Möbius (Jade)

GEAR

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#21
Once more, the Reginas were seized by the storms of crimson, much as their sisters had been earlier. Each struggled in vain against its containment, electrified fields casting their long-limbed bodies in strobelight - before their executioner descended in a storm of wrath, swinging its colossal blade with such force that it shattered windows and cracked concrete in every direction. Their feminine bodies arced in rapturous, masochistic glee one final time before exploding in plumes of violet flame, shrapnel scattering in all directions.

Black smoke choked the air about the Phoenix, shrouding the battlefield in darkness as the seconds ticked by.

A burning pressure, a thundering roar - and the Halphas burst from the dark clouds - its form torn and shredded, the Hyper-Nanoskin working to close what wounds it could... Yet, its glory was untarnished, unbowed, and unbroken, falling upon its sibling like a diving bird of prey.

Then alone I'll be.

It was a quiet... Yet firm admission. Not of resignation... but resolve.

She had allowed herself to sink into this place, this dark space... in the hope that she would see her once more. Even if it was in the form of a monster, a nightmare... At least then, she wouldn't have been so alone. Instead, she had been confronted with... this, wrath incarnate ensconced in a whirling maelstrom of power, neither man nor machine yet something more.

Even if it meant standing against it alone... She would not break.

...For only one can stand at the summit.


In that split moment, as it burst from cover, Alfimi Elwren offered a silent prayer:

Halphas...
You understand, don't you?
What it means to fight alone.
So, please...
Lend me your strength.


The luminous twin blades lashed out of the dark as the two met, the Black Phoenix striking from the rear left side of the Red at blistering speed - one horizontal slash, whipping along the length of its arm, aiming to sever the Red's left arm at the elbow. As it turned out, the wings of the Halphas swiveled in their sockets with a scream of plasma as the machine twisted into a somersault - bringing the remaining saber crashing down in a twisting overhead smash with the right - this one a killing strike aimed to cleave its nemesis clean in two as it turned to meet it...
 
Jun 28, 2018
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#22
There was silence. Stillness. In the fractions of fractions, in the time between the seconds, there was a pause as Halphas's first blade hit.. something. And pivoting off it it swung itself around and into a power dive to cleave the Phoenix's head and body in twain. It hung suspended, balanced on those two blades, crackles of plasma arcing off its sabers.

And then, in the next, the smoke cleared. Or rather, was cleared. Bursting out from within the haze was a ferocious gust of wind, tinged in rose. A cloud of pink, a hurricane that wreathed around both machines and encapsulated them in a tumultuous electrical storm. Beyond these swirling clouds was yet another layer - that of the c-funnels and the barrier they produced, bottling the tempest within their teapot. From this vantage point, as the Halphas gazed down at its foe, it would see the visage of the flaming red blur glaring back at with eyes of pure scarlet. And between the pair, the beam sabers, locked as they were against the Phoenix's blades.

Lighting roared, torrent blew, and the Rose Hurricane send arc after paralyzing arc into the Halphas's scarred frame, licking happily across every open and knitting wound, leaping into the components within, and electrocuting the nanites working so tireless to mend its walls. Arcs which also leapt at the Phoenix of course - only to land ineffectually against the forcefields of its EMF shields.

There were no further words from the red bird. Perhaps, in finding them fall on deaf ears, it had deemed its listener to no longer be worthy of them...
 

GEAR

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#23
In a blistering blur, the Black Phoenix twisted in midair, blades lashing against the Phoenix's own, but finding nothing to bite but burning plasma. Alfimi's pulse raced, and she could feel the droplets of sweat streaking down her face, even as her mount soared through the air, her own ragged breathing mingling with the roar of its thrusters. Her mind ran like a rat in a maze, trying to find something - anything that would bring her out the other side of the storm.

With superb grace, the agile Gundam landed a short distance away from its crimson cousin - and, lilting back on its heel, immediately lunged back towards it in an explosion of flame from its binders, in one last desperate attempt to close the gap. The luminous blades were drawn and ready, oh so ready to plunge into the neck of its hated foe, whirling forward, stretching ahead of its charge like the tip of a heavenly spear...

Perhaps too ready.

In an instant, the manic charge halted - and Alfimi gave a shocked, sharp intake of breath as one half of her vision suddenly went dark... and the other, filled with a whirling screen of crimson petals. The Rose Screamer had finally caught her fully in its clutches, not even the Halphas' vaunted acceleration giving it reprieve from its murderous fangs.

"Nn...! Aaaaaaahhh!!!"

Agony - pure, burning pain, shot through her body, causing a blood-curdling scream to escape her lips as her body seized, bolts of electric white finding a home in its person. Deathly plasma from the Rose Screamer surged through both woman and machine, sparing neither in its ruthless hunger. The body of the Halphas was seized, much like the Reginas before, halting its manic charge - yet, unlike them, it took no insane glee in its own suffering. Tongues of lightning licked its form, causing its right eye to burst with a shower of glass, and panels across its body to erupt in plumes of black smoke as already taxed cooling units gave way. Nanoskin boiled and liquified, running in pitch black droplets across the machine's surface -

As if it were weeping.

Within the cockpit, Alfimi clutched at her face with one hand - the only functional eye staring through her fingers at the figure before her. Her teeth were grit so tightly, she thought they would shatter - yet not once did her gaze falter from the Phoenix.

She could see it. The back of that insufferable woman in white, turned away her. So proud. So pure. Always so sure of herself, always so distant.

Always better.

"NO!" She rasped through the torture wracking her frame, willing her body - willing her avatar itself, to move;

"Not yet...! Not like this...! TEAR THROUGH, HALPHAS!"

The maimed quartet wings of the dark Gundam burst open in response to the demands of its pilot as it thrashed against its restraints, sending four jets of violet flame in all directions, slashing violently at the whirling bits - unable to escape the vortex, unable to soar as she willed it, caged for the briefest of moments between her vengeful foe's thumb and forefinger...
 
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Jun 28, 2018
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#24
Here they were again, the same place they always ended up in the end. Be it the two women, the twin phoenixes, or the Marquis and the Count. Each in their own way led an existence inexorably drawn toward an infernal end. Much as moths who dipped and wove about a candle's flame, they danced fiery jigs about their own dooms, each pass leading them that slightest bit closer to their demise. It was simply their nature - fight furiously, pine passionately, live fast, and flame out.

The Halphas suspended in its death throes before it, the Phoenix joined its blades once more and drew its elbow back, its torso twisting as it raised the weapon horizontal to its chest, letting much of its length lay parallel to its frame. Within the cacophany of the Rose Hurricane, its sparking silhouette shifted and roiled like a stormcloud fit to burst, its frame no longer hard angles and steel, but so much pent-up scarlet merely fancying itself in the shape of a man. Its eyes were all but lost in the haze, their founts indistinguishable from the hundred other arcs coursing through the cloud. The mounting particles across its hull made even the slightest twitch seem as if the entire body were about to disintegrate. The only stable image across its whole body was the slagged emblem on its cheek - the blot of black standing as a stone amid the cataract, the rose wreathing its base.

It hesitated. In that pose, in the moment that it had the surest swiftest shot at finishing her, it was hesitating. Even as the engines roared and the Halphas writhed with enough force to shake the bedrock, it simply rested there, arms primed to run her through. The seconds ticked down on its heightened state, the overclocked engine doubtless about to reach its limit. Even the mightiest storm could not rage forever, and yet it held its form, slowly squandering the precious seconds.

The Phoenix teetered so long, in fact, it might even have been on the verge of relaxing, content to let the storm's merciless assault inflict all the tortures it desired. The storm had bit into and arced off of almost every inch of metal in the blue-black bird. Its wings flailed until they were ready to explode, and then. And then. One of the Rose Bits strayed just close enough to get caught in the fire, and detonate its charge. A hole punched through the perimeter, a single gleam in the gloom. And even that slightest hint of disruption, it seemed, was too much for the red bird to allow. All at once it jolted to life, as if jerking forward on impulse. The torso reversing its rotation, the arms launching the thorn square at the Halphas's heart. Square at Alfimi's stuttering, living heart.

The move was so quick that the sound was like a gunshot. The blade punched straight through on metal alone, the plasma blades having burned themselves out somewhere in those agonizing seconds. The bulkhead before her crumpled like tissue paper, shards of rebar and armored glass flung in every direction around her, the now-battered tip of the massive blade poised dead on to crush her. It was so swift she could all but feel herself crushed already under the weight.

And then all was silent, and dark. No howling of the wind, no white-hot pricking of the lightning. No grind of metal, not even the subtle sounds of her own body. Just the thrum of her heart, and the rasp of her breath.

Thus it would remain, for however long of an eternity it was before she willed herself to open her eyes. And when she did, she would find a most curious sight. The world all but frozen in place about her. The din and the pain receding. The blade still wedged just beyond arm's reach. And at the exact center of its tip, on the smallest, surest point, rested a blotch of white.

It was a single phantasmal hand, no larger nor smaller than her own. The flat of its palm braced against the blade.
 

GEAR

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#25
Sound... and fury.

She could feel it. The storm tore at her - at them, sundering her apart piece by piece, like an injection of pure magma into her veins. She was being flayed alive, and every attempt to thrash against the chains of thunder only served to further the damage, shredding her even further, like an ever-tightening net of thorns. She, no - It knew her too well. That she would struggle, that she would fight, that she would push and push, trying to force her way through the obstacle, trying to power through no matter the odds, like so many times before-

And in doing so... draw the noose tight about her own neck.

Its figure now flickering and indistinct, like a hellish mirage, the Phoenix was before her as she struggled. It was... Waiting. Watching. Blade held aloft, ready to end her. An island of calm in the heart of the whirling tempest, the myriad lights gleaming and glittering off that heavy, fell blade, like laughing fairies come to witness the curtain's fall.

Hesitating.

Why?

WHY?


Spurred even further, even harder by the arrogance of its twin, the Black Phoenix screeched a furious response, its binders bursting into miniature supernovas- and then... the noise suddenly stopped.

A sensation like being doused in frozen water caused the roar to die in Alfimi Elwren's throat, terminating in a shuddering gasp, as she felt something snap, the Halphas shuddering under her grip.

A charred, jet-black superheated chunk of metal slammed into the ground to her right.

Another impact, as it was joined by three other, similar shapes. Dreamlike, she heard herself whisper into the uncaring storm:

My...

...wings...

The battle was over.

Like a thunderbolt, that realization struck, sweeping aside her bravery, her fury - evaporating like morning dew before the rays of the sun - and the Phoenix moved. Swiftly, certainly, with that same effortless, perfect precision... It brought the blade forward - and the tip came hurtling toward her, as certain as the reaper's scythe.

The was only one more noise, overpowering even the cacophony as the weapon pierced her cockpit.

She barely recognized it as her own voice.

A wordless scream of pure, primal fear, tearing free from her lips, from her mouth, from her very soul.

...

Alfimi Elwren waited. Waited for it all to end. For the titanic blade to plunge into her heart, the very embodiment of her sin executing her in a violent burst of flame, as it wrought her long-awaited comeuppance.

Her body was curled up on the seat - and she could feel herself shaking, shivering so terribly, so wretchedly. Some would have greeted their death with heroism, with melancholy, with stoicism... But not she.

The noise... had stopped. Slowly, questioningly, she opened one crimson eye, pupil flicking back and forth fearfully.

Around her, flecks of metal hung in the air. Bolts of lightning paused in mid arc, casting strange lights on the dancers of black and red. It was as if... someone had reached out, and like a video, simply placed it all on hold. Her eyes traveled down the Phoenix, along the length of the blade... and fell upon the phantom hand, causing her to draw a slow, shuddering breath.
 
Jun 28, 2018
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#26

Slowly yet surely, the hand began to push. The squall outside now as distant as the ninth wave, the only sound was the grind of the blade being dislodged. The ghostly hand glided forward, forcing the weapon and its wielder back with a smooth and even pressure. Past the former limits of the cockpit and through the gaping wound it slid. Once it had reached the end of the tunnel, and began to slip out into the storm, a much larger palm lifted from the surface of the Halphas's chest. The first hand was now lost within a similarly white ethereal hand more befitting of a mobile suit, pressing ever forward from within it.

The Phoenix lifted its head, staring down the spectral vision. At the end of the hand was a wrist. Then a forearm. Then an elbow. Layer upon layer of gleaming white particulate materialized and laid itself upon its predecessor, a colossal figure knitting itself together from wafting motes and pixie dust. Before she could fully comprehend it, an entire, other mobile suit had seemingly passed out of the Halphas's body - or at least, formed itself from the thin air just in front.

At length, she found herself staring through the breach at a wall of pearlescent white. A pair of sweeping wings that had shrouded the Halphas this entire time, enclosing it away from the storm outside. Only now, as the hand moved ever forward, the body they actually belonged to was made to move in tandem. And thus too did the wings ease forward about their owner. Between her actual vision and the mind's eye feeding her the otherwise imperceptible, she would come to make out just how peculiar the wings were. That is, they weren't actually attached to anything, even to each other. Instead, they were a series of interlocking shapes - some artistically styled as feathers, but just as many merely curvaceous and evocative housings over recognizable blocks of shielding and weaponry. Between each individual piece were thin gaps of nothingness, with only a faint glow of incandescent red to weave them all together.

On the other side of the wall was a familiar form that was just as disconnected. A Phoenix, white from head to toe, the pale only broken by thin veins of red trim at seams and edges. Its complex shoulders had been discarded for simple, feathered pauldrons. A duster of some manner of flexible nanite weave hung from its waist. Even its forehead fins were white, with a pair of clear blue eyes gazing softly from beneath the heavy brow. Stenciled in the thin space between the fin and the eyes was a symmetrical emblem of two feathered wings, each arced similarly to the earrings she'd been clinging to. Arranged as such now, they took on the form of Libra's scale, broad and abridged.

The white bird stared down length of the sword at the red. And then closed its fingers around the tip of the blade, and began to squeeze. The metal buckled beneath its immediate grip, but also began to corrode. As the two birds vyed for control of the weapon in the stilled storm, the length of it began to groan from the strain. Until finally, it shattered as so many shards of glass or ice, and time began moving again.

The red Phoenix drew back defensively, the C Funnels leaping from their rounds at the perimeter to plunge into the cloud. As these thorns descended on it, segments leapt from the wings of the white Phoenix, the rest shifting to close the gap. Four assembled themselves into a shield on its left arm, while another one flew into its hand and ignited in a lengthy beam sword. Here, then, it placed itself in defense of the suspended Halphas. A number of smaller shield bits emerging from its wings to blunt and turn aside the inbound thorns.

Once the first rush had passed, the great white wings flared out to the sides, and the spectral figure leapt toward the mirage, looking to slash it from groin to shoulder. Without any other room to retreat, the red bird let the storm collapse, backed into the open sky, and instead had the Roses stop and bombard the back and flanks of the white Phoenix all at once. The blade swept out, and was danced around, but the scattering of beams in turn found themselves shrugged off by the floating feathers - what beams broke through were dispelled in an abrupt flourish, the beams impacting on the several segments yet fixed to the winged assemblage.

Coming round again, the white bird found the red had darted away, the roiling figure now some hundred meters above. Its four cannons trained on the pair, it loosed a column of blazing fire toward them. The white Phoenix in turn fluttered over to the Halphas before it could be quashed to the ground. And, holding firmly to it, flared its own wings out to their fullest extent behind. Then swept them foward in a tremendous gale, sending both machines out of the way of the assault.
 

GEAR

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Jun 15, 2018
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#27
From the aether, something stepped forth, interposing itself between her and the avatar of vengeance. The white hand before her flowed out - and she could only watch in utter, wordless shock as, like a memory being expelled from the depths of her soul, another shape took form.

A white Phoenix... A gleaming knight of pearl, breathtaking in its splendor.

She could hardly breathe, her mouth open and eyes wide as she tried to process what was happening. It was as if she was as frozen as the world around them, transfixed as the most spectacular battle she had ever seen began to play out before her. All she could do... was watch, childlike with awe, until the pain in her chest became too much to bear, forcing her to take a sudden, sharp breath- and as she did, time once again snapped forward, dragging her back to reality by the scruff of her neck.

As the storm subsided, the wingless Halphas fell, crashing weakly to its knees in a cloud of burnt, hissing smoke. Its frame was charred black and warped, on the very brink of being little more than scrap metal, a far cry from the sleek, spotless killing machine it had initially appeared to her as... and she couldn't help but cry out in pain with it - an agony they had invited upon themselves with glee, brought on by a shared arrogance.

But then... It was always the same, wasn't it?

This was how she always ended up.

She was always left, maimed and bloodied, a victim of her own ambition.

And always there, despite her scowling, her lecturing, and endless appeals to reason... Was...

Her thoughts were suddenly swept aside as the phantom Phoenix appeared at her side - and swept its black twin up in its arms. For Alfimi, whose senses were still very much linked to the dark machine's own... She gasped at the sensation, heat and color filling her cheeks as the two bolted forward, the Halphas shedding black peel from its surface - leaving a trail of dark feathers in their wake.