Prelude to Singspiel (Endymion)

GEAR

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August 28th
Armored Train "Pelegri"
West Siberian Plain
En route to Germany


The rattling of the traincar around them would have made anyone a little nauseous, but after a little while? It wasn't so bad. It was definitely a far sight better than the rattling the orbital forces were taking, so that was at least something to be grateful for. Row upon row of Mobile Weapon lay, concealed underneath a camouflaged exterior intended to prevent for as long as possible any detection by Terra Sentinel's Guardian Satellites, dust slowly collecting on their frames in the dull light as tech crews worked hurriedly to make requested adjustments by a deadline.

In ones and twos, pilots filtered into the command car, seating themselves on either side, or standing, gripping rings that dangled from the ceiling. Lunarian and Terran, segregating into their own private groups, each easily distinct by the manner of their grooming, the quality of their equipment, both eyeballing one another anxiously.

It was a reminder to Director Sullivan that there was still much work to be done. The Terran, Lunarian by blood, caught between the two worlds, stood at the head of the room, a large screen behind him. It displayed, at present, a map of Europe, as well as their projected route towards Berlin, the armored train's unstoppable advance through the region, a glowing dot of crimson in a sea of green and blue, inexorably inching forward towards the front lines.

"Thank you all for coming." Said Sullivan, eyes scanning the room as it filled to capacity. Holographic screens projected a mirror of his diagram into the center of the room, making it easier for those at the back to see - and most importantly - hear - what he had to say.

"For obvious reasons, we couldn't disclose the full nature of the operation until now."

He glanced aside - sure enough, Juliette was there, leaning against one of the walls, watching him intently. Her presence was reassuring, and set his own nerves at peace as he tapped through to the next slide, the map zooming in to show their destination: a map of the city Berlin, causing a mumbling to rise from the collected masses.

"On September fifth, we will deliver a decisive strike that will end this war, and bring the Directory remnants fully under our control. Queen Selene and I are in full agreement on this matter - and I will be spearheading the offensive alongside you, with Granteed."

More muttering. It wasn't exactly the fevered endorsement he had hoped for, but he was, after all, the outsider. The only way to win their trust would be to fight alongside them - Selene herself had been particular on this fact.

"For this, we have selected our best and brightest. You are the elite of the elite, and your strength is needed now more than ever before."

Still. Could he get the buy-in he needed? Or would he be left marching on the capital by himself? It would all depend on the next few minutes of his life - and whether or not there would be any interruptions.
 
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Jun 27, 2021
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Buster Keaton#0906
#2
D'Arcy Thidodeau didn't like gravity. He felt heavy, bloated for the first few days since he came down to the blue marble. The sight of his machine didn't draw feeling of dispair anymore to his mind. For a while, D'Arcy couldn't see the fact of Alt, only his father. Now as the rattling of the cars settled his nerves, D'Arcy Thidodeau found himself with the other Lunarians.

Unlike his father, D'Arcy rarely hid his feelings on his features. The white haired man's turquoise eyes watching the director with a mixed degree of contempt and disgust. "Oh mein Gott." It came out quietly before D'Arcy coughed, if it was amount Lunarians, he'd handle this with a soft touch. "We haven't been told what the plan is, only that we're to be...graced by your presence." D'Arcy's voice was soft, lacking the bass most expect in men. It didn't bother D'Arcy anymore, as he clicked his tongue while raising an eyebrow at the director. With the way he spoke, every word carefully pronounced it may give the impression that D'Arcy was choosing his words carefully. A false impression perhaps.

Generally, doesn't everything go sideways with the best laid plans? It was something the young Thidodeau thought about every now and then. "I hope you have more pilots and machines on the way, this is going to be a nasty, bloody fight. I hope your soft stomach can take the blood that we're gonna have to spill." D'Arcy's tongue pierced out from past his lips, curling up to lick at his upper lick before licking slowly across his lower lip as he had to think for a moment before reaching a hand up.

Fingers twirling white locks around his index finger as the white haired knight pursed his lips for a moment at the Director. "I'll fight with you. I'll kill with honor for the Queen and Endymion, Director Sullivan."
 

MKR

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For Johanna the train trip was more nostalgic then uncomfortable, brought her back to when she was taking the train to the military academy daily in a sense this wasn't very different. Granted back in those days she could play a game on her phone the whole way while currently that didn't really fly as she filed into the command cabin. Different priorities and all, those days had just been a boring ride now there was the constant threat of orbital bombardment to keep them up at night.

And here, the train had already split itself in tribal lines. Behind her, the ranks of the earthborn members of Endymion. On the other side the natives to the moon, with their really high percentage of people with white hair. She really needed to look into that, do people born on the moon just grey early or what? If that was a normal thing there, which it really seemed to be at this rate, then she had to wonder about people that moved there from earth and if their hair would turn white as well.

Putting that aside, she paid attention to the presentation itself. Going straight to Berlin itself huh, she kind of figured at this rate that they were doing that. A decisive blow they called that, after all no one had been able to claim Berlin as their territory since the Directory fell and the German machine, that oh so famous nickname for its industry and the speed at which it worked held true to this day. Take Berlin, you take Germany, take Germany and you've got one of the best production centers on the globe.

The muttering about Sullivan caused her to sigh internally. Personally she was grateful to the man as without him she would have been tossed in the brig or just forced to retire. Instead here she was, part of one of the most important operations in history and this time it was actually her doing it. Not some lousy double. Their Best and brightest... Familiar words those, very, very familiar. She remembered what happened the last time someone had called a group that, infiltration.

She had to stop herself from having a reaction as she instead closed her eyes for a moment to focus. It wasn't her intent to crush the Director's dream of taking Berlin with her reaction alone so she centered herself. Once that was done her eyes opened again, two brown pearls looking at the hologram.
"You can count on me Director." She finally spoke.
 

GEAR

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#4
"Thank you, Sir D'Arcy, Miss Johanna... All of you."

A surprising round of reassuring voices went up as the Director scanned the room, causing him to bow his head in gratitude. There was a certain kind of... firmness to his voice, an underlying current of inflexible timbre that lent it a kind of strength to the ear. With genetic engineering how it was, there was a good chance it had been purchased at a price few in the room could comprehend.

"I promise... I won't let you down."

No matter what.

He had to wonder what Rodgers would say about that one, but kept his gaze from moving back to Juliette this time. He had to handle this on his own. Clearing his throat, Sullivan turned back to the matter at hand, gesturing to the screen once more, which showed a layout of different units. The red, beetle-shaped machine had been paired its aerial equal, likely not to the surprise of either pilot - in spite of their differing origins. Perhaps the Director was just that confident in their loyalty?

"Moving on, you'll find detailed platoon assignments in your-"

There was a sudden, metallic screech, and all present reflexively grabbed for support. Sullivan himself, caught unawares, was slammed back against the wall, momentarily losing his breath as more than a few of their number fell from their seats with a yell, the sound of the train's brakes being slammed on as hard as possible filling the room. As some began to climb back to their feet, the onboard loudspeaker crackled to life, as a somewhat uncertain voice spoke into the car:

"Attention all hands: Hostiles detected on the tracks ahead. Looks like there's been some kind of crash-"
The Director didn't even wait for a moment, raising his hand as he staggered to his feet:

"Fast response team, deploy! Intercept them before they reach the train - there's no time to lose!"

Now just what, he had to wonder, could they be up against? What power would be mad enough to challenge them here, in their own territory?

They were about find out.






There was a soft, wet crunch as the Enders Blade came free from the cockpit of its latest victim, the silver giant framed against the flames of the burning Tausendfuessler class behind it. One foot came out, lazily compacting the chest of a Huckebein Mk-IIM as it admired the crimson sheen now splattered across the weapon's length.

"Slayer Two. Cleanup operations have been completed."

There was a fluttering, a sound of movement, and the Ascalon reflexively turned, bringing the weapon to bear - but found only its mirror image, landing nearby. It relaxed - but only slightly, keeping the sword to its brethren's neck. The second Nemesis regarded the first in its own chilly silence, before the first finally responded, a tinny, raspy voice masked by the full-body pilot suit they wore distorting their words:

"Slayer Three: Acknowledged. Go for the high score?"

The urge was there. The need to butcher and slay. When all other variables had been eliminated, would they turn on one another, as they had the others? Or were there still beasts in need of slaying? A chirp on the HUD of one caused both to turn their heads in synch. The distant form of the train as it ground to a halt, like a gigantic caterpillar inching across the horizon.

"Negative. New target detected."

"How many?" Said the second, raising its blade in anticipation. This, at last, seemed to solicit a cold laugh from its partner, as their wings folded forward about their waists, both Specials exploding forward towards the new arrivals.

"Enough."
 

Hitura Rael

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#5
It was different, being on earth. The gravity was very different, yet so similar. But that was the only thing semi familiar. The air was different, clean and fresh with the natural smells of the land, now subdued by the smell of the train. The scenery passed by so quickly, but slow enough to enjoy everything briefly enough. And enjoy it James did, probably a little more than the others. Ok, a lot more than everyone else. It was something he had dreamed of for so long. To see earth first hand... it was worth being on this mission, dangerous as it was. He stayed in a front car rather than with the rest of the troops, purely for the view. He leaned against the window, marveling at each river, steam, and tree. REAL ones!

"Hey, time for the briefing." Merida tapped James on the shoulder as she made her way to the back car. It didn't even register in James' mind. Not until she came back in to grab him by the ear and drag him toward the back. He sheepishly sat down with the terrans once she let go. He muttered an apology for being late while rubbing his sore ear. The distraction, if he had caused one, didn't last long.

The screech of the breaks was accompanied by the jolt forward at the sudden stop. He managed to keep himself upright in his chair, though it was a big effort. Merida was lucky enough to have the aid of the knights around her to keep her from kissing the floor. James frowned and made his way up to the front of the car. He stopped only briefly to address Sullivan, "If they can keep them busy for a few minutes, we can get clear enough to summon Genion and lend a hand." He glanced back to the faces gathered in the car, scrambling to their stations, "Be careful out there everyone."
 
Jun 27, 2021
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Buster Keaton#0906
#6
"Remember..always keep your mind clear in battle. Don't think D'Arcy, go with the flow, let that pulse of combat seep in and ride the wave."

"It's difficult sometimes. The type zero..it feels like it's rejecting me."


Time. D'Arcy Thidodeau wished it was a year ago. Back before his father died. Back then he hadn't even chosen a machine, he felt like he wasn't ready for the burden of a machine his father, and grandfather used.

As the screeching of the train's brakes snapped D'Arcy from his thoughts, he caught a hand on the wall and flexed his fingers. Tightening his grip on the part he snagged and held tightly, as the speaker crackled, a smile crossed D'Arcy's features. Darkening them with a gleeful happiness, not the kind one would expect to find on a Knight's face. He was going to kill somebody, and the sweet release would do his wandering mind a lot of good. "Fast response team? Is that what I am?" Sarcastic, and playful at the same time came the soft voice from the young Knight as he gave one look at Sullivan before D'Arcy exited the room with spirited purpose towards the waiting red machine.

It felt like ages ago, but D'Arcy hadn't spoken really to his mother since his father died. He couldn't bare the thought of it, it was bad enough that his thoughts oft turned dark these days. As if there was a cloud hanging over it. Even as he climbed up the Alteisen and soon found himself sitting in the seat D'Arcy still hadn't spoken since he left the car. The crackling of audio as the Alteisen pulsed and thrummed, it's generator bringing the eighty five ton machine to life made D'Arcy twist his head to the right. Rolling his shoulders back, the six foot one man made sure he was strapped in as he raised an eyebrow for a moment before he spoke. At least letting the director, and who else was listening on their end know he was leaving.


"Sir D'Arcy Thidodeau, heading out." As the thrusts flickered and came to life, the blue flames expelling the hefty red machine from the train, D'Arcy let out a loud grunt. He hadn't expected it to be as bad under gravity, but the white haired knight adjusted the throttle and put the Alteisen into a full burn. The machine shot straight before it made a long left handed curve back towards the tracks. It didn't take much for the red machine to settle onto a path beside the track as it picked up speed and tore past the train. Until the Alteisen was out in front as D'arcy's thumb flicked on the suit's loudspeakers. "I am Sir D'Arcy Thidodeau and I've been ordered to intercept you. Leave or I'll kill you, I won't tell you twice." From zero to kill, D'Arcy didn't see an issue with it, after all..wasn't he a Knight? Wasn't this the order from Sullivan, to intercept them? What do you do to somebody who won't move when ordered to? You remove them, permanently.
 

MKR

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Johanna's eyes passed over the late arrivals, a Lunarian sitting down with the earthlings. How curious, even moreso once realization struck how fortunate. Then despite being among the standing she had managed to stay upright, years of experience helped when it came to that. Enemies on their path, her mind wandered as her body began motion towards her unit. Genion.

There were things she wanted to do so so badly, barely keeping her impulses in check as she seated herself inside the Abend. Inside its confines she inhaled, exhaled. And laughter filled the inside of the Abend, unheard to those outside and courtesy of boot up still being in progress kindly removed from military channels. A moment purely to herself. She could hardly contain herself, the best and brightest indeed. To think the Quarrelling Twins had made their way to her!

Oh she just had to see it in action, she had to gauge that man and his machine. Whether to talk to him or try to pry that thing from his clutches. Her curiosity could barely be contained but she calmed herself, a hand running through her hair as boot up finished, almost live. She cleared her throat, eased her thought. First and foremost she had to observe, she was an observer and a contestant. Not one over the other. Genion would summon itself, she merely had to sit back and watch.
By the time the Weissritter launched she was practically giddy.

"Ensign Johanna van den Berg, launching." She managed to calmly announce, the Weissritter Abend shooting off into the distance, keeping a bit away from the main action. Below her, a familiar red brick. How it ended up here of all places she didn't know but she did know who wasn't inside it. Still today was a strange day becoming ever stranger with these things.

The Weissritter hung in the air above the tracks, looking down upon the trio of enemies as it held its rifle at the ready.
"Confirmed visual, two unknowns." She could see the blood already on the one's 'boot'. What would she pry their defenses with, well the Alteisen dealt only in physical projectiles and its stake. So the energy variant should do to gather as much information as she could. The rifle was flipped to E mode, D'Arcy made his declaration at this time...

What was the harm in waiting for an answer, the rifle was ready and should they make any offensive maneuver. A most likely event, she would fire upon the blood stained one without any further delay. But until then, what was the worst that could happen from giving the knight his stage and letting his question decorate the air. It helped fill the time until the main course was here.
 

GEAR

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Within the train, Sullivan nodded at James. For now, he needed to depend on Selene's brother, and the strength of the Sphere-wielder. To say that the arcane relic made him uneasy would have been an understatement, but at least for the time being he didn't have any choice.

Were it only that such things weren't necessary for peace.

Meanwhile-

"Did you hear that?"

The two Ascalons continued their approach, slowing only slightly as the two Personal Troopers emerged to greet them. To the Psychodriver, and to Johanna... each foe radiated an eerie feeling. like an aura of intense coldness that numbed the edges of their fingers, dropping the internal temperature of the cockpit such that it resembled a walk-in freezer, as the lead unit turned its head slightly to the one beside it, which kept its stony gaze facing forward.

"These insects can talk."

A garbled, humorless chuckle came from one, almost as unfeeling as a burst of static. This was, after all, what they had signed up for. Was it better from the filth that they had left behind? The poverty, the desperation? She seemed to think so.

"Funny-"

Slayer One's eye glimmered - and the leading Ascalon sent a bolt of power spearing up at the flying Weissritter, thrusters fluttering as it flew into the air, already grasping its swords in anticipation as it accelerated, the weapons being pulled free with a spray of sparks. Its grin seemed to gleam even brighter in the sunshine, as if it had been waiting to sink its teeth into something all day long. The Abend's barrel lit up- and the Nemesis' wings flared in response, the energy blast thundering so close to its paint job that it made the quicksilver-like surface hiss, melt and bubble, blackened stains now mixing with dried blood.

"I didn't hear anything."

"Commence destruction."

Slayer Two, the following unit, ducked under its lunging comrade, going straight for the bright red form of the Alt Eisen. It towered over the hulking beetle-like frame, almost twice its overall height as it extended one long, blood-splatted claw in D'Arcy's direction. Near the wrist, a barrel blazed, sending heavy machinegun rounds lancing in his direction, aimed to pepper the Alt and keep it it one place until the Special had closed to its preferred range.

Seven would be pleased.
 
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Jun 27, 2021
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Buster Keaton#0906
#9
Figured.

Uncouth, degenerates.

D'Arcy suddenly went from rather indifferent, to an intense dislike of the two Ascalon pilots quickly. The shot at the Weisritter didn't surprise D'Arcy, nor did Slayer Two lunging towards him. Flicking off the loudspeaker, D'Arcy figured he might as well introduce himself to his comrade, it'd be rude not to, yes? Not at the moment, distracting somebody in the middle of the battle could easily prove fatal. Besides, D'Arcy found his tongue shifting, slipping as it licked his lips quickly as he sucked in a breath. The belches of fire made him chose a split second decision, would he charge through the fire and let the Alteisen get hit..or would he stop? The second option could be tempting, as the red beetle had a very nasty surprise for those unaware of what lay within those large shoulders.

Instead, D'Arcy let himself fall into his feelings and the Alteisen shifted. It's fitting dragging on the snow covered ground as the machine let it's front veriners burn as it went to come to a stop. As well as an eight five ton PT can as the Alteisen shuddered, perhaps a bit more than it was already as the incoming rounds impacted against it's thick armor and the ground.

If Slayer Two wanted to close the distance and come in close, then D'arcy would be banking on the pilot being as unfamiliar with his Alteisen as he was with the strengths and weaknesses of the Ascalon he faced. Besides, D'Arcy Thidodeau had a nasty surprise waiting, that he wanted to see how well it'd far against the bigger, likely stronger machine. "I prefer fighting up close than at range, it's more honorable."

Also a lot bloodier, but D'Arcy didn't shy away from blood at all.
 

MKR

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In a sense it was almost cute, to hear vile beasts describe them as insects. She could almost feel the cold they exuded in her cockpit, still she inhaled through her nose. It was time to get on the move, sitting still would allow that beam to strike her. Flicking her rifle back as her foe advanced, the small bit at the end attaching itself to one of the split missile pods upon her back. The first of a dozen thrown right between her and the charging beast. With her free hand she levelled the triple beam cannon at the pod and the machine behind it, firing once.

Right as the split missiles did as their namesake implied, split, she fired at the core. This trick had always been a favorite of hers, a nice chain explosion in the middle of the air. A minefield on demand and in cases like this a smoke screen to force her enemy to guess where she would be heading next. In this case she decided her own right was the correct choice so after a moment of movement. Firing twice, through the smoke a blue beam pierced aiming straight for the head of the attacker. And firing thrice, that would now be two beams aimed for the thing's head through the field of explosions. Now, that was all nice and good but none of this solved the issue of pursuit permanently. A wild goose chase, as long as she was quicker then her foe, was however equally valid.

And in her case, not many things could outspeed her. She was curious really, how would this adversary close that distance and prevent her from simply shooting its wings down like Icarus approaching the sun with a well places shot she could melt or break that delicate machinery forcing her foe to eat dirt. But even more curious, why had the air gone thick once more. Her breath flowed as easy as ever but on the other side. It was like that time, was it perhaps because of what was coming? No answers presented themselves so for now it was experiencing the question.
 

Hitura Rael

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The familiar sound of a chaotic battlefield filled the air. On the other side of the train, James had little vantage of it, but rather a nice open space with no enemies in sight. Yet... he felt uneasy, vulnerable... Something was wrong. It felt like... He closed his eyes and took in a deep breath. While parsing that feeling through, he snapped his fingers. Darkness seemed to fall behind the train. Perse trails of energy spread in massive arcs before James, tracing a massive circle of arcane design above the ground. The completed summoning circle spewed amethyst and dark light from it's core, a pinpoint of light sillhouetting a figure as it rose from the depths.

1625925823394.png

The circle exploded in broken motes of light, the Azure machine bathed in the light of the sun. As one, James and Merida took to the cockpit. Proximity to the machine alone was comforting, like greeting a friend that hadn't been seen for a long time. Merida took her place in the copilot's chair, her fingers dancing across the controlls to bring the Genion online and the weapons systems to full bear. James settled into the pilot's seat and gripped the controls. A verdant flash emited from the oculars as the machine came fully online.

Her thrusters activated as she jumped, giving her a boost over the train to put the Genion between the combatants and the train. "Genion fully online, We'll defend the train." James paused, scanning the battlefield once more, "Be on your guard, I've got a bad feeling... Like someone's watching." There was no need to interfere with the others fighting. He'd only get in the way. If someone started to struggle... he'd jump in of course. But for now, he'd defend this train.
 

GEAR

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Slayer Two closed the gap on wings of fire. The Alt slowed, and much as D'Arcy suspected - its database registered it as little more than a customized Gespenst - Well within expected parameters. The pilot couldn't help but smirk - that red coloring, sadly, would hide the blood from its pilot being splattered all over their cockpit, but the resulting spray on the field around it could be impressive. The machinegun rounds had likely crippled it, causing it to grind to a halt.

Now all that was left was the execution. The Special, as soon as it came into range, made zero hesistation in bringing the right Ender Blade around in a sweeping, scything strike aimed to cleave the Alt in two at the waist, immediately followed by the silver giant's form twisting - and bringing the second down from its left in a murderous overhead swing with its entire momentum behind it, a crushing coup-de-grace that was more like the fall of a hammer than a guillotine, aimed to crush the Alt from its head into its soles like a Russian accordian.

Slayer One, airborne, faired worse than its sister unit. Its arm machineguns lit up at full bore, chattering as it blasted the Split Missiles out of the air. Smoke filled the pilot's vision as it continued to build speed. Where? Where had it-

Light.

Blinding. Painful light.

One blast smashed home, punching a hole clear through the Ascalon's head. It tilted back, giving a howling, unearthly, static flecked scream of pain as its torso tilted back. Bright red energy gathered in its chest, a reflexive counterattack- and the skies turned crimson, as the Celestial Buster was released, pouring death into the sky after Johanna's Weissritter. The machine's arms filed wildly beside it, filling the air with machinegunfire - though it hardly seemed purposeful, and almost as if the pilot was now holding the triggers in a death-grip, unable to release them.

What on earth were they fighting?



Meanwhile-

It was... quiet.

As James spoke, there was no response. Nobody seemed to hear him either. It was as if, all of a sudden... He was alone. Yet, the train was nearby - he could at least be certain of that, his sensors weren't failing him quite that badly. All the while... the sense of menace, of unease he had felt in the air was growing, crawling up the back of his neck like a lonesome tarantula.

A strange, golden fog seemed to be rolling in, though from where it was uncertain, starting to obscure his line of sight. Already, he couldn't see the attackers up ahead anymore.

1626091211218.png

The Genion's sensors, puzzled, automatically flicked through its various ECM suites, trying to find some kind of match for the phenomenon before it. Until then, James was left, seemingly alone... to ponder.
 
Jun 27, 2021
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Buster Keaton#0906
#13
D'Arcy Thidodeau wondered what Slayer Two's face would look like when he saw the Alteisen turning just a bit as those green eyes flashed brightly. Turquoise eyes watched until his feelings told him it was the right time to unleash his waiting surprise. Right as that Ender Blade came in with the strike at the waist. He spoke, gleefully as his right hand flipped the cap on the hand control covering a singular red button. "You don't understand what my Alteisen is, and now you'll find out why this range belongs to me." A harder push of the button caused the white boxes on the large shoulders to open.

Two rows of boxes, six per row. Twenty four total boxes holding a nasty surprise indeed, albeit an expensive one for D'Arcy. They held the Alteisen's Heavy Claymores, ball bearings, thousands of them tightly packed soon exploded from the shoulders in front of the red stag beetle. Filling the air in front, and at this range, surely the machine too. Unless it had another avenue to avoid getting filled with those ball bearings, which D'Arcy saw at that range, would likely do massive damage to the head long charging machine. "If you still feel like living, I'll be happy to give you a coup de grâce, gutter trash."

D'Arcy wanted to look to see how the Weiss was handling itself, but those thoughts were put aside until this fight was finished.
 

MKR

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#14
That trick never got old, through the grating noise in her ears she could do without. Though there was little time to bask in her favorite party trick when the sky grew red. Even a blind enemy would still aim in the rough direction of its adversary and so the Weissritter quickly ducked down, dropping quickly as the rifle was steadied on the target she had had in her sights. A switch to B mode made during the drop as the Celestial Buster passed overhead basking the top of the white and red unit in an even more infernal hue.

And as it came to a sudden mid air stop the trigger was pulled, one bullet coursing through the solemn skies, followed by another as the trigger was pulled once more and a third, final shot. Each successively aimed along the projected path of the enemy, the first aiming for the head once more and the last two at the torso. Methodically aimed to fully disable her foe, but still during all this time she sat anxiously in her seat, at this rate these enemies would be dead before the twins arrived so where was it.

Despite the enemy right in front of her she couldn't help but look back for any sign or sight of the ally she had wanted to see in action, only to be greeted with a golden mist. The Weissritter Abend pausing in mid air to behold the sight.

It was just like back then.

That fateful day on the Irish island, the day which set the path she had fallen down and climbed through.
Over the public comms a nervous laughter came, she couldn't help herself. Her sensors were showing nothing but then again that made sense. Too much sense. She flicked her speakers on as the last of the laughter came through.
"To those hearing this, either flee or launch everything." She spoke in unnerving calm "Arriving in this location in the monster which destroyed Belfast singlehandedly. Shiseiten and its kin."


The rifle was flung over her unit's shoulder as she floated closer to the fog.
"I was wondering about the silence, but that's your doing is it not- Pontiff Cassilda." Oh she remembered her, too well. Emmissary of the monster which lived in her nightmares, the voice of the many mawed monster. The past six months there hadn't been a night where she hadn't heard that voice once. The silver visage of the inhuman human. The Weissritter hung in front of the fog, a small distance away. In all likelihood the Genion was in there as was the train, she wondered if they could even hear her through the stillness within.

A grin had forced itself on her features in spite of herself, she was still terrified out of her mind but that terror was being pumped into something else. Forcefully shut off. Directed to something to call it over, the second that beast reared its head she was ready for it.
"Have you another warning? Or have the planets aligned, your favorite foe is not here however so what point is there to this."

The rifle was spun, that annoyance behind her- should it have survived her assault, best not interrupt her at this moment.
 

Hitura Rael

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#15
James froze entirely, still like a deer in the line of sight of a predator. The feeling grew stronger, something was definitely watching them. Bathed in the golden fog, his own voice sounding distant and distorted. Had they even heard him? Or was something wrong with his ears? He glanced back up at Merida, watching her mouth move but no sound coming out. The tanned woman was pale, eyes wide with terror. Damnit, what was going on? He tapped his ears, then shook his head.

Whatever this was, it was going to make this more complicated. He took a deep breath, pushing down the fear working its way up his spine. He couldn't panic, not if he was going to protect everyone. First things first, the train was vulnerable. The Genion put her hand on the top of the cars and moved relatively slowly (for the Genion at least) down the line until he reached the back end. Should anyone see him, the Genion made a pushing motion before firmly planting her palms on the back of the train and giving it all she had, fighting the breaks if necessary. It's not like they could tell the crew to flip the breaks off or get moving or anything at this point.
 

GEAR

Administrator
Staff member
Jun 15, 2018
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#16
As James started to make his way towards the back of the train, he would have been reassured as there was a silent clunk under his feet. The train was starting to move - and quickly, as it started to pick up speed. The reason was immediately apparent, as the world seemed to grow darker. The ochre-tinted horizon flickered and wavered in his vision, phantom spires and twinkling lights materializing in the skies, like a ghostly citadel from a fantasy novel was in the distance.

Something impossibly vast loomed over him as the train careened forward, briefly, and it would have felt as though a cold finger had been run up the nape of his neck - perhaps a reaction from the Sphere, channeled through his body.

A warning.

A large hand grasped the side of the train right next to the Genion - but, likely to the young man's relief, the form of the Granteed would have materialized through the fog. Sullivan's MW gave him what amounted to a weary wave, the proud Super Robot's surface covered with gashes and dents. Had he been fighting off the interlopers alone until now?

There were shapes advancing on them now through the fog - bulbous, golden, metallic carapaces gleaming as they began to descend, at least three in total. There was something about how they advanced that seemed unusual, only becoming more clear the closer they came - and as one pulled right overhead, it shifted from its sideways advance, legs and claws unfolding with a spray of sparks as a single, malevolent eye peered down at the Genion. One massive, hammer-like crab-claw was raised - and came crashing down as the creature fell, aiming to crush the Genion instantly with its size and weight, as the other two zoomed closer, attempting to grasp onto the train itself.




"WHAT?!"

Slayer Two's eyes widened within the cockpit - but only briefly as the hail of claymore rounds detonated in the Ascalon's face. The force behind the weapons alone was significant, slamming into the Ascalon's body as if it had been punched by something of comparable size, causing its swings to go wide as it flailed in response. Row after row of the kinetic weapons pulverized the Special's slender body - and sent it toppling back, its face now little more than a mangled, crumbled sphere of metal, and its upper chest severely dented.

For a moment, the Ascalon was still - before its torso rose slightly off the ground, shakily directing one arm towards the Alt- and another torrent of bullets fired from its machinegun, aimed to shred the Personal Trooper before it could deliver a killing blow to a crippled adversary.

Meanwhile, the deadly crimson beam swept after the Weiss, so close it scorched the paint on its back. As Jo loosed her rounds, her blinded foe didn't even have the time to cry out, as the beams pierced first its mangled head - and then its chest. With a howl of atomic fury, the Celestial Reactor in its chest went critical, the Ascalon detonating in midair like an enormous bomb that saw its legs and arms flying off in all directions, a shower of metal and flaming pieces of flesh splattering down on the Weiss's surface.

She faced the cloud, her words echoing out into the surroundings. All was quiet. All was still.

Until, as before... A voice sang out, echoing across the minds of all present.

The moon shines whitely; I shall take
My silk umbrella, lest the moon
Too warmly fall upon the lake

And cause my bridal flowers to swoon.

Sure enough, it was just like back then.

The jutting spires of Lost Carcosa, materialized through the clouds like half-glimpsed mirages, growing more real with every moment, yet never quite passing the threshold of "substance", as if it were content to merely linger on the edge of reality. Dark stars twinkled above, and an unfamiliar, cracked moon now hung in the sky overhead.

The sparrow’s sorrow is in vain,
And so does he his bride forget.
I wed the long grass and the rain,

And seven sailors dripping wet.

The fog roiled, as something vast emerged, straining through teeth that could have torn the throats of gods, filtering around a mountain of bone and flesh that glided through the air, as silent as death itself. Twin pincer-like structures twitched, as if grasping at invisible prey, over five colossal skulls of beasts that were not of this earth, predators of realm so far removed from imagination that it might as well have been the depths of Hell itself, surveying the souls before it with countless eyeless sockets.
And shall not you and shall not I
Keep tryst beside this silent stream,
Who thought that we should rather die

Than wed the peacock’s amber dream?

Shiseiten loomed over the battlefield, now undeniably real. Nothing remained of the wounds they had inflicted upon it previously, as if that brief victory had been nothing but a mirage, a trick of their own deluded minds.

The moon shines whitely; I shall take
My silk umbrella, lest the moon
Too coldly fall upon the lake

And chill my bridal flowers too soon.

At length, the incantation faded - and several shapes were visible, arrayed before the Shiseiten. Their forms were instantly recognizeable - Shimeisou, the thing's bastard offspring, clad in their armored forms. One in particular stood at the forefront, its carapace a jet black compared to those of its peers, directly under the chin of the nightmare.

Within the cockpit, Pontiff Cassilda opened her eyes. Her bangles jingled silently about her arms, as she lifted them in welcome towards Johanna and her companions.

"Rejoice, child." She said, smoothly.

"The Reactor of the Silent Crab, Pallid Mask, has in his inestimable benevolence, seen fit to grant you the blessing of Lasfitot's Peace."

A dozen bolts of black flame plumed into being above the monstrosity, each easily over twenty meters in height alone. Cassilda gave a smile that was as warm and welcoming as the jagged lip of an iceberg, as she whispered:

"Do not resist."

With a grinding roar, the blasts rained down on the assembled group - a cacophonous rain of fire that seared flesh, earth, and soul, tearing great chunks of of the grassland below as it turned the entire plain into a raging inferno. The Shimeisous, five in total, began to advance towards Johanna as well, flying sideways as was their custom unhurriedly. Time, after all, was on their side.
 
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Jun 27, 2021
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Buster Keaton#0906
#17
As the white haired knight watched the impact of the Heavy Claymore's bearings, he'd pull on the Alteisen as those thrusters came to life once more. The machine turned directly at the Ascalon, aiming to close the distance as the right arm of the machine rose up. Cocking the first back even with the shoulder as D'Arcy brought one of the Alteisen's main weapons into focus. Another pull of the controls brought it to the left as the Knight wanted to bring the first over until it was focused directly on the chest of the mobile suit. As far as D'Arcy was aware, more machines had a cockpit fitted in the center mass of the machine and his intent was to stake that center mass. The man also hoped that with the damage that the Ascalon had taken, it's reaction times would be a second or two slower, that's all he needed.

"I told you, I'd kill you if you didn't retreat, didn't I?" Pushing forward, that right arm of the Alteisen was thrust forward to send that pointed stake at the chest of the Ascalon. Aiming to drive it from pointed tip all the way into the wounded machine as D'Arcy squeezed a trigger with his thumb if it was successful, to fire one of the six rounds of the Revolving Stake. To push that stake deeper into the machine and if he was lucky, to finish it off for good.

It was then D'Arcy twisted his head, upon hearing the singing voice, and those words that honestly distracted him. It was then D'Arcy Thidodeau looked around, his eyes trying to find the voice until they stopped. The emerging form made D'Arcy stop in his tracks as he felt the hair on the back of his slender neck rise up, his skin goose bumping as he felt a shiver running from his hair down his back and into his toes. Just what in the hell was that thing? It made him want to run and not deal with it at all, is that what in the name of all the holiest people had been fighting?!

There an urge, that fight or flight response to the current situation and D'Arcy almost turned the controls of the Alteisen to take it away as fast as possible. Closing his eyes, the man let his breath exhale slowly before he tried to settle his mind, he couldn't run. His honor wouldn't allow for it, mask it with humor? Sure, maybe. "Can you hear me, Weisritter pilot? I think I'm going to need a bigger stake for that thing." It was spoken dryly, only as the fire began to rain down and the man felt his mouth tightening as he was forced to pull back as the heavy machine began to back up, trying to avoid getting hit directly on by a blast as D'Arcy groaned for a moment, "I'll be coming your way shortly if you can hold on for a brief spell."
 

MKR

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Aug 19, 2018
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#18
The singing, so the pontiff saw fit to respond in her own way. Very well, that was enough confirmation for her. Heat scorched her back as the explosion took place. The Abend calmly raising its left arm skywards and mocking the snap of a finger, no sound came from the gesture but this was not due to the presence of the Shiseiten but rather a fundamental structural flaw in trying to make the fingers of a mech snap.

Nevertheless, it was the gesture which mattered most. A portal opening up in the space besides the Abend, a black void showing itself with blue flames surrounding it. The pontiff had given her ample time to get her business in order, and now she could still reach out to it. It floated through the black void making its presence known, a mimicry of the Abend besides it in a way. It always amused Johanna how alike the two had been in external appearance, but that was where the similarities ended. She closed her eyes and inhaled, the second Weissritter turning to the Abend as the spires were made manifest.



And in one swift motion punched a clawed arm through the chest of the Abend, reaching inside. Inside the cockpit of the abend Johanna stood up. The machine's second arm now punching through the upper torso of the Abend, tearing it open, exposing it to the fresh air. She simply stepped into its open palm.
A pressure made itself known at this moment, as Johanna opened her eyes once more. Instead of the prior brown two red pearls now gazed out to the sickly yellow sky. Any psychodriver in the area, should they not be inside the stillness of the mist could sense the inherent... wrongness radiate off her like a lamp radiated light. The green flesh of the second Weissritter opened up allowing her passage into its confines and at this moment, another pressure radiated off her felt by those who themselves held a sphere. A pressure she had suppressed herself, her nature as the reactor of the Curious Goat.

The Abend began to slump, with no one at its controls it was like a doll upon a chair, held aloft by the arm sticking through its gut and the thrusters upon its back, weakening by the second.
From the confines of her new cockpit she finally responded.
"Yes I can indeed hear you." She spoke calmly as her 'new' machine gutted her 'old' machine a grey goop dripping from its abdomen "You may want to hurry. Use whatever tools at your disposal."

The second hand reached back over to the Abend, tearing the Partizan launcher out of the Abend's lifeless hand and then the first hand pulled- something coming loose from the confines of the machine's chest. It was a pearl of sorts, but only many many times larger. The Weissritter beheld it for a moment. For something that was no sphere, this would more than suffice.

It forced the pearl into its own abdomen, the Abend's eyes now ceasing to give off light and its thrusters stopped. Its power source had been robbed from it. It plummeted down to the earth below, falling atop the train tracks and bouncing to the side immediately. Clearing the way for the train but giving a full view for all those within of the gutted machine where it lay in a swiftly forming pool of its own cooling liquids.
Ah she had to thank Juliette after this- that much was certain.

The Rein Weissritter held both rifles within its hands as the spell finished, the beast well within vision. Her pupils dilated, she was utterly and horribly terrified she wished to flee once more. But the last time she had rushed the beast against her better knowledge, this time she would stand against it against her better knowledge. Foolishness harnessed by power, not wisdom.

A transmission over open frequencies, not voiced but typed. The last time, it wasn't able to stop that with its fog.
"ARE YOU ALIVE - HANG IN THERE"

Now, her attention came down upon the demon spawn and the Pontiff within it. Red eyes bearing down upon the source of her fears- she could kill them with the right tools. While the Goat may not be able to speak to her due to them to confirm her theory she could kill them she was sure of it. She just needed the tools.
"I- The Reactor of the Curious Goat who has conquered the Sorrowful Maiden. Johanna van den Berg. Refuse." If she had to guess they were watching Gragios' library and noticed her entry. That had to be how they knew. Or perhaps the pressure that one time was their gaze.
Oh how curious.

Worshippers of a false god, aiming for the destruction of everything and to do what, make 'nothing' in its place? That in and of itself showed they had no true conception of the machinations of the universe. A sad reality but she wouldn't inform them. Not yet, that was for later. She gazed down at the arm in which the Sorrowful Maiden rested, that despair- would feed her connection.

But for now she flew upwards, staying a distance away from the horde of putrid children.
"Pallid Mask- I will return your benevolence with my own as I promise to repay you for the despair I felt at Belfast in equal measure."
 

Hitura Rael

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Staff member
Sep 29, 2018
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#19
Thankfully, the train moved. Glorious day! Pushing that thing was going to be annoying as all f- "HOLYFUCKINGHELLDONTDOTHAT!" James jumped in his seat at the sudden appearance of a hand through the fog, his reaction coupled with the danger sense tickling at the back of his neck. His face lit up like a christmas tree- if all the lights were red- embarassed at being startled by the Granteed. Startled- NOT scared. He glanced back and sure enough, Merida was laughing at him, though he couldn't hear her. Great... The Genion turned it's back to the train, hoping it would keep moving and get the hell out of here.

He frowned at the approach of the shadows in the fog. Great. Just great. Why did it always have to be monsters in the fog? Why couldn't it be friendly puppies or something? The genion took a ready stance, similar to a boxer. The plating shifted, the silver painted over the white vanishing under the blue plates as it shifted to GAI mode. The enemy resolved itself into... crabs. Well, they did say everything eventually evolved into crabs... That feeling again though- He glanced up in time to catch the shadow above him, like a creepy ceiling crab staring down at him- Oh that wasn't good. The Genion wrapped her arms around the Granteed and threw herself to the side, thrusters burning through the fog to account for the extra weight of the other machine as the crab came crashing down.

The Genion released the Granteed and spun around to face the creature after narrowly avoiding becoming a pancake. Or... would that be a crab cake? Crab pancake? Damnit this silence sucked! His jokes always sounded shitty in his head. Another chill ran up his spine. Merida's foot tapped his shoulder, a small window popping up on his screen to display what he was too afraid to turn to see, lest he lose sight of the crab. Well. He'd have sight of another crab. A bigger, worse crab that looked like it was shat out by someone playing with a randomized generator WAY too much. He shuddered at the sight of the Shiseiten in the same way as someone seeing a spider or maybe touching some wet old food floating around in dishwater in the sink. The Genion raised it's hand, snapping it's fingers, the coalation of dimensional energy directed at the crab that tried to squash him. Once that one was handled he could go for the pair grabbing at the train if the Granteed didn't finish them first.

Merida's attention directed itself to the texted message. Clever, she grinned. "WE ARE ALIVE- THERE ARE SMALL CRABS IN HERE TRYING FOR THE TRAIN. WHAT IS THAT THING?"
 
Nov 12, 2018
107
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#20
As the massive crabs attempted to grab at the train, the other fog covered mechs might have noticed a blue dot of light, rapidly shooting up behind the two crustaceans like an emergency flare. A strange, sparking blue sphere of light- that soon illuminated two massive pairs of arms that wrapped their digits around the legs of the mechanical beasties.

Indigo at this point, had thought she had overcome the whole shock that came with fighting off bandits and other nasties that found themselves falling into Russia. She had been training on whatever she could fight in the wastes while Millie took over the investigating with local towns and villages. But the rapid fire series of reveals that came after she had rushed out her after thinking she had sensed another sphere reactor? That was enough to drive a giant robot to drink.

With a mighty heave, the ninety meter Chojin Zest swung the crabs over her head, smashing them together like a pair of cymbals. She took a step back from the train as she did so, letting out a laugh, regardless of whether or not anyone could hear her. Three other sphere reactors. Four other spheres. Where else could she have gotten into a mess like this other than where all her troubles on Earth began?

A quick text transmission, like the first-

"HERE 2 HELP GOAT. 4NOW"
 
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