2016-02-07 - The Battle of Ohtori, Part Two

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Title: The Battle of Ohtori, Part Two

The magical girls take the battle to space to end the threat of Alyssa Searrs' orbitally bombarding Child, Artemis, once and for all. There they confront her guardian, Miyu Greer, for perhaps the final time; while she's absent from Alyssa's side, Homura Akemi moves in to end the threat in a different manner. Mai Tokiha dies twice and comes back once. Alyssa does not come back at all.


Natsuki Kuga, Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, Hikaru Shidou, Ami Mizuno, Sachiko Majime, Fuu Hououji, Lera Camry, Takeo Akamizu, Kozue Kaoru, Garnet, Mai Tokiha, Homura Akemi, Mikoto Minagi

GMs: Honoka Yukishiro as Alyssa Searrs, Nagisa Misumi as Miyu Greer


Southern Cross Island, and Outer Space

OOC - IC Date:

02-07-2016 - 09-28-2014

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.


The army tries with all its might to regroup, but it's hard to retreat in an organized fashion when Sir Lancelot is right there with you, laying about with steel and lightning with equal aplomb; when a Crystal Gem slams into the ground ahead of you, shockwaves sending you flying; when frozen blasts from Duran's ice cartridges stop you in your tracks, leaving you immobile from the legs down; when Sailor Mercury summons a wave from her heart, stronger than any in the sea, crushing everything before her; when Hikaru's fire arrow explodes against the final rush of that wave, coating everything in a painful gout of steam, punctured by Chitose's explosive birds of light, which send whorls of superheated water swirling in all directions, pushed even further onwards by la Sirene's powerful condemnation; when admidst all that, heedless of the burns that rise and fall and rise again on her skin, a white-cloaked Puella Magi wields a blunt instrument of a sword in a grim requiem.

By the time Mikoto has bisected the final tank with a single, massive, yet somehow effortless-looking slice, her landing may be amid soldiers, but none of them are moving to intercept her. Indeed, they're beginning to put down their weapons -- this battle is over. Out to sea, too, by the time Kozue resurfaces she can see that Kagutsuchi's claws, the flames summoned by Mai's magatama, and Lera's verbose bombardment have collectively put an end to the any threat posed by Justice, and with it, the last ship that could mount a serious offense against either magical girls or the evacuation efforts.

A hush quickly overtakes the island. It's a strange moment, almost painfully surreal juxtaposed against the impossibly harsh soundtrack of detonating ordinance that ended not thirty seconds ago. There's a feeling of vertigo, of standing at the center of the world while everything rotates around you.

But it's only the eye of the storm.

Who are those little girls in pain
Just trapped in the castle on the dark side of the moon?
Twelve of them shining bright in vain
Like flowers that blossom just once in years

The song carries in the lull of battle, more sweet and poignant than ever. Some have heard it performed at festivals, choir competitions; others might not forget its resonance shortly before the bridge exploded, beginning all of this, intertwined with the silvery strains of a second vocalist.

It requires no such accompaniment, though, no strings or bells and certainly no singers. Alyssa's voice is an impossibly fine instrument, possessed of a purity and passion that only those who really love music can attain, and it creates massive cognative dissonance to recall the same voice threatening to condemn thousands of innocents to death not two days ago.

They're dancing in the shadow like whispers of love
Just dreaming of a place where they're free as doves
They're never been allowed to love in this cursed cage
It's only the fairy tale they believe

Alyssa Searrs stands at the edge of the island, easy to see now that there's no forest in the way. She's accompanied only by one person, and no soldier, of course, but instead a slender, deadly woman -- or something like a woman. Those who faced Miyu Greer with the forest burning around them have reason to question her humanity.

The ships having been pacified behind them, she finishes her song just as Lera, Mai and Kozue return to the island, trailing off. Her tiny hands are clenched into fists, clutching pieces of her black skirts. She looks tired, but severe, like a schoolteacher in a body that has yet to hit double digits.

"Just because it's a satellite... doesn't mean it's always moving at the same speed."


Deep below, in the Obsidian Palace where the magical girls gathered for their counterstrike, alarms blare on the many reconnaisance screens. One of them carries a feed from space.

Headmistress Mashiro gasps, gripping the arm of her chair. "It's right above us!"


Alyssa continues gravely, "The students can run wherever they want, but they cannot escape Artemis' blast." She simply pre-empts the cacophany of objections, of questions. She's heard them all before, some very recently.

"We fight because we have conviction in regard to the correct use of our powers... while you other HiME, on the other hand, have no purpose. That's why you're always looking for reasons to fight -- you believe in nothing, and have no resolve. You don't know what you desire, or what you should be doing."

She closes her eyes, resigned. Miyu places a hand on her shoulder, a hand that crushes rebar into pulp, so gently that it wouldn't, couldn't crack an egg, or startle a baby bird into flight.

Alyssa's eyes reopen, her baby blues steely with resolve.

"We cannot allow people like you to take the power of the star. And since you won't surrender to the Searrs Foundation... you leave me no choice."

She reaches up and tugs the ribbon out of her long, spikey blond hair. It springs to life immediately, as though it is a creature of its own. As though caught in a tempest that only it can feel -- in fact, a thermal updraft from the sheer amount of power now emanating from Alyssa's little body -- it swirls upwards, turning that beautiful, terrible, and all too familiar hue of brilliant gold.

The sky responds immediately, painted yet again with the auroral herald of the destruction to come, as though the girl's hair has been magnified.


On the Headmistress' feed, the satellite -- which is normally roughly an inverted pyramid, with a green orb on the top -- is abruptly surrounded by a pair of interlocking rings, two begemmed moebius strips which have materialized from nothing, the hallmark of the HiME.

Eclipse 1 responds immediately, transmuting from cold steel to bright gold as a number of radial edges flare off of it in all directions, and the tip of the pyramid splits in half, becoming the sides of a cannon, one powered by the orb.

Power comes from many places and manifests in many forms, but few are more spectacular than the fury of Artemis. It takes several long seconds for the charge to build, crackling hungrily, gathering in on itself, compressing, refining...



At first it's just a speck, a smear of light, a falling star. The aurora intensifies to greet its source, which punches through the highest clouds without noticing they're there, surely the same fate of anything or anyone else who gets in its path.

The golden beam pours downwards, directly towards the far side of the school, where the evacuation has only just begun. Its path of destruction is surely wide enough to include much of the route to the hidden evacuation ship. It is quite possible that the only survivors will be the magical girls themselves, by dint of their separation from the innocent student body.

En route to the cruise ship or at the edge of the school grounds, the students and staff have been kept orderly, efficient, and quiet in their departure due to the efforts of the third team of magical girls -- and the Student Councils. They may wear different colored uniforms, but they're united in their purpose...

...and now in their death.

Ohtori, Infinity, Juuban... thousands of eyes gaze upwards in wonder and horror at the gorgeous sight of their

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

As the last of the Golden Fleet lies in ruins, Mai and Kagutsuchi wing their way back toward Southern Cross Island. She can't help but laugh at the disaster-scribed message left by Lera, and gives the girl a thumbs up in passing; Cassandra and Kozue earn a look of concern long enough that Kagutsuchi croons in sympathy.

They arrive in time to be met with Alyssa Searrs and Miyu - something that gives girl and dragon a moment's pause. And then - Mai's eyes widen in horror as the truth of Alyssa's words strike home. "You can't be serious...why? Why inflict all this...horror? What reason..."

And Alyssa gives her reasons. Conviction, and no more.

For the third time in a handful of days, the skies shine with a dreadful golden aurora. Light as bright as day, possessed of a baleful beauty, casts looming shadows over all of Southern Cross Island...

And then there is a single screamed word, answered by a tremendous noise.


It's the sound of an inferno's roar, the sound of a phoenix's wingbeat, the sound of a dragon surging into the skies with a speed borne of desperate determination. There's a fleeting cry as it rises - surpassed by that great roar of wind and flame as it climbs higher and higher. With every moment, it ascends into heavens that grow brighter and brighter.

In moments, the Child is visible across the island, prominent in the skies - and sharp eyes might pick out the fiery hair of the HiME standing proudly atop its head.

"Resolve? You want to talk about resolve and conviction?" There's no one with Mai but Kagutsuchi himself to hear her response to Alyssa. Gaze fixed on those shining skies overhead, she clenches one trembling hand. "You're wrong. All you're determined to do is hurt everyone for the sake of some twisted dream, but I..."

Memories come to mind. Countless fleeting moments, the faces of everyone she can even think of to care about.

Classmates - cheerfully offering the hand of friendship, no matter how many times she had to turn them down. Groaning over brutal assignments, gossiping about the latest Ohtori news, mildly teasing Mai about the rumours around her...

Coworkers - from Midori to Akane to Kazu to Madoka, and too many others to name, helping hold the line against the endless parade of diner customers. Broken dishes, messy walls, and a camaraderie born of something friendlier than a true war.

Comrades. She doesn't share Fuu's interests, but the girl is at least pleasant. Mami is someone Mai can never truly get along with, but she's a force for good all the same. Fate, a girl born to heartbreaking circumstance, saddled with more guilt than she's earned. La Sirene du Nord, an ominous girl who still stood to help her brother. Kozue, a fellow HiME with words that infuriated her beyond belief - but with whom she can still empathize. Gordon the rabbit, offering cooking advice to even those not his students. And others - too many to even begin to name.

Friends. Close friends have always hard to come by, but a handful come to mind in these moments. Lera went from an American stranger to a potential enemy to more and more of a friend, as time led to understanding. Usagi, cheerful and earnest, determined to care for everyone and eat to her heart's content. Natsuki, who warned her then helped her then wound up joining her as a fellow lover of coffee. Takeo, an absolute goof, and someone who...might not get that next dance after all.

And family.

Eri. A gardener, close as a sister, caught in a worse and worse situation Mai can't help her out of...and so all she can do is offer comfort and care.

Takumi. Her brother, precious beyond anything she could conceive of - cursed by fate, but never complaining. And one day...one day, he'll have a good life, she's sure of it.

Mikoto. They've saved each other more times than can be counted. Devoted, and honest, and...

Mai's eyes, fixed on that shining golden aurora, brim with tears. Her hands are trembling, her body shaking as Artemis's terrific power becomes more and more brilliant...but her conviction does not waver. Stern eyes stare down looming death, and she grits her teeth. "Because...for everyone I love..."


The golden lightning of Artemis spears down from heaven - but long before it can reach the school, it finds its mark with Kagutsuchi. For a heartbeat, the destructive power and the dragon seem to be frozen in time, light scattering from where they meet...

And then the full power of Alyssa's Child, seen twice, erupts a third time. A cataclysmic explosion erupts in the skies above Southern Cross Island, shining brighter than the heavens - as if a second sun was shining there. The power destined to destroy all of Ohtori Academy and those who dwell into it is left to spent the full measure of its wrath on a single Child, and the resulting shockwave from the detonation scatters what clouds remained.

And the air burns. No sign of Mai, no hint of her Child - only a lingering blaze, and a scattering of drifting, burning golden feathers that begin to fall.


<Pose Tracker> Miyu Greer [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Sector seven, requesting immediate fire support!"

"Armored twelve, please copy--"

"Absolutely CANNOT hold, repeat--"

"--taking water, Katorimaru en route for evacuation."

Miyu has two fingers against her earpiece to keep the ambient noise low enough to be filtered. The ripping roar of machineguns and the panicked shouts as the nests go silent one by one make it difficult to hear the static-ridden radio signals. Even as the Searrs line crumbles around her, she does not so much as look up. What purpose in reinforcing a tenth of a broken dam? The water will flow regardless. No. These troops have served their purpose already. The delay was enough.

Miyu briefly sidesteps as a beam of love-energy rips into the engine block of a truck she was passing. The girl who fired it is hovering nearby, shouting about the unforgiveable crime of making a place of learning into--well, Miyu never finds out. Her forearm peels away to release her chaingun, answering tungsten for love, and the trail of tracers follows the luckless champion of justice to the ground for good measure.

It is with that unhurried pace that Miyu reaches her mistress, to lay her hand with love across her tiny shoulder. She steps back to watch Alyssa transfigured. It's like watching a graduation. Alyssa was born to do this, created to do this. Just as Miyu exists to love Alyssa.

The android smiles softly as a golden glow suffuses the sky. She closes her eyes in satisfaction, wanting to listen to it rather than watch it, to hear the music of Alyssa's cleansing. But the song isn't right this time, and beneath it is the howl of a terrible beast.

Miyu's eyes snap open. The pillar has been brought to a halt, that hideous, ungainly Child of Mai Tokiha bearing it alone. Alyssa, already weakened by the exertion of igniting Artemis, sags on her feet, her jaw slack with shock.

"Ojou-sama," Miyu says, scooping her up swiftly. "Don't worry. Artemis will sing again, and again, until they are all gone." Taking a running start, Miyu leaps off the steepest edge of the hill, her heels dragging against the ground to skid her way down, bearing Alyssa to a safe distance away from the tiny heartful army arrayed against them. "I will be sure of it."

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

The soldiers yield. Mikoto keeps her battle position until she's sure of it, eyes darting between the guns. In the end, it's the soft tones of her enemy's voice which turns her away from them. Alyssa -- and Miyu, the warrior stronger than all of them.

Mikoto approaches from the land, just as Mai approaches from the sea. She's just in time to hear her speak, and the shock shows plainly on her tired, worn face. Even after everything they've done...

The rest of her words register, but only distantly. Her Lord Brother is still in danger. Evacuated? Maybe. Not far enough away. And everyone else, too --

Alyssa's hair glows gold as she releases it from her ribbon, and the sky glows in that exact same hue. The colours reflect in Mikoto's eyes, gold on gold; what a terrible colour.

What a terrible colour, crashing down from on high.

And then, there is a word.


Mikoto stiffens, staring agape in horror as her roommate, the girl who feeds her, who cares for her, who does things with her, flies up into the sky. She knows, immediately, what Mai is going to do; she knows, and her heart is gripped in ice, tears springing to the corner of her eyes.

no no no no no no no no NO NO NO NO NO NO--

"Mai," Mikoto whispers, the sound tearing itself from her throat, raw and trembling.

It only takes a second. Kagutsuchi rushes up to meet the light.

she can't she can't she can't do this she's going to sacrifice herself, she's going to save everyone, she's going to DIE and Mikoto will be alone--

Fire meets energy and the two erupt, the sheer power hanging in the sky, glittering.

-- and it's all her fault because she should have found her Lord Brother, she should have she knows, but Mai was always there for her after she came in from long days of searching --

Both HiME and child are enveloped in the blast, a terrible explosion which wipes the sky clean, leaving only fire and feathers.

-- Mai listened to her, Mai believed in her, Mai fought alongside her, Mai was her harbour, her lighthouse, and Mai -- /Mai/ --

Mikoto stares, clutching Miroku in a white-knuckled grip as she witnesses Mai's death. The warm fire Mai offered in her heart dies down to embers with no one left to fuel it, and Mikoto feels gripped by the cold, even as the heat of the children washes over her. It's -- it's empty, and terrible, and she /hates/ it, hates this feeling that nothing will ever be right again, a feeling which clutches at her chest and makes her sick to her stomach.

She'd do anything to bring Mai back, anything, and yet she just can't stop shaking...

Miyu's actions don't even prompt a response from her. She just keeps staring at the sky.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5JvbD2Zc9I


Sailor Moon, who had been part of the evacuation efforts, has no idea that she's picked up a tail. Far away from the main student body, is a bright-eyed boy who creeps out of the brush and into her view.

"Sailor Moon!" She whirls around, then cringes in shock as if a bad hair day Youma had leapt into view, "What!? What are you doing here!?" "Well I'm your biggest fan of course! I just wanted you to sign-" He holds something up, "Your sneaker!?" "It's all I had left after they pushed us around!"

Suddenly she thrusts her hands to her side, leaning forward and shouting at him, "SHINGO TSUKINO YOU GET BACK TO YOUR EVACUATION GROUP RIGHT NOW!" Now it's Shingo's turn to be cringing backwards in shock as he's shouted at by his favorite heroine. "W-What, how do you know my... wait what's that?"

Sailor Moon turns her gaze to the sky, as auroral gold floods it. "No! It's not supposed to be here for hours!" A shining speck in the sky becomes a bright light of falling star. But in the corner of her vision she sees a firebird, brilliant even amongst the shining death that approaches. "Mai-cha-" A flash, the air burns.

The Senshi has to look away, shield her eyes, as the smaller boy's shout of, "What's happening!?" is lost amongst the roar. Sailor Moon looks back, and there's nothing left, save a dying blaze of feathers.

Left open mouthed to gaze at it... the tears come quickly, followed by a shriek of pain. The Senshi has sunk to her knees, putting her hands to her face and sobbing. Shingo has run up to her, a kind of hobbling movement as he puts his shoe back on, putting a hand on her shoulder and giving it an awkward little shake, "Sailor Moon!? W-What's wrong?"

The Senshi turns around, and immediately throws her arms around him, clinging to him like he's a lifeline in the midst of endless misery, sobbing and shaking. "I don't-" He protests for a moment, then lowers himself down...

...and hugs her back. "...I don't understand, but I'm here for you."


A Puella Magi sees the fading light of the feathers. It doesn't feel real. It feels like a dream. A nightmare.

There's no film reel, there's no husk where a girl once lived.

There's no sea of endless red in a the remnants of a shattered forest.

There's just... nothing. No trace that Mai Tokiha ever existed, except in memories.

No In all honesty, I'm not sure how well either of us are doing at making friends - so it's nice to meet you, Shimanouchi-san.

Well, it's not something Takumi and I talk about much either. With that said, as your sort of big sister...watch it, I don't need to annoy the security guard by falling out of my chair laughing! Don't forget about yourself - I said before, you deserve to find happiness.

...it's still better than who I was. The little girl who blew off all her responsibilities, not thinking about consequences. The new high school student, hesitating to act even when it wouldn't cost her a thing to save a life. I don't like who I've been - I'd rather /be/ a good person, rather than just go through the motions.

...and I'm sorry - to you - that I said I did. Because - because I see you as a little sister, and I'm the sort of meddling older sibling who needs to know just what's wrong.

And even if it's a dream, even if she opens her eyes, and finds herself laying on cold stone instead of staring at this.

It doesn't change the fact that Mai Tokiha is dead right now. That a girl as close to her as any sister is dead. That the only family she has that even thinks of her anymore is just... gone.

She's not really sure when the sobbing begins, but it's not nearly enough release, and not relief at all.

Here, Now~

Kozue Kaoru really wanted to wipe that look off Alyssa's face, but she didn't advance, because Greer was there, leaving them at an uneasy stalemate of not wanting to make a move on the pup lest they set off the mother wolverine. A mother wolverine that could move like hell itself was at her back.

There are many things she could say about her own resolve, her purpose, and her belief. Many curses or expressions of rage she could throw out.

It's all drowned out by one girl's resolve, eclipsed by one girl's selfless actions. And all she can do is watch as that one girl does what she's incapable of doing.

As she's burned out of the sky like a fly that wandered into the sunbeam of a child's magnifying glass.

She shouldn't care. She tries to tell herself she doesn't care about this girl at all.

Mai Tokiha was simply another commodity, or resource for her to use or exploit. So she made her feel guilty about her brother?

He's a good kid...and he deserves a hell of a lot better than a sister like me. But I guess that's a sentence you've said yourself, huh?

If it contributed at all to her doing this, then it was worth it. She shouldn't feel bad about it.

She shouldn't...

"You were wrong Tokiha. And so was I, guess it wouldn't be the first time for either of us." She finally whispers, trying to force her vision from going blurry, "I'll make sure he's taken care of."

By the time she's looking back at the spot where Alyssa and Greer stood... they were already gone. Nothing for her to vent her anger on, and yet she was kind of grateful for that too.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
The whole assault on Ohtori seemed so unreal. But Ren was here to witness it with her own eyes, and so did her best to contribute to the efforts to stop it. Evacuating the students trapped by the Searrs forces quickly became her top priority. Now she's rushing back to the battle itself, hoping the various magical girls and boys involved have fared well. She doesn't get far before she spots the sight of Mai and Kagatsuchi, rising up into the air to meet up with what looks like a cannon of energy barreling down towards the area proper.

The explosion of light that follows causes the mage to halt in midair and shield her eyes. "W-What?!" Did she just...?! No. No no no no no no! This can't be...! Her mouth completely agape, Ren stares in utter shock and disbelief afterward, feeling a cold icyness wash over her completely. "No..."

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
Endo stands on the battlefield, a proud Belkan(ish) Knight, weapon wreathed in purple flame and vibrating with energy, ready to unleash his full power against the Golden Age. Which he would, if the opposing force hadn't immediately started their retreat as soon as he'd kicked Fallen Stern into overdrive.

"...Ah. Really? Did we win?" There's a moment of incredulity, and then relief.


The boy's eyes flash skyward, widening with horror as Eclipse I makes its presence known again, and the light begins flash from on high. It's not supposed to do that. They'd won, they were so close, and now--

"Stern, we have to do something." Endo's voice is frayed and frantic, the well-maintained composure he'd shown in the minutes prior cracking like an egg.


Endo wants scream, to deny it, to make some impotent gesture. All those people, his friends, everyone, this couldn't he happening. He'd failed. They all failed.

Except Mai. His eyes widen when Kagutsuchi appears on the horizon. He doesn't know her, Mai Tokiha, not as anything more than the girl on dragon. But as the light flashes and the sky clears, he recognizes she's done something amazing, and paid a terrible price for it.

Not knowing what else to do, Endo slumps down to sit againstthe side of his sword, the weariness of all the energy he'd spent overwhelming him.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

They were dead, they were all going to die and there was no where to run. At least that's what Natsuki had thought as she watch the sky fill with light. There was barely time to think before she heard Tokiha cry out. Her eyes widen as she hears Mai's request.

No...she isn't thinking... "Tokiha!" Natsuki cried out, but it was too late. Kagutsuchi flew straight into the burning light.

"No, no, no! Damit Tokiha!" Natsuki curses with pure rage.

Then there is another bright light, engulfing both HIME and Child glow so bright it blinds her. Then there's an explosion and there's nothing. No Mai, no Kagutsuchi, nothing.

Natsuki stared stunned, feeling numb in her body until she hears Miyu's remarks.

"Like Hell you will!" Natsuki screams as she aimed her gun and fires, but Miyu proves too fast and she misses. "You'll pay," Natsuki vowed. "I won't Tokiha's sacrifice be in vain."

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

Helplessness is not a feeling that the Magic Knight of Wind finds terribly familiar, or remotely comfortable. As the light of Artemis illuminates the sky, she's already racking her brains, trying to come up with something, *anything* that she could possibly do ... and there's nothing. Even within the logical bounds of her wind magic, it's impossible for her to do more than watch.

She can't pick out Mai's form at this distance, but she recognizes Kagutsuchi taking wing nonetheless. What could have been the annihilation of the Sister Schools' student body is averted - but at the price, so far as she can tell, of Mai-san's life.

The Wind Knight continues staring in shock at the now-empty sky, her sword vanishing back into her glove-jewel as her hands relax and fall open. "Mai-san ..." she whispers, her brain struggling to overcome an impenetrable wall of overwhelming disbelief. What just happened -

Kagutsuchi rose into the sky, Mai presumably perched atop the dragon's form. They intercepted the light that heralded Artemis's attack. And ...

Nothing, beyond that fireball of Artemis's fury expending itself. No body, no trace, no wisp of existence to remember her.

Nothing but memories.

And few enough of those, in the Wind Knight's mind. For Mai to be cut down so abruptly, for the friendships that could have sprouted to be severed so brutally -

The Magic Knight of Wind continues standing there, staring into the now-empty sky, an emptiness that echoes in time with the thudding of her heartbeat.

It can't have ended like that ...

.... Can it?

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Sliding off the back of the Warhorse, Takeo looks on with wide eyes. His mangled shoulder still bleeding is forgotten as the sudden feeling of being gut punched fills him. His heart, simultaneously falls into his gut and is wrenched from his chest. Flashes of memory from the soul he holds, comes to him of other losses, but he pushes them aside. This is for Takeo Akamizu, not Lancelot Du Lac. So it is that a single word comes out of his lips. "No."

It is a word spoken softly. Filled with. He doesn't know. Mai is, or was, his friend and classmate, and until a few days that was it. Except. They had shared a dance, and after that dance, there had been promise of another once they had righted this situation and friends and family were seen to safety. "No."

That word is said again, and this time he feels a stinging wetness in his eyes. He doesn't cry. At least not where others can see him, not for being macho or anything like that. He just doesn't want others to see him do it. The act always made him feel like he wasn't being strong for others, but they come. Unbidden and freely. Drops of sorrow and pain that run down his cheeks. "No."

As the word is said, Arondight drops from the knight's hand to land in the ash and mud, and possibly blood of the battlefield. He joins the blade, but on his knees and he leans forward, nearly putting his head into the ground. Hands grasp at the muddied and desecrated ground, and eyes close in a vain attempt to hold back the - He doesn't know what he's holding back. So instead, he says a new word.

"Mai." A hand. His hand, grabs Arondight and he stabs the blade into the ground beside him. Using it as leverage, as support, to push himself to up, if not off his knees and onto his feet then to at least not be sobbing into the mud. Lighting suddenly pulses along the blade to burn and scorch the ground around where it thrust. His lips pull back into a near snarl and he looks to where that Android and Girl had been.

Gone. They had fled, but not Lancelot's pain and rage. "I'll kill you." He whispers softly. Then he lifts a knee and pushes, forcing himself to his feet. "I'll kill you both." He says staggering forward, Arondight feels a million times heavier to him and he almost drags the blade as he staggers forward, almost running. "I WILL END YOU!" The words are suddenly loud and he hefts the weight of that ancient blade and tries to surge forward before he simply falls to his knees again. One hand punches the ground hard, his bad arm, shoulder screaming.

He wants to do these things. To find them. To track them. To KILL THEM. But he knows, deep in his heart, that he can't. He's not a killer. He's just a boy, despite the title of Knight, and he hurts.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Like the Magic Knight of Wind, the Fire Knight can't believe what's happening either. It's almost too surreal to be true. She stares alongside her colleague, tears starting to well up in her eyes. This is definitely something noteworthy for the Fire Knight, since she's not the type to cry easily. She holsters her sword and bites her lower lip, trying to keep from crying out. It has to be a dream, that's what she keeps telling herself, that it's all just a bad dream and she'll wake up soon enough.

Unfortunately, she doesn't wake up. She's still standing here, and despite what she wanted to believe, it's not a nightmare. This is real. The tears she feels, the sensation she's got, what she's seeing, all of it. It's all too real. Now the tears start to slide down her cheeks a little, and the Fire Knight can only shake her head in disbelief.

"It can't be," She says to the Wind Knight, trying to keep her voice from cracking. "This can't be the end." She squeezes her eyes shut, trying to stop the tears from coming out. "Why?!"

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera Camry sets down on the ashen, burnt ground. She looks at Mai and flashes her a thumbs-up and a grin, too. The girl lets out a laugh, but the relief feels premature indeed when Alyssa Searrs speaks.

Her eyes widen.

The rest plays out before her, high in the sky, and with the certain knowledge that she can neither escape nor protect the others. The golden spear of light crashes down, but it doesn't strike the school. She realizes who it hits instead, her mouth opening but words not forming, as the white and red dragon-shaped Child gets in the way.

The flash is so brilliant that Lera can't make out what happened, until the afterimages fade. She stares, then, waiting for some sign. She waits for a battered but whole Mai and Kagutsuchi to rise over the horizon. She waits for another thumbs-up. She waits for something, /anything/ at all.

None of it ever comes.

"T-Tokiha...?" Lera asks quietly, her voice shaking. She feels the tears in the corners of her eyes. She waits another moment -- and, still, nothing comes. She shouts, then: "Tokiha! You--you better not have died! You--"

Her lips tremble.

<She's gone. I'm sorry, Camry,> Broken Ground states.

Lera's head hangs; she doesn't look at where Miyu and Alyssa stood, for the moment. Her lips tremble and her hand shakes on the hilt of the warhammer in her hand.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

A whirl of emotions plays out in Sailor Mercury's mind -- but even as things look to be their most hopeless, as golden light threatens to rain down, the strongest among those emotions is hope. Through countless trials, Ami Mizuno -- Sailor Mercury -- has learned that even when things seem most hopeless, the worst thing you can do is give up.

... not like this, though. That's the first thing that crosses her mind as Kagutsuchi flies to meet the golden blast that strikes down from the heavens. It happens almost before she has the chance to digest that it's happening -- and at the moment of impact, she can't stop herself from wincing.

She flinches, as if she wants to look away... but something stops her. She stares up at the point of impact, letting the image burn itself into her memory.

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

Garnet's face breaks its compsure as the rays of the oncoming golden cosmic event reflect themselves in her shades, and she breaks out in a mad dash towards the retreating ships and Steven!

Maybe she can get there in time, she tells herself.

Maybe she can at least save Steven and as many others as she can carry!

But seeing the speed and scope of the blast, she already knows the truth.

"NO! We need more time! We were so clos-..."

The rest of her speech is drowned the the sound of cataclysmic impact, then her vision is lost a blinding ocean of golden light.

Garnet doesn't know the limits of her durability.

The bond of love that sustains her has made her far more durable than any Gem in the known universe.

She has vague memories of losing her form, perhaps as Ruby, perhaps as a future vision memory of Sapphire's. It's been so long, she's forgotten what it felt like, and she doesn't know what it would feel like for her gems to be shattered.

But this isn't it.

Her vision begins to clear, and she focuses on the last thing she remembers seeing: The girl who rose to meet Alyssa's deathblast, wreathed in the fire of a dragon.

And saved them all.

Garnet didn't know her personally, she didn't even know her name. But she will learn it, and she will remember her always for her sacrifice.

After the din of the battle, and the sonic assault of the explosion, there is a silence that pervades the area except for the sounds of the ocean.

Garnet stands in place, listens to the waves crash against the shore and watches in stunned, grateful silence as the boats begin their escape.

<Pose Tracker> Sachiko Majime [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sachiko Majime watched the battle from afar, legs haphazardly crossed over top of one another. Observer was a new occupation for her as she usually found herself in the thick of it. She normally craved battle and how it made her blood boil....how it made her feel truly alive. But not today, she was not one of the direct participants of this battle as for whatever reason she missed the thick of the fighting. From her perch ontop a burned out paramilitary humvee, she could not truly understand the magnitude of what has happened in front of her eyes. She saw the technicolor flashes of attacks spent, various explosions, and even Mai and her Child's apparent sacrifice. However, the greater context was completely lost to her. She would have to fill in the details of this narrative herself.

Uncrossing her legs and rising to her feet, Sachiko stands up leisurely and brings both of her hands up to the orange gem that dangles from her neck. A grim smile begins its journey across the young girl's face as she lets herself be engulfed by the orange transformative light of her soul gem. Blonde and bold Sachiko, dressed in her half-softball uniform/ half school uniform, takes a short running start before leaping off the top of the wrecked vehicle and onto the scorched ground below. The orange and black clad Puella Magi ventures forth to seek new prey amongst those whom survived.

Sachiko arrives to the main body of the magic boys and girls to find it full of the conflicting emotions of sorrow and vengeance. Her orange eyes seek out the various faces of those around, but there is only a lack of recognition and a complete disconnect with those whom she does make eye contact with. They all have fought and suffered a great deal while she had done neither. Sachiko can only frown at her own previous inaction and turn her head away. "Where's the brat and her robot? I have unfinished business with them." Violence. That was the way in which Sachiko chooses to deal with the feelings of others she couldn't possibly understand. She will swing her axe until things start making sense once more.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> Kagutsuchi Kourin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SO_Z4Y-3xuk

It can't have ended like this.

And yet, the blaze in the sky says otherwise.

That great pyre above Ohtori marking the site of Mai's sacrifice continues to burn, flames dwindling as the golden feathers fall. Nothing more could be done - but the promised death for all the students of the Sister Schools was averted. For the price of a single life...

The crisis remains. Artemis still looms in the heavens, threatening to unleash that terrible destruction at any moment...but for now, in this instant, only these fires remain to cast light on the shock and horror and grief.

Mai's comrades mourn her with cries of disbelief and astonishment - that things can't end like this.

Her friends mourn her, with reactions ranging from guilt to rage and every stage of grief in between.

A boy she'd promised a dance mourns her, vengeful rage echoing in the air as he collapses in grief.

A Puella Magi as close as a sister mourns her, remembering a dozen moments building to this.

An aloof secret-agent HiME mourns her, with vehement curses to ward off the chill.

...and Mikoto mourns her, breaking in sorrow.

Tears of grief and rage fall from all the connections Mai had made, as those golden feathers fill the air. There's pain...and a persistent threat. That even for this effort, everyone Mai cared about in turn still remain in peril.

There's a feeling - like a single heartbeat, pulsing from the burning pyre. A glimmer of light, brighter than the flames themselves. And slowly, the blackened remains of Kagutsuchi begin to fall from the inferno - darker than ash, burnt by fires worse than even it wielded. A second pulse - and slowly, what seemed like remnants begin to gently turn.

The ashes scatter. And a new form is revealed.

Kagutsuchi, transformed. No more wings of flame, no claws emerging from the inferno, no fire at all. The dragon's head arches out, sword as prominent as ever in its maw - but its long neck is lined with crimson fur, leading to a strange body.

More machine than dragon, now - its arms are wings of gleaming ivory, tipped with claws, and backed with feathers that seem like great vents. The new form of the phoenix-dragon is like the fusion of a dragon and some high-tech jet - filled with no less menace as it slowly descends to the surface of the island.

Flames erupt abruptly - a great ring of them over the dragon's head - and spiral down before the sword. The flicker, they blaze, they take a vaguely humanoid form -

- and scatter, to reveal Mai Tokiha.

Her eyes are closed as she manifests...then slowly, they open in wonder. And widen, in utter bewilderment.

"Wh- What?! WHAT?!" Her yell could probably be heard across half the island - and then Kagutsuchi screeches, head arching toward the heavens. Somewhere, in those golden skies, Artemis stands vigilant - and the transformed dragon's very being sings with the drive to strike back.

"H-hang on! Kagutsuchi!" Mai looks around wildly, before spying those standing below - and whatever relief she might feel to see some of those faces, it's tempered buy complete and utter panic. "Everyone! There's no time to explain-"

Kagutsuchi screeches, and Mai puts a hand on the sword's hilt. "...but I think Kagutsuchi is going to try to attack Artemis! If - if you're ready to come-"

Another screech - neck stretched out for passengers only grudgingly. "- then hurry!"

There's little time for discussion - less than a minute after Mai's plea, the dragon-phoenix-spaceship turns its head to the heavens. Cylinders marked with magatama symbols emerge from its back, spinning wildly as power builds at its rear - and with a roar mighter than anything short of Artemis's destruction, sheer force launches the Child - and its passengers - up into the skies.

Up high enough to face off against a satellite.

OOC: If you want to participate in the final fight, then hurry up and get on the dragon! Enjoy the alarmingly short trip, because by next round we're going to have definitive proof that the Earth is round. Feel free to enjoy the brutal acceleration and wonders of space on your trip!

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has fully healed herself.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha transforms into Mai and Kagutsuchi!

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

At first, the screech doesn't really register for Lera. She looks down at the ground. Her fist keeps shaking around the hilt of her hammer, tears rolling down her cheeks unbidden now. "I didn't... I didn't even say I'm sorry," she mutters softly to herself. "I--"

<Camry. Look up.>

She does after she hears Broken Ground, in time to see Kagutsuchi transformed and unfurling those wings, to reveal Mai Tokiha standing there. She blinks a few times, trying to clear her eyes, and then she shakes her head in disbelief.

Mai's explanation is timely, in that sense. Lera nods, quickly, and grits her teeth. She darts forward -- running across the battlefield and to the dragon. She grabs onto the dragon, tightly, and looks at Mai. "You--" She's smiling, despite the admonishment. "--you gotta work on this exploding thing, y'know? It's giving us a real scare."

She looks over her shoulder, back at Endo and Ren. She grins at them, then yells; in the rush of adrenaline, it sounds a little manic. "C'mon!" she cries out. "We gotta get up there!"

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFiSb9SBOW0&list=PL04ADB121151A2C5E&index=15

Kozue needed a moment to collect herself. Others were already chomping at the bit to hunt down Greer and Alyssa, and she didn't blame them. In fact she wanted to join them, but... right now...

She feels a heartbeat, like a pulse within her head. Except it's not her own. She looks back up, alarmed, as shes reform into a dragon turned... she's not even sure what it is! And as flames scatter to reveal Mai Tokiha. She takes a step back, alarmed. "What!? You're-"

She only has a few moments to make a decision. After what she saw, does she really want to get on that thing's back, go up there, and attack that thing?

Hell yes.

Her sense of spite wins out over her apprehension. Even over her awe of the Dragon God of Fire. She's up on the Dragon's back, smirking, "For a HiME, you're a real drama queen Tokiha."

She claps her once briefly on the back, she's not willing to give a real apology, not to her face, just that small gesture. A moment later she looks at Sachiko, waving at her in particular, "Hey you wanted to hit something? Here's your chance girl! How often do you get the chance to knock a satellite out of the park?"

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

Garnet doesn't need to be told twice. She's not sure how she regenerated, but she's no stranger to form regeneration or healing magics. She's so glad to see Mai, stronger than ever! Garnet finds herself emboldened by her resurrection, and whether its her imagination, or the positive emotions she's feeling bolstering her magical body, she's unsure, but she's ready! They're going to smash that satellite out of the sky!

She gets on the dragon, and prepares to see the anciently familiar sight of the Earth from orbit.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Ren looks up at the empty skies, still trying to process what she's witnessed. And... then.

<I don't believe it! What a move!>

Heraut's shout comes right as the overwhelming sight of Kagatsuchi re-emerging from apparent death -- along with Mai. "What...?!" Ren rubs her eyes, doing a double take. And then she smiles, looking over at Lera as she fights the urge to start laughing. Amazing!

And then comes Mai's invitation to join her in taking out that satellite. "You don't have to ask me twice!" Ren follows after Lera, heart swelling with pride.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Fist buried in the muddied ground where he had slammed it in frustration, Takeo squeezes his eyes shut once again only to hear a screech of defiance. The boy blinks, and he hears it again, causing him to look up. He stares and with a muddied fist, wipes a tear from his eye, "M- Mai?" He says quietly. He feels a nudge on his good shoulder. Sparkles urging him to the dragon, to go where she can't take him. He sniffles as discretely as he can and pets his friend's gently. "Thanks girl." Then he stands.

He moves forward, a muddied streak on his face where he had tried to wipe away a tear, only to have it tear streaked as he hops on the dragon.

There was no time, she had stated as such but he gives her a slight nod of his head with a thankful, and relieved smile that says silently, "I'm glad you are okay." He doesn't approach her, knowing that Mikoto would be mauling her with relief soon, and she has other friends.

Just seeing her alive is good. Really, that's all the young Knight could ask for after it had felt she had been ripped away.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

The Wind Knight blinks a couple of times, then just stares. How ... ?

-- never mind. 'How' doesn't matter at the moment, and she does NOT want to ask questions about a miracle. The lethargy of shock and despair is cast off as the green-clad Magic Knight breaks into a run, the exhaustion of the battle thus far following suit as her willpower is renewed by the miraculous sight of Mai, whole and healthy and hearty, along with the transformed Kagutsuchi ready to bear them aloft to do battle.

She does not glomp Mai when she gets there; however, the Magic Knight of Wind does attempt to clasp the flame-wielding HiME's hand, smiling in profound relief as green eyes meet violet.

Then she lets go, and the Wind Knight finds a good spot to brace herself against an ascent which is likely to be extremely strenuous. Even if they aren't flying into orbit, it's still going to be a very steep climb; if she sees anyone else on Kagutsuchi's back who seems to need actual healing, she'll do what she can with the Winds of Healing, but otherwise she's going to focus on preparing for the battle to bring down Artemis for good.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki stares in almost an odd wonder. Mai was alive and her Child...transformed into some kind of plane space ship? "Leave it to Tokiha," Natsuki muttered. "And here I was vowing vengance for you." Then Mai speaks up, and the look in her eyes, the stubbornness Natsuki has come to known says it all.

It was no or never. All fatigue she had leaves her body and she is recharge with an almost primal new energy.

"Don't have to ask me twice!" she yelled as she hopped on. "But I want a proper explanation on how you did this later, Tokiha." She gave her a smirk. "You nearly gave me a heart attack there."

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo sits, leaning back against the hunk of metal his Device is, staring forelorning at the sky. Which gives him a good view of Mai and her dragon-now a spaceship-rising from the ashes.

<IT LIVES.> It certainly does. Endo's heart does a little jump of joy, both at having a comrade alive and a chance to get up there and do something about Eclipse I before it can threaten the school and its occupants any further.

"Stern, do you want to go break that thing?"


When the spaceship comes, Endo goes. The boy takes a running start, vaulting atop it, grinning wide as he spots his fellow Mages aboard. "Ren-chan! Lera-san!" The sight of everyone alive and well bolsters his spirit, and he holds on to Ren for dear life as they begin to make their ascent. To space!

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

"Mai," Mikoto whispers, again. "Mai..." Her name carries all the regrets, all the shattered sorrow Mikoto feels.

The remains of Kagutsuchi fall, blackened and burning. The feeling in her gut twists, the ice stabs at her heart, as if the world were pressing against her, pushing her into the earth--

But there's another heartbeat, there, a single pulse from the fire. A second, ringing through the air in what is not quite a sound, not quite a sensation, but a known thing beneath her skin, like waking up next to Mai and feeling her heartbeat.

Kagutsuchi reforms from the fire, glittering, new, changed. Mikoto's expression shifts. She gasps. She watches, closely, intently, even as the flames grow warmer, hotter, as the great jet of a dragon descends.

It's not dead.

It's not dead it's not dead it's not dead and if it's not dead maybe she's not dead maybe maybe maybe please please please

A humanoid form reveals itself. Tears fall from Mikoto's face, but her expression is overjoyed. "Mai! MAI!" She screams, and once more, Mai's name is vector for Mikoto's feelings: relief, and elation, and...

Mai is okay. Mai isn't dead. That hearth doesn't have to die. She's okay. She's okay. She'll still be there tomorrow. She'll still see Mai smile. Still hear her voice.

"Mai, Mai, Mai!" Mikoto cries, leaping onto Kagutsuchi because Mai asked her to, staring and speaking with an adoration only made starker by the sorrow she'd just felt. Swiftly she makes it to Mai, to grasp her about the waist, narrowly avoiding hurting anyone with that blade.

And then her cries are drowned out as Kagutsuchi rises, and her grip tightens, holding on for dear life as they rise up, and up, and up...

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The Fire Knight's spirit is rekindled alongside her colleague's, and she takes off running alongside her, the tears vanishing like magic as she breaks into a run. She doesn't care how it happened or why or anything like that. All that matters is that things have changed for the better, and the Fire Knight is taking advantage of this. She doesn't stop running until she reaches Mai, at which point she comes to an abrupt stop, not stopping to catch her breath or anything like that. Instead, she smiles at Mai, a look of relief on her face. "I'm so glad you're OK," She says happily.

Once the ascent begins, the Fire Knight braces herself as well. She's not used to flying in a manner like this, but she'll have to accept it. She breathes a few times, feeling her fighting spirit returning even more. "This time, we're gonna win big time!" She says with a determined grin on her face.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

As Mai is revealed to be just fine, Ami is given yet another reason to believe in miracles. She has a surfeit of them at this point; she doesn't know Mai well enough to respond with any particular /personal/ joy, but she's glad nevertheless.

She knows she has little time to react, and accordingly, moves hastily toward the dragon. She moves with a long, slow leaap followed by a quick hop onto the dragon, getting herself situated as quickly as possible.

She hangs on tight, because if they're going up... it's going to be a bumpy ride.

<Pose Tracker> Sachiko Majime [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sachiko looks up, way up and sees something that even surprises a Puella Magi like her. Her mouth wordlessly drops open as Kagutsuchi transforms and Mai is reborn. Perhaps she didn't miss the battle afterall. Holding a hand behind her back, Sachiko turns her frown around just as her battle-axe materializes into her grasp. She gives the mighty instrument a test swing before resting the weapon on her shoulder. Deep within, she felt a fire of her own stirring. And Mai herself offers to take her and everyone else to the heavens to do battle.

The dramatic irony of magic girls flying into battle like Valkyries of yore against the Searrs satellite is not lost to Sachiko. And neither lost is the offer from Kozue to join everyone. Sachiko glances only briefly over her shoulder where nothing really is left for her before looking forward. There was nothing back there for her, but there was a promise of a potentially lethal and glorious battle in front of her.

Sachiko makes her decision by running forward and joining the others ontop of Kagutsuchi. She holds on for her life and glances over at Kozue before stating, "I may not understand what's going on, but whatever. I know a once in a lifetime opportunity when I see one and I'm ready to step up to the plate."

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.

Space isn't cold or airless when you're surrounded by the fiery aura of Kagutsuchi, and one gets the feeling that the shimmering gold field around the rapidly approaching Eclipse 1 satellite provides similar protection. The particles that compose it are slightly, subtly more solid than photons -- entering the space affected by, imbued with, the spirit of Artemis, Child of Alyssa Searrs, is a strangely warm feeling, like being caressed by a small, toasty beam, sunlight you can hold in your hand. It is a place that gently attracts itself; one cannot accidentally fall forever out of it into the dark beyond. That takes effort and intention.

Space is still big, though, and the target isn't close. It's still much too far to attack directly and almost too far to see with the naked eye -- there's the faintest glint of its green orb mounted on a spikey golden blur which is still crackling and steaming with the aftermath of its recent, massive discharge.

Which isn't to say it's just going to hang out and wait for would-be executioners to effortlessly close the distance.

Many, many more smaller blurs erupt from its surface. They're getting bigger with astonishing speed, and soon they're close enough to feel the burn from their propulsion systems. Each missile is backlit by blue flame, their bodies tiny and golden and marked with the bright red insignia that Alyssa seared onto the Orphan monsters she controlled, too.

Their detonations are neither red nor blue, of course. When they find something to impact from the front, they explode in clouds of scathingly painful golden flame. There are no shockwaves here, but there don't have to be. The missiles do not, however, seem to notice impacts from above, and they are roughly the size of suped-up go-karts, or perhaps mass-produced magic carpets might be the better analogue. They are coming thick and fast enough to jump between, and it is startlingly easy -- again because of the weird non-gravity here, perhaps -- to alter their trajectory with shifts of weight and balance. A sufficiently creative person could definitely turn one into an ignoble, rocket-propelled steed.

And there are dozens, all of them, in some way, homing...

COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs transforms into Artemis!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has fully healed itself. It is now ready to take on 12 opponents!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Natsuki Kuga.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Ren Aizawa.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Garnet.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Kozue Kaoru.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Sachiko Majime.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Kozue Kaoru's Block ability activates!  Kozue Kaoru's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Mai Tokiha's Block ability activates!  Mai Tokiha's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Ren Aizawa narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 9 Fatigue damage!  Ren Aizawa's Block ability activates!  Ren Aizawa's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Itano Circus on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 7 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 8 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Garnet fails to brace Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 26 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou fails to brace Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 23 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lera Camry narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 3 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry's Block ability activates!  Lera Camry's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Sachiko Majime perfectly counters Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Counter!  Sachiko Majime's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Sachiko Majime's counterattack, Fastball Special, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Natsuki Kuga fails to brace Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 19 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 5 Fatigue damage!  Endo Naoki's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Lancelot perfectly braces Alyssa Searrs's Itano Circus, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Brace!  Lancelot's Block ability activates!  Lancelot's Parry ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Natsuki clings to Duran as they leap onto Mai and they are flown upward into space. Duran gives a howl like he is encouraging the attack himself. The wind whip her hair around and she's barely able to see as they enter into space.

"This defies all known science," Natsuki mutters as she stares back at the earth below in awe.

She glances to the earth, part of her wishing she had a camera, when the sound of missiles reminded her of the near danger.

Duran gets hit, causing Natsuki to lurch forward with a wince. "Of course it wouldn't be easy," Natsuki muttered as she climbed back to her feet.

"Let's go for the head, Duran!" She leapt onto her Child. "I'll charge ahead and try to start taking down Artemis." Not waiting for a reply, Duran leaps and thanks to lack of gravity is able to move easily between the missiles. "Attack full force, Duran!" Natsuki cried as her Child howled and started to commence with the attack.

COMBAT: Natsuki Kuga has used Lone Hunter on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera isn't used to being in outer space, at least outside of a spacecraft. She blinks, as she slips through the golden shield. The girl gasps softly and looks straight up, peering all around her, before she looks at the incredibly distant satellite. It takes her eyes some effort to adjust to the strangeness of depth perception in space. It takes her body some mental effort to adjust to the fact she /isn't/ dying of decompression.

<Incoming.> Broken Ground makes Lera look up; she blinks, then she sees the missiles coming in, and she bites her lip -- and flies up, away from Kagutsuchi. "Be careful!"


A shield appears in front of Lera -- and much like one of the ones fired last night by a ship, the sudden disc of green energy blocks the missile. The green particles assailt it, but it's close enough to Lera to make her wince softly.

Then, she starts to fly forward. There is a glance back at Mai -- and then another at Endo and Ren. She can fall into formation with them. She looks forward, raising Ground up. "All right, Ground, can you hit it from here?"

<I'll try.>

A bolt of light forms in front of the warhammer; as Lera soars towards Eclipse 1, she spins. A bolt of lava flies off, soaring towards the satellite, and Lera takes off after it.

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Molten Bolt on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Missiles. Lots and lots of missiles. "Somebody is a Macross fan." Lancelot mutters under his breath. Then he twirls Arondight and nods. Lancelot leaps from the flying Dragon/Pheonix jet and slaps missiles aside, or sending bolts of arcing lighting to detonate the missiles as they close in. The cerulean light of the bolts adding to the stark landscape of the nothingness of space and the lights of both Artemis and Kagutsuchi.

He leaps back, summersaulting to land back on their transport in a crouch, slashing his sword as he lands and calls out, "LIGHTING SLASH!" Which sends a wave of azure crackling bolts of lightning arcing through space toward Artemis. He narrows his eyes. "No more."

The words are spoken with a quiet determination. "I won't let you hurt anyone anymore." He stands tall and proud on dragon back, Arondight's edge crackling with lightning that promises swift vengeance.

COMBAT: Lancelot has used Lightning Slash on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Miyu Greer [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Miyu strides through the Searrs command tent, Alyssa balanced on one arm, clinging tiredly around her neck. She stops at one of the banks of computer screens, where a technician is desperately attempting to keep up with the flow of plain-text data and graphical displays that speak the tale of Searrs's woe.

"Your console," Miyu says.

The technician glances back at her, holding one side of a pair of earphones to his ear, eyes wide. "Five minutes. Eleven of our ships are--"

Miyu grabs the man's collar and drags him from the chair, twisting to toss him away in a tumble of rolling limbs. Seating herself in the chair, Miyu watches the screens as her free hand dances on the keyboard. A 3d image of a Searrs recon sattelite appears on one of the screens, with several curved lines intersecting it to represent its velocity and trajectory. Tapping the same key a few times, she alters the angle of its panels and activates its propulsion. She leaves the console just as quickly, and behind her the trajectory of the sattelite begins to update with a soft beep each time the curvature of the lines shifts.

As Miyu exits the command tent, she jerks her head, and the two men at the entrance fall in behind her, leaving it unguarded. They wear a different uniform than the others: white and grey urban camoflage, with collar-like throat headsets and patches that read SSO on their shoulder--Sears Special Operations.

"Have your unit secure Miss Searrs in the Student Council Tower. I do not need to remind you of her priority. As long as she is safe, even the command center is highly expendable."

"Understood," one of the soldiers barks.

Miyu stops at the entrance to the Tower, catching Alyssa up under her armpits and setting her gently to the ground. "I'll be back soon, ojousama," she says, kneeling to her mistress's eye level. She gently smooths the ribbon on Alyssa's chest out with her thumbs, then tugs its loops until it is even and neat. "I'll fix your hair then," she promises.

Touching Alyssa's cheek briefly, Miyu hardens her jaw. "Please count on me, ojousama," she enjoins. "I will protect your precious Child."

Rising, Miyu moves with long stride and fast pace down the hill, then turns to squint her eyes at the sky, her irises twisting with a dry mechanical whisper. The plate of her calf muscle separates from each leg, as a neutron-blue repulsor rocket begins to whine loudly in each, distorting the air around them with heat as the grass at her feet begins to wither and writhe.

<Pose Tracker> Sachiko Majime [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Of all the reckless decisions that Sachiko has made in her life, this was easily the most careless one by far. It only takes one look way, way down to see the proof of this. And this is exactly what the orange-eyed Puella Magi does as they leave atmosphere on their way to do battle with Alyssa's Child. And yet, there was a growing feeling within Sachiko that could not be contained. She had all these heightened abilities and powers to use for what? Mere survival? It was much more temping to use said powers to destroy a satellite instead. With any luck, that robot will be onboard when it all comes crashing down.

A broad and manic grin appears on the young girl's face when the satellite goes to defend itself by launching missiles at them. "This is absolute insanity." Sachiko adjusts her stance so that she's standing up as much as she can while still holding on. "...I love it." One of the explosive instruments of doom seemingly locks on to her, but Sachiko has an axe with that missiles name on it. She hurls her axe and it perfectly splits the rocket in two. The axe, having achieved escape velocity, continues to travel through harmlessly through space until it boomerangs back around into Sachiko's grip. For what its worth, Sachiko seems to be enjoying herself.

The satellite is still far away, but Sachiko has an idea on how to get closer. She waits for another missile to get closer and leaps -at- it. If her jump is successful, she'll grab on to the wing of it, swing herself around, and put two high-heeled booted feet into the side of the rocket. Her objective, to steer this missile straight back at the satellite with one angry Puella Magi in tow.

COMBAT: Sachiko Majime has used Ground Control to Puella Sachiko on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo keeps a tight grip on Fallen Stern as they reach escape velocity and soar in to the black. He has time to look over his shoulder in awe at the earth below, all blue and huge. He also holds his breath for about a minute, until he has to let it out and gasp in more. He's pleasently surprised that he can breathe.

<BARRIER.> Fallen Stern's shield flares bright as rockets erupt around the spaceship-dragon, the boy pressing his lips together tight as he braces the burn of each shot. It hurts. Just, not enough to stop him.

"Okay! Let's go!" He follows Lera, in a bit less of a linear path. After the first volley of projectiles he leaps forward, foot planting on one, and then another, using them as stepping stones as he leaps after Lera, coming behind. One of them he even kicks around to spin him back toward the satelite, raising Fallen Stern high and sending out a volley of energy blasts of his own right back at the weapon.


COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Meteor Shower on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

"Winds of Protection!"

The Magic Knight of Wind hunkers down when she sees all of those missiles coming in, and focuses a barrier of wind in front of her to try and block the missiles (or their explosions) from doing too much damage to her. It's not a perfect defense; a couple of missiles get past, one detonating against Kagutsuchi's back next to her, another being exploded when she materializes her sword and stabs through the missile, idly wondering as she does so whether there's a hard limit on the satellite's supply of explosive-tipped rockets.

But several of the missiles actually hit the Winds of Protection and are *stopped* by it ... and a somewhat wicked smile crosses the Wind Knight's face.

A moment later, she's manipulated the wind barrier to point the missiles back at Artemis (or perhaps more accurately, at Eclipse-One; same difference, for most intents and purposes) and sends them on their way back to the platform that launched them. Each of the redirected missiles has a whirlwind wrapped around it for good measure, to make sure they stay on course. Even if they don't explode, the physical impacts should still do *some* useful damage.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used I Believe This Is Yours on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Even though she's been to space -- specifically the moon -- before, Sailor Mercury still feels like the experience of spaceflight is still a little bit of a miracle, even when riding on a dragon. Ami doesn't have long to appreciate it, though, before missiles come in.

As the missiles come up, Ami thrusts her hands out, meeting them with a thin blast of fresh water -- not enough to actually go anywhere, just enough to deflect the worst of it. Some of the blast still gets through, though, and she recoils from it.

Staying more or less where she is rather than striking out, Sailor Mercury starts things of simple, with a second blast of ice-cold fresh water, this one much more intense. She eventually starts to move forward, but her movements are slow, even -- perhaps even hesitant.

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used Mercury Aqua Mist on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

The fur lining Kagutsuchi's long neck is warmer than one might expect, welcoming all who take up Mai's offer. The recently-reborn HiME is - frankly in too much shock to worry for the sake of her fellow magical girls, and it takes a moment for recognition to set in for anyone. She never really relaxes - given the situation, there's far too much to worry about. Still-

Lera, at least, gets a friendly smile in return. Kozue, by contrast, gets an eye-roll. "I didn't mean...I wasn't expecting to..."

She has a couple of moments, at most, to acknowledge the Magic Knights - and then Natsuki's there, demanding explanations. Mai spies Lancelot, and smiles again before answering. "Your guess is as good as mine, Kugaaaaa-"

That would be the sound of Mai being tackled by Mikoto, the HiME staggering from the impact. Her eyes, if anything, go wider....but before there can be any words...

Kagutsuchi screeches. Engines flare to life, And the HiME and Child soar beyond the skies. One might, back on Earth, hear Mai's panicked yell as they rise...but the roar of Kagutsuchi's flames soon drown it out.

And then - space. Here, where the curvature of the Earth can be seen - high above the clouds, with glittering stars filling the canopy of heaven. For a moment, Mai clings to Kagutsuchi's sword with one hand, staring in awe at the wonders laid out before her as she gently strokes the cat-like girl attached to her. It's glorious, wonderful, beautiful-

And there's terrible danger here. Missiles make themselves known, detonating in a cavalcade of searing golden flame - and with a terrific screech, Kagutsuchi drives itself forward. Explosion after explosion fill space, licking at the dragonship's wings as it weaves its way closer to Artemis.

It's utterly terrifying - but she has courageous friends with her, and Mai is mostly sure she's already died once today. As her dragon soars on forward, Mai's rings begin to spin and burn with determination.

"...hang on, everyone." It's murmured, more than yelled. "We can....we have to do this. Stop Artemis, and go home. So...!" Tendrils of flame spiral out, attempting to clear a path in the missile storm for the dragon to pass - if they can make it to the satellite, then surely...

Surely, they can do something.

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha transforms into Mai-HiME!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Infernal Embrace on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

Unlike the Wind Knight, the Fire Knight is not so fortunate with her defense. She is forced to endure being hit by all those missiles, and she finds herself really getting heated in more ways than one. Despite this, she endures her injuries and refuses to give up. She looks towards Eclipse-One and shakes her head. "Can't control what it's doing." She mutters, noting that this isn't like the youmas she's faced before.

"Still, something has to be done!" The Fire Knight's eyes burn with determination as she incants the magic of fire and shoots forth a blast of flame in the shape of an arrow at Eclipse-One. "If we don't stop it now, nobody will!"

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Fire Arrow on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

It's been a while since Garnet has been in space, but the magical auras of Kagutsuchi and Alyssa's child make it a much more pleasant experience than she remembers. With the appearance of the missiles, Garnet sighs a little to herself. Not that pleasant I suppose. She braces herself for their impact, but hopes the Dragon might be able to evade them. She's never ridden anything close to a dragon. Maybe they're flexible?

She was wrong.

She was wrong.

She was wrong.

Three times. Three missiles hit their mark. Garnet screams through the pain and hangs on to the dragon for dear life, though it is more reflex than anything else, there is no air to facilitate a shockwave. Just burning.

So much burning. But at least she isn't thrown into space. She strains to do so immediately, but she looks towards the Satellite, and fires a giant orb of electromagnetism towards the satellite and the missiles. They're solid, they felt like machinery breaking against her... Maybe it will short some of them out...

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCk4RiKH9H0

Kozue takes her place a little to the left on Kagutsuchi's back, kneeling down and putting a hand against it. The other holds her Element, and she finds herself surprisingly as eager as a small child when it comes to the idea of breaking into the reaches of the upper atmosphere and beyond. Space isn't as cold as she thought it would be, she wonders if that's Kagutsuchi or that warm golden light, but she'd almost laugh with giddiness if not for what was at stake.

There's someone waiting for her back on Earth.

She didn't intend to keep them waiting for long.

Something hardens in her eyes, as she notes the bright specks, imbued with crimson runes. "Here they come...!" She doesn't realize yet that the 'they' are missiles. Shegets up into her stance, and begins her dance on dragonback, it's a whirling movement of weighted and bladed cord that she imagines she's reading from sheet music again.

Two twirling slices in duple meter that rend through the cold nothingness of space and the strange gravity less explosions, cutting them apart. The energy doesn't totally dissipate, she's not unscathed as she passes it, burning gold lighting up her unruly blue hair and uniform. "You think we don't know that Tokiha!?" A sharp comment, but she doesn't spare her a look.

She stamps her foot down, then begins to turn retrograde. "I knew you would." Kozue replies idly to Sachiko, not even wondering why her voice carries in space. Everything she learned about the universe was proven wrong in the face of magic. Shows just what adults know.

Her line spins out, the weight at the end twirling around an undetonated missile. She pulls it taut, then whips her whole body suddenly, spinning it in a full circle, up and around Kagutsuchi's whole form until it's pointed back vaguely in the direction of the Golden Satellite harnessing Child. A snap of the line and it zips free, with the missile propelling itself back the direction it came.

COMBAT: Garnet has used Adamantine Spark on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru has used Cancrizans Measure on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Into space they go! It's a strange feeling for sure, though Ren clutches onto Kagatsuchi as the dragon-machine-beast ascends rapidly. He looks over to Lera and Endo, trying to seem as though there's nothing unnatural about rocketing into space like this. She's mostly keeping her composure -- although it begins to slip when the sight of incoming homing missiles is unveiled. "That's not good!" She points a gloved hand at them, and Heraut chimes in response.

<Incoming volley! They mean business!>

"I see! Heraut, you know what to do!"


Midchildan runes spring into being, providing a buffer between her and the fiery assault of the missiles. The heat proves to be overwhelming, however, and with a yelp she jumps back and into the air as her shields crumble, singing her a bit in the process. But she's not detered by this, already summoning up the strength for a retaliation.

<Regal Crasher!>

With a flourish of her device a beam of superheated energy sparks forth, zipping through space directly for the satellite.

COMBAT: Ren Aizawa has used Regal Crasher on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

And just like that, they're in space.

There have been many nights in Mikoto's life spent looking up at the moon and the stars. She's sure she remembers her Lord Brother, telling her about the constellations, teaching her how to identify them, to walk by their light and never be lost; but they are distant memories, foggy, and she can't even bring to mind his face. More often she's alone, staring at the moon, at the bright lights which are really planets even if they look like stars... sometimes, there are cats with her. Once, there was Mai.

Mai is here with her again, now, but the situation is vastly changed. Here, hanging in space, with the great blue earth below and the star-filled expanse above, she could reach out for the stars and fall...

But she doesn't reach for the stars. She holds onto Mai, even after they're free of the planet's atmosphere. Being with her, feeling her hand stroking her back, Mikoto's heart is full and joyous. She steels herself against the impact of the missiles, but she does not leap away as she usually does. She doesn't leave Mai's side. Mikoto rests in a loose grip, barely any attention given to it. The enemy is not here, yet, not in any way she can use, but Mai is here, right here with her.

"Mai," Mikoto looks up at her, tears still shining in her eyes. "We can do it, Mai. Protect everyone. Everyone, and Takumi, and my Lord Brother..."

She squeezes her again, before she finally steps back to grasp Miroku in her hands, carefully held so it doesn't carve into Kagutsuchi's flesh.

"And I'll protect Mai!"

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used For Our Brothers on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Lera Camry's Molten Bolt, taking 2 Fatigue damage!  Lera Camry is Psyched!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly counters Lancelot's Lightning Slash, taking 2 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is Psyched!  Stagger applied to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs's counterattack, Point-to-Point Fire Interception, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Lancelot!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Sachiko Majime's Ground Control to Puella Sachiko, taking 3 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs fails to counter Endo Naoki's Meteor Shower, taking 24 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs's counterattack, Point-to-Point Fire Interception, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Endo Naoki!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs fails to dodge Fuu Hououji's I Believe This Is Yours, taking 19 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Sailor Mercury's Mercury Aqua Mist, taking 10 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly dodges Mai Tokiha's Infernal Embrace, taking 11 Fatigue damage!  Diversion applied to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Hikaru Shidou's Fire Arrow, taking 13 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs fails to counter Garnet's Adamantine Spark, taking 23 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs's counterattack, Point-to-Point Fire Interception, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Garnet!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Kozue Kaoru's Cancrizans Measure, taking 5 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs fails to dodge Natsuki Kuga's Lone Hunter, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Natsuki Kuga is Psyched!  Stun and Trap applied to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Ren Aizawa's Regal Crasher, taking 5 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha accepts Mikoto Minagi's For Our Brothers, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Mai Tokiha is Cheered!

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.

The magical girls assault in force, and then things get complex. Natsuki leaps forward from missile to missile, Duran blowing them up in her wake so that they can't harm anyone else (though, conversely, no one else can take her precise path), while Lera soars through the field under her own power -- it's quite impossible for her lava to find the satellite from this far back, though, that would take precision aim given the distance and the sheer number of continuously-firing missiles in the way, so it detonates on one instead, just before it would have perhaps hit Lancelot.

The Knight, in turn, sees his lightning strike twice, in the sense that first it takes out a missile, and that missile's explosion catches two more. The chain reaction does not continue, but that's a good thing, because Sachiko goes soaring through the gap he's made, getting steadily closer to the satellite -- though still very far away. It's going to take some fancy piloting to avoid the laser fire bearing down on her, though; if her ride gets hit, she's in no real danger of falling out of the golden field suffusing the space around here, but she might be in for a world of hurt.

The lasers in question are bright gold (inevitably) and fired directly from the many spikes radiating, crownlike, off of the top of Eclipse 1. Despite their precision, the sheer quantity of Endo's volley cannot be stopped -- instead he winds up laying waste to a swath of missiles, and Fuu's flipped strike penetrates even further. Up this path comes Ami, whose water blasts take out a few more, but now she's got missiles homing in on all sides. Hikaru's Fire Arrow blasts a few away, but not enough -- Garnet's electromagnetic orb detonates spectacularly in the general vicinity, though, intercepting all but two.

Kozue's flipped missile, finally, soars towards the satellite, and it might have hit another missile if Ren hadn't blown up the immediately close ones with her superheated energy sparks. Instead it gets quite a bit further. Mai's immense firestorm widens their gap further still...

Which means, to summarize, that the magical girls have created two paths towards the satellite, and can rush quite a bit closer if they dare. Missiles are rushing straight down the gap, though, eager to fill it not just with their bodies but the blood of Alyssa's enemies, and bolts of laser fire are also starting to fall thick and fast!

And there's one other thing -- with a low hum carried faintly on the not-quite-really-air of this place, the glow of the green orb at its apex is beginning to luminesce and intensify. That can't be good... is it charging up for yet another bombardment of the island? Or can it turn its firing angle to shoot the girls charging it?

Better hope you never find out...

COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Blossom of Death on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used PEW PEW Space Lasers!! on Sachiko Majime.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used PEW PEW Space Lasers!! on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Blossom of Death on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used PEW PEW Space Lasers!! on Natsuki Kuga.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used PEW PEW Space Lasers!! on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Blossom of Death on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Blossom of Death on Ren Aizawa.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used PEW PEW Space Lasers!! on Garnet.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Blossom of Death on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Golden Lightning Charge on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs accepts Alyssa Searrs's Golden Lightning Charge, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Withstand applied to Alyssa Searrs!  Cleanse! All of Alyssa Searrs's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Natsuki Kuga narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's PEW PEW Space Lasers!!, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Natsuki Kuga's Fade ability activates!  Natsuki Kuga's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Lera Camry fails to brace Alyssa Searrs's Blossom of Death, taking 45 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji perfectly dodges Alyssa Searrs's PEW PEW Space Lasers!!, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Dodge!  Fuu Hououji's Fade ability activates!  Fuu Hououji's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Miyu Greer [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> The World is Tumbling Down - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbgqVuNFKTM

Miyu has little need for shielding. She is shielding. As the friction of the air builds against her face, a second silver eyelid closes over her eyes, leaving only a red dot visible at the center. Her hair gathers heat without burning, until the ends are livid orange and glowing. Her cheeks heat as well, the cheekbones darkening slightly with gathered soot. Then she is free of the atmosphere, and she cuts her rockets, letting her remaining momentum be slowly dispersed by the weak tug of Earth's gravity.

Wiping soot from her face, Miyu glances to her left, where the battle against Artemis has begun to light the darkness of space, then to her right, where the Searrs sattelite she redirected is floating towards her. Igniting her boosters in controlled spurts, Miyu directs herself to the recon sattelite, putting her hands out as she collides with it gently. Weightlessly, she swings herself around to the other side, and rips off a panel, sending it spinning into the void as she examines the wiring.

  • * *

It looks like a star at first. Then a plane, twinkling in the dark, the two white lights at the edge of its wide-spread panels blinking softly. Then it is nothing but what it is--a sattelite, with massive blue-gleaming solar panels and a vast, brittle grey torso. Its antennae stick like spears from its prow, and its maneuvering rockets are firing at full capacity--no, even more fiercely, their fuel burning up at a suicidal pace that is scorching the sattelite and has already cracked its frame. As it passes through the artificial atmosphere around Artemis, one of the solar cells shatters, not built to endure air pressure, and then the behemoth of metal and polymer is upon you. And crouched atop its shuddering back, dressed in purple jumpsuit with her arm-blade driven into the panelling beneath her, is Miyu Greer, her eyes cold murder, her stance eerily stable.

The impact would have been near-silent away from Artemis, but here it is a thunderous crunch, followed by an ear-wrenching creaking and splitting as the frame of the sattelite crumples and rips away its own facade. The momentum is enough to hurl anyone on Kagutsuchi off of the great flame-god, short of heroic measures on their part. It is certainly enough to hurl Miyu off of her doomed mount, and she flips in the air to stabilize her careening flight, then snaps her arm down, charging her pulse cannon to a simmering whine.

She sees Mikoto. Release.

She sees Kozue. Release.

Two great careening blasts of neon energy sizzle through the air. The HiME die first, preferably.

But any of you will do.

COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Blossom of Death, taking 34 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Ren Aizawa narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Blossom of Death, taking 10 Fatigue damage!  Ren Aizawa's Block ability activates!  Ren Aizawa's Parry ability activates!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has fully healed herself. She is now ready to take on 7 opponents!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used I'm Back on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly counters Alyssa Searrs's Blossom of Death, taking 21 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Endo Naoki's Reverse ability activates!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki's counterattack, Asteroid Rush, partially gets through, doing 12 Fatigue damage to Alyssa Searrs!  Critical Counterhit!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Ionic Pulse on Kozue Kaoru.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Ionic Pulse on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Blossom of Death, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Sailor Mercury's Fade ability activates!  Sailor Mercury's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru narrowly counters Miyu Greer's Ionic Pulse, taking 7 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cripple, Stagger, and Trap applied to Kozue Kaoru!
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru's counterattack, Shearing Spiral, fails to get through, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Miyu Greer!
COMBAT: Garnet narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's PEW PEW Space Lasers!!, taking 18 Fatigue damage!  Garnet's Fade ability activates!  Garnet's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi fails to dodge Miyu Greer's Ionic Pulse, taking 20 Fatigue damage!  Cripple, Stagger, Stun, and Trap applied to Mikoto Minagi!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha perfectly braces Miyu Greer's I'm Back, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Brace!  Mai Tokiha's Block ability activates!
COMBAT: Sachiko Majime fails to dodge Alyssa Searrs's PEW PEW Space Lasers!!, taking 30 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Moving quickly, Lancelot barely manages to avoid the incoming fire that likely would have evaporated whatever fleshybits it hit. He comes up and wincing. He's still in considerable pain from previously and it's clear he is very likely still bleeding. However he spies the incoming Android and once again the lips peel back in a near feral snarl. "You." He states very, very, coldly. Space might be warmer than that one single word that he says.

His eyes track the incoming blue beam from the girl in his class that is really not a girl and is instead a robot. Arondight's lighting flickers brighter in response to Lancelot's emotions. He steps up next to Mai, lighting fairly crackling off both blade AND armor. "Hey, Tokiha?" He asks gently, though that voice sounds slightly warmer than the word he uttered earlier. "Just so we're clear. Would I loose future dance options if I took out the Crazy Robot Girl form class because you wanna take her down," he looks over at Mai and then says, "Or can I fry her like a bacon strip?" The lightning continues to glow around him, and might possibly be getting brighter.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou fails to dodge Alyssa Searrs's PEW PEW Space Lasers!!, taking 21 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lancelot has used I'mma Charge'n My Lightning Bolt on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Lancelot accepts Lancelot's I'mma Charge'n My Lightning Bolt, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Lancelot is Reinforced by Lancelot!

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera realizes that the missiles are splitting -- giving a way forward. She grits her teeth, glancing over her shoulder. "Ren-chan! Endo-san! Let's get in closer to that thing! If it fires at us--"

She isn't quite paying attention, though, and two missiles slam into her. The wash of golden fire strikes her, burning into her. She hisses softly; the Barrier Jacket is burnt and torn all over, blackened edges along great gaping holes in her coat. Some are even torn into her pantslegs and shirt, with one torn through her gauntlet.

<Too many of these things...> Broken Ground almost grumbles. Then he chimes.<Incoming satellite--it's that one again!>

"What!?" Lera cries out, eyes widening. That's when she spots Miyu Greer and remembers, exactly, who she is. She gasps, sharply; she remembers seeing Miyu's minigun in the burning forest. She remembers her driving off the HiME easily. She swallows, hard, and then she glances at the Artemis. She has to consider for a moment.

"We--we better get the Eclipse, y'know?" she says. She glances at Mai. "We'll handle it! Don't worry! Ground, keep those missiles back!"

<Roger. Lantern Mode.>

The hammer shifts; the clockwork frame splits apart into a circular frame, attached to her bracer. It doesn't stay that way long; Lera spins as she flies, then does a sharp twist. The shield has a field of green-yellow light fill it, and it flies away like a discus, towards the missiles.

<Sentinel Arc!>

COMBAT: Lera Camry has used Sentinel Arc on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

No, the Wind Knight decides. No, there probably *isn't* an effective limit to Eclipse-One's supply of missiles. That's probably got something to do with the Child bound inside of the satellite ... and speaking of Artemis, she does take note of the slowly brightening glow of the orb which sits at the 'top' of the satellite's shape. If the hum itself weren't enough of a clue, the glow is as reliable an indicator as any that the gathered magical girls are fighting on a time limit. It doesn't really matter whether Artemis tries to destroy them or takes another shot at the students far below; either way, it would mean they fail to protect their many, many classmates.

And then a new variable is appended to the equation, in the form of a very large chunk of debris and a pair of energy blasts. The Wind Knight spares a glance backwards, and doesn't need any real help to recognize Miyu's lithe form - she got a too-close look at Miyu the night of the Artemis-induced forest fire, and if she'd had time for nightmares since, Miyu would have held a starring role in them. The Magic Knight of Wind glances at the HiME who were Miyu's targets, then calls out, "Winds of Healing!" as she casts her restorative spell on Mikoto and Kozue - even before she's seen how badly they're hurt.

"Hikaru-san," she adds while she's focusing some attention on her healing spell, "I'm not sure whether you'd prefer to focus on the target ahead of us, or the enemy in pursuit of us, but we'd be in enough of a predicament with only one of them to worry about. Which do you suppose you'd be better at fighting against right now?" She keeps an ear perked for the reply, even as she tries to remedy the debilitating effects of whatever Miyu's beam shots did to the two HiME.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Healing on Kozue Kaoru.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Healing on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Healing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Cleanse! All of Kozue Kaoru's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Healing, taking 0 Fatigue damage!  Critical Hit!  Cleanse! All of Mikoto Minagi's debuffs are cleared!

<Pose Tracker> Sachiko Majime [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sachiko Majime cannot really control where she's going with any sort of accuracy. Attempting to steer a wayward missile using brute force while in space simply is not an easy thing to do. This task is complicated greatly by the fact that the satellite is shooting defensive lasers towards her. The spaceborne softball player ends up steering her missile directly into an oncoming laser blast which causes the rocket to explode and propel the Puella Magi helplessly through space. Thankfully, in space, no one can hear you scream.

But Sachiko still does her best to shout what expletives she can as she eventually slams -into- the side of a different missile. But thankfully, the side of a missile is not the part that causes it to explode when something hits it. Her impact against the missile almost causes her to bounce off again, but she grabs onto the fin at the last minute. Gritting her teeth together, Sachiko uses her upper body strength to pull herself back up and onto the rocket. The orange clad Puella Magi can breath easy for a brief moment before she witnesses the arrival of Miyu and her death cannons. There's really not a good chance that Sachiko will survive any of this. But maybe...just maybe...she can take someone else down with her.

Summoning her strength, Sachiko uses her might to redirect her missile directly towards Miyu. It's a suicidal run, but she'll be able to jump away at the last minute. Or she'll just blow up. It really could go either way.

<Pose Tracker> Natsuki Kuga [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

"Take that!" Natsuki cries out as Duran takes out a missile with each it. She was determine to not let anything stop their objective. Of course, victories are never easy, which was why Natsuki wasn't surprise to see the satellite retaliate. The lasers shot and proved faster than Natsuki and one managed to directly hit Duran. Natsuki held on tight and glared as she recollected herself.

She glanced back to the others and to her horror saw Miyu had joined the fight Natsuki is tempted to go back and help them, but the satellite had to be taken down or this would all have been for naught.

"Hang in there!" Natsuki encouraged and returned her attention to Artemis. "We got to take this thing down fast. Duran, FROST CARTRIDGE!"

Duran growls as he loads and lets it loose onto Artemis.

COMBAT: Natsuki Kuga has used Frost Cartridge on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Sachiko Majime has used Floating in the Most Peculiar Way on Miyu Greer.

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The tremendous corona of lasers and missiles around the satellite forces Ami to cede a little ground; the Sailor Senshi leaps back, scored by missile burst and laser fire. She winces and hunkers down for a moment, then bursts forward again, doing her best to make use of the path.

Fighting into a satellite -- even a magically enhanced one -- is markedly different from fighting youma in many ways, and though she can't let herself think too hard about it, Sailor Mercury is starting to get intimidated.

She needs to start counter-shooting the missiles before they get close, she thinks -- so she does just that, attempting to freeze them out and push them back with a wave of ice-cold mist.

COMBAT: Miyu Greer narrowly braces Sachiko Majime's Floating in the Most Peculiar Way, taking 0 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used Sabao Spray Freezing on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.

The Fire Knight continues to struggle in the battle against the satellite. She does her best to avoid being hit again, but it's no use, as this time lasers rain down on her. She tries to curl up or block, but it's no use at all. She's hit by the lasers and she cries out, though it's more out of frustration than pain. Once she's recovered, she's looking a little embarrassed and frustrated all the same. "What am I doing wrong?"

A moment passes, then the Fire Knight looks to the Wind Knight. "We've got to stop that satellite, no matter what!" She narrows her eyes in a fierce scowl. "I'm gonna help destroy it at any cost!" She charges her sword with magical light and raises it in the direction of the satellite. "We can do this!" She slashes the sword, sending forth a blast of magic.

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou has used Sword Slash on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

Endo remains on the rocket he's commandeered, wobbling back and forth, steering it as best he can as he surfs it in the direction of the satellite. It waves through lasers, but not nearly enough, the haphazard course of the thing sending him too close to cutting beams of energy that tear into his barrier jacket and draw out a scream of pain from the knight.

But he holds on. He careens, weaving right and left, doing unintentional barrel-rolls, yelling after Lera: "Let's get it!" Which is all kinds of distorted, spinning as he is. He does glimpse Miyu, and he knows that's trouble, but the satellite is his objective, donig his best to keep pace with Ren and Lera.

Still, he manages to smash at the other missiles as he goes, sweeping cuts attempting to slash them into bits before they can make him and the other mages explode.

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has used Rocket League on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Indeed there are a lot of missiles. Ren is ducking and dodging through the screeching rockets, starting to feel the sweat upon her brow so to speak. She's certainly getting a workout. The missiles she fails to dodge are mostly taken care of by Heraut erecting barriers at opportune moments, though she does still find herself battered to and fro from time to time.

By the time she catches a break she's panting heavily, "Heraut. This is tough."

<It always is, to be fair, your majesty. But you will persevere. You all will.>

"Let's show 'em what we got." And with that she holds the device high above her head, and in a series of clicks and mechanical shifting the scepter undergoes a metamorphosis into a stunning, jewel-encrusted rapier.<Ready!> Heraut chimes, and Ren's form takes on a blurred look as she zooms forward, heading for one of the masses of missiles which she stikes out at haphazardly.

COMBAT: Ren Aizawa has used Blurred Edge on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

Chaos. Pure Chaos. Missiles, now lasers, an impact. A new Foe. Even with three eyes, Garnet finds her senses being overwhelmed.

The lasers descend upon them, and she dodges! Just barely, a laser ricochets off of the side of one of her gauntlets. With so much going on, the dodge itself was exhausting. She continues to try to shock the missiles out of the air, if they're going to engage this new arrival, they need to eliminate her fire support.

COMBAT: Garnet has used Adamantine Spark on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto's embrace is warm affection, and Mai returns it with vigor. "...you said it, Mikoto. We'll protect everyone." Explosions fill the air as countless missiles are diverted, or destroyed, or more - and Kagutsuchi flies on. She hesitates, is about to say more to her roommate before rushing in to end this-

-and then there's a satellite, careening out of control right for Kagutsuchi's head where the HiME of fire stands.

Mai flinches. Kagutsuchi does not. For a significant moment, the dragon's reckless flight comes to a halt - and suddenly, the dragon is much less secure as a mount as multiple tons of metal slam home. A devastating blow, surely -

But Mai stands, wide-eyed, holding the sword impaled in a head well away from the impact -

And those claw-tipped wings have come forward to catch the heap of metal, riding with the impact for a moment.

It's a moment accompanied by the rending of metal as Kagutsuchi tears Miyu's mount in twain, screeching challenge - and a moment in which everyone not holding onto the dragon's head is likely flung free. Even Mai herself is left staring in horror at the appearance of...

"Miyu Greer...no! Mikoto! Kozue-chan!" Mai yells in panic as terrible blasts launch forth from Miyu's arm cannon, muted only slightly by the appearance of Fuu's healing winds. She stares at Alyssa's most terrifying guardian with wide eyes...and beyond her, at the Child still recharging for another shot at Ohtori.

Miyu puts Mikoto in mortal peril. Artemis puts Takumi in danger. And Mai is more torn than she expected.

But - she's not alone. Reassuring shouts from Lera, from Natsuki, reminding her that she's not facing off against the double danger alone. Lancelot, uttering challenge as Sachiko prepares to engage the robot. Mikoto and Kozue, recovering admirably. Mai stares at Miyu...and utters a few simple words.

"Your mistress talked about your resolve. Well, here's mine - I'm not letting Searrs threaten anyone I care about. Kagutsuchi!" In response, the dragon - half a dozen eyes also staring down Miyu - lets out a screech, engines flaring to life for a run at the satellite. Mai's rings burn brilliantly, and unleash a torrent of flame to help clear HiME and dragon a path through what missiles remain.

"...don't hold back, Kagutsuchi. There's nothing but empty space past that thing..."

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Burning Through The Sky on Alyssa Searrs.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FR_-v6BXFLk

A star catches her vision. Not as bright as Artemis but... she turns her head and squints. It looks like a plane turned meteor, like its burning up in the atmosphere...

It comes closer, and closer. And then she sees it. She sees her. Kozue's eyes grow wide. "MAI! BANK-" There's not enough time for her to call out the warning. Not even enough time to brace for impact. The thunderous roar of Miyu's doomed mount hurls her off of Kagutsuchi so easily, sending her spinning end over end in space.

She doesn't even have time to right herself, to find a platform, before Greer's firing her. Snarling in the frustration of her bad position, she hurls out the Kusarigama -like Element desperately, the blades spiralling through the blasts, cutting through them, but the energy clips her in the shoulder. The HiME lets out a shriek as her whole body spasms, and for a moment she falls limp in space other than the lazy spin end over end until she strikes a twisted piece of metal which was once part of the satellite.

After a moment, her head jolts up, and she grabs desperately onto the misshapen hunk as a cool breeze in space arrests her spin just enough for her to assess her surroundings. She spots a glint of Obsidian in darkness, follows it to the girl holding it. "Mikoto! We need to stop Greer! We need to stop her right now! Grab on and hold on!"

The desperation in her voice carries right away.

In zero gravity and no foothold it'd be difficult for her Element to get enough to make any headway, but fortunately in Artemis' artificial atmosphere it seems to obey a different set of rules, she twists the end so that it'll pass right beside her quickly. And once she feels the tug of Mikoto's weight against the line, then turns her arm to arc the HiME around into a spin.

Once, twice, thrice, enough to pick up enough momentum, before on the final pass, she sends her towards Greer, the line snaps taut as she's sent careening that way, and rather than let her go... she kicks off the piece of debris, letting Mikoto pull her along through space, holding onto the handle of her Element's blade.

If they're lucky, then they'll both get a shot at her. If they're not? ... It vaguely occurred to her that this could be the worst decision she'd made in a week full of horrible decisions. "Greer! Have you counted all your precious days with your ojousama? I hope so, because we're about to make certain you've run out!" Bluster was at least one way to channel fear.

COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru has started a combo targeting Miyu Greer!

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto will protect Mai.

It's a declaration which is put to the test not moments later as Miyu drifts in with her satellite. "Mai!" Mikoto hisses when she sees it, and it's the last word she can say before the air is filled with the sound of twisting metal and the crunch of solar panels. She tries to hold on, but the impact is just too great -- she's sent hurtling into space, barely keeping a grip on Miroku.

For a brief moment, she panics, floating free in the vastness of space.

It's a feeling which is quickly supplanted by pain. She has nothing to maneuver herself with, and so her attempts to twist out of the way of Miyu's cannon fail terribly. The plasma burns, and reflexively Mikoto seizes in on herself, as if curling up would do anything to defend her body against the bright blue energy.

But she said she would protect --

Before Mikoto can force herself to respond, there's a gentle wind - a feeling which feels foreign, in space, a feeling she knows the source of precisely as she looks and sees Fuu. She's grateful, though she doesn't have the words.

Kozue calls out, desperately, and Mikoto follows her voice and nods to her, righting herself as best she can. Grasping Miroku in one hand, she catches the Kusarigama's line as it passes her, and allows Kozue to swing her about and around, gaining momentum, and finally towards Miyu. She yells as she dives towards her, grasping Miroku with the same hand holding that lifeline, dragging Kozue herself forward with the force of her swing as she attacks the android.

And Mai flies away from Miyu, towards Artemis. Good.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has joined the combo started by Kozue Kaoru!
COMBAT: COMBO! Kozue Kaoru and Mikoto Minagi have used Combo: Obsidian Blade: Desperation, composed of Strepitoso Chord and Obsidian Blade: Dauntlessness, on Miyu Greer.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer narrowly dodges Kozue Kaoru and Mikoto Minagi's Combo: Obsidian Blade: Desperation, taking 44 Fatigue damage! Kozue Kaoru and Mikoto Minagi are Psyched! Miyu Greer's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly dodges Lera Camry's Sentinel Arc, taking 26 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Natsuki Kuga's Frost Cartridge, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Tangle and Trap applied to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly dodges Garnet's Adamantine Spark, taking 10 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Ren Aizawa's Blurred Edge, taking 4 Fatigue damage! Ren Aizawa is Psyched!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Endo Naoki's Rocket League, taking 2 Fatigue damage! Endo Naoki is Psyched!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly dodges Mai Tokiha's Burning Through The Sky, taking 7 Fatigue damage! Mai Tokiha is Psyched!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Sailor Mercury's Sabao Spray Freezing, taking 5 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Stagger, Tangle, and Trap applied to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly dodges Hikaru Shidou's Sword Slash, taking 2 Fatigue damage! Hikaru Shidou is Psyched! Stagger applied to Alyssa Searrs!

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.

"Missiles explode" doesn't really do justice to the moment, but the details are almost unimportant compared to the result: there is a clear path to strike Eclipse 1. Except it's so /satisfying/, the little ways that it goes down; how Lera's shield soars forward offensively, punching through one, two, three, trailing explosions until it, itself, finally disappates.

How that leaves lots of open space for Mercury's wave of mist to pour through... and how, on contact, missiles crackle, moan, and then... don't... detonate... becoming much safer platforms to jump on and leap through.

Which Endo and Ren take full advantage of as they press forward; the dud missiles give them wild, upside-down ways to access missiles that would have been difficult to approach directly by flight -- and of course somewhere to plant their feet for a whole lot more leverage on each of his sweeping strikes and her piercing blows. Explosions abound.

Garnet and Mai handle the rest, between the former's shocking blasts and the exhalation of the latter's Child. This time a chain reaction does build -- there are just so /many/ missiles close to Eclipse 1, which haven't had the chance to fan out yet because they've only just been launched. What comes next is not quite the equal of Kagutsuchi's initial fiery impetus, just on sheer scale, but it's close.

It's Duran's Frost Cartridge which enjoys the honor of being the first to impact the satellite, sending ice crawling down the lower pyramid. It strains and cracks as the arms open, crackling with ever more energy, charging, charging.

And then bolts of smaller golden lightning arc out in all directions, instantly and perfectly jolting towards each of Artemis' assailants individually. It's like one of those strange glass balls, the ones that seem to contain controlled lightning in little thin strands which converge into a single larger one when you touch it with your thumb... only they converge everywhere all at once.

That was just a little release of charge, too. It's /still/ charging...!

COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Garnet.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Ren Aizawa.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Hikaru Shidou.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Natsuki Kuga.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Sachiko Majime.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Fuu Hououji.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Golden Lightning Charge on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs accepts Alyssa Searrs's Golden Lightning Charge, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Withstand applied to Alyssa Searrs! Cleanse! All of Alyssa Searrs's debuffs are cleared!
COMBAT: Lera Camry perfectly counters Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Counter! Lera Camry's Reverse ability activates! Lera Camry's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Lera Camry's counterattack, Mantle Heart, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury perfectly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Dodge! Sailor Mercury's Fade ability activates! Sailor Mercury's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Miyu Greer [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
Each of Miyu's ion pulses connects solidly, though Miyu is not capable of the schadenfreude that even most good-hearted souls feel in combat. Her satisfaction is mechanical and abstract. Nor is she capable of true annoyance as Fuu summons the calming wind (how? These girls pay so little heed to physical laws) to soothe away the fraying effects. No matter; the wounds remain, and will multiply until these mammals cease vexing Alyssa.

Miyu regards Mai coldly. "Alyssa-ojousama sought your consent just once, Mai Tokiha. That was the one and only moment in which it held any value to me." She lifts her pulse cannon high, snapping it on-target as its charge hits maximum. "Submit to annihiliation!"


As the cannon charges for a second shot, however, Miyu is faced with an attack her logic circuits could not have anticipated. That feral feline of a girl Mikoto Minagi is hurtling towards her like a projectile instead of a person. Triggering her neutron rockets, Miyu tries to gain ground and bring her ion cannon to bear on Mikoto instead, but she underestimates the girl's speed. The blade hooks across her face, tossing her head in a spray of pale blue hair.

The edge hooked inside her cheek via the corner of her mouth. Miyu's skin feels soft and human to the touch, but it's attached to discrete panels of high-tech ceramic. A chunk of that material is ripped out by Miroku as Mikoto passes by, such that when Miyu lowers her head to glare balefully at Kozue for that hideous threat, Kozue sees the hollow of the android's cheek torn open by a bloodless wound, with small claw-like gouges crawling up the flesh of her cheekbone, and an eerie black hollow at the corner of her mouth where some of the ceramic panel is torn away completely.

The kusarigama rakes lightly over Miyu's leg, splitting her boot. Seizing the chain between the two girls, Miyu whips her blade Maria free wtih a glint, then kicks the side of the chain Kozue is on violently, shortening it with a jerk that drags Kozue into an angry shriek of swinging blade. It's far sharper than a natural weapon, parting tough material as though it were water. Then she repeats the process for Mikoto's side, twisting to kick that section of chain and drag the diminuitive swordsgirl down for some close sparring, her fast thin blade sleekly seeking paths around Miroku.

"You people," Miyu seethes, unusual emotion in her voice as she glares at Kozue for her threat. "There is a reason you had to be caged. There is a reason this Age must perish forever."

She does not yet notice Takeo's vengeful threat. Nor does she notice a particular foe of hers from the last engagement approaching by rocket with raised axe.

COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Ionic Pulse on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Sword and Borg on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Merciless Blade Maria on Kozue Kaoru.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru narrowly braces Miyu Greer's Merciless Blade Maria, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Kozue Kaoru's Block ability activates! Kozue Kaoru's Parry ability activates!

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji fails to dodge Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 40 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Sachiko Majime narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 27 Fatigue damage! Sachiko Majime's Fade ability activates! Sachiko Majime's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Garnet narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 20 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi narrowly counters Miyu Greer's Sword and Borg, taking 32 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi's counterattack, Obsidian Blade: Defense, partially gets through, doing 5 Fatigue damage to Miyu Greer!

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly counters Miyu Greer's Ionic Pulse, taking 19 Fatigue damage! Mai Tokiha's Reverse ability activates! Mai Tokiha's Tactician ability activates! Cripple, Stun, and Trap applied to Mai Tokiha!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha's counterattack, Flare Shroud, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Miyu Greer!
COMBAT: Ren Aizawa fails to brace Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 38 Fatigue damage!

COMBAT: Hikaru Shidou perfectly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Critical Dodge!

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The shield swings back, and slams into place on the gauntlet Lera wears. She sees the explosions erupting; the girl stares, wide-eyed, for a moment, as they finish closing in on that satellite. She hasn't had a clear look at it before -- the only view she got was the blurry footage, shown to her in the caverns -- and thus she takes a moment to simply stare.

Then, Soaring Sky offers a helpful analysis:<Lightning! There's lightning! We should be concerned about the lightning!>

"Gh--there's a lot!"

<Handling it. Mantle Heart!> Broken Ground interjects. An interlocking series of yellow and green hexagons appear around Lera in a half dome -- and the lightning that converges slams into that great barrier instead, sparks exploding and lighting the dome up brilliantly with their impacts. Lera, however, remains untouched.

<Heraut. Stern.> Jaren Zastava's old Device doesn't hesitate, really, to address his fellows.<I will mark the target. Take advantage of it.>

"You got that?" Lera asks Ren and Endo. She takes a breath; then, she points the shield towards the center of the satellite. Lera grits her teeth -- and then beads of light draw into the center of the shield. A thin yellow beam of light flies out from the disc-shaped gem there, onto the satellite-Child.

Then the motes of light release, swirling toegther into a large, churning ball of lava. It flies, shooting towards Eclipse 1 like a missile -- with the same explosive promise.

"Now!" Lera shouts. "Let's do it, y'know!"

COMBAT: Lera Camry has started a combo targeting Alyssa Searrs!

<Pose Tracker> Sachiko Majime [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Flying a hijacked missile through a conjured lightning field is tough business. Sachiko does her best to steer her missile clear, but she ends up getting a little too close to one of the sparking arcs. The mere touch alone is quite electrifying, but to make matters worse; the missile Sachiko was riding upon is looking like is about to explode from being overcharged. This was bad, seriously bad. But Sachiko knew she could not panic quite yet, she uses what strength she has left to steer the rocket in Miyu's direction in a last ditch effort to do something useful other than get pummeled by rockets and lasers.

Once she's close enough, Sachiko abandons the missile mid flight and leaps directly towards the well-armed robot with her battle axe being raised over her head in preparation for a massive over-the-head chop. "Hey scrap-head!" Her axe is lifted higher. "Annihilate -this-!" The blonde Puella Magi intones as she commits everything she has in an attempt to bring her axe down upon Miyu. Sachiko doesn't care if her momentum takes her into dangerous territory. She's long past the point of worrying about her own health while in the heat of battle.

COMBAT: Sachiko Majime has used Swing for the Fences on Miyu Greer.
COMBAT: Sachiko Majime has finished attacking.

COMBAT: Miyu Greer narrowly braces Sachiko Majime's Swing for the Fences, taking 24 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lancelot fails to brace Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 49 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Endo Naoki narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 26 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
"I'm pretty sure that was permission." Lancelot says and rolls his shoulders. Wincing because he forgot his left shoulder has been wounded since a Cybody shredded his pouldron and tried to ram it through his body. He is also assaulted by a large shocking assault form the satellite. He flicks his wrist and the lightning there flares to an incredibly bright and crackling array of lightning.

"MIYU GREER!" He calls out across the void as he runs and then leaps toward the android, spinning Arondight as he sails toward the foe he has chosen for the venting of his emotions. "I'M TAKING YOU DOWN! WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS!" Once he's close that shining white blade, exploding with charged lightning, is swung a dozen times in rapid succession, as the Cavalier attacks with all the knowledge of an expert swordsman. Each strike of Arondight unleashes a wave of lightning, and an explosive force of thunder that somehow rolls and echoes through the vastness of space.

Looks like Arthurian Knights don't follow the laws of physics either.

As he engages Miyu he calls out to Mikoto, "Mikoto! Hit her now!" Trying to use both sword bearers in a two front assault on the android. Once he finishes, Lancelot pushes off and flips backwards and away to avoid any unwanted shankings from the Android.
COMBAT: Lancelot has started a combo targeting Miyu Greer!

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
That electricity? HURTS. Ren tries to shield herself, but it's way too late. the momentum from her earlier attack on the missiles distracting her. "Ugh!" It's definitely a painful jolt, burning up some of her barrier jacket in the process while causing her to go into a bit of a tailspin off to the side.

<Shocking!> Heraut decides to chime in, and Ren grunts. "I'll say..." Once she regains her bearings, both Ground and Lera are calling out to her and Endo for a combination assault on the sinister satellite-child. "Yeah!" She yells back in confirmation, holding her rapier device out in front of her as she waits for the signal from Lera. All the while she gathers as much mana as she can into the blade, the steel taking on a bronze glow that seems to be accompanied by a slowly increasing roar that rolls out from it in waves. When the time comes Ren drops the sword down low, and with a shout she hoists it back up in a sharp, cutting motion that sends out a rumbling pulse of vibrant energy that builds into something ferocious by the time it reaches it's target.
COMBAT: Ren Aizawa has joined the combo started by Lera Camry!

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.
Garnet braces herself for the electric shock, since she's immune to normal electricity, she's not prepared for how painful the magic behind it makes it. However, it's still electricity, and maybe... just maybe... she can use that fact against it.

Garnet concentrates, lets the electricity flow, and then, with a pulse of her own magic for good measure, redirects it back out of her gauntlets at the space station!
COMBAT: Garnet has used Geofeedback! on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Garnet has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
Endo's approach is a bumpy and turbulent one, but he makes it eventually, riding beside Ren. Another blast from the satellite rakes across him, his shield barely keeps him from getting deep-fried. He does his best to keep on target, his head nodding when Lera gives her instruction and he can clear it enough to respond.

"Got it! Ren! Let's go!"

<VERY WELL.> Fallen Stern's reply comes back, and it directs Endo's course accordingly.

They go together, knight and sword, and as the rocket takes a sharp swerve upward Endo leaps from it, launching himself through space and toward the point that his companion has marked out. Endo was wrong, he can jump to space! He whirls as he descends, a fiery purple arc, the final spin cleaving his weapon down into the surface of the gigantic weapon.


<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

There's no celebration, that the desperate move managed to score a hit, even two to the seemingly invincible woman. The woven chain like cord of Kozue's Element is strong, but Miyu's strength in inhuman, and the simple kick-jerk motion of Miyu's motion draws her in.

Kozue barely has enough time to raise the hooked blade, catching the blade Maria right at the beard. There's a shriek of metal, but no sparks at the contact, but no sparks fly as it passes. Kozue is greeted with the sight of her Element's blade now sporting a chip where the anti-materialization weapon caught it. Any longer and Greer might have carved it in half.

She catches Miyu's seething threat, unsurprised to find her angry, tries to look her in the eye. "Did I touch a sore spot?" She gloats, it does a decent job of obfuscating her fear. "Well I have no intention of being /caged/! By you..."

She swings out a leg, pressing her shoe against the chain, briefly shortening the length between her and Mikoto, then pushes off of it, in a motion that sends her spinning around while pulling it with her.

A sunlit garden, herself playing at the piano as a silhouette beside another figure, just before it zooms out to show one looking through the gaps of gilded bars.

A hand on her wrist, leading her away.

Shouts from so many people, so many voices, on proper behavior.

A fist to her face, making her fall into subdued sobbing.

"...OR ANYONE ELSE!" She ends it, in a feral diagonal slash at the mythril dress across her torso, that she tries to slip under the guard of Miyu's wickedly fast swordwork. "

COMBAT: Endo Naoki has joined the combo started by Lera Camry!

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

She can't help it. Even with her course set, Mai finds herself looking back to Mikoto again and again as Kagutsuchi flies on forward. Mikoto is a fighter through and through - capable of taking care of herself on the battlefield better than anyone can think of. Kozue is like a wild beast, if having taken on Zoisite is any indication. Lancelot, heroic knight that he is, can surely match blades.

And yet. And yet she worries, even as flames clear a path to the true target. Worries, even as lightning filling the heavens must surely be more pressing a concern.

Miyu addresses Mai directly - and the HiME turns, in time to see a crackling orb of imminent pain barrelling towards her. A vehement wall of flame opposes it - but the blast slithers like a snake, and tendrils of that crackling ionic power slip through to elicit a pained scream.

Kagutsuchi screeches as well - in matching pain, in sympathy, in rage...none can know for certain. But he screeches all the same, cry echoing in the vacuum.

"...never. Never! This whole Golden Age of yours...do you remember what I did when I honestly thought your 'mistress' was trying to do good? I protected her. I tried to defend that little girl because I thought she was trying to save the World Tree, not doom it. It was a stupid mistake..."

...but she'd rather be a person who makes it again than not.

"Everything you two have done...that your whole organization has done...hurting people to further your own ends..." Reclaiming her footing atop Kagutsuchi's snarling maw, Mai stands proudly. "...we're going to stop all of it. And we're not seeking your consent to that."

Lancelot charges at Miyu, blade flashing as another girl slams in with an axe, and Mai smiles in relief. Everyone else, it seems, is hammering the satellite...which means they have just enough time.

Kagutsuchi croons, a brief respite from the dragon's fury. Then, slowly, its maw opens wide as the sealing sword does little to hold it back. The cylinders on the Child's back, marked with Magatama, emerge and begin to spin.

And spin, and spin, and spin - even in what should be the chill of space, HiME physics aside, this heat is undeniable.

COMBAT: Mai Tokiha transforms into Mai and Kagutsuchi!

<Pose Tracker> Fuu Hououji [Infinity Institute (9)] has posed.

With the prior barrage of lasers, the Wind Knight managed to hunker down at just the right moment and avoid getting hit. When the next wave of energy rushes outwards from Artemis/Eclipse One, she mostly expects that the same tactic will work again.

Which ... it doesn't. Whether the Magic Knight armor is actually metal or not, the discharge homes in on her like lightning to a tall metal spire, and a somewhat garbled yelp of pain is wrung from the Wind Knight's lungs as her body spasms where she's hunkered down. The convulsions pass quickly, but the pain remains behind .. and she wonders, briefly, if she's smoking or if she only feels like she ought to be.

There's another glance back in Miyu's direction - and if Miyu can pick out the expression on her face, the Wind Knight's look at that moment is spectacularly annoyed, which might be a pleasing sight to the death-gynoid if she's programmed to register that sort of emotional response. She doesn't look like she's going to move much more than that for now, honestly.

But the Magic Knight of Wind still has things to do, and they don't include administering a battlefield version of the Turing Test. The Wind Knight looks towards Mai, attempting to untangle one hand from whatever she's gripping on Kagutsuchi's body - fur, most likely - to give the 'dragon' a brief, gentle pat. "I don't think I'm helping as much as I would like to, but ..." She trails off, taking a deep breath.


The barrier she conjures this time is far larger than a single person - unless that 'person' were a giant, vaguely biotechnological-looking dragon. With a sword stuck through its muzzle. And it's not just a flat shield, either; the Magic Knight bends her will towards trying to craft a wind-based shield all around Kagutsuchi, focused more strongly around where Mai stands next to that great sword's hilt.

The Wind Knight has conjured a barrier that big once before, trying to keep a jetliner from being destroyed, and it was a desperate move even then. This time, while the desperation is less, the exercise of magic is no less telling on her ... and trying to maintain it for as much of the battle as she can is going to take everything she can muster. While she would *love* to suppress the threat posed by Miyu, protecting Mai and Kagutsuchi - the fire-wielding HiME and the Child who carries all of them upon its back - is a higher priority, and one that's somewhat more likely to help the mission as a whole succeed.

COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has used Winds of Protection on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Fuu Hououji has finished attacking.
COMBAT: COMBO! Lera Camry, Ren Aizawa, and Endo Naoki have used Combo: Coordinated Bombardment, composed of Magma Bomb, Rending Uppercut, and Radial Velocity, on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Lera Camry has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Ren Aizawa has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Endo Naoki has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha accepts Fuu Hououji's Winds of Protection, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Accelerate and Withstand applied to Mai Tokiha!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has used Furious Firebird on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha accepts Mai Tokiha's Furious Firebird, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Empower and Surge applied to Mai Tokiha!

COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru has used Feral Cadenza on Miyu Greer.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Miroku is a sword which thirsts for the blood of its enemies. Even when its enemies don't bleed.

Mikoto blasts past Miyu, satisfied by the way she feels her sword catch on her enemy's flesh and ceramics. It's a satisfaction which is short-lived as Miyu calmly and efficiently retorts. That she strikes at Kozue first gives Mikoto a precious second to bring Miroku to bear -- when she's pulled towards the android, she brings her own massive claymore up to catch Miyu's stinging blade.

Even with two hands against one it's clear who has the strength advantage, but just like the last time their blades met, Mikoto is tenacious. But there is nothing to brace against aside from her foe, no way to properly handle this sort of situation in the floating gravity of space, and Miyu's force surely throws her away.

There are other warriors to take her place. Sachiko, with her gigantic axe; Lancelot, who cries out to Mikoto to join him in striking at the enemy.

Mikoto carefully angles Miroku, lets go of it, and kicks off of the flat of the blade.

A moment later, "Miroku," and the blade instantly teleports back to her grip. There is no glitter of energy which announces the use of an Element - one moment Miroku is spinning through space with the counterforce of Mikoto's kick, the next, it is in her hands as she dives towards Miyu again, relentlessly, sword-first. This time she targets her legs, at that place where her light blue maneuvering thrusters work.

Mikoto doesn't say much, but she watches, and she learns. In a way... they're not altogether dissimilar, android and obsidian maiden.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has joined the combo started by Lancelot!

COMBAT: Miyu Greer has adjusted her boss levels. She is now ready to take on 4 opponents!

COMBAT: COMBO! Lancelot and Mikoto Minagi have used Bladefury and Obsidian Blade: Devastation on Miyu Greer.
COMBAT: Lancelot has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Hikaru Shidou [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
It was luck that the Fire Knight was able to avoid the incoming attack. She's still wounded and can't fight very well. So she's faded to the background for now. She's still here, just not visible for now...

COMBAT: Miyu Greer narrowly counters Kozue Kaoru's Feral Cadenza, taking 7 Fatigue damage! Kozue Kaoru is Psyched!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer's counterattack, Armed and Dangerous, partially gets through, doing 10 Fatigue damage to Kozue Kaoru!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
The missiles make stellar platforms -- Ami starts to rush forward along the platforms she created, and toward Eclipse 1. They're not going to get a better shot than the one they have now -- so each and every one of them has to make the most of it.

Ducking low as she speeds forward, she narrowly avoids the bolts of lightning. She speeds up, though when she sees that coordinated bombardment, she hangs back a little instead.

Raw bombardment really isn't her specialty; she settles for flinging another large gout of water. She'd need to be yet closer to really swing for the fences... and that'll require a few more moments of forward momentum.

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used Mercury Aqua Mist on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs fails to brace Garnet's Geofeedback!, taking 27 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly dodges Lera Camry, Ren Aizawa, and Endo Naoki's Combo: Coordinated Bombardment, taking 44 Fatigue damage! Lera Camry, Ren Aizawa, and Endo Naoki are Psyched!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Sailor Mercury's Mercury Aqua Mist, taking 10 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Stagger applied to Alyssa Searrs!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer perfectly dodges Lancelot and Mikoto Minagi's Combo: Bladefury, taking 0 Fatigue damage! Critical Dodge! Miyu Greer's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.

Water and electricity pour into the gap, converging and combining into something far nastier than either Sailor Mercury or Garnet could have created alone. It impacts the apparent last defense of Eclipse 1: an abruptly visible shield of glowing, interlinked hexagonal plates.

And, tragically, it's enough to field the more deliberately coordinated attack that comes next -- the churning ball of lava eats away at it, it bulges inwards against Ren's rapier-sharp pulse of energy, and sparks fly everywhere as Endo mightily spins and impacts...

And... it... holds.

The cannon gapes the rest of the way open, and then a little further open than it ought, like a pair of scissors coming apart at the hinge. This is good and bad.

Good: the magical girls have probably just saved the collective population of the Sister Schools from orbital bombardment-- /again/.

Bad: all of that energy is escaping in all directions, coruscating to climax, propagating through the space like a hungry golden tsunami. It hits hardest those who are closest -- the Midchildan-style mages. But there's plenty left for everyone else, and then they'll come to know what it felt like when Mai got burned alive.

COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Energy Ventilation on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Energy Ventilation on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Energy Ventilation on Mai Tokiha.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Energy Ventilation on Kozue Kaoru.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Energy Ventilation on Garnet.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Energy Ventilation on Lancelot.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Energy Ventilation on Sachiko Majime.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Alyssa Searrs has used Final Ignition on Ren Aizawa.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Alyssa Searrs has used Final Ignition on Lera Camry.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Alyssa Searrs has used Final Ignition on Endo Naoki.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Energy Ventilation, taking 38 Fatigue damage!

COMBAT: Lera Camry counters Alyssa Searrs's Final Ignition with Strata Excelsior, initiating a
BEAMWAR! Please see +help beamwar for further information.
BEAMWAR! Lera Camry and Alyssa Searrs's attacks collide. Alyssa Searrs has the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the first of three rounds! Now accepting new BEAMWAR entrants in this round only!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Energy Ventilation, taking 11 Fatigue damage! Mai Tokiha's Block ability activates! Mai Tokiha's Parry ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Miyu Greer [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
Miyu catches a blur of orange and black from the corner of her eye. There's little time to react properly; she twists and hard-blocks the attack with her forearm. It's a lot heavier of a blow than she expected, sinking down through the ceramic plating and clanking against the titanium-alloy bone below. Miyu looks past the axe chopped into her arm and into the eyes of her foe.

Again? Isn't this what happened last time? This one snuck up on her and forced her to take a chop to the arm. The skin is still pale in a wedge a few inches down from where it was regrown from the last wound.

It's a little funny, even if you're a robot.

"Termination Priority Alpha," Miyu greets. "Greetings." Yanking her arm towards herself to overbalance Sachiko, she swipes light, rapid blows across her defenses, each carrying far more force than reason suggests it ought to be able to. Then, with mechanical might, she drives forward with a deep thrust, targeting the Puella Magi's midriff.

Before she can follow up, Kozue tag-teams in, her kusarigama slicing in with added momentum from the chain tugging the two combatants together. Miyu parries, swivels--she manages to redirect the slash to a shallower one across her mythril, though it gains a diagonal cut along her side that didn't end with the cloth. In return, however, she slices down across Kozue's back as though whipping her with the sword. It's all she has time for once more, as Mikoto and Lancelot have taken this time to arrange a coordinated attack on her. She glances rapidly between the two oncoming assaults. This is the most serious threat she's faced thus far.

Miyu fires both repulsors at once without stabilizing herself, such that her feet rise without the rest of her, upending her in a neat flip. Near the apex of that flip, she touches her fingers to the oncoming flat of Mikoto's tremendous, dark-forged blade, her hard fingernails kicking off slow spark after slow spark as she thinks in the space between moments. She can see Mikoto's angry face as they pass one another. The girl's eyes are following her; this isn't over. But for now she has to deal with Takeo.

As Miyu rights herself with a hand on Mikoto's shoulder, she arches her back to let Takeo's electrically-charged attack pass her throat narrowly. She doesn't wish to see what that might do if it touched Maria, so she continues to bob and weave, face expressionless. The only time her features shift in the whole dozen-hew barrage from the master swordsman is when the sword passes close to her eye, which closes for a moment. Almost a wince. Her elbow twists as she shanks Maria low at the knight as he withdraws. She's already ducking, because Miroku is coming back.

The sound of it passing over her head is like an aircraft taking off.

In just a few seconds, the two blade experts unleashed an assault on Miyu that seemed fit to murder the very air. But when those seconds are over, Miyu floats back in a flip. Neither Mikoto nor Takeo so much as scraped her.

Her mouth monstrously flat, her eyes glowing red in the dark, Miyu swivels out her chaingun already spinning.

"Ochre Mode."

The drilling sound of rapidfiring barrels splits the air, even as the world fills with gold. Alyssa's graduation. Miyu will be here to see it.

COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Sword and Borg on Kozue Kaoru.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Merciless Blade Maria on Lancelot.

COMBAT: Garnet narrowly dodges Alyssa Searrs's Energy Ventilation, taking 28 Fatigue damage! Garnet's Fade ability activates! Garnet's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Armed and Dangerous on Sachiko Majime.

COMBAT: Miyu Greer has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru narrowly counters Miyu Greer's Sword and Borg, taking 19 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru's counterattack, Allegro con Brio, partially gets through, doing 11 Fatigue damage to Miyu Greer! Critical Counterhit!

BEAMWAR! Endo Naoki counters Alyssa Searrs's Final Ignition with Debris Disk, joining Lera Camry's
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Energy Ventilation, taking 7 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa counters Alyssa Searrs's Final Ignition with Blade Storm, joining Endo Naoki's

COMBAT: Sachiko Majime fails to dodge Alyssa Searrs's Energy Ventilation, taking 40 Fatigue damage!
COMBAT: Lancelot narrowly counters Miyu Greer's Merciless Blade Maria, taking 24 Fatigue damage! Lancelot is unable to keep fighting! Lancelot's Reverse ability activates! Lancelot's Tactician ability activates!
COMBAT: Lancelot's counterattack, Veil of Steel, interrupts, doing 0 Fatigue damage to Miyu Greer!
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Energy Ventilation, taking 17 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera lets out a whoop, when she sees the results of the impact of the Terrible Trio's attacks. It looks impressive -- the sparks flying, the detonation of the lava bomb, and everything else -- and then, she feels her stomach sinking. It hurt, but it wasn't enough, either. Her eyes start to widen, as she sees the cannon start to fire -- and start to fall apart.

"Oh, no..."

<Camry. We need to push it back.> Broken Ground states.<...Back into the firing mechanism. It's going to need help.>

"R--Right!" Lera yells. She points the shield at it, again, as the angry storm of swirling golden energy comes flying in. Motes of light appear before the shield -- swirls of gold and green sparkles, with a few brilliant white ones -- and they all draw into the shield. The Intelligent Device shudders, as the storm's first edges come. A fork of it burns into Lera's shoulder; more of the Barrier Jacket simply burns away.

She hisses softly. "Now, Ground! Let's--let's do it!"

<Gladly. STRATA EXCELSIOR!> The motes all gather -- and then explode outward, in a massive dome of energy that begins to push into the fiery aurum hurricane raging around the girl. Lera grits her teeth -- squeezes her eyes shut -- and tries to focus everything she has.

COMBAT: Sachiko Majime fails to dodge Miyu Greer's Armed and Dangerous, taking 38 Fatigue damage! Sachiko Majime is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Lancelot accepts Alyssa Searrs's Energy Ventilation, taking 55 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Lancelot is unable to keep fighting!
BEAMWAR! Lera Camry has placed her bid! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Alyssa Searrs still need to bid!
BEAMWAR! Endo Naoki has placed his bid! Ren Aizawa and Alyssa Searrs still need to bid!
BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa has placed her bid! Alyssa Searrs still needs to bid!

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
Despite the fact that he's able to deflect Miyu's, when Lancelot spins to deliver a strike at the Android, the energy from the Satellite washes over him and drops him like a sack of potatoes awaiting their day to be fried in an oil vat, but are instead tossed into the back corner of a pantry to be forgotten and never used.

In short, he gets knocked out. The lighting flickers and crashes again but then he just floats there. Out cold in the cold vastness of space. His armor once again dissipating once he loses consciousness. The shoulder bleeding freely once again with no armor to hold the wound in place in little globules of red orbs.

Takeo, replaces Lancelot, and floats.

COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Scarlet Mode: Minigun on Mikoto Minagi.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has used Scarlet Mode: Minigun on Sachiko Majime.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi narrowly dodges Miyu Greer's Scarlet Mode: Minigun, taking 28 Fatigue damage! Mikoto Minagi's Fade ability activates! Mikoto Minagi's Flash ability activates!

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.
Endo smashes into the shield, driving his sword deep. To his dismay, he doesn't make it through. That wasn't the plan. The knight bounces, careening off, pinging back several feet into the darkness of space. He can at least hover above it, clutching his Device tight as it holds him aloft and he looks at what he, Ren, and Lera have wrought.

It isn't enough. As the cannon begins to fire, unleashing all that energy, Endo's teeth clench tight. When Lera sends her own blast to meet it, he joins in. Fingers grip tight around his device, the knight bringing it back, and then making his cut. He cut space, mostly.


More impressive is the arc of energy that follows in the wake of that slice. A huge arc of energy, purple fire that flares into a whirling ring, joining Lera and Ren's own blast and aiming to drive the beam of energy right back where it came from.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
Seeing their attacks hit home earns a whoop from Ren, too. And just like Lera, the joy is short-lived. "That can't be good..." She observes, backing away from the satellite.

<Ground is right your majesty! It must be pushed back! Otherwise...>

"Yeah buddy, I can imagine what'll happen!" The dangerous cascade of energy is fired out like a canon in all directions, just as Ren conjures up a shield. The impact jars her around in midair, and for awhile she almost thinks it won't hold.

But it does, likely a direct result of her will and desperation. "I'm with you, Lera-chan! Heraut!"


There's a distant ping in the air directly above the satellite, and that is the only indication that something big is coming -- the something big in this case being dozens and dozens of spinning, whirling blades surrounded by Midchildan targeting circles. They rain down like daggers thrust from the heavens themselves, ripping through space as if it is purely insubstantial.

<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.
They're almost there! They just need to keep at it until the satellite is destroyed! Garnet absorbs a wave of the wild energy! She's lucky she doesn't have flesh to burn, but her light-construct body flickers and shifts for a second like someone was attempting to change her channel. She's getting weary, but she has to keep pushing until she can't. She can't allow this weapon, or this "Golden Age" to continue to threaten the Earth.

She decides to take matters into her own hands. She stretches her arms out to the satellite and her hands turn dark black and grow to truly gargantuan size! The break is there already, it just needs one more... good... snap...

She grabs the Artemis on both sides of the hole, one with each colossal hand, and attempts to tear them apart!
COMBAT: Garnet has used Ebon Nightmare Buster on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Garnet has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto sees Miyu's fingers trailing across the flat of the obsidian blade; she sees the split-second reaction time which saves her enemy's neck as she swings again. It's almost beautiful, the way she avoids even the slightest hint of damage, but Mikoto doesn't think in terms of beauty or elegance.

She sees a foe who is terrifyingly competent, above her in speed and reaction time and strength. And yet, even knowing that...Miyu is a foe Mikoto must defeat. She jumps off of a scrap piece of the satellite Miyu rode in on to escape the gatling blast, angling towards another piece of it. When she lands, she launches herself forward towards Miyu, whirling through space to gain what speed and leverage she can. She throws everything she has into the strike, screaming into the unnatural air of space, determined to injure her, to slow her down, to do what she can.

... by the time she realises what's going on with Artemis, she only has time to brace herself.

COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has used Obsidian Blade: Destruction on Miyu Greer.
COMBAT: Mikoto Minagi has finished attacking.

<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

Miyu might be treated to a shriek which gives renewed evidence that she'll get to see Alyssa's graduation, her blade severing part of the back of her PE uniform, droplets of blood floating in space as Kozue's traded shallow slash is hooked around for a much more grave one across her back. Revealing the HiME mark across her right shoulder, as a flap of fabric floats eerily away.

Before she has time to follow up, there's a golden glare that's consuming her vision in golden waves. Free floating in space, how does one dodge that? Not very well as it turns out. Rather than give up to the all consuming gold, she jerks her arm around, sending the chain line of her Element towards a floating piece of lazily floating solar panel from Miyu's hitched 'ride'. It wraps around it, then with a tug she sends it arcing right into the path of the energy.

The panel is mostly consumed, and HiME finds herself struck by it head on. It's blunted enough at least that the wave of energy burns, but it doesn't wholly consume. There's no smoke that rises up in space, but the front half of her body suddenly looks like it was exposed to several hours of tanning on the beach without any sunscreen to protect it. And worse, as blisters rise in the worst spots.

Her vision is swimming, but she can see that the others are holding up against the Child, just barely. Just /barely/. If Miyu strikes them from behind... they could lose everything. She could lose everything. Her life, her chance at fixing which is broken, making it last forever. The thought causes the gravely injured HiME's eyes to open.

She snarls in frustration like the first time her piano teacher tried to teach her a Xenakis piano concerti, only to find she couldn't meet the technical demands. Tugging on her chain, she causes it to tighten around the remnants of the panel, then tugs it towards her. Spinning herself around like she's about to jump off a diving board, she plants both of her feet against it, then kicks off of it towards the android in her ochre dress.

Both arms waving like a swimmer to add momentum, just as she tugs the line free, sends the other end towards her, grabs the end with the bladed weight with her other hand to serve as an impromptu weapon as it flies by her. Holding the line in one hand, the handle of the blade she sends herself tumbling at Greer as her minigun turns at Mikoto and Sachiko, "There's something you don't know about me Greer."

She slashes with one blade, and simply wields the other like a dagger or a shiv, repeatedly, without any style or substance, but all brutality as she tries to carve into her without remorse. "I get what I want! And if I can't have it...? If you're going to try to deny me that...?"

Again, and again, and again, no matter how many times Greer might dodge them with her inhuman speed, or parry them with whatever tool in her arsenal, or knock them away, she keeps going at her, trying to buy the others time, "...I'm still spiteful enough to deny you what /you want/!" Rage, fear, frustration, desperation. She channels it all into the irregular, brutal rhythm of her cuts and slashes and stabs.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Kozue Kaoru has used Wild Animal on Miyu Greer.
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Sachiko Majime accepts Miyu Greer's Scarlet Mode: Minigun, taking 38 Fatigue damage! Sachiko Majime is unable to keep fighting!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer narrowly braces Mikoto Minagi's Obsidian Blade: Destruction, taking 13 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Miyu Greer narrowly dodges Kozue Kaoru's Finisher, Wild Animal, taking 56 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit! Miyu Greer's Flash ability activates!
COMBAT: Kozue Kaoru is unable to keep fighting!

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Artemis is struck. Artemis shudders. ...Artemis prepares to fire.

"No! Kagutsuchi, can you-" Mai's desperate denial is cut short as the feared satellite misfires - energy blasting out over the area, as Lera and her fellow mages unleash their full power to hold off the worst of the tide. Even as it is, both Child and HiME are battered by the energy storm, and Mai clings to Kagutsuchi's head desperately. "They're - Kagutsuchi! Get ready to hit that with everything-"

Machinegun fire roars all too nearby, as Miyu vanquishes Lancelot, fends off Mikoto's best efforts, continues to be a menace to one of her most precious people. The HiME hesitates again, gaze torn between the android and the satellite. Everyone she cares about is in peril...

Kagutsuchi screeches, and Mai nods in return. "Right! If Searrs wants to hurt the people I love..." She clenches one hand to her chest, ring shining there. "Then we'll stop everything they've got! Kagutsuchi - wreck it all!"

That building heat picks up even further in intensity as the dragon's maw opens wider - and the light of a star shines from within. Rising, rising, ever brighter and hotter -

- and cutting loose as a blazing star. One that bears down fully on Miyu - and past her, to Eclipse One. Everything that threatened Mai's loved ones, sentenced to the same destruction.

COMBAT: FINISHER! Mai Tokiha has used Shining Days on Miyu Greer.
COMBAT: FINISHER! Mai Tokiha has used Shining Days on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Miyu Greer fails to dodge Mai Tokiha's Finisher, Shining Days, taking 111 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Sachiko Majime [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.

Sachiko snaps her head in the direction of the satellite when she first sees a golden light out of the corner of her eye. But it's far too late for her to do anything much to get out of the way of the escaping energy from the central blast. Sachiko was up close and personal with Miyu which completely took her attention off the bigger fight at hand. And now Sachiko was paying for the rookie mistake. The energy wave is devastating and would surely of brought the young teenager to her knees if she wasn't free floating already in space. Instead she has no way of running and no means of protecting herself from the attack. It simply impacts her and wrecks its damage upon the poor Puella Magi.

"Is that the best you got?!" Sachiko spits out through gritted teeth into the empty void of space. There was no way anyone within the satellite would have heard her useless cry, but its is a cry made nevertheless. But it is not the satellite answers, but Miyu Greer herself. The first blow is deflected off to her side by Sachiko's axe. A second strike cuts across the Puella Magi's shoulder, opening up a wound and tearing through the orange and black fabric. More blows comes, and Sachiko does her best to keep up with Miyu, but she just can't quite do it. She's simply outmatched. And its Miyu Greer that hits the homerun, not Sachiko. The finale thrust towards her midsection is an impaling one. While not fatal outright to a Puella Magi, it's strong enough of an attack to sap whatever fighting strength Sachiko has left.

The look on Sachiko's face says already what she's feeling. There's an animalistic look of clear fear and desperation that comes when ones fight or flight reflex becomes completely overpowered. "Damn.....you...I'm....too...weak." This is the entirety of the blonde magic girl's eloquent response to this brutal attack. Sachiko's hands feebly move upwards to where she's stabbed, but Miyu is not done with her yet. She unleashes a close-range barrage of mini-gun fire that literally blows Sachiko away due to the blunt impact of the rounds. Orange eyes close shut as both Sachiko and her axe achieve one final lift-off.

Here am I floating

round my tin can

Far above the Moon

Planet Earth is blue

And there's nothing I can do.

COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs narrowly braces Garnet's Ebon Nightmare Buster, taking 9 Fatigue damage! Alyssa Searrs is Quipped!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs fails to brace Mai Tokiha's Finisher, Shining Days, taking 136 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!
COMBAT: Mai Tokiha is unable to keep fighting!
BEAMWAR! Alyssa Searrs has placed her bid!
BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry rally, tenaciously forcing back Alyssa Searrs! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry have the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Alyssa Searrs takes 11 damage! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry each take 4 Fatigue damage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the second of three rounds! No longer accepting any more BEAMWAR entrants!

<Pose Tracker> Sailor Mercury [Juuban Public School (9)] has posed.
They seem to be gaining ground at last -- Eclipse 1 and its stalwart protector are giving as good as they get, but... it looks like there's an actual path to victory now, and Sailor Mercury is relieved at that.

She can't enjoy the relief too much, though -- she has to take a hard dive to avoid that venting energy, and loses her footing on the precarious footholds for a few moments. The world is safe, she thinks -- but /they're/ sure not. She screams as the energy washes over her... but she's still hanging in there.

Her gaze sweeps over the battlefield -- and she sees Sachiko, one of her few recent partners in investigation. As the blonde floats, Ami's heart hurts more than a little -- but she has to keep her focus forward, right?

With a spin of her arms to either side of her, Sailor Mercury summons forth several icy blades; they rotate around her midsection as she moves in toward one of the few parts of Eclipse One that Mai and Kagutsuchi aren't presently burning to a crisp, carving at it.

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has used Shine Aqua Cutter on Alyssa Searrs.
COMBAT: Sailor Mercury has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs fails to brace Sailor Mercury's Shine Aqua Cutter, taking 26 Fatigue damage! Critical Hit!

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.

Incredibly, the blast is slowed before it can engulf the entire battlespace -- probably saving the lives of several incapacitated magical girls -- by the combined, desperate efforts of Lera, Endo and Ren.

They wind up forming a triad, and the triple glows of magma, purple fire, and their reflections off of what seems like thousands of shining blades, all join together, merging to strain against the oncoming wall of gold.

This provides a safe angle for Ami and Garnet to approach -- though Garnet simply cannot tear the satellite apart all at once, and quickly finds herself filling with terrible energy that nothing on this planet or any other is immune to, used as a conduit, an expression. It hurts. Sailor Mercury's ice blades are blessedly less direct, and the worst they kick up are some blinding golden sparks -- unpleasant but not so deadly.

And then the fires of Kagutsuchi, the heart of a star, blazes forth, joining the conflagration. The pressure is unbearable, but the straining back and forth energies have yet to snap!

BEAMWAR! Alyssa Searrs has placed her bid! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry still need to bid!
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used PEW PEW Space Lasers!! on Sailor Mercury.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has used Capacitor Shock on Garnet.
COMBAT: Alyssa Searrs has finished attacking.
COMBAT: Garnet narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's Capacitor Shock, taking 22 Fatigue damage! Garnet is unable to keep fighting!
BEAMWAR! Endo Naoki has placed his bid! Ren Aizawa and Lera Camry still need to bid!

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

"Ren-chan!" Lera cries out, "Endo-san! W-We've gotta hold this thing!"

It is all she can do, though. She can see Ami and Garnet move in closer -- not to mention Mai's furious display -- and she knows that they have to keep pushing the energy blast back. She squeezes her eyes shut, then she inhales. It's shuddering; the energies slamming against the blast that she pushes back send shockwaves through, and rattle her.

It hurts.

<Camry. Let's keep it up.>


BEAMWAR! Lera Camry has placed her bid! Ren Aizawa still needs to bid!

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.
Ren holds steady, pouring her everything into maintaining the ongoing struggle. "Just a little more Heraut... We can do this!"

<Yes we can! Keep going!>

And she does, cause she must. There is no room for failure here. So much is at stake, as always. Her grip on the rapier begins to shake.

BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa has placed her bid!
BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry press their advantage, tenaciously forcing back Alyssa Searrs! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry have the advantage!
BEAMWAR! Alyssa Searrs takes 8 damage! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry each take 5 Fatigue damage!
BEAMWAR! Now accepting mana bids for the third of three rounds! No longer accepting any more BEAMWAR entrants!

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.

"We can do it!" Endo shouts this over the sound of battle, the roar of each beam coming together, the rush of energy from Kagutsuchi, Garnet and Ami's attacks. He barely has time to register all of it. Mostly, he just has time to focus on the task at hand.

<STRONG.> Fallen Stern reverberates.<BUT I AM STRONGER.> And perhaps most importantly:<WE ARE STRONGER.>

Another arc of energy tears through the air, and another, heaped together atop Ren and Lera's own.

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Insitute (10)] has posed.

"Ren-chan!" Lera cries out, "Endo-san! W-We've gotta hold this thing!"

It is all she can do, though. She can see Ami and Garnet move in closer -- not to mention Mai's furious display -- and she knows that they have to keep pushing the energy blast back. She squeezes her eyes shut, then she inhales. It's shuddering; the energies slamming against the blast that she pushes back send shockwaves through, and rattle her.

It hurts.

<Camry. Let's keep it up.>


<Pose Tracker> Garnet [None] has posed.

"AGGGHHH!!!!" Garnet is wracked in pain by the energy. She just can't take the punishment anymore. It's just... too much!

Her form flickers and her body instantly snaps back to normal, her hands releasing the Artemis She falls to her knees and does her best to hang on to Kagatsuchi, burned out and exhausted.

COMBAT: Sailor Mercury narrowly braces Alyssa Searrs's PEW PEW Space Lasers!!, taking 6 Fatigue damage!

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.

Now the golden energy wall isn't just slowing -- it's stopped, it's being forced back, an inch at a time in a space that spans miles at an eyeblink. The entirety of the golden field is beginning to thrum -- the field which, mind, is what's preventing everyone from facing the rigors of the void. This creates terrible oscillations, though each is only microseconds long -- chills rack the spine, muscles seize, and in that moment the terrible will of Artemis chooses its chance to strike, to press back, to narrow its beam into a final lance of golden energy, piercing against this torrent laid against it, trying to break through.

It doesn't have to nuke an island, after all. Just a double handful of combative adolescents.

<Pose Tracker> Miyu Greer [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Mikoto's attack reminds Miyu of Sachiko's. One great swing, everything behind it. Whipping around into position to face her, Miyu hard-parries. Miroku, meet Maria. You two have a lot in common.

The sound is like a tolling bell as Maria's vibrating mono-edge pounds the mystically forged greatsword. Miyu's arm is forced back by the raw power of the blow; an uncommon event, but that is an uncommon weapon. Miyu's teeth clench as she and Mikoto float backwards under the impact together, then she shoves, pushing them apart...

Only to meet Mikoto's recent chain-partner Cassandra, now in a furious rage for reasons even a non-android might well find... unclear. These parries need not be nearly so herculean as the one that stopped Mikoto, but they must come much faster, over and over. At first she meets the attack with easy confidence, sidestepping enraged blows, dipping under stabs, rippling like a tail of smoke to avoid each and every swipe. But though her composure remains, her control begins to crumble as they just keep coming, beyond reasonable endurance. Sooner or later there ought to be a gap, a weakness, but every time Cassandra overstretches, she compensates with raw ferocity and further strikes. Soon they are meeting flesh, ripping the synthetic skin, first superficially and then down to the ceramic. It's like being savaged by a bear, the blows ripping her back and forth, until finally, through sheer traumatic frenzy, Cassandra's kusarigama blade lodges deep in Miyu's stomach.

With a brief glance at the wound, Miyu rears back and hacks the chain loose, firing her thrusters to gain distance. She leaves the sickle lodged just where it is, retracting Maria and extending her ion cannon again. She snaps it into position to fire at a sudden surge of energy she detects, but as the reading builds and builds, she lowers the weapon unsteadily. As she looks directly into Kagutsuchi's hellish maw, the heat readout rockets past the allowable parameters and breaks into negative numbers before the sensor shuts down.

"No," she says quietly.

The howling mini-sun that killed a creator goddess fills everything, its scale like a building more than it is a projectile, roaring into Miyu with the hatred of the Child and the hope of its mother. She fires her rockets of course, she throws herself to the side with everything she has, but it still consumes her fully. Her optical sensors overheat and shut down as she rattles nearly apart in the torrent.

She spends some time in the dark.

As her sensors reboot, Miyu jerks, air whipping past her dizzyingly. She can see Kagutsuchi in the distance, and a pale glow on the horizon. She's falling. The heat is scorching her back. She tries to pull her legs under her--

Oh. /Leg/. Not legs. The left one is scorched off below the knee. Can she still get back with just one? For Artemis, she must try.

But on instinct, Miyu first appraises the rest of the situation. "SSO, come in!" she screams, so that she might be heard. There is no answer. She diagnoses the connection. It's fine. "SSO, do you read?!" It's a live channel, she can hear it hiss. They're dead.

Panic surges through every circuit. Miyu ceases to slow her descent with her remaining leg, twisting around to instead blast herself down faster. The heat rapidly exceeds her tolerances, kindling a coal in her torn facial skin, spreading a deep burn through that half of her face, singing the edges of her synthetic hair. She kicks up the thruster anyway, and only swings it back beneath her to slow her down when she can already see the devastated island of Ohtori beneath her. Little correction was needed--geosynchronous orbit has its advantages.

Miyu hits the ground like an asteroid, the soft earth erupting many meters into the air as she churns through it. She is already wading from the shallow hole as she comes to a halt, using her hands to steady her single leg. She hops until she falls.

With a frustrated grimace, Miyu extends the ion cannon and ejects it, grasping the bulbous assemblage and cramming it against the stump of her leg. She jerks at wires, twists them, ties them, engages autorepair mechanisms, until the gun is grafted tight to the stump, an alien prosthetic. It will do.

"Alyssa-ojousama," she calls through their direct uplink. "I'm coming! Make yourself safe, ojousama!"

Sprinting, Miyu sees the Student Council Tower bobbing on the horizon. Normally she could climb up it, but she can't do it with this leg. When she reaches the door, she throws herself into even greater speed to climb the stairs, leaving the bloody bodies of Alyssa's bodyguards behind her. A reckless approach is dangerous in this situation; someone could be waiting. That means nothing to Miyu.

Alyssa, Alyssa, Alyssa, AlyssaALYSSAALYSSA!

The door to the balcony launches from its hinges, and Miyu bursts out onto the grand, almost obscene promenade, this arrogant nose of a corrupt face, all flowers and no honesty. She expects to see a tiny crumpled body. Instead she sees Alyssa.

"Ojousama!" Miyu cries, and if she could cry she would have done so. She rushes to her side, scooping her up in one arm to nuzzle her cheek into the tiny angel's gratefully.

Time stands still then, a photograph of a moment. Miyu's body is poised and cautious, her chaingun pointed at the door, ready to shred anyone who might enter through it. Her cheeks are warm with the one joy she's ever known, that joy so bright and complete that she has never yearned for any other. Is this her daughter, her little sister, her mistress, her saint? Miyu has no preconceptions like that, no boxes to put her feelings. What she and Alyssa are is nameless and total.

The tall silver guardian, the tiny golden angel. A blue sky clear behind, austere marble framing, petals scattered. Beatific. Placid. Innocent. Together again finally, safe in a tiny forever.

<Pose Tracker> Ren Aizawa [Infinity Institute (11)] has posed.

Every inch of her body is screaming by now. A rational person would tell her she's insane for what she's doing -- unable to understand why she doesn't just turn tail and run. If they were to ask her, she would respond by pointing out the sacrifices of everyone here today. Those who fought and fought until they could give no more. Those who willingly jumped on Kagatsuchi's back and followed the great dragon-child and his master Mai into space to put an end to Searrs' nefarious plot.

Her grip is shaking even moreso than before now. It almost feels as though her arms themselves are going to rattle off into nothingneess, followed by the rest of her body. She can tell Heraut is quickly approaching his operational limits -- yet he does not shout in warning, because he too knows this final stand is too important to back away from.

He, like her, believes they can win.

<Pose Tracker> Homura Akemi [Ohtori Academy (9)] has posed.


It is a moment that could last forever.

It does, for everyone but Homura Akemi. The door to the room opens with a nudge of her foot -- and she walks in with a pronounced limp. Blood runs down her cheek and to her chin; it falls, and then it freezes in midair. Behind her, a pool of blood is faintly visible on the floor of the room beyond this inner sanctum. The hand of a soldier lay in it.

Both are cold and distorted into a grey color -- a product of the Puella Magi's time magic, which extends out beyond her, and towards Alyssa Searrs and Miyu Greer. To her eyes, they also have that cold and grey look. Homura looks at them, and the world is silent, except for the sharp ringing in her left ear. There are no softly spoken words and reassurances here. She closes her eyes and takes a breath.


Homura learned that her appearance could make people underestimate her. She accepted that. After she saw the shot from Eclipse 1 destroy Mai Tokiha and Kagutsuchi, she decided that matters had to be taken into her own hands, which led her to this. She thought of Madoka's face -- of Madoka, in Hitomi's arms, hurt because of how far this proceeded.

She decided it was time to stop waiting. She was, once again, being frivolous. She walked through the front doors of the tower -- and relied on the couple of seconds her unassuming appearance could give her. A soldier in the front of the Student Council Tower's foyer stared at her back, as she walked past him.

"How did you get separated from the rest?" he snapped. "You're in serious trouble--and what's that shield? Some toy? You little--"

He walked to her, grabbing her roughly by the shoulder, while the two soldiers ahead of Homura blinked at her in disbelief. He only realized that she was more than she seemed when she /clicked/ her shield into place and time stopped.

"What the fu--"

His surprise at the suspension of physics, unfortunately, distracted him. He didn't see the quite mundane gun in Homura's other hand; she shoved the barrel of the pistol underneath the meat of his jaw, then pulled the trigger. The shot sent a splash of blood across her face -- and he crumpled back, even as she found she didn't hear a word from her left ear.

As time resumed, the two soldiers found two more bullets flying for their chests.


Homura's eyes open -- the left making a small island of white and violet in a sea of red. She swings her pistol up, her hand not even shaking, as she draws her bead. The site of her pistol lined up with Alyssa Searrs' chest. She pulls the trigger six times; the rounds fire from the barrel, rifling making each spin, and then all six jerk to a stop when it slams into frozen time.

So Homura slips the shield back into place. Time suddenly resumes. The droplet of blood from her chin hits the floor -- and the bullets, from seemingly nowhere, fly fatefully at the girl's chest.

Homura looks straight at Miyu Greer, a cold face half-painted in the blood of the dead, before she turns on a heel. She takes a step--

--and then, she is gone, save for the violence left in her wake.

BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa has placed her bid! Endo Naoki and Lera Camry still need to bid!

<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

Lera keeps the shield pointed at the breaking satellite cannon, watching the oscillations that rip through Artemis -- and the way it focuses the beam to a smaller, more piercing lance. Her eyes widen with the realization -- and she shakes her head sharply, before she slams one fist into her palm with a meaty punch. She stood with Ren and Endo through a lot more than this.

She can manage this, too, she tells herself. Her breath shudders, as she draws it in. More pieces of her coat waft off, as she burns through the very last of her mana. It starts to burn inside her body, too; cracks shoot up the frame of Broken Ground.

"I'm not..." she manages, through gritted teeth, "...gonna let you kill all my friends, all my classmates, all my teachers--I'M NOT GONNA LET YOU KILL ANYONE ELSE!"

<Let's end it. Heraut! Stern! Show them what we can do!>

She focuses, in tandem with her friends, amber eyes blazing. Then, the half-dome of energy flips around, pushing back on that focused lance. It tightens around it -- buoyed by the reinforcements of her friends -- and then reverses, the dome's sides twisting to try to snap around the Eclipse 1 and smash into it with every last ounce of power she has.

BEAMWAR! Lera Camry has placed her bid! Endo Naoki still needs to bid!

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (11)] has posed.



Endo pours everything he has into this last push, letting his mana bleed out into Stern. Hope, love, fear, desperation, everything is fed into the violet arcs that pour forth from the Belkan weapon.

They say it in unison, their oath:<I WILL DESTROY MY ENEMIES.>

BEAMWAR! Endo Naoki has placed his bid!
BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry press their advantage, their Blade Storm, Debris Disk, and Strata Excelsior exploding through Alyssa Searrs's Final Ignition for a total of 280 Fatigue damage! Ren Aizawa, Endo Naoki, and Lera Camry are victorious!
BEAMWAR! Ren Aizawa, Lera Camry, and Alyssa Searrs are unable to keep fighting!

<Pose Tracker> Alyssa Searrs [Ohtori Academy (5)] has posed.

It sure doesn't end with a whimper.

Artemis is -- technically -- the pair of curious, interlocking rings that had wrapped around Eclipse 1, turning it from mortal lead to immortal gold. And as the fires of Children and mages, HiME and senshi, the wishes of everyone -- all of that -- pours through it, it's actually the satellite that goes first, imploding under the strain of its own discharge.

The rings begin to shatter next, but they don't just disintegrate -- it's as though their structural failure is leaking light, brilliant and beautiful green light, light that infects the conflagration that was once a satellite.

Light that animates it, infects it... with a soul.

Stare too long into the fireplace and sometimes you see visions in the flames. This is both like and unlike that affect, with a similar itchy sensation on overstimulated, hot eyes. Alyssa Searrs may be a million miles away, but she feels very close right now, almost close enough to touch, to return the strangely warm feeling that was her energy, out here.

It's possible to see her there, her hair still a golden glow, a beacon of light at the top of the Student Council Tower, as she looks through the bars of the Student Council's balcony railing (she's too short to lean on the top). Her tiny hands grip two of them, knuckles whitening, as she stares into the sky. She can't see what's going on up there, but she can feel it, just as surely as she hears the shouts of alarmed soldiers much more nearby. "Miyu..." she whispers longingly to herself, inadvertantly picked up by their direct comm.

She wants with her whole heart to recall her best and only friend so that they can run, both of them flee the violence impending separately upon them, but... her mind isn't ruled by her heart. Now her lip is white too, the blood pooling to one side as she bites it. She isn't just Alyssa, she's Alyssa /Searrs/. She has a responsibility to the ones who raised her... who created her. Who gave them her name -- /and/ her companion.

And so she does not call.

The surprise in her eyes when Miyu arrives anyway is something of true beauty. There's hope, there, the kind of childlike hope someone has when they see an unexpected snowfall and wonder if the schools will close, and will there be enough to build a snowman. It will be squat and strange and perfect. It will melt someday, but that's okay. There will always be another chance to make another one someday. There's all the time in the world.

There's no time at all.

Curled up against Miyu, nestled in her arms, Alyssa's in her safest, happiest place. She knows that nothing bad can happen to her here, no matter what happens.

The gold in her hair finally shimmers out with a painful release, and at first she mistakes the destruction of Artemis for the source of the agony below the neck. Her newly, merely blond hair flops limply around her face.

"Ah-- I guess we lost..."

She reaches up weakly, with the last of her strength, to caress Miyu's cheek.

"It's okay, Miyu. We'll..."

Her eyes are clouding, her voice weakening. It cracks; the loveliest, most golden voice imaginable, failing utterly.

"...go together..."

There is just not enough breath to support it, and now she's not feeling much of anything at all. She glances down just in time to see the crimson painting her gown's lacy white collar, staining the tips of her hair.

Her eyebrows strain to lift, burdened with the whole sky falling upon them. She doesn't have enough strength left to express her surprise.



<Pose Tracker> Lera Camry [Infinity Institute (10)] has posed.

The intensity of the energy that Lera pours into the spell undoes the last of her Barrier Jacket. In the end, she wears the same thing she did this morning: her dirtied, threadbare gym uniform. Her eyelids half-fall, as she watches the rest of it. The final explosion of the satellite, signifying that they are safe -- and then the way the rings shatter, with bright light.

She sees Alyssa through it. She watches the rest play out -- and in the end, she looks down with heavy eyes. She bites her lip, then she slumps her shoulders.

Exhaustion catches up with her. Grief and relief mix together, with the knowledge that the school is safe. She glances, moving like she is suspended in molasses, at Endo and Ren. Broken Ground hangs in her hand, as a cracked bracelet, and then she dips her head down. She lets out something halfway between a sob and a laugh.

<Pose Tracker> Mai Tokiha [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

When Artemis is finally overwhelmed - when the combined forces arrayed in space finally overcome the odds to turn the golden lightning back on the Child that had put all of Ohtori Academy in fiery peril - there's green light. The satellite, burning up, is disintegrating into sparkles of gorgeous emerald light.

Mai Tokiha can scarcely appreciate it. Exhaustion and relief flood her body - the exertion of channelling Kagutsuchi's full power, the realization that Alyssa's plans have finally been put to an end...and then the sight through Artemis's funeral pyre, tragically confirming that she won't threaten anyone ever again.

All things considered, Mai suddenly feels very, very tired.

But the golden aurora is fading. Already, gravity's pull is exerting itself once more, pulling everything and everyone inexorably towards the Earth. At Mai's side, Kagutsuchi seems just as exhausted, and about to fade at any moment...

...and as Mai looks around her, she can see just how worn out - or worse - all her friends and comrades are. Natsuki and Duran, recovering from dealing with point defenses; the Magic Knights, having spent their effort in attack and defense both; Sachiko and poor Takeo, injured from the brutal fight against Miyu; Lera and her companions, exhausted from pushing back the golden lightning; Mikoto and Kozue, having just pulled free of disaster...

Even for those still able to move...solid ground is a long, long way down.

"I brought everyone up here..." She muses aloud, more to herself than to anyone in particular. She breathes out, taking in the beauty of the Earth seen from above one last time. Turns to face Mikoto, the worry in her eyes plain to see - then closes her eyes, almost cringing. "...I'll take responsibility. We're bringing them all home...Kagutsuchi!"

Even exhausted, Mai's Child is loyal - and so the fearsome dragon-phoenix is at her side in a moment. For a moment, she hesitates to even ask - but looks down to the glittering expanse of blue below. "...when we first met. In the water, after the cruise ship...you saved me and Mikoto. Carried us to safety, before I even..." She takes a breath. "...let's do it again. Get everyone back safely."

Kagutsuchi croons softly - some nonverbal message conveyed. There's silence, for a second - and then with a glance back to Mikoto, Mai nods.

All the power she has. The rings at her wrists, the rings at her ankles, the magatama-inscribed cylinders on Kagutsuchi's back - all begin to spin, to blaze, to shine. Beneath the pair - beneath everyone who fought against Miyu and Artemis - a crimson light glows. A shield, fiery substance inscribed with the same triple-teardrop symbol, spreading out to envelop everyone as they descend.

It's burning. As the barrier descends, falls back to earth, it burns - fire against fire, as atmospheric re-entry ignites a ferocious blaze. Gravity, too, is a nemesis to be fought - and Kagutsuchi lets out a cry as HiME and Child try desperately to slow the group's descent. It's overwhelming, and Mai looks around in concern. Everyone present, whether strangers or friends or would-be suitors or family, deserves to make it.

She catches the eyes of her fellow HiME - Natsuki, Kozue, and Mikoto - and gives them a brief, if strained, smile - before turning her full attention on sustaining the barrier. Her rings are glowing brighter than ever, nearly eclipsing her from sight - and somehow, it might not be enough. It seems like too much for them to manage, as hues of orange and red shift to brighter shades until everything seems to be a blinding white...

And then, abruptly, peace.

The blinding light, the oppressive heat - it all fades away. The atmosphere - real atmosphere, again - is cool, a breeze carrying the scent of the sea. As eyes adjust to darkness, the location becomes clear - the lawn in front of Ohtori's main entry, perfect greenery marred only by the tire tracks of military vehicles...

And a great, spiraling scorch mark that demarks the landing area for those who ventured into space.

After everything that happened, it's finally peaceful. Finally quiet, and devoid of that sense of peril that had loomed over everything. Thirteen brave souls ascended to the heavens to save everyone, and twelve rest safe and sound on the Ohtori lawn.

...but as the last vestiges of heat from that barrier fade on the wind, there is no trace of the dragon - or of Mai Tokiha.

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (10)] has posed.

Mikoto meets Miyu's sword again, teeth bared, growling as she forces everything into her blow. It's not enough. She's shoved away -- and then Kozue dives in to struggle anew, never stopping, never giving in.

She knows in that moment that Kozue, too, would be a terrible enemy. She's glad to have her as an ally, instead.

But --

There are other allies Mikoto has on this battlefield.

She hears Kagutsuchi, and knows, in that moment, exactly what it must do. She looks to Miyu - and to Kozue, her strength depleted, apart from her enemy but not far enough away.

In an instant Mikoto moves, springing off of a piece of the satellite to grab Kozue in a grip which betrays her strength even in such a tired and wounded state. She angles Miroku again and springs off, to gain the trajectory she needs to get to another piece of debris, summoning her sword back to her hand a moment later. Springing from satellite piece to satellite piece, her feet crunch the remains of a solar panel as she leaps away.

The fireball, when it passes, is hot against her skin - but neither of the HiMEs who were still engaging her are engulfed. Miyu is, and when the blaze passes...

She's nowhere to be found.

Mikoto feels an incredible sense of relief, relief which shames her even as she breathes out in a heavy sigh.

But Kagutsuchi's wrath wasn't simply meant for Miyu. Artemis, too, strains under the force of its fire, and of the combined efforts of the other magical girls who fight. The satellite crumples, and then the rings shatter, with golden light which calls to mind that small child so far below. Her enemy gone, Mikoto watches the final blaze of Alyssa's Child, frowning.

And Mai, beautiful, shining Mai, is not willing to let them all shatter in the same way. She gathers them up with the largest shield she's ever made, guides them back to the earth.

The words 'atmospheric re-entry' aren't in Mikoto's vocabulary.

All she knows is that the world is so very hot, and Mai's barriers are the only thing keeping the rest of the heat on the outside.

"Mai can do it!" She calls, whether or not Mai is close enough to hear, urging her on as Mai's light burns brighter and brighter and it becomes too bright to see --

When she comes to, on heated ground in a burning circle, she's safe and alive and on solid ground again. In a moment, she's pushing herself to her feet, searching for the one face amongst them she most needs to find.

Mikoto begins to shake again, looking at the girls and the burnt ground. She's not here. Miroku loosens in her hands, before her grip tightens and she plants it into the still-warm earth. "Mai," she says, her voice shaking. "Mai! Mai's not here!" She rushes to grip Kozue where she'd fallen beside her, tears in her eyes. "/Where's Mai?!/"

Seeing no answers in her eyes, she runs to Natsuki, grabbing her arm desperately. Memories of conversations with a friend emerge, and the pieces slip into place, terribly, the words spilling out before she can even catalogue and process them. "Mai-- Mai has to live! Has to!"

She runs to Takeo now, almost sobbing, shaking him where he lies. "Because-- this feeling is-- is love!" Her voice breaks, and she /does/ sob, now. "I love Mai!"

And here, too, there is no absolution, because the thing Mikoto is searching for is something none of the assembled warriors can give. She turns to look up at the sky, and screams as the tears fall:


<Pose Tracker> Kozue Kaoru [Ohtori Academy (8)] has posed.

By the time her sickle's blade finds its way into Miyu's stomach, she's already worn herself out beyond reasonable endurance. Her chest is heaving so rapidly and shallowly that one would swear she wasn't breathing save for the strangled sounds out of her mouth. She's not informing Greer of this fact though, she's denying it even to herself.

The other blade that was never intended to be used this way is raised again in a manner that the android would have found sluggish. It hardly matters, because the chain has been severed, Kozue vaguely comprehends that she's already leaving. Already out of reach. She takes the swipe anyhow, not even coming close as Kozue floats away and the androids thrusters take her far out of reach.

Her other hand gropes for a blade that isn't there. 'Oh.' Her mind thinks, an indequate word for this feeling, as her consciousness starts to slip. She feels a hand gripping her, and mumbles something unintelligible, gratitude maybe. Golden light takes its place in her eyes, so bright and warm that it could overwhelm even the most shining of memories.

And bring new ones.

She's beyond hatred, anger, even fear right now. She's just floating, a passive witness to the final moments of Alyssa SEARRS. She can't even feel the pang of guilt that she'd surely feel later. But she will feel it. She'll feel it and put it away, in a different place than where she stores them in a different place than after she infuriates Mai Tokiha, or makes Sayaka Miki feel like she's a terrible person, or even hurts her brother. She won't feel it as much, after what Alyssa and Miyu did... but she will feel it.

When she does feel again its the heat, intense and wondrous, the passion and resolve of Mai Tokiha made manifest like a bonfire offering unto a dragon god. She keeps her eyes open long enough, formulates some inane plan in her head as to what to do, something with her Child, when she doesn't even have the strength to do anything, except catch Mai Tokiha's eyes. They soften, just for a moment, and then again her vision is consumed with light, of a different kind, that brings peace.

The first thing she hears when she's no longer insensate is 'Mai' from Mikoto's forlorn lips. Kozue struggles to keep her eyes open, as she's gripped and demanded where answers are. Normally, she'd answer with sarcasm, anger, something for the unwanted shake, but she feels compelled to tell Mikoto something. Her mouth opens, then closes, she has nothing... no answers... nothing at all to match her grief, Mikoto's declaration of love. The kind of love Mikoto she thinks is talking about is such a foreign concept to her. As she lays back down upon warm earth and charred grass she whispers, "Thanks Mai." She blinks back the wet, and just lets herself lay still.

<Pose Tracker> Lancelot [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.

Takeo's eyes snap open as he is shook my Mikoto. He sits up his left arm, just refusing to work, but steadies himself with his good arm as he speak. "Mikoto-chan." He says softly, to try and calm her. "We'll find her. I swear it." He gets into a more kneeling position and opens his arm to her to offer a hug.

He looks up to the sky as he does, his face pale from blood loss and total exhaustion. He doens't show the pain in the mostly limp dead shoulder staining his shirt red. He just smiles instead to Mikoto. "She came back once Mikoto-chan." He says as calmly as he can. "I'm sure she'll find her way back again."

<Pose Tracker> Miyu Greer [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<SoundTracker> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr3j69mQatA

If anyone could have been fast enough, it would have been Miyu. She's already engaged the firing mechanism on her chaingun by the time the light reflecting from Homura's body passes through her eyes and hits her sensors. It's shifted slightly in her direction before anything else happens.

Then the bullets. A light pattering sensation against the inside of Miyu's arm. Thump thump, thump thump.

The chaingun rips a shrieking trail of exploding stone and crackling marble across the grand entry to the tower, one that rends its way through Homura as fast as a lashing whip. Not even Miyu herself could have dodged it. She had been primed for this and she could shift her firing angle much faster than she could shift her body. But by the time this blistering storm of tungsten rounds is pounding the floor behind Homura, Homura is gone without a trace.

The balcony is quiet. The four chaingun barrels are swivelling smoothly to a gradual halt. Smoke rises lazily from shattered marble. The air is faintly warm. With a tinkle, a stone vase slumps into itself.

Miyu remains still. The four barrels are so slow now that they seem to twine together, an optical illusion that resolves itself as they finally spin to a silent halt. A soft breeze shifts feathery blonde hair against the false skin of Miyu's cheek, and the machine-girl inhales, briefly and tightly, as though there is a bomb in her chest that will go off if shaken. She keeps her eyes straight ahead of her, her expression frozen. As long as she doesn't look down, there's still a chance. A .001% chance, less maybe, it doesn't matter. There's a chance it didn't happen. A chance Miyu didn't feel what she thought she felt.


Miyu feels something in her seize up, and she looks. She's forced to look. She sees the wet stain, and that face. She's sleepy.

Miyu sheathes her weapon with her arm, her real arm, and hurriedly cups Alyssa's hand to her cheek. She is cursed with clarity. The valve which would release her excess pain and dampen it with numbness doesn't function with her, it just builds and builds. But she is blessed with emptiness. She can just fill and fill.

It's not okay, Alyssa. It's not.

So much of that cheek Alyssa is touching is torn or burnt, but there's no time to move the angel's hand. There's no time to tell her everything, to spill out the hours and days of words Miyu has painted like a mural over her every inner surface. There's no time to go to the warm fields and hear a sad song. There's no time to look at paintings or catch a firefly or lace ribbons into Alyssa's hair. There's just a few seconds left of joy in the entire world and they all taste like a black ocean of hurt.

There's only one thing left Miyu can do for Alyssa, and it's the hardest thing she's ever done.

"Yes," Miyu whispers, grinding her will and her heart against the words so they come out smooth, regardless of the damage. "/Together/."

There just isn't enough of Miyu left to smooth the last word, but she has to say it, she has to say it one more time.

"Alyssa!" she chokes, and it feels like reaching out, it feels like seeing.

Miyu holds a tiny hand to her cheek until even she cannot pretend it is warm.

Then, placing that sleeping palm gently on Alyssa's chest, Miyu hefts Alyssa slowly, cradling her delicately closer. Even now, her cheeks are dry, when all she wants is for her eyes to shatter with the weight of sobs.

"Together, ojousama," Miyu agrees, taking a single step forward.

Their four mittens part, and a tiny snowball remains behind. The smallest thing in the whole wide world.

"We'll wait for the snow together."