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    TWFF Btyes.

    Bad John
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    Post  Bad John on June 5th 2017, 11:12 pm

    Alalonn was genuinely pleased. Dropping into a forward stance, he kept one hand on his weapon, choking tightly on the grip. His sword still rang with the most recent impact.

    It was only two years ago that Alken's strikes barely fazed him; not for lack of trying. He was just too small to budge the giant. Now, each blow felt like a genuine threat. Each strike sent a chill up Alalonn's arm. He felt the comforting burn of effort in his lungs, and the welcomed pain of damage on his skin from close cuts and unarmed strikes.

    It wasn't every day a Second-Classer could bruise his skin; Cadet Group Eight continued to impress.

    "My boy's holding his own. I couldn't be more proud." Alalonn paused to admire the novelty of the moment. It was a rather nice day; this almost felt like a game of catch.

    "QUIT DAYDREAMING SIR!" Charging forward, Alken tore forward for another attack, his weapon high. The standard issue blade cut the air as Alalonn stepped back, raising his guard and pushing his arm forward. Standing on a stone plateau, the two had been dueling for the better part of an hour now. Alken strafed right, before tearing towards the First-Classer's left. The younger man moved in a graceful, but jagged line. Alalonn nearly lost sight of his student as the boy moved into his blind spot.

    Alken brought his sword around, but Alalonn turned and guarded, his golden blade shooting forward a few inches. The guard forced Alken back, his graceful steps halted and his swing repelled. Gracelessly, the dark skinned young man stumbled back as Alalonn moved to attack. The elder warrior swung low. Regaining his balance, Alken stood on his hand and flipped back, avoiding a blow that would have slashed off his legs. Alalonn swung again, and Alken, with no room to dodge, raised his guard. The blow battered him to the side, but the boy rolled over his shoulder and got to his feet, a familiar red glow appearing in his hand.

    With a roar of fury, Alken hurled a fire spell. Alalonn raised his arm as a fireball the size of a grapefruit struck him, splashing flames across his elbow and up his helmet. I haven't given him time to rest... He was holding some of his mana in reserve. Smart tactic. Alalonn inhaled sharply and blew. The gust from his lips blew the fire on his skin out.

    No magic there. He just had strong lungs. With his view cleared, he saw that Alken was low and in arm's reach, his sword chambered by his side. Ah. The Sword of Doom.

    Alalonn jumped back as the blade passed his waist. Despite evading the blow, he felt a painful sting shoot through his abdomen. His eyes widened when he realized Alken had managed to cut him.

    It was a staple of any SOLDIER's repitoire; using the latent Mako in their system to enhance their swing. The result was a slash so powerful that it cut the air a good deal further than the blade. Alalonn saw the trail that the swing left behind. More importantly, he saw the gleeful smile on Alken's face as he managed to land the blow successfully.

    Not bad. Time to take him down a notch. Alalonn planted his feet. "Now for my reply. SWORD OF DOOM."

    Alalonn swung his blade hard. He saw the look of confusion on Alken's face for an instant, before the boy made the correct split-second choice; he jumped. The pebbles on the plateau were hurled away in a spiral of wind; had the Second-Class SOLDIER not avoided Alalonn's swing, it would have chopped him in half. Alken landed, looking down at his boots.

    Some durable rubber fell to the ground away from his feet; Alalonn had shaved off a few centimeters of his soles. "Whoa..." Bewildered but still willing to continue, Alken planted his blade in the ground, clenching his fists and spacing his feet apart.

    "Are you surrendering?" Alalonn grinned, stroking his beard and wiping the sweat from his jaw.

    "In a sense. I can never beat you with swordsmanship alone. So, I'll hit you with everything I have, weapon be damned." Alken took in a deep breath. Vapor drifted up from his skin, before dispersing into the high wind. Alalonn watched patiently as his student prepared himself. "I've been working on this privately. I apologize if it fails to meet your standard, sir."

    Alalonn shoved his weapon into the scabbard on his back, spacing his feet apart. Bracing himself, he wondered what Alken had to offer. The boy had always excelled in hand-to-hand, and it seemed he was channeling every last drop of his power. A limit break, hm?
    Let's see what you've got.

    "Goner Stride." Digging his heels into the dirt, Alken charged forward. Alalonn watched him approach, and felt a pressure that he rarely encountered with lesser adversaries.

    "Your attacks always have such sad names." Alalonn managed a joke before the collision, but little else. Alken was moving too fast for him to mount a defense; for the first time, the dark skinned teenager made the commander experience mortal fear.

    Alken's elbow caught the First-Class SOLDIER just under the ribs. Alalonn slid backwards a step, his knee nearly touching the ground. FUCK. That hurt. Alalonn chortled, turning just in time to see Alken coming at him again. A sting an move pattern. BLOCK. Abandoning his role as an evaluating teacher, Alalonn focused himself on surviving the next attack. Alken had a running start, and was inches from striking.

    Lifting his arm, Alalonn felt his student's boot ring against his bicep. He blocked the strike, but Alken was past him and in his blind spot before he could retaliate. Left. Turning, Alalonn hardened up, raising his guard. With yet another running start, Alken struck his commander with a straight punch. The strike tore through the First-Classer's guard, managing to tag him directly on the mouth.

    A mistake. The boy didn't have enough room to pass by. Alalonn caught Alken by the neck. His own momentum was his downfall; Alken's head and throat were stationary, but his body still shot forward, snapping him horizontal. Alalonn lifted the younger SOLDIER by the throat, then slammed him down, embedding him in the dirt. "Ghkt." Unmoving, Alken was stunned by the blow. His helmet flew over Alalonn's shoulder, landing with a tinny, metallic thump.

    Showing no quarter, Alalonn drew his sword and brought it down, piercing his student through the stomach. Lifting his blade, Alalonn held the impaled young man in the air. Alken's brown eyed gaze fixed on Alalonn defiantly, but the fight was clearly over. "A solid effort, Alken. You did not disappoint me." Alalonn's ice-blue stare evaluated his student with something like glee; even against his vassels, the commander certainly enjoyed a well earned victory.

    Swinging his arm, Alalonn flicked the limp body off of his weapon, sending Alken flying aside. The boy landed hard, rolling off the plateau and falling to his death, leaving nothing behind on the plateau but his helmet, his sword, and a bloody stain where he'd been run through.

    Alken woke with a start. The last thing he remembered was plummeting towards the hard desert sand beneath the plateau. His stomach was in knots. "Yikes." He shuddered; the ghost of cold steel lingered in his gut. Alalonn was still in the simulation, laying on his Vision Room cot.

    Sitting up and stretching, Alken mentally reviewed the battle; it was always as hazy as a dream at first. Alalonn finally stirred, getting up and stretching his back. "An excellent limit break, Alken. You'd dance circles around most folks with it."

    "It's a work in progress, sir. Thank you."

    "The perfect is the enemy of the good. I'd say it's ready. You knocked one of my teeth out." Alalonn laughed, tilting his neck with a satisfying pop. "I need coffee." With that, he wandered into the hall. For all his power, he seemed rather tuckered out; the Vision Room always took a toll. "Come. I have some pointers on your swordsmanship."

    "Sir, yes sir!" Alken staggered upright, then followed, slapping his cheek to wake up fully.

    Last edited by Bad John on September 7th 2017, 5:59 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Bad John
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    Post  Bad John on June 10th 2017, 11:58 pm

    This one's to expand on character's behaviors. A writing exercise, if you will.

    It was a red letter day for our SOLDIERs. They had the base to themselves. The majority of SOLDIER's forces was shipped off to fight in Juonon, the fishing city. Alalonn saw no need to intervene, and held back his eager retainers in order to guard the homefront.

    That basically meant they were getting a vacation, and had the recreational quarters to themselves; today, they were having a game of volleyball.

    Hybria bumped the ball up to her teammate Kydomis, who smacked it down towards the other side of the court. Lioke slid on her knees, knocking the ball up and preventing the point as Annie volleyed it back.

    Etechnia sat on a chair happily, a whistle propped between her lips; she always loved playing goalie.

    Kydo swung his hand, missing the swing. The ball struck the floor, and Lioke sprang into the air, thrusting her arms out in victory. "YEAH! Spike. In your faces, nerds."

    "Yeah, yeah." Kydo rolled his eyes. "Brag while you can. We're about to make a comeback. Your serve."

    Hybria, annoyed, hurled the ball under the net, smacking Lioke on the forehead. "Y'hear that? Your serve, nerd." Lioke fixed her eyes on Hybria like a hunting tiger, before charging towards her, sliding under the net and pouncing. Despite being the toughest of the bunch Hybria was caught offguard; Lioke's speed made her a dangerous combatant. The faster SOLDIER cleared the distance and moved into Hybria's blind spot. Oh shit.

    Lioke latched onto Hybria's neck from behind, choking the larger, long haired teammate. She jumped onto Hybria's back and arched hers, providing more torque.

    FWEEP FWEEP FWEEEEEEEEEEEEEP. Etechnia blew her whistle insistently, hand signalling frantically as she rushed towards the two. Hybria fell onto her back, flattening the attacker. Lioke held the headlock, her determination to choke resolute. Kydo finally tugged her off.

    "I'll spike your head into the ground, you lil shit!" Hybria lunged forward, but Etechnia managed to hold her back.

    "I'll spike your drinks with rat poison, you colossal bitch! GET OFFA ME, Kydo!"

    Kydo tried to hold the thrashing, snapping Lioke back. "You'd friggin' murder her over this?!"

    "I would too!" Hybria answered the challenge with gusto.

    "Calm down! GOD, you guys are fucking nuts!" Kydo planted his boots on the floor, but Lioke was dragging him forward inch by inch through sheer force of will.

    Etechnia held up a red card as she and Annie tried to keep Hybria back. Blowing her whistle, she swiped a hand to the side, indicating that they'd both be ejected from the game. Hybria grabbed Etechnia's whistle and crushed it. "Okay. Rude." She pulled her auxillery whistle from her pocket and continued blowing.


    Annie was having a difficult time holding back even half of Hybria; the smallest of the group, she was rapidly being overpowered by the northerner's thrashing arm. "Etechnia, I'm going to need you to do a bit more than that. Do you have barrier materiAH-" Annie was silenced as Hybria got her in a headlock. Swiping madly for a moment, she latched onto Hybria's arm, trying to claw free. Stop squeezing! I can't breathe! Annie propped her boot on Hybria's knee, trying to get loose.

    Lioke lashed her head back, butting Kydo on the face with her noggin. The light haired young man fell backwards, clutching at his bloodied nose. Lioke charged and tackled Hybria, the fight escalating as the four SOLDIERs fell into a pile of flailing fists.

    Sophron watched from the doorway, his hand pressed to his face. "For Gaia's sake..." He pulled his ice materia off the holster, aiming his hand; he'd learned that the best way to get a handle on a situation was with a good gust of cold air. "This is the eighth fist-fight this week. If you can't learn to get along, I'll have you neutered and spayed."

    Last edited by Bad John on September 7th 2017, 6:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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    Post  Bad John on June 13th 2017, 5:48 pm

    "This is Communications Officer Iris Adra! Come in, Gongaga outpost! We have an emergency situation!" A young Shinra trooper screamed into his microphone; though he had no shortage of panic, he needed to shout over the battle that raged below. Sitting on a nominally safe perch with his rifle tucked under his arm, Iris, out of morbid curiosity, peeked below as he spoke into his phone, sweat sticking the device to his cheek as he peered over the rusty ledge.

    His helmet gave him a simple view of the battle; both his allies and opponents were highlighted blue and red respectively, their details hard to make out. Outlined in red were dozens of lurching, stumpy figures. Moving like gorillas, they swung ancient weaponry and slabs of metal from the broken down reactor, some using old cannon-barrels as clubs.

    Those in blue moved too fast for him to recognize, pausing only to dismantle their opponents with swords and flashes of magic. The SOLDIERs were strong; terrifying to behold in battle. However, their opponents had a clear advantage in both size and numbers. The battle was a mudslinging stalemate as Shinra's finest Second-Classers were led by Etechnia.

    "This is Doctor Amechanio. I've had your call redirected to my offices for strategic purposes, under the advisement of President Shinra. What exactly is the issue?" The cold voice came as a tremendous relief to Iris; the Doctor was one of Shinra's top minds.

    "We've entered combat with an overwhelming enemy. My unit was wiped out; several dead, most injured. The SOLDIERs are showing superiority, but they need reinforcements. I was hoping to get in touch with Commander Alalonn, or Sophron."

    There was a stiff click, followed by a long, steady dial tone. Iris swallowed dryly, hoping his mind was playing tricks on him. Unbeknownst to the young communications officer, somewhere on the top floors of Midgar, Amechanio was laughing sensibly to himself, hoping that Alalonn's pets would be killed in action.

    That Amechanio's a bastard, but you gotta respect his commitment. Memorized every communications officer nearby Alalonn's team, waited for a clear sign that they were in battle, redirected the call, then fucked up the poor kid's plea for reinforcements.

    I haven't written a fight scene in a while, so I wanna put some work and thought into this one. I'll post the rest of this drabble shortly! It'll outline how the group works as a team, and feature a big ol' goddamn heroes moment.
    Bad John
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    Post  Bad John on June 14th 2017, 11:43 pm

    Iris flinched when a misfired bolt spell struck a row of rusted girders beneath him; the catwalk that she was hiding atop began to collapse with him on it. Yelping with terror, he summoned all his training instincts and sprang off. As he fell, he turned his back towards the ground and landed hard on his shoulder. His rifle clattered, firing two rounds into the air before he could stop himself and get ahold of the spraying gun.

    The crashing of metal and riflefire attracted unwanted attention. When Iris pulled himself to his feet, he was staring in the eyes of one of the many identical monsters; a madouge. The creature and its many brothers had a head like a stump and two eyes. Its face was below, just above its stomach; a purple, four eyes mask, constantly fixed in a baleful frown. Like headless men of grizzly myth, the broad shouldered creatures had no tolerance for humanity.

    They were true, genuine monsters; killing not for sustenance. Only out of instinct. "OH FUCK." The trooper raised his rifle and fired, blowing a few shallow holes in the creature's skin. It groaned, and barreled forward. "I'm about to die? REALLY?!"

    "No." A blue outline appeared behind the creature; Alken, one of the SOLDIERs that came to save Iris. "Don't worry, I've got 'em." Alken swung his leg down at an angle, kicking the outside of the madouge's knee. Its knee folded inward, crippled. Before the creature could collapse, the dark skinned man ran the madouge through, piercing its back. Iris saw his reflection in the tip of Alken's blade for a moment. He'd never forget that haunting image.

    Alken yanked his blade back, turning to deal with the creatures who gathered around them. One rushed forward with a hunk of metal from the reactor's outer plating. The monster hurled the weapon at Alken, who simply sidestepped the attack, leaped forward and punched the creature. His gloved right hand twisted, sheering off skin. Iris stepped back as the strike echoed; he heard breaking bone.

    He's only a Second Classer? He one-shotted the thing with his bare hand. Iris looked down at his gun.

    The SOLDIER brought down another of the beasts with a swing of his sword. Backing away from the fight, Iris turned and saw another fighter in battle. A woman with long, black hair was on a madouge's back. Hybria pounded the creature into the iron floor with her boot, stabbing it in the back and twisting the blade. When another creature approached her, Hybria turned and swung her sword up; the beast fell into two, even halves. Turning to engage a third, she lashed her hand into its stomach, gouging out the mask in its abdomen. Iris watched as she made easy work of her opponents.

    "Get over here." A hand grasped the back of Iris's neck. Alken had finished his attackers. "Stand up and follow me. I'm gonna get you somewhere safe. Can you walk?" Alken roughly hoisted Iris to his feet. "This is an active extermination; SOLDIER personnel only."

    Iris's pride was stung a bit, but he mostly agreed. The shortsword on his belt probably wouldn't do much to help, and his rifle could only kill them at point blank range; way too risky for the trooper's taste. "Understood, sir." Alken rushed towards a nearby doorway that used to be a broom closet, and Iris followed. The SOLDIERs were in full armor; during security work, they only wore helmets and shoulder pauldrons. Alken had a chest and back-plate, and steel reinforcements on his boots. Iris was content with his standard issue kevlar; The SOLDIER's armor seemed too ceremonial for his taste.

    A magouge cut the two off, a tinny rattling noise following it as it burst through the fog to cut them off. It swung its arm around, lashing at the two with a metal chain. "DOWN," Alken barked. Iris sprawled, and the chain passed over their heads.

    Before the monster could bring the improvised weapon around again, the chain was caught by another figure in the mist. "GET OVER HERE." Kydomis yanked the chain, jerking the beast towards him. As the creature fell forward, Kydo ran it through, lifted it, and slammed it onto the ground behind him. "You guys okay?" Alken gave Kydo a thumbs up. "Good. No problem." Kydo was checked from behind and knocked to the ground, his visor scraping on the dirt. His helmet rolled off his head, revealing the face of an angry blond guy. "You lil' fucker. C'mere, you!" Kydomis popped his helmet back on and tackled the beast who'd hit him, falling down a metallic stairwell and out of sight. The vast room had exposed dirt from years of decay, but it was still a sprawling mess of stairs, metal and creeping ivy. With no roof, the area was bathed in midnight fog, restricting Iris's visibility down to his optical helmet; thank Gaia it couldn't run out of batteries, or the trooper would have been blind.

    Alken stopped when he was confronted by an enemy, sliding to a halt. Ducking a punch, he swung under its arm with a backhanded cut. Iris flinched as the fog split horizontally, leaving a crisp outline before it merged into opacity. He punted the creature, and it fell into two halves. Ahead of him, the most monstrously strong member of the team was clearing a path.

    Etechnia landed in front of six of the creatures. Turning her blade calmly over her shoulder. Rotating forward, she began swinging, keeping her blade tight to her arm. Snapping forward, she cut through two of the beasts at once. The First Class SOLDIER swung again, letting her weapon swing forward and around. She spun with it as it hewed through two more of the burly beasts. As the others descended on her position barehanded, she raised her guard. The monster's fists drummed on her sword as she held it up, her boots digging heavily into the dirt. "We gotta help her!" Iris steeled his nerve and raised his rifle. "I'll take the one on the left!"

    Alken held up a hand. "You've got guts, sir. But to worry. Her specialty is defense. She doesn't need our help." Etechnia pushed her sword forward and swung it up, severing the beast's hands. With a great, turning swipe, she parted the fog, just as Alken's swing had done.

    Her slash, however, parted the fog all around Iris, swinging it out and clearing the air completely; it took a moment for the hazy grey to slink back down and retake its place.

    Wow. Swordsmanship was one thing, but it appeared that his backup was superhuman.

    "Don't dawdle. Get inside." Iris snapped back to reality when Alken hurried him along. "You don't want to get your head twisted off, do you? Your injured teammates are in there."

    "You saved 'em?" Iris felt a lump forming in his throat; some of those troopers were his best friends.

    "Of course we did. You guys called for help, after all." Alken gave Iris a good natured pat on the back. "We Midgardians gotta stick together." Alken gave Iris a push towards the doorway, and the trooper rushed inside; he saw green outlines. Fellow Shinra troopers lying, standing, and leaning against walls. Most were sulking, while some were nursing injuries that had been hastily patched by healing materia.

    "I think a madouge could fit through he-" before Iris could finish his statement, Etechnia stepped in front of the door, pointing a hand towards it. With a powerful barrier spell, she conjured a flat, glasslike blue panel, covering the door. The spell gently latched to the doorway, clamping on.

    "That barrier should last four hours, or until I dispel it." The First Class SOLDIER tilted her head slightly, still staring at Iris. "Sorry. I interrupted you, didn't I?"

    "Nevermind. Doesn't matter. Thank you, ma'am." Iris couldn't help but like her earnestness; he couldn't see or hear a shred of sarcasm. Etechnia turned and rushed off to continue the battle. Iris turned when he heard a trooper click his teeth bitterly.

    "We lost some serious face today. We run into trouble, and they bail us out? It makes us troopers look bad."

    "I wouldn't exactly prefer the alternative." Iris slumped against the wall. "I'd rather get rescued than get dead."

    Wrote this mostly from Iris's point of view. Tried to show what it's like for a normal human to watch a SOLDIER in battle. They're pretty terrifying to witness.

    Stay tuned for the next installment, written from the team's perspective, and eventually I'll get to the finale.

    Last edited by Bad John on June 20th 2017, 10:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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    Post  Bad John on June 15th 2017, 1:38 am

    An unrelated drabble. I'll get back to the madouge fight soon enough. I wanted to get this on paper while it was in my head.

    President Shinra had a gross habit of smoking indoors. His office, surrounded by pleasant sunshine, was tepid with the scent of smoke. Blue skies were tinted grey as the highest authority in Midgar bit the edge of a well rolled stogie.

    His present yes men stood at the sides of his desk. The head of public safety, Gengeese stood forward; he was the only reason Alalonn had been dragged into this room today. On the platform above the glass floor, Gengeese liked to believe he was towering over the SOLDIER right now. However, they were still at even height.

    Alalonn was big and fast enough to take the head of every man in the room, yet Gengeese's position fooled him; he had no concept for power. As much as the SOLDIER would like to wring two out of the other three necks in front of him, he had a job to do, and abided it.

    "What is it you need from me, Mister Gengeese? I was in the midst of training myself and my Cadets." The youngsters had probably fallen into disarray; Alalonn didn't necessarily have a problem with that, but he wished he was at least there to watch.

    "That's exactly what I wanted to talk to you about. We have written submissions from several mayors, execs, and members of Shinra's upper crust." Gengeese smiled. "For a decent commission, we can train their kids into the next generation of First-Classers. Since you're in a teaching mood, you can take some of those kids under your wing."

    "I see." Alalonn rubbed his beard. "Do any of them have fighting experience of any kind?"

    "Nah. They're just rich kids. If they don't make the cut, we can keep the money. It'll be a nice boot-camp for the brats. Help them man up."

    "Ah. That seems like a waste of time." Alalonn nodded to himself after giving it some thought. "Nope. I won't do it. I can't entertain the idea of diluting my lesson plan. Without a mako shower, they'd die on the first week of my regimen."

    Gengeese torqued his jaw, angered at being denied. Amechanio sighed, pouring himself some brandy as he sat on the corner of Shinra's table. "If it's about the money, Alalonn, just say the word and we'll give you a small cut. It would put a few thousand gil in your pocket, and all you'd need to do is take on new students."

    "Students of your choosing." Alalonn furrowed his brow. "Students that were determined by your metric of value. Pardon me for saying this, but you and I have different priorities." Alalonn looked Gengeese in the eye, making himself perfectly clear. "I cannot entertain this proposal." He enunciated every word. A vein appeared in Gengeese's bald forehead, his cheeks reddening.

    Amechanio removed his hat, slicking back his red hair and standing straight. Tucking his hands into the pockets of his lab coat, he took Alalonn's gaze, brow furrowed. "And you think value comes from bottom-feeders like that lot? The most affluent of them belongs to the Reese family; his father's such a failure that he turned a gun on himself."

    "And the son can punch his sword through ten layers of sheet metal." Alalonn furrowed his brow. It wasn't always easy to speak his mind, but today the words came clear and strong. "Gaeira's strategic mind stemmed from the tragedy of his father's missed investments. Every one of them suffered on their way to me; they suffered by your hand when you tested them past their limits." Alalonn stepped up onto the carpeted platform. Amechanio pointedly moved back.

    "I could waste my time coaching the sons and daughters of perfect families, but what would it profit them? My students were alone. Lost. If I wanted to do my job, I'd obey you and take the handout. But I'm not doing this as my job, I'm doing it as a teacher. I'm old enough to consider the future, and those children are the ones who need me to mould them into men and women that Midgar can depend on. Without me, they'd be lost; when I'm done with them, they'll be the greatest fighting force that Shinra has to offer. That's value, not some cheap, easy handout." Amechanio grit his teeth as Alalonn leaned in, prodding the doctor on the chest with a finger.

    "You're unwise to insult them. By the time they're raised into First-Class, they might just decide to settle their disagreement with you." Alalonn stepped back. "I'll forgo my commission for the time I spend training, but I intend to continue forging Cadet Group Eight until I'm satisfied with the results. Thus far, they're a little ahead of schedule." Alalonn's voice raised from its previous didactic, threatening tone. If anything, he seemed in a good mood now.

    Amechanio nearly pissed his pants; keeping his composure, he stood up straight.

    "President Shinra, he bruised my sternum. I suggest we call security immediately." Desperate for some form of revenge, Amechanio snapped his head towards the president, who blew a ring of smoke, dissipating it with a wave of his hand.

    "Oh, don't be a baby. He barely touched you. You're dismissed, Alalonn. I'll make sure these two idiots don't bother you again. I don't know what you get into on a day-to-day basis, but whatever you're doing, we haven't had any monster incursions or revolts. Go do your job." Shinra turned his glassy, olive green eyes towards Amechanio, giving him a judgemental stare. "He's right, you know. I bet even now, those cadets could kick your ass. In a few years when they're grown a few feet, they'd probably break your legs. You don't look like you could win a fight with anybody; you've got kind of a weak chin." Amechanio gasped, covering his jaw with his hand. The comment stung, and he'd never realized that his jawline was a topic of debate. "Stop messing around with them and continue research on Ancients. If some mako-dipped teen goes ballistic and kills you, all your projects will be put on hold."

    Amechanio bowed his head respectfully, shooting a glare at Alalonn as the First-Classer walked out of the room. Alalonn waved casually to them, whistling as he started for the stairwell. He was honestly glad he came now; throwing a scare into the doctor was worth it.
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    Post  Bad John on June 20th 2017, 11:13 pm

    Lioke dove towards an enemy. She swung her sword down, but the creature guarded with its forearm. She cut down to the bone, but the beast repelled her with a swing of its arm. "Alright, alright." Lioke burst towards the monster, teeth borne. "I don't know where you came from, but I know where you're going! Hell! CAT FLASH!"

    The SOLDIER's arm seemed to vibrate as she brought her weapon around. Sliding on her knee, she evaded the madouge's fist as she struck; slashing ten times in an instant, she carved the monster into pieces. Her first and most beloved Limit Break, it was nearly unblockable. Lioke flicked the blood off her sword and into another madouge's eyes, stepping forward and stabbing it in the mask; its lower face fell into two pieces as the creature fell backwards.

    "Hah!" Lioke drew back her weapon. Her laugh turned into a scowl when four of the creatures split through the mist to attack. "Shit." Lioke jumped backwards to avoid them.

    "LIOKE! Duck!" A friendly voice called out, and Lioke obeyed. Apatet was there to help. Channeling lightning, she let bolts arc through her palms as she prepared for something powerful and creative. Firing a single lightning bolt from her palms, she closed her hands and split it into four.

    The monsters were struck and killed. Lioke jumped upright, looking at Apatet's handiwork. The red haired mage blew on her smoking gloves. "That was pretty cool, right?"

    "All that wizard training is paying off. But really ruined the moment by talking, nerd." Lioke grinned. The brunette fished a bottle of ether off of her belt. "You need any of this?"

    "Yes, please." Apatet grabbed the ether bottle. A small, ceramic, corked bottle, it held liquid magic. Apatet popped the cork and tossed back a quarter of the contents. She cringed, her nose wrinkling as she swallowed. "God, it's like salty vodka."

    As Apatet regained her magical stamina, more of the creatures approached, roaring and throwing sharp, metal objects at the duo. Lioke dodged as an old, heavy battery passed over her shoulder. Apatet dove out of the way of a rusty monitor. "HEY! We need an assist over here!"

    A splash of fire struck one of their assailants. Lioke and Apatet used the opening to run. Alken had heard their call and was providing cover fire. Running toward the creatures and swinging his hand, he issued another fire spell. "Get to cover! I've got this!" As soon as he was in swinging distance, he leaped forward and kicked one of the madouges backwards, breaking its mask with the blade of his leather boot. Rushing toward another, he struck twice; a right hook broke its ribs, and a low kick shattered its hip bone. He turned as one of the creatures threw a rusty cart towards him. The SOLDIER ducked it, rolling backwards. There were simply too many for the three of them to kill quickly; despite a clear advantage in strength, they were badly outnumbered.

    "Did somebody order an unfair fight?" Gaeira leaped out of cover, clenching his hands. As he landed, he swung his hands out. "HNGH..." It took a tremendous effort, but Gaeira gave his teammates an extreme advantage; around the madouge horde, clear, grey, glowing restraints appeared. Like spell circles, they snapped down and locked the creatures in place. "Get 'em! Now!" Gaeira couldn't hold down so many targets for long, but he channeled his bind materia and did his best.

    Alken and Lioke used the opportunity well. Swinging through the creatures, the duo hewed down as many as they could reach. "Al! Lioke! Move out of my line of sight!" Apatet called to her comrades, who jumped clear of her firing radius. Casting a blinding bolt spell, Apatet rained lightning on her adversaries. Leaving burning holes in their bodies, the redheaded SOLDIER hewed down a massive swath of the creatures. It took her a moment to power up, but Apatet's spells were incredibly useful for crowd control.

    Gaeira released his binding spell, the creatures falling as he caught his breath. "Alright, good work, people." He'd been waiting for his opportunity to pull that plan off. "We'll call that move a Gaeira Gambit."

    "...I don't think the name will stick, but we should certainly add it to our playbook." Alken patted Gaeira on the back. "How are things downstairs? Should we rejoin Etechnia's squad?"

    "They're holding out fine. We've gotta worry about ourselves. I saw a hundred of those things marching towards the facility while I was on lookout. And I spotted more while coming in here. I came to back you up, because shit's about to get really...difficult."

    Alken nodded. "Awfully brave of you. Thanks, brother."

    "No problem." Gaeira lifted his weapon, holding the broadsword in a fencing posture. Alken took a strong defensive stance. Lioke and Apatet joined them, raising their guards. The walls suddenly began to groan. "Are the Shinra troops gonna be safe?"

    "Yup," Apatet replied. "Etechnia boxed them up in a closet after Hybria healed the wounded. The closet's caved in on the inside, so none of these madouge can get through."

    "...Uh...about that. The hordes of stuff I mentioned weren't just madouge."

    Alken turned towards Gaeira, concerned by his statement. "...Then what were they?" The walls burst at the seams as a massive pair of dark creatures tore into the compound's walls. "What is that?" Alken looked up at a massive, top heavy suit of black armor. Clutching an ancient sword like a toy knight, it fixed a pair of beady, angry eyes on the crowd of SOLDIERs. Past its boots ran lesser monsters; an ostrich-like creature ran around the knight's ankle, a razor sharp beak fixing forward.

    Alken felt his hand tremble. The metal walls seemed to grow around him. He calmed his breath, keeping his calm. "Just like training, huh guys?"

    Apatet swallowed dryly. "Yep. Just like training. Think you can pull off a Gaeira Gambit?"

    "I can try, but it won't do much good on the big ones." Gaeira bumped Apatet on the shoulder. "Guys, it's seriously been an honor."

    "Mmk." Lioke accepted the compliment without much ceremony. She watched as a wild naga slithered through the cracked wall, hissing at her and baring its claws. "I don't like that one. I call it. I want to kill the snake."

    As multiple species of monster arrive to eliminate the SOLDIERs, it appears they're hopelessly outnumbered! Can the eight students of Alalonn and Sophron hold out long enough, or will they be worn down and dealt out of the game?

    Find out next time!
    Bad John
    Bad John
    Freelancer Operative

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    Post  Bad John on November 10th 2017, 1:54 am

    Normally, Alken would be in the simulator. Putting his fist through a digital trooper seemed like a rather appealing use of his time at the moment; though the new simulation tech was being refined, he preferred it to the older models, and the new varieties of missions were rather fun. However, today he was on guard duty at Etechnia's behest, and his charge wasn't patient enough to let him go about his daily routine.

    Nemsis pulled the collapsing staff of her belt as Alken removed his sword, setting it on a nearby bench. "Thanks for agreeing to spar with me. It's been a long time since I've had a partner." The woman was older than him, but she barely saw the difference with his helmet on; he had several inches on her, and the harsh shadow of his visor made him seem more menacing than he actually was. Nemsis knew Alken rather well; he was friendly. Goofy, even. Always considerate, never harsh. "Are you going to use a practice sword?"

    "Nope." Alken bounced on his feet, then tightened his fists, assuming a loose, bouncing stance.

    "...Are you going to use any sword?" Nemsis grew somewhat annoyed with her would-be opponent. "That's pretty insulting. At least pretend to use your full strength."

    Alken chortled. "It's more for your benefit than mine. If Etechnia heard I swung a sword at you, she'd break my fucking legs." The SOLDIER grew a touch more serious. "I have a question for you; have you ever seen me fight?"

    The flower-girl shook her head no.

    "Have you heard anything?" Again, Nemsis shook her head. "Well, hand-to-hand is kind of my thing."

    Without another word, Nemsis advanced. She quickly got into range; Alken's footwork shifted, and he circled around to her left. Dropping forward and planting her feet, she lanced her staff directly at his nose.

    Nemsis flinched as she felt something lightly touch her throat. The change was instant; for a moment, she wondered if she'd blinked. Alken's hand was gripping the staff with the force of a vice, the knuckles of his fist lightly pressing her throat. There was no question; had he followed through, she would have gone down with a shattered larynx. Nemsis dropped back as he released her weapon, swallowing dryly.

    "Sorry about that." Alken stepped back, hands up and open. "Didn't mean to startle you; that was just to test your reaction time." Nemsis huffed at him. "It's faster than most; usually it takes a second for people to back off after that."

    "Try again. Stance wide, body low." Nemsis stepped forward and swung. Alken dipped under the strike, the weapon passing her head. The woman yanked her staff around fluidly, the steel butt of the weapon slashing at his leg. Alken stepped over the strike, and threw a roundhouse kick; Nemsis stepped back to avoid it. She knew he was going easier now; even if she hadn't dodged, the kick would have fallen short.

    With her guard lowered, Alken stepped in. She slipped a straight punch, his gloved hand passing her hair. "Good." He stepped in and chambered a left. Nemsis brought her staff up at his jaw. The weapon sparked off his helmet as he sidestepped. "Not bad. Clipped me."

    Nemsis and Alken sparred back and forth; he would lash out at her at a manageable pace, and she would reply in kind as he gently commented on her attacks.

    "Tighten your base hand."

    "Don't overcommit."

    "Try a kick."

    She ignored the suggestions at first, but soon she unconsciously made the corrections. Swinging forward, she nearly caught his forehead; her balance remained as she leaned back and used less of her back. Her jabs were stronger and faster, the tip of her staff grazing the SOLDIER's waist. Before he could step in and swing at her, she brought back her staff and swung up her leg; her toe brushed past his neck, nearly scoring a hit. As the SOLDIER doubled back, she brought her weapon around and lashed at the toe of his boot.

    The blow was avoided, but took him off balance. Using her waist as a base, she used her back hand to thrust forward. Her staff solidly rang against his shoulder pauldron. Alken stepped back, jarred by the blow. "Impressive."

    Nemsis panted, a smile on her face. She wasn't sure when she started having fun, but the elation of tagging him was palpable; were she not so exhausted, she might have jumped up and cheered.

    "You've got style, I'll give you that. Flowing strikes, avoidance rather than blocking and brute force..." Alken rubbed his chin, nodding. "I'd say there's definitely a future in that if you keep evolving and learning."

    "I'd like to, but there isn't really anyone to teach me." Nemsis retracted her staff, rubbing her upper arm. "My mother taught me most of what I know."

    Alken tilted his head, then shrugged. "I could teach you if you want. I've got shit else to do." He grinned, stepping forward and patting Nemsis on the shoulder. "I'd hate for that stick of yours to go to waste."

    "Thank you. I'd enjoy that."

    "I'm sure 'Nia would too. A little exercise goes a long way."

    "...Don't push it, Al, or the next hit will be below the belt."

    "Yikes." Alken grimaced at the thought.

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