LLK Act I.War - War : Storm Within the Storm

Description: Life has not been fair to Dr. Tran. All he wanted was to break into the YFCC and engage his 'frenemy' the insufferable prettyboy Alma Towazu in mortal combat. Instead, he was drawn into an outright melee and captured by the attackers, bound and stood guard over by the implacable Eclipse. Alma, dragged away after a dramatic collapse on the field of battle, feels himself in the eye of the storm, directing the last of the defenders and the retreat of the remaining non-combatants-- but one glimpse of him through a doorway is enough to change everything for Tran and his guard, and ignite a storm within the storm. Includes creative use of doors. (Triple KO)

Alma is simply grateful to be alive.
No man can call him a coward. There could be little more dramatic end for a man such as him than to end as he did, collapsed bloodily to block the path of the gate he swore to defend, fulfilling his duties even while unconscious. The rising tide may have swept him and his fellow defenders away, but such a heroic effort deserved and epic conclusion. It is thus fitting that we left him there, and stopped paying attention after a few cinematic seconds.
After that some kids just dragged him away.
It's frankly amazing that he's conscious, let alone that he has survived. His body is swathed in bloody bandages; the battle is in parts still raging. The beautiful young man, clad in mere tatters of what he once wore, is standing tall and his eyes are clear, but even he does not seem in any great rush to launch himself back into battle. And his expression does not reveal just how deeply he wants to know what has become of his friends, of his allies in that doomed battle they waged. But he is needed here, now, and even as a volunteer finishes tying off the last bandage that wraps his burnished-bronze chest the fighting model is gesturing concisely at his subordinates, directing the final stages of their withdrawal.
They are not finished yet. Defeat has not come. But Alma can no longer allow himself to put his volunteers in such danger; too many are injured already. Foxy may have been right to criticize him. And perhaps his own doubts are right-- perhaps he is no better than Seishirou Ryouhara, assuming with unforgivable arrogance that he can take responsibility for the lives and deaths of others. He does not really believe this, that his faith is as heinous and misguided as that of his own adversaries, of NESTS and of terrorists-- but in the midst of battle's chaos there is no room for self-righteousness. He can only fulfill what responsibilities he know remain integral to himself.
There is still a chance, after all, that this self will soon cease to exist.
"Go, go!"
The last of them are leaving; only the strongest of their volunteers and participants are remaining as a final line to delay the adversary. If their remaining heroes cannot stop the assault, defeating these so-called strongest will be a mere formality. Yet still, Alma will not leave them.
He remains determined.
If he is indeed wrong, he will pay with his life.
He will not sacrifice his integrity.
This pure certainty is what keeps any hesitation out of his eyes. Even terribly wounded, he is as a lion looking out over his pride, and remains a solid and awe-inspiring figure for those few still around him.
The hall that links the lobby to the infirmary, the middle ground to which he was dragged, echoes with the sounds of persistent, distant combat.
Alma exhales slowly.
Briefly, the eye of the storm.

The moment of peace that is the eye of the storm; a time for centering one's self, of quiet reflection.
Some at the YFCC fight for a cause; some, for greed. As he is always fond of thinking, Dr. Tran's reasons are not nearly so simple. Even if they are, he would never admit it to anybody, least of all himself. Especially if it was something as petty as, just as an example mind you, he was fighting so valiantly in the defense of the YFCC just because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and super-pissed at a man who was nowhere to be found.
This is purely hypothetical, of course.
As the doctor lays beaten and bloody, arms and legs bound courtesy of a certain NESTS operative whose mere presence is annoying even now, he wonders how this could get worse.

Naturally, this is the moment when he sees Alma in the hallway.

Things happen kind of quickly after that. In an instant, Tran is on his feet, already breaking into a run. The remains of his bonds lie shredded in a heap where he was just scant moments ago.
"ALMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" Tran screams at the top of his lungs, bounding through the doorway and leaping to punch his androgynous foe right in the god damn head, revealing one important truth in the process.

When Dr. Tran is on the scene, the eye of the storm is nothing but a fanciful illusion.

COMBATSYS: Tran has started a fight here in the center.

                 [ |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|-------

COMBATSYS: Alma has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Alma             0/-------/-------|
                 [ |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|-------

Eclipse Umbra, specially-grown operative of NESTS, doesn't know why he is here, fighting. It is enough that his family told him to do so.

Whatever the Shadaloo forces, Cammy and C.Jack, went is none of his concern. They, though allies, are not family. He can't fully trust them, so it's better that he's alone, guarding the three downed fighters: Vanessa, Zach Glen, and Dr. Tran himself. They come in and out of conciousness - Eclipse is typically silent, uncaring company until one of them starts to fidget - then he's there, knife to the throat, an expression on his face that suggests he doesn't care whether they live or die. But he hasn't been told to kill them, so he'll avoid that if he can. There's the mission, and there's life.

Imagine his surprise when he hears a shout, looks up, and Tran - who was thoroughly beaten - is already up and running somewhere, shouting a name. That name. You'll have to imagine it, because the only sign of it on his face is narrowed eyes and a frown. He lifts his right hand, reaching for it with his left...

...and changes his mind, freeing his knife with his left hand and ducking into the shadows. The black, sleeveless NESTS bodysuit blends in well, and he's killed the lights in his immediate area.

Glancing back toward Vanessa and Zach for the briefest moment, he decides to see what is playing out, at first. He murmurs to his handlers back at the lab, "Beginning objectives: Eliminate the doctor, eliminate Towazu."

They start prepping the medbay. This didn't go so well last time.

COMBATSYS: Eclipse has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [ |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|-------

COMBATSYS: Eclipse focuses on his next action.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [ |||||||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|-------

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Strong Punch from Tran with Light Random Weapon.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [    |||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|-----==

Alma's gaze jerks toward that familiar roar.
And his face all at once lights up with joy.
It is a decidedly different breed of reaction.
Yet, of course, even as his mind is registering the presence of his 'frenemy', that eccentric rival for whom he has a certain undeniable fondness (one that took even Alma quite some time to come to terms with), an entirely different portion of his psyche is registering the violent intent of the person before him. Now, Alma is rarely one to seem disconnected from his environment even when he appears somewhat distant, which is relatively often, and this is something of a meaningful achievement for him. But in this case that only makes his actions seem vaguely eerie. For there exists that internal disconnect between Tran-as-friend-and-teammate and Tran-as-the-guy-attacking-me, as though these facts do not need to be correlated-- and what it produces is Alma, even as he smiles widely -- and quite sincerely -- instinctively reacting to his charging opponent and stepping forward toward the doorway to meet his foe.
He's hobbling slightly, which is pretty good for someone who got stabbed through the chest about sixty times ten minutes ago, but it's enough for his subconscious to determine that he should be at best 'economical' with his movements. So he just follows his intuitions, somewhat distracted, and ends, still smiling, with a rather inspired approach:
He shuts the door.
The sound of splintering alerts him just in time, and he sidesteps abruptly as Tran comes crashing through, having naturally endured the sudden impact-- but the sudden lurch sends him staggering a little, and he himself bumps into the door to their medical storage room, knocking it open. He glances behind him a bit bemusedly, gazing at the varied equipment and accoutrements in the back room.
Then his aura sense reminds him keenly of who he is facing, and stirred, he turns back to his splinter-strewn adversary, smiling again.
"Tran, what are you doing here?"


Were he himself not recuperating from a fair beating, this paltry door would pose no threat whatsoever for Dr. Tran as he moves to attack. Unfortunately for him, this is pure conjecture, and going through the door rather sucks away all of the momentum he had going for him.
Slumped over, face now looking particularly scratched up from the many slivers of wood embedded inside of it, it takes the doctor a moment to respond.
"Grrg..." Not with any modicum of intelligence, of course. This shit hurts, and he's slightly...well, slightly stuck, one arm held high through one side of the door, the other pressed against his waist on the side he just came from. Extraction is /problematic./
Tran starts tenderly, gathering his wits about him, rocking back and forth. When this proves to not work at all, he stops, and finally answers Alma.
"What the hell do you think I'm doing here, you dumb bastard?" And then Dr. Tran tenses up, and with a scream of effort, rips the door completely off of its hinges.
"I'm telling you-" He charges with the door still around his chest like some bizarre flat, rectangular hula hoop. "-what a god-" He swings it awkwardly in the narrow confines of the hallway, trying to clip Alma with it, before quickly reconsidering. "-damn grade A-" Eventually, he decides to just try to run Alma the hell over, charging forward with abandon.

Well that's not quite what Eclipse saw coming. Drawing closer, likely slipping in on the edges of Alma's aura sense as a brick wall of wariness and stoicism trying to hide that /lack/ that all NESTS vatbabies have, Eclipse rolls his knife around in his hand. He assumed the doctor worked for Alma, or was at least a friend called to defend (truth be told he wasn't listening at all to the words he was shrieking just a while ago). The fact that he's now attempting to shake Alma like a british nanny? /Unexpected variable./

Eclipse has other throwing knives aside from his treasured fighting knife - he breaks one out of his boot now, trying to keep hidden but by necessity moving into the light to squint into the room Tran and Alma are in. He glances one last time at Vanessa and Zach before settling on his course of action, bringing up the knife, and sending it spinning in at Alma, hoping the good doctor is as much of a distraction as he seems to be.

COMBATSYS: Eclipse successfully hits Alma with Thrown Weapon.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/---====|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [    |||||||||||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|-----==

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Large Random Weapon from Tran with Blaze of Glory EX.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [            |||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|------=|=======

"Tr... Tran..."
Alma, still looking pretty bemused due to sheer exhaustion, and having finally let down the enigmatic mien that so naturally comprises his effective leadership style, blinks a bit dubiously at the quasi-doctor.
"...you've got a door stuck on you."
Shaking his head wearily, the young man lifts his hand and ignites it, a plume of glittering soul-fire emerging and slowly shaping itself into a fearsomely glinting, scintillating cherry-blossom pink sword, its ethereal blade traced with pure white and royal indigo.
"Look, I'll just-- ggghHHKK--"
So here's what went down.
Alma clearly does not realize that Tran is attacking him with a hula hoop door. This is perhaps understandable, because what the hell. But the raw unexpected jolt of a thrown knife /embedding/ itself into his already wounded shoulder not only elicits a strangled grunt of pain from our androgynous hero but sends him careening forward-- and puts his slashing blade in reach of not only the door but Dr. Tran's very soul.
Which is promptly cut in two.
Along with Dr. Tran himself.
Of course, it's an illusion. A sword didn't /really/ pass through Tran's body. It's not like he's going to explode into a shower of gore. He's just going to /feel/ like he exploded into a shower of gore.
And the door falls to the ground, cut in twain.
Wait, how does /that/ work?
But we have no time to explain the vagaries of Psycho Power, because Alma is gazing wide-eyed first at the freaking knife in his shoulder and then at the man who threw it. His eyes narrow sharply, cutting through the fog of war and impending defeat. "Hmph," is all he allows. 'You', he might as well have said. Of course this guy would be here. It didn't really occur to him until now.
For the moment, Tran appears briefly forgotten. In fact, he is not. In fact, Alma would prefer to say something like, 'Tran, let's get him!' But even Alma knows that would be stupid.
Maybe he should say, 'Tran, let's /not/ get him!'?

Dr. Tran makes a series of noises, any one of which on its own could be interpreted as being completely hilarious. He starts with a low honk of surprise as Alma has learned how to grow knives out of his flesh, moves into a strangled grunt as the door hits something (thereby aggravating the rough edges which are still digging into him), and then finish with a pained squeak as he's chopped the fuck in half.
Of course he's not actually chopped the fuck in half. He just thinks he is for several long moments, both halves of the door on the floor on either side of him. The several long moments keep stretching, as Tran stares into nothing, trying to cope with the violent disassociation between mind and body that Alma so loves to induce.


...this one could be a little while.

COMBATSYS: Tran takes no action.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [            |||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|------=|=======

Eclipse's approach is slow and cautious, the far superior fighting knife held out in front of him, the exact same stance he had before - only this time, he isn't covered in a hoodie, and his face is clearly visible. Also, this time, his skin and hair aren't the signature NESTS brown-and-white.

"I want you to know," he begins, eyeing Alma from way back there, "this isn't personal. This is my mission." And he means it, though there's definitely injured pride there. His eyes flick to Tran for just a moment, and then he moves.

His motions are smoother than they were before, everything carefully weighed and calculated. He presses his right hand to the floor, briefly, and then launches himself forward, coming straight at Alma - only to stop suddenly just out of the reach of that pink (GAYYYYYYYYY) sword, and slip aside, leaping past Alma. His hand twitches as he goes, shifting the blade to a backhanded grip, slicing more with the dive than a traditional arm motion. "This time, I won't need my crutch."

Because he can be strong enough.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Eclipse's Random Strike.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/=======|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [            |||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|------=|=======

"Then it's no use."
Alma's eyes sharpen but remain gentle, his gaze never straying from Eclipse's own even as his palms smoothly and silently catch that deadly-sharp blade between them, only the faintest of blood trickles emerging.
"My missions are always personal."
For all his clear intent, there remains a mildness to his features.
"So even if it means invoking mere pettiness--"
Shifting forward, oblivious to the shearing pain that surges through his shoulder as the muscles in his arms flex past the blade still embedded there, he thrusts the NESTS minion away.
"You'd better come at me with everything in your heart."
And as though it were all part of one continuous motion, Alma's right hand thrusts forward and the blade that had receded back into latent energy shrouding his palm bursts forth once more, sharpening to a fine white point as it plunges into the aether, a beam of light that aims to pierce straight through whatever mockery of a human psyche Eclipse possesses, to puncture it and reveal it for the mere vacuum that Alma feels viscerally it is and must be. Eclipse himself must realize this, as, Alma knows, all those who came from NESTS must come to learn.
"Though I wonder..."
The truth will set him free.
"...what 'personal' means for a man like you."
But not before it is done with him.

Somewhere in the dark, twisted maze of passages that passes for Dr. Tran's psyche, one might hear the following brief conversation.
'I've been chopped in half.'
'I'm probably dead. I'm pretty sure, anyway.'
'So is this hell? Seems kind of...empty.'
'No, no, this can't be right. Something's wrong here.'
'What if...what I haven't been chopped in half at all?'
'I'd better check.'
'Well, ok. Let me know how that goes.'



Slowly, Dr. Tran's hand, twitching violently, reaches up to feel his chest. He rubs it a little.
There doesn't even seem to be a scratch. The hand departs the chest, reaching out in a claw-like rigamortis, reaching toward Alma. It clenches slowly, agonizingly.

Inside, a tiny voice in Tran's head says, 'Oh. It was a /trick/.'
Dr. Tran finishes, through clenched teeth, barely speaking in more than a whisper, "Dick. Move."
Things abruptly get considerably more explosive in the hallway at this point, as Dr. Tran erupts, chi blasting out unrestrained from every pore on his body all at once. The steam fills the hallway, clotting and gathering until it's so thick that one's own hand might be indistinct held in front of one's face.
And then Dr. Tran acts, like a gorilla in the mist. If gorillas made a habit of screaming obscenities at the tops of their lungs. A strange, muffled 'swooshing' sound can be heard in between various curses and foul epithets.

COMBATSYS: Eclipse dodges Alma's Divine Intervention.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-======|-------\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [            |||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|???????|???????

COMBATSYS: Eclipse slows Large Thrown Object from Tran with Shadow Spike.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Alma             0/-------/-======|==-----\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [            |||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|???????|???????

As it turns out, the swooshing is the sound half of a door makes as it hurtles through the air, spinning like a javelin. Who knew?

Eclipse moves with it as Alma pushes him away, accepting that his radical attack got schooled, his own momentum keeping him moving, a difficult target. Alma's beam of beautiful, precious Psycho Power comes tearing at Eclipse, but without the pain his chi brings him, he can see it, process it, and move out of the way appropriately, dropping into a roll and coming up against the wall. "My missions are for my family." A tiny flame of resolve begins to burn in the emptiness. "I'm sorry if that isn't enough for you."

Then everything gets positively ~steamy~.

Caught in a horrible visual representation of homoeroticism, Eclipse reacts on instinct, shutting his eyes and relying on his other senses. This must be the doctor - he had this sort of power. If Eclipse knew Tran a little better, he wouldn't assume that the oncoming swoosh could be handled by whipping his right hand at it, a black blade of chi whistling into it, and breaking apart against it.

His eyebrows lift as he opens his eyes and realizes it's a door! Then it smashes flat into him, sandwiching him up into the wall, convenient splinters embedding into the wall (and Eclipse) and keeping him pinned there for the moment. "Hmm," he mutters, muffled.

COMBATSYS: Tran successfully hits Alma with Large Thrown Object.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Alma             1/-------/=======|==-----\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [            |||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|----===|=======

Alma /had/ something snappy to say back to Eclipse.
But that wasn't it.
A spiralling door slams into him through the mist, sending him staggering away from where Tran can be presumed to be from obscenity-based echolocation, but some part of his subconscious again takes control. He cannot count entirely on his psychic awareness at this point in the battle, however much flame he may be able to drag out of himself. But he can still intuitively harness whatever momentum is thrust upon him-- and this works well enough.
Rolling towards Eclipse with the impact of his own personal door, Alma emerges from his tumble with a leap. Even if he can't sense flying doors, he can at least still tell where Eclipse's unsettling aura lies. Yet this is just the same problem all over again-- for only once Alma has already leapt does he realize that Eclipse is pinned behind yet another door and pressed up against the wall.
Well, no matter.
Slashing out with a fierce spinning roundhouse, soulfire sheathing his legs, Alma twists into a series of powerful flame-imbued kicks-- and if Eclipse doesn't get the warcry-memo in time, each powerful strike will smash through the door currently trapping him and slam him repeatedly against the wall.
A brutal sandwich indeed.

The steam gradually clears, fading away into nothing as Tran ceases to provide the will to keep it going like that. Say what you will, but the use of chi on that scale is /tiring/. Dr. Tran is panting as his internal pressure begins to regulate itself at a more usual pace.
That is to say, it only rises off of him in an aura of vaporous, malevolent haze.
Moving forward, Dr. Tran is still shaky. While he is riding an adrenaline high from the act of pulling his own split psyche together through the sheer power of his deeply abiding anger, it's the tail end of things. It's wearing off.
There's only one solution to this problem:
/Get angrier./
Dr. Tran focuses on his long, sordid past with Alma. Sometimes when he thinks back on all the good times they've shared (disclaimer: goodness arguable), he sees himself with good natured humility. This reponse is somewhat rare. The usual, what is happening right now, is that Tran starts to get angry. With his control over himself half-loosened already, it shouldn't be much of a surprise that he completely loses whatever's left, charging at Alma with an inarticulate scream of rage.
The intent: to grab the psychic prettyboy, forcibly pull him away from that door he's attacking, and then headbutt explode him over and over and over until one of them stops moving.

COMBATSYS: Eclipse endures Alma's Rising Fury.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Alma             1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [             ||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|----===|=======

Trapped as such, Eclipse has little that he can do but stand there and take it, slowly working his legs back up against the wall. His head rocks back painfully against the wall, the wood that's managed to pierce his bodysuit scrapes agonizingly against his skin, but he pushes it back - he's felt worse, and will feel worse if he has to give this everything.

One last kick, and then - though he can't see it - Tran interferes. At that exact instant, he does what he's prepared to do. Legs worked up and planted against the door in a feat of flexibility, he jams his knife into the grain he's found, and gives a manly grimace, forcing chi through his limiters and into his knife. Black shadows ripple around it as he yanks upward and twists, snapping the door in half (quarters?), one in each foot and no longer able to restrain him. Eclipse grimly springs out from the wall, door shoes leading the way.

Like a Viking god of doors, Eclipse just tries to step on everyone's face while they're busy headbutting each other. "Doors are versatile," he notes to himself.

COMBATSYS: Alma dodges Tran's Fierce Combo.

[               \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Alma             1/------=/=======|=======\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [             ||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|----===|=======

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Eclipse's Random Weapon.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Alma             1/-----==/=======|=======\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [             ||||||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|----===|=======

Now this just crosses a line.
Door hula hoops, sure, not so uncommon. But door shoes? Door /shoes/? Alma Towazu exists on a pretty wild plane of existence but even he didn't see this coming. Even as he deliberately weaves out of a frothing Tran's heedless grasp the young man glances up wide-eyed to see a quarter of a door come hurtling down at his head, a bizarre karmic vengeance from a very eccentric deity. The only thing he can think of to do in the midst of evading his rabid frenemy is thrust up a palm and absorb the shock, circumventing any ill consequences but still providing a platform from which Eclipse may continue his door-shoed wanderings.
For a split-second.
Then, gritting his teeth, an otherwise bemused Alma finally experiencing a surge of historically Tran-induced deep-seated frustration, grips with the hand that is half-supporting Eclipse and tears a chunk out of one of his door-shoes, ending up with a spare small plank which he first whips up to slam into the NESTS experiment's knee and then, in the downstroke, bring crashing down on Tran's head.
"Snap out of it, Tran!!"
Come on, guys.
"We can fight once the battle is over!"
Let's take this seriously here.

COMBATSYS: Tran endures Alma's Small Random Weapon.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Alma             1/----===/=======|=======\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [                |||||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             1|--=====|=======

COMBATSYS: Tran interrupts Random Weapon from Eclipse with Oh Shit It's Dr. Tran.
- Power hit! -

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Alma             1/----===/=======|=======\=====--\1          Eclipse
                 [                   ||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|--=====

Dr. Tran is not a pure man. While this is obvious in the sense that he's not some angelic avatar of goodness, it goes deeper than that. He is a man who is rarely, if ever, completely committed. Even in the depths of his rage, a tiny, familiar part of Tran is telling him to watch out, to get ready. Even lost in his anger, Dr. Tran knows that he needs to watch out for a counterattack, anticipate it, /cut it off/.
It's a good thing he is lost, though, because otherwise he might be stunned by how retarded door shoes are.
As Tran flails wildly, he takes Eclipse's wacky doorshoewalking in stride, raising an arm to ward it off. With his other, he gathers chi, building it up and preparing to unleash it right in the face of his most hated foe.
Then said foe steals a doorshoe and whacks him with it, spinning the doctor about, throwing his aim completely off, and causing him to sort of uppercut Eclipse with a blade of chi as wide as a man is tall or, perhaps as wide as a Rufus is circumfrence.
It's big is the point, and despite its success, it was successful against the /wrong person./ For a moment, Tran is overcome anew with frustration.

COMBATSYS: Eclipse blocks Alma's Small Random Weapon.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alma             1/----===/=======|=======\======-\1          Eclipse
                 [                   ||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|--=====

Not Eclipse's day. He still has a lot to learn about not getting his shit handed to him.

For a moment, Eclipse is standing on top of Alma and Tran, arms crossed over his chest, black chi ghosting around his knife, feeling like a king and ready to ruin everyone's day. Perhaps even their Christmases. "Completing the mission--!!"

Klok. A chunk of his own doorshoe hits his knee, and he staggers, foot losing balance and slipping off the wood, leaving him precariously balanced on a blade of steam chi. Wait, this isn't how this should go--

The reinforcing plates in Eclipse's battlesuit save him from being eviscerated, but the rich leather is sliced right open, a massive red burn spreading across Eclipse's chest, already seeping blood as he's just sent hard into the wall. Eclipse sinks down against it, and slowly pushes himself back up. He cracked his skull flying, and blood is welling down the side of his face, but he's not yet done.

Taking in one hiss of breath, he takes a closely guarded stance, supporting his left arm at his wrist, knife in a backhanded grip, muscles tense against those metal bands in his arms. Everything depends on what he can do next.

COMBATSYS: Eclipse focuses on his next action.

[                \\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alma             1/----===/=======|=======\======-\1          Eclipse
                 [                   ||||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|--=====

A tense silence follows.
Alma Towazu, Not Psychic Enough, is frankly convinced that Tran has heeded his words and decided to turn his energies on Eclipse for the moment. As soon as Tran catches his breath and rouses himself out of his frustrated stupor, this assumption will no doubt turn out to be problematic. But for now, Alma is able to make one fair assumption: that it is just him and Eclipse in this shared moment, and that one of them must soon fall.
He shifts forward carefully.
Fluid, movements faint but not tenative, Alma casts out with what preternatural awareness he has remaining within his soul and focuses on Eclipse's violent intent. He cannot allow Eclipse to simply come to him fully prepared, but neither does he have the personal werewithal, having just come from another battle, to eagerly plunge forth with enough power that his adversary won't be able to overcome it. In this context, what passes here seems a stalemate between equals, a cold war between two who possess weapons of mass destruction.
But nothing stays cold around Alma for long.
Feinting, sweeping, his right foot lifts, flickers, and then finally snaps up, seeking to lure Eclipse with the misty blurring of his leg before he snaps up in a high kick that aims to catch him decisively under the chin.

While nothing may stay cold around Alma for long, it would be unfair for the fair man to take all the credit for himself. Dr. Tran, if nothing else, knows how to heat a situation up.
But even he needs a break sometimes, a chance to cool down and let his mental pipes unclog. This is not what is happening. Instead, this is a shallow mockery of such an event, where he tries desperately to clear it all out because his ANGER TUBES are full of SPITE.
Such relief is not forthcoming, and eventually recognition of that fact helps the tubes to split at the seams, letting out the typical reduced flow of thought through a choking haze of rage.
"DON'T THINK I'M DONE WITH YOU YET, BECAUSE WE'RE JUST GETTING TO THE HORSE SHOW!" Dr. Tran bellows, rather literally like a bellows because of the plume of steam that comes erupting out of his mouth as he screams. The man is /suffused/ with the stuff.
It leaves a nice, hazy trail behind him as he charges Alma YET AGAIN, this time leading with a shoulder, looking to make it so that the model is pinned against a wall this time; at which point Dr. Tran, not bothering to straighten even a little, will rain mighty blows upon Alma's Alma.

But Eclipse cannot fall for a feint - he has no intention of dodging.

"The mission is more important than myself."

His arms relax, and reveal the lie - his hand wasn't supporting his wrist, it was pressing and turning a small knob. Pain shoots through Eclipse's body as he deactivates his limiters again in the face of Alma, shadowy chi erupting in his arms...

COMBATSYS: Eclipse interrupts Spring Shower from Alma with Giant Shadow Cannon Burst.

[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  /////                         ]
Alma             1/-======/=======|====---\-------\0          Eclipse
                 [                     ||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|---====

COMBATSYS: Eclipse can no longer fight.

[                      \\\\\\\\  <
Alma             1/-======/=======|
                 [                     ||||||||| ]
                 Tran             0|-------|---====

In the instants he has before Alma's strike hits home, Eclipse jams his knife away, and extends his right arm straight out. Chi builds around it and forms a monstrous cannon around his arm, all the chi playing across the floor around him drawn up into the barrel. The cannon itself is a bit crazy looking. Tubes and wires everywhere, and a sight that extends up to his eye. Last time, this shot your basic fireball-type blast. You know, like a hadouken.

Alma's foot snaps up into Eclipse's chin, too late to stop it. "If I take you down, I've won--!"

An enormous beam erupts out of the Shadow Cannon, larger than a mortal man, all power and concussive force as Eclipse empties himself out, his skin even now darkening to brown, hair leaching to white. The blast is likely unkind to the ceiling, aimed at an upward angle - not to say what it does to Alma.

The blast fades, and Eclipse knows that he hasn't succeeded. Even with this, he isn't strong enough... if he can't beat one man, how will he save her? There's something curious flickering in the emptiness of Eclipse. Loss. But what could a created human possibly have lost?

Eclipse sags back against the wall. He's failed his family again.

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Dr. Tran - Man of Action from Tran with Divine Intervention EX.

[                           \\\  <
Alma             1/---====/=======|
                 [                           ||| ]
                 Tran             1|-----==|=======

COMBATSYS: Alma can no longer fight.

                 [                           ||| ]
                 Tran             1|-----==|=======

It's never as simple as that.
Alma can feel it too.
Even amidst the haze that plagues him-- maybe it is the blast that reveals it. The Hiten-Ryu prodigy is not so swift as he imagines himself to be. In the split-second that his decisive blow strikes home, so too is he consumed by an overwhelming barrage of concussive chi, his natural defensive aura deflecting and absorbing what it can such that not only the ceiling but the floor around him is carved into, the agonizing cracks of a tortured psyche etched indelibly into the tile.
Still, said defensive aura is formidable, and Alma's passion is not easily denied. It's never as simple as that. Yet what Alma perceives then, subsumed in that roiling morass of dark energy, is far more stirring in its own complexity. These hollow men are, for all their flaws, human; Alma knows this well, and his righteousness can at times mask the empathy he feels for such figures, the pull that drew him to people like K' and Shurui. Something always arises to fill the hollowness. But the grief that Alma feels, feels as though it were his own in that brief moment, is even more than that.
Could Eclipse be of a different breed?
The time for such questions is already past.
And not only because, as Alma stares with softened and puzzled eyes, Eclipse is collapsing backward before him. From the side, a thrill-- out of nowhere, at least from his perspective, Tran is attacking. Attacking /him/.
Alma's still standing after that blast, he was able to keep his footing, but this is a bit much. His conscious mind is already overwhelmed by the information it is processing and the pain it is deliberately side-stepping. Against such a sudden maneuver, he can only rely on instinct, instinct that has been digging its own groove into his brain from the moment he and Tran first faced one another in battle.
Turning loosely as though spinning with momentum from Eclipse's own attack, eyes closing slowly and a sigh escaping him, Alma takes the body-check on his left arm, and unleashes a piercing beam with his right.
Tran may be used to it by now.
Still, the force is simply too much. The young man is not particularly surprised to find himself hurtling backward, his body no longer under his own control. He finds himself slumping too against another wall, feeling once more leaving his frame. It occurs to him that he has pushed his physical form beyond all endurance. If he suffers any permanent damage from all this, he will probably deserve it. But the thought does not particularly bother him. Even if it ends him for good, he'll get up again. This mission isn't over yet.
And the mission is more important than himself.
He'll get up again.
...But not right now.

As Dr. Tran rushes forward, he makes a mistake. This in itself is no unsual thing; Tran's very nature is one of flaws stacked upon flaws. However, this mistake is very special, because he does it on purpose. Sort of accidentally.
The huge blast of dark energy in front of him takes him momentarily aback; not enough to halt his attack, but enough to slow it, to delay it. Perhaps it's this that Alma exploits, once more taking advantage of Dr. Tran's own carelessness. Perhaps it is something else, some elusive quality to the doctor's attacks that leaves him open again and again.
The truth is in the hesitation.
Unsure of the the cause, barely aware it existed at all, Dr. Tran finds himself stopped cold once again, a bolt of psycho power through his chest.
Struggling against the illusion of of being impaled more than the reality, he takes a desperate step forward, reaching out toward Alma. He can't manage a real attack at this point, but he holds on long enough for this:
Propping himself up against the wall with one hand, Tran stands over Alma, panting and barely keeping his proverbial shit together. His free hand he slowly curls into most of a fist, leaving only the index finger sticking out to point accusingly.
"You're not...getting off...the hook." He pauses, and starts to slump. "So easily." Letting out the rest of his breath, Tran tumbles to the side, now completely cashed out from the rigors of his day.

COMBATSYS: Tran takes no action.

COMBATSYS: Tran can no longer fight.

Log created on 02:02:40 02/27/2009 by Alma, and last modified on 13:59:44 02/27/2009.