grip doesn't seem to loosen. That alone might already be worrying, but the bear of a man goes even further -- as that second lightning-charged strike is coming his way, he's leaning down at the same time to bring his other hand grabbing onto her side, hoisting her just as her fist collides with her and draws out another groan of pain. There's certainly electricity-burns left against the man's hand and side after the fact.
But even with those marks left steaming from the fresh impact and burn, he still goes on to lift her over his head once more like she weighs nothing, with enormous hands wrapped about her sides now -- and unless she manages to slip away from that terrifying grab in the first place, he leaps into the air, with a stubborn roar of adrenaline and pain both, only to swing her *down* as he comes down, head-first. If she has been caught up to that far, she's going to have to find a way out of his grip fast, before she will find her skull meeting the ground while Tarmo handles her as if he were stamping a pole into the soil!
COMBATSYS: NiCO blocks Tarmo's Ihmiskeihas EX.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/-------|=======\====---\1 NiCO
He should have let go. That's the expected response when she has shocked test subjects in such a manner before. But perhaps she stimulated the wrong nerve bundle, or used an inappropriate voltage...?
Her inaccuracies quickly become the least important of her issues as a meaty hand grabs hold of her side. Her punching and flailing bear little consequence on the ongoing debate of her liberation. It's probably for the better, considering the damage she was able to wreak while allowed to roam freely.
NiCO then feels what it is like to soar through the heavens without her own power. She's sure this is, to some degree, similar to the experience of an infamous Izuna Drop maneuver -- one of those accursed Ninja inventions. But, with one hand still reasonably free, she's able to mitigate the impact of her head impacting the ground by reaching out with her palm, doubling the surface area, and halving the force applied.
It still, for the record, hurts like -hell-.
But NiCO is, finally, -mercifully- able to kick her feet upon landing, prying herself free of the walking giant's grasp. She flips about, landing in a low crouch, and presses both her index fingers to her temples...
... Though she tries to play that off as merely adjusting her glasses, as she settles back into her prior combat stance.
She speaks through grit teeth.
Her hands stay clenched into fists.
The pain is obvious in her stance.
Her voice, though, is tightly controlled.
"I have no quarrel with you." She relaxes the hand in front, settling it into an 'L' shape. "But I also have no interest in quibbling with you over finer points of the truth in the midst of combat." Her nostrils flare, as she forces calm over herself in the wake of a pounding headache. Her trailing hand, too, relaxes into an 'L' shape.
"I would insist you examine the footage of this fight afterwards. Because I surely will."
Her brows crease, her features tense. Dealing with this headache is tougher than she wants to let on.
There is no time like the present, though. FOllowing her insistence, she takes two loping strides forward to close the distance. She drives in close, delivering a rushing backhand strike to Tarmo's stomach, and seeks to follow it up with a palm punch to the stomach and an elbow to his chest. Should she accomplish both of these, she would follow up with a series of four rapid-fire punches to the gut, each lit with rippling bolts of electricity!
COMBATSYS: NiCO successfully hits Tarmo with Induction Coil.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/-----==|=======\=====--\1 NiCO
It's a sound of faint surprise that comes out nearly the instant the two end up on the ground again, but one that sounds to be much more on the satisfied side. Clearly he noticed that she didn't *quite* take the impact completely head-on.
It's spoken in his smile, too, when she manages to slip free and springs away, the larger Finn looking outright *excited* even, all complete with a compliment of, "Very good!" provided to NiCO herself for surviving the maneuver.
But that smile recedes some then, to make way for the bemusement brought up again by NiCO's words. He truly looks like he has absolutely no idea what she is talking about. "...I will," he offers, at least, while shifting his feet subtly, and raising two massive, meaty fists to bear in preparation for their soon-to-be-renewed clash. "Let's just enjoy this for now, huh?"
He moves in a near-instant with her, a powerful stomp carrying him forward to meet her halfway as she leaps in. Excitement playing in his eyes brighter and brighter with every centimeter closed in--
But she's just fast enough to make the first move on contact.
Tarmo does seem to realize this just as she's bringing the first strike to bear, as his arms move to attempt to shield himself, but even that ends up being too slow. Backhand and palm to gut and elbow to chest, all slip past his tree trunk arms to needle him... But the giant just smiles on, and even defiantly leans forward while a hand sweeps down to try and catch her arm after the third strike, perhaps only *just* missing her.
"Not good enoug--!" He even starts to taunt her after the blows to the wall that is him, with an arm going to wind back already... But only then, right in the middle of his sentence, does he realize she is *still going*.
Much too late again, that realization.
The rapid blows slam into his midsection like a drill, and this time? This time he *halts* in place. There's even a confused-hurt "Gaaaahhh?!" slipping out frmo his throat while bright electricity sparks and flashes with each hit to pulse through the Finn's body itself. After the fourth, he even stumbles back with a cough, eyes momentarily rolled up in their sockets while heated steam seems to rise from his skin after the literal shocks to his system.
He wobbles on his steps. Despite him seeming to merely walk off most of the technomancer's hits earlier, the stress to his body is definitely starting to show in the way he moves, too. He *almost* seems unresponsive after that...
Except, the instant NiCO moves again, he outright forces his body forward, with the arm he wound back earlier brought to swing forth in a fierce uppercut aimed to launch her off her feet! And if the punch does go through and indeed send her into the air, he would go on to step after her and snatch her by the leg from mid-air to forcefully yank her back down to be slammed into the ground rougher than gravity alone would... And in turn use her leg as the point to keep her trapped by in his immense grip.
COMBATSYS: Tarmo successfully hits NiCO with Ilmahyokkays.
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > //////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 NiCO
NiCO has never been a fan of small talk. It's often insincere, a timesink, and rarely produces any results of value. In the pragmatic worldview of the diminutive researcher, it's a loss in any metric. And yet, small talk is an absolute necessity to establish and maintain contact with prospective test subjects.
Within the confines of an actual test, though, NiCO is fully within her rights to question the benefits. Data doesn't lie: it takes up valuable resources. Her replies, then, are as succinct as possible.
Let's just enjoy this for now? NiCO answers with a stoic nod.
Not good enough? NiCO's response speaks for itself.
Perkele? NiCO allows herself the briefest of smiles.
And yet, when all is said and done -- the tall Finn is still standing. Good -- the researcher had wanted more testing. With him practically immobile, she starts to withdraw -- only to find that he plans to chase her with an uppercut. She leaps back, but not enough to clear the punch that rockets through and clocks her in the chin -- but with her jump, the punch was enough to send her flying.
An instant later, momentum is her enemy, as it causes her entire body to snap back like a rubber band from the hold on her ankle. If seen with an X-ray camera, the vision of all of her joints expanding for a fraction of a second, only to suddenly snap back, would be disconcerting to say the least!
But that sensation is secondary to the pain of being slammed violently into the ground. It won't be her footwear that ends up muddy, but the rest of her, as Tarmo stamps a NiCO-shaped impression into the ground.
Her professional opinion on the matter? "Nnnrgh..."
However, trapped in such a manner, her options are extremely limited. A kick at this range would be nigh ineffective without the ability to wind up. And her limbs are too short, comparatively, to try anything else.
So she meets Tarmo's eye with a baleful glance.
And raises her thumb and forefinger to her eyeglass frames, adjusting the fit.
NiCO opts to conserve her strength at this juncture, rather than attempt an attack from such a compromised position. It will give her time and focus to adjust in the midst of Tarmo's next attack.
COMBATSYS: NiCO focuses on her next action.
[ \\\\\\\\\ < > //////////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/----===|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 NiCO
There's not even an iota of joy fading away from Tarmo's eye, even when his eye meets that particular way she's glancing to him with. But that being said, his shoulders *are* heaving just a touch, his chest visibly rising and falling with a breath quickened enough to be noticed. He's been pushing himself a good deal with this fight, and it's starting to get to him, no matter how much he might be trying to hide it.
"You're not done yet, are ya?"
The challenging question precedes him suddenly yanking at NiCO's leg to, initially, drag her closer to him along the ground before he, himself, turns to spin -- and with that, to pull her up off the ground and sweeping in the air along with his own turn, with a roar of "Come on!!"
If she doesn't manage to slip free from his (thankfully) one-handed grip, the swing will go on to continue for a half-circle's worth, before the massive man will simply let go, and allow momentum to send his opponent careening off through the air and onto the ground a few meters away. It's almost like he's provoking her at this point.
COMBATSYS: NiCO fails to interrupt Medium Throw from Tarmo with Phrenic Nerve Stimulant.
-@- Dazing Hit! -@-
[ \\\\\\\\\\ < > ////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/---====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 NiCO
If Tarmo's happy, then NiCO's happy. Because happy fighters are engaged at an emotional level, which makes them much more likely to provide a peak physical response. Which is what NiCO is, naturally, most interested in.
"I am not done yet, no."
Her response is clinical and matter-of-fact. She has a good deal of 'fight' left in her. And even Tarmo dragging her along the ground, as if he were a caveman returning home with dinner, does not diminish that. Her custom-made attire might suffer some indignities, but the bespoke fabrics ought to be more than enough to withstand the ravages of mother nature. Particularly as her fingertips claw into the ground in an attempt to slow the logger-for-hire's path. Now, if -knives- were involved, that might be different...
It's when she's about to leave the ground that NiCO sees her opportunity. For that's when she presses her palms against the ground, in synchony with her leg hinging, in an attempt to hook her foot around his neck. If that were a feat she could manage before the rest of his attack, that would provide her the opportunity she needs to cut her trip short.
Unfortunately, it was not. The force of Tarmo whirling her around even in just that quick half-circle was too much for her to overcome in that instant. And as he cuts the spin short... there's no opportunity for the researcher to compensate. She just... goes flying.
And hits the ground. -Hard-.
If it had been in the area that she'd just softened up with her backside, it might not have been so bad, but the tougher ground puts up more of a fight. And the researcher finds her vision blurring as she pushes back to half-seated, half-prone position.
"... At my earliest... convenience," she states in response. Come on, he implores? Please try again later.
Once NiCO has gone flying, Tarmo finishes his turn the rest of the way so that he might follow after her, even if his approach is at a fairly languid pace at first.
Seeing the female Finn left laying there for an extended moment, though, he almost looks disappointed.
At her earliest convenience? Tarmo doesn't *quite* shake his head at that. But he does pick up the pace of his long strides.
"I don't--" And with those quickened strides his arm winds back behind him. Far back, enough so that his posture actually bends back some.
"--like to wait!!"
One last, nearly-leaping stomp forward brings him right up to her, and with that same motion his wound-back fist is launched forward, starting in a high arc that goes aiming lower after going past his shoulder. THe long wind-up leads to Tarmo's entire body being put into the thrown punch that now comes plummeting down towards the still-grounded NiCO like a meteor.
And though Tarmo himself might very well not even realize it himself, she will see it, from down below; tiny, translucent blades, much like she saw earlier during their bout, extending out from each of his knuckles this time, while that meaty fist descends towards her.
COMBATSYS: NiCO counters Karhun Isku EX from Tarmo with Electromotive Force.
[ \\ < > ////// ]
Tarmo 0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\-------\1 NiCO
Getting her head slammed into the ground not just once, but -twice- now has left the researcher's braincage a bit rattled. It's tough for her to rely on her photographic recall of tactics if she can't even see two meters in front of her own face.
Tough, but not impossible. One thing that -is- remarkably helpful, in this specific instance, is Tarmo's bellowing voice, and the rather -loud- sounds of his footfalls. NiCO, still grounded and half-seated, can still detect those tells enough to formulate a counter-strategy. Gritting her teeth and screwing her eyes shut, she decides to rely on her honed instincts.
For starters, she can estimate from his footfalls that his velocity is constant and balanced. This suggests a fist is coming, and not a kick. Further, Tarmo has shown a preference for -big- attacks, not worrying about the potential fallout, which of course to a man his size would be minimal. This means she can expect momentum to be a crucial factor in impact.
She throws her left fist into the air as hard as she can - not at the fist crashing down, but just -under- the downward-aimed punch. Adrenaline courses through her in the process...
And then her hands both ignite with tendrils of electricity, as she grabs hold of his extended wrist with her left! Her vision starts to clear up, to boot. Though her hold threatens to pull the Pencak Silat prodigy back to the ground she just departed...
"Apologies..." she states. Her eyes light with reflections of the crackling electricity -- and the deadly scintillating knives that aroused her interest. "But this is what I am after."
For while Tarmo and she are still heading downward, her -other- hand has snapped to hover just over his bicep. And in the next instant, the back of her right hand -- also arcing with electricity -- suddenly snaps into his face, aided by his downward trajectory.
With his arm pulled sufficiently off-balance, NiCO shoves downward sharply, breaking her hold. The momentum allows her to continue spinning -- at which point she snaps an axe kick high, dropping her heel like a scythe down onto his left shoulder!
The researcher steps back, adjusting her glasses once more. She coldly turns her eyes back to that extended hand, scientific curiosity getting the better of her. Now... fully buoyed by adrenaline and the thrill of discovery... she hears the fight calling to her even more loudly, overriding her urge to remain silent.
"You are not done yet... are you?"
The shock of what she's just done comes back to her. With a sickness in the pit of her stomach, she lurches sharply to her left. And yet... the call klaxons even louder in her mind. She gives it voice once more, blurting out urgently!
Best laid plans and all that.
It is true that big, winding attacks rarely come with an issue for Tarmo. As far as NiCO can probably tell, his game plan usually is to just plow through with his enormous bulk and pain tolerance alone, and let a massive strike or grab go through while he is getting pummeled, or outright strike through his foe's guard with brute force alone.
A strategy that is much harder to follow through with when the opponent you are employs techniques to redirect the strength of his own attacks so expertly. Much like this practicioner of Pencak Silat.
There's no time for questions. THere's no time to wonder what the hell she is talking about again, while all but wrapped about his arm.
For the next moment Tarmo understands is pain.
Electricity jolts through him sharply enough just from the smack of her hand into his face - the impact of which may very well be displacing the bone in his nose for that matter - and it only gets worse when the researcher's continued spin afterwards guides her leg down onto his shoulderblade. On most any other opponent, that could very well dislocate the damned thing and reduce the arm attached to it useless, but somehow, the massive finn's bone structure persists... but the surge of lightning that comes with that, strike, too, surely more than makes up for it.
Tarmo can feel it flashing through his body well after she's already off of him, afterall. Forcing him to stagger back, with his body twitching uncontrollably from the continued shock -- all the way back to slumping onto his side against a smaller pile of lumber neatly-cut and -sawed, de-branched logs that hasn't grown quite numerous enough to justify tying it all up yet. It's not a high point of support, so he damn near falls over even with his arm hoisted over them.
His body feels like it's burning. Steaming, from all the electrical burns and the shock to his nerves. He's just about ready to accept his body can't move anymore, and just let himself fall the rest of the way...
But then she has to say it.
Echoing his own words from before right back at him.
It lights at least a small modicum of energy back into his body. Encourages him to push himself back upright with a loud, strained groan.
Come on, she says.
"I'm--" He groans out, leaning to the side before his rise is fully completed, where his arm wraps around one of those untied logs, and... he actually manages to hoist it right up with him. With one arm initially, until it can be propped to his shoulder, where his other arm joins to curl in to take hold there, like he was wielding an *obscenely* oversized club.
Even cut down to size, the massive log is still long enough that he doesn't even need to take more than a single step forward, before she is already in range of that absurd improvised weapon. A single, stomping step that leads into a wide swing put to bear frighteningly easily in spite of the size of the weapon, owing to the preternatural strength of it's wielder.
A final, stubborn swing as a final passing gift to his delightfully challenging opponent, delivered with a mighty roar of "PERRRRKELE!!!!"
...But, as mighty as that swing is, it is just as disastrous for him. As spent as he is, after the very apex of that swing, regardless of if it will collide with NiCO or not, Tarmo's hold will suddenly slip, and unintentionally send it careening off to the side, as the giant's feet decide to call it quits after just those few seconds of overtime provided to their owner.
With or without NiCO, Tarmo is finding himself falling down face-first onto the ground right then, with an assortment of quietly-grumbled finnish expletives leading up to an earth-shaking THUD.
COMBATSYS: Tarmo can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Tarmo successfully hits NiCO with Raskaat Tyokalut.
NiCO had a mission: To gather information on the mysterious malady she had detected in Leo Whitefang, in their last encounter. And that mission is complete. At least, as long as the camera drone is present.
Anything beyond the mission is off-the-clock, as far as her professional curiosity is concerned. And with Tarmo calling her to action earlier, it seemed only natural to call -him- to action. To see how close to the redline she can actually push herself. She seems more than satisfied that the big man has the strength to rise to his feet.
"Wonderful. The experiment may now continue."
She's satisfied until he rips one of those giant logs off the ground. At which point she feels herself getting sick to her stomach again; her confidence melts like an ice cream bar in the sun.
When faced with a log of such size, there is only one true course of action.
And run NiCO does, turning away and bolting as fast as she can. She sees the shadow -- and she jumps as high as she can in hopes the log can swing -under- her...
She cannot jump -that- high though. And she gets utterly -clobbered-.
Her body is carried by the log for a few meters, before Tarmo lets go and inertia carries her onward. She flies a few -more- meters before hitting the ground, rolling -- like a log -- until she slows. Only for the booming *THUD* of the log itself hitting the ground to set off a shockwave throughout the whole area, blasting her into the air for just a moment more of hangtime.
a stop. Her pristine white garments are coated with a thick layer of dirt -- and her glasses are very, -very- smudged. But she isn't... -completely- unconscious yet.
She pulls her glasses off, feebly attempting to dust them off.
It's a shared sentiment, apparently.
COMBATSYS: NiCO takes no action.
COMBATSYS: NiCO can no longer fight.
AFter all the dust settles and the echoes from the final clash fade out completely, there is but a groan to be left over from where Tarmo lays. Muffled against the dirt right beneath him, at that.
It takes several seconds, and it's only that telltale expletive in their shared tongue that seems to push some life back into the giant, at least. But even then only enough for him to turn his head so that his cheek is pressing down to the soil instead of his face.
"Nhhhh. ...Hey," he calls out after a few more seconds passed, voice on the resigned side of things.
"Can you still move? ... Cuz I can't."
Indeed, try as he might, he can't manage more than the slow turn of the head that allowed him to at least speak some. His legs have given up, and after hoisting an entire tree up in his arms, those limbs have very much decided to clock themselves out for the day as well.
NiCO had rolled to a stop on her side. And she's comfortable that way -- or at least, battered and exhausted to the point that she does not wish to move.
It's a good few seconds -after- Tarmo's question that her eyelids flutter. And she starts to look around at her environment, through those dust-coated lenses of hers.
She starts to speak, but is forced to cough the dust out of her lungs first -- a sick, wet cough. But a moment later...
"... I will neither confirm nor deny."
Her own dark sense of humor.
Still. They're breathing. They can talk back and forth to one another. That's a good sign, right?
The sound of NiCO flopping onto her back. There are two smaller *whumps* as her arms touch down beside her.
Seconds later: "An update. The answer is: yes. I simply do not wish to."
THere's a rather deadpan kind of silence left on Tarmo's part over NiCO's claim, that lasts for several long seconds.
"...If you say so," he offers back eventually, though. He doesn't sound convinced. Not in the slightest. But he's not exactly in any position to try and go prove her wrong right now, either.
Another passing moment of silence, at least for the male finn. Plenty of time while he's stuck on the ground without any strength left to contemplate the great mysteries of life, at least until the people on the other side of the camera drone hovering above decide to send someone to check in on the two of them.
"...You know," he eventually offers, deciding at least an attempt at talking is better than just silently laying there. "We should... do that again... sometime..." His words drift in between. Eyelids feel heavier and heavier with every syllable uttered, and eventually begin to force themselves down in spite of Tarmo's own protests at the very end of the suggestion.
Consciousness feels overrated right now.
Log created on 15:18:26 06/17/2023 by NiCO, and last modified on 19:58:28 06/19/2023.