2018-05-08 - SPACE JAIL: Unarmed Armistice

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Title: Unarmed Armistice

Without their terrible black blades, two bitter enemies form an uneasy truce.


Mikoto Minagi, Endo Naoki


Outer Space

OOC - IC Date:

2018-05-08 - 2015-04-16

.******************************** Prism Flower ********************************.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Outer Space +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*
 Earth's little corner of space, called its geospace, is characterized by a
 fading haze of gravity-trapped gas, a charged magnetic field, and an
 increasing clutter of drifting satellite garbage no one's cleaned up. Pale
 moon above, bluegreen earth below, the atmosphere lights up with an orange
 glow during the day, and paints the cities in electric yellow dots at night.

 Without the atmosphere or ambient light, the diamond stars are sharply cut.
 Between them are unthinkably vast stretches of frozen nothing. Their number
 seems infinite, and while most are almost as desolate as the void in which
 they float, others contain strange beings and worlds.
*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+* Players +*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*+*

<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<Soundtracker> Mary Elizabeth McGlynn - When You're Gone https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHs6CwNcXP4

Taking a piece of my heart -
That's how it always starts -
When you're gone...

Even in the depths of unconsciousness, Mikoto calls out. "Miroku," she murmurs, and she reaches out for it. But here, now, Miroku does not come back to her. Her hand drops uselessly back to her side, and she sleeps.

Laid against the uncomfortable floor, the waking world eludes her for some time. Her dreams are not harsh obsidian, nor do they feature the black of Fallen Stern's blade. They are still fitful things, but they are different, now. She dreams that she is climbing in her mountain home with her Lord Brother. She dreams that he slips. She dreams that she catches him in her hands - and she cannot hold on. She dreams that she lets him fall. She dreams that she is all alone in the world...

Mikoto awakes with start, pushed up from the force of her guilt, and her first word, afraid and alarmed, is this: "Lord--" No. No. It was a dream, she realises, and the terrified sounds die in her throat. She pants for breath, once, twice, thrice, and then she shakes her head and dismisses it. Because she's remembering the waking world, now. The beach, the hand which wasn't...

Mikoto gasps anew, horrified, and cries and reaches out: "Miroku!"

But even though she calls to it, body, heart, and soul - Miroku does not come back to her. Desperation is plain on her face as she searches the room, as if perhaps it is hiding there. But all she finds are the walls of a cell, smooth and chilly and alien, green light, the form of an unknown boy - all utterly unimportant, dismissed in a heartbeat because Miroku is not here and she cannot be without it.

"Miroku--!" Hers is a blade which has always come at a word - not a thought, like the ephemeral Elements of other HiME. It is bound to her, wrapped around her soul and fit so perfectly into its jagged obsidian edges, and they must always be together, and that is why Mikoto has always been able to bring it back. Yet still, Miroku does not come back to her.

"... Miroku..." Her breath comes ragged and she closes her eyes and listens to the depths of her soul desperately. She cannot feel it at all, cannot hear it at all. It has always, always been there, shared her obsidian heart, nestled in the back of her mind, laced into those sharp edges of her soul. Must always be there. Without it, she is incomplete. Without it, she is nothing. She must. She must...

She must get out of here. She must find it. Mikoto cannot be without Miroku.

There is a ragged hole in her obsidian heart and she cannot abide it for one more moment.

Determination sets in those sharp eyes as they open. The way out is not blocked, only veiled. She will tear through. Mikoto launches herself upwards with devastatingly practiced motions, leaping forward as if to rip the forcefield aside -

- and it denies her, blasting her back. She yelps as she's shocked, cries out as she hits the ground. The wind is knocked from her pained chest all at once, and the sound is strangled. "... Miroku!" Mikoto chokes out, struggling to right herself against the pain, but her arms quiver and shake and they, too, deny her for those few precious moments. "No! NO! Miroku!!"

The futility hits her as Mikoto realises that even if she does stand, another shock like that will knock even someone like her out entirely. She's never encountered these forcefields before - she could not have guessed how terrible light could be. She slumps bonelessly against the ground, lays her head against her forearm, and cries. They are bitter tears, shame and frustration and regret.

She must get out. She must protect it.
She cannot get out. She cannot protect it.
So she just... collapses in on herself.

"No... no... Miroku... please, Miroku..." Mikoto's voice catches with sobs as she begs, even though begging has never once worked. Her voice is quiet and defeated as she slumps down against the diamond-patterned floor, wondering if, perhaps, she deserves this for not being strong enough to resist. She doesn't seem like she acknowledges her cellmate at all, such is the depth of her despair.

The dark sword of the Shepherds - that terrible obsidian monster who has caused so much pain and suffering - is so utterly defenceless, so utterly at Endo's mercy in this moment. It must be her - who else would call out so single-mindedly for Miroku, the blade she'd introduced him to when they fought alongside each other in the Witch's Labyrinth?

She never would have allowed him to see her like this if she knew.

What a singular opportunity...

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo did not last very long, on the beach. Not long after Garnet was split in two, barely long enough to take a frenzied swing before he was dropped to the sand below.

And he has spent most of his time asleep, since then. Waking maybe once to see blurry green surroundings, hard yellow light, and a body slumped near his. Then back to sleep again. Finally, though, he begins to rouse. Mikoto's frantic yells are at least helpful for that, his eyes opening and his body rolling away from the wall he's pressed into. It's an awkward motion, as are the ones that come next, his limbs flopping back until the tingling numbness in them abates and he can actually use his hands and arms as actual appendages instead of rubbery noodles.

Like Mikoto, his first instinct is to find his weapon. Both out of instinct, and because he's rather quickly aware of who he shares his cell with. Also like Mikoto, he finds the purple stone that he keeps around his neck terrifyingly absent. He twists and turns, seeking to no avail.

<Stern? Stern!> He doesn't use words, but thoughts. But there's no response, no feedback, nothing to indicate the ever-present link that Device and master have shared for the past year and a half. He is alone.

Except for Mikoto, in a heap nearby. An enemy, but there are other enemies, who--

Things come back very fast. Garnet again. Faces on the beach. The hand. It's his turn to scramble toward the yellow wall, but Mikoto's at least taught him not to touch it.

"Fate! Steven!" He calls, his voice echoing down the hall. "Sirene!"

Nevermind, he's definitely touching it. The hand that does immediately snaps backward, spasming shut with a hiss.

There is only one person left to address. "Where are they?" Endo asks Mikoto this. His tone is more much accusatory than absolutely necessary.

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

The thoughts save Endo. Mikoto is many things - a thought-reader not amongst them.

Her heart skips a beat as she realises her chest is flat on the ground, and yet, for once, there is not the comforting feeling of a bead there. She straightens to a sitting position, grasping desperately at her shirt, around her neck. "No," she whispers, hoarse from tears as she feels no cord, no indication as to his precious trinket. "... Lord Brother..."

To her, it is just a necklace, and yet it has a dark power which could be instantly recognised as magical to anyone who was able to examine it while she was unconscious.

For a time she is absorbed in her own misery, but she comes to realise that there is a boy, here, and he is yelling. Examining him with those wary yellow eyes, he's a stranger - a boy, certainly, perhaps with a passing resemblance to hated enemies, but a boy like any other. Normal, unremarkable. Mikoto knows Endo's civilian name - but not his face. It means that instead of snarling in recognition, she looks away again, ashamed and embarrassed to be seen so weak and helpless. It is such a human reaction, for someone so wild and vicious.

She winces as she hears him touch the forcefield. She's familiar with the shock it delivers, now.

That he demands answers from her is strange, and Mikoto looks back towards the challenge, frowning. She searches his face for some explanation. She is wary, yes - but for the first time around him she is not automatically unkind, and concern gradually overtakes her features as she realises this is just a normal boy, trapped here by alien forces. He must be agitated because of the confinement. She certainly is.

She doesn't make the connection with the distant purple-black fire of Fallen Stern's attack on the ship at all.

"... dunno," Mikoto says, finally, and it is unlike anything he has heard from her before, awkward and unsure. "Other..." She pauses, looking around the room, settles on, "... cells, probably. Must've captured lots..."

Mikoto sits back, tilting her head as she considers how to best reassure this boy who is, clearly, just angry because he is afraid, like she is. She doesn't really... know what to do here. What would Mai do? Well, Mai would pretend to smile - a light frown crosses Mikoto's face as her thoughts go there - and reassure them that everything would be okay. And the principles of that are sound, aren't they? Mai's better at people than Mikoto is.

With an uncertain noise, Mikoto tries to smile to him, reassuringly. But it just doesn't fit on her face, the way her torn heart is raging, the way the boy seems so accusatory towards her, and it quickly fades as she glances away. That same frown replaces it, again, as Mikoto hums frustration through lips tightly pressed together.

Mai might be better at people, but Mai is not better at being Mikoto, and Mikoto can't do it any more, not even to reassure a stranger in an alarming situation. Mikoto can only be Mikoto.

So she looks down at her hands, and she speaks the truth. "... scary, huh..?"

For once, her own manner isn't starkly terrifying, just awkward and unsure. She is not harsh, or sharp, not a monster or a blade; she is just a girl, like any other, small and wounded and afraid. She is just a girl, trying her best to be kind to someone she views as uninvolved. She has no clue how bitter it must look.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo doesn't seem to find that answer satisfactory. Unfortunately, there's not very much he can do about it, considering Mikoto seems about as able to leave as he does. He turns to make a few more insistent calls down the hall, and when he's met with no answer he slumps back against the green wall of the cell and plants his face in his hands.

He tries not to let his voice waver too much when he speaks again, tries to keep the stress and sadness and fear from overwhelming him. It helps that Mikoto is something he can focus on. "Scary..." He repeats, and some of it is in agreement. There's a silence as Endo tilts forward forward, becoming more compact, yet more droopy at the same time.

A moment, and his sunken voice mumbles from between his palms: "What do you have to be afraid of?" The question might not make sense, at first. Until he adds: "I thought you were a monster."

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

It's hard, to admit things are frightening, but maybe if Mikoto shares her fear, she can make this boy feel better. After all, if she's afraid...

... she can't imagine how he must be feeling.

Mikoto herself is a little droopy as he slumps down the cold wall, a hand clutching at her side as she grimaces. "Oh, no," she mutters, to herself, crestfallen, sadness crossing her features in the most obvious way. "I was almost better, too... Mai's gonna be mad..."

And there is fondness, there, beyond the regret over disappointing her, a strange shadow of guilt over her features as the steel press crushes anew. The way she says that name - it's clearly someone important to her.

Everyone has their weaknesses. Even, it seems, a monster like Mikoto.

But this boy doesn't know that. He couldn't.

She nods, to the word echoed back. But the question makes her look up, a frown creasing her features. Is she really that frightening, that she seems like someone who cannot be afraid? Her answer is hesitant. "I..."

Too hesitant, hesitant enough for him to complete his thought before she can reply.

For just a moment, Mikoto looks as though she's been struck, shock on the way her breath catches in her throat, the way her eyes narrow to pin-pricks, the way she jerks back from chin to core.

This boy doesn't know that. He couldn't. So why --

Pain replaces itself with suspicion as Mikoto's eyes narrow sharply, tension knotting at her body. "How?!" It is one demanding word, as much as she can manage as her torn heart hammers in her chest. How can he know this? How could he have seen the truth of her so quickly? Who is he?!

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

It's not particularly satisfying, to see how much that hurt Mikoto. Not especially, considering how much else there is to worry about. He could have not said it, of course, but he couldn't think of anything else to say that would have been better. Or that she deserved.

He doesn't answer her question. Or, maybe he just doesn't know how to. His head tilts up a bit, sunken eyes regarding the girl across from him briefly. He scrubs his eyes, before the moistness there becomes too evident-although the fact he makes the gesture at all is enough to give away how distraught he is at their predicament.

"We're stuck here." He says, instead. "I don't...know here. The orange lady. She did this, and I can't-" His fingers clench together, but there's a distinct impression he wishes that something was between them. "I have to get out. I have to help them." He can't lose any more.

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

He scrubs at his eyes. He speaks words. They are not the words Mikoto seeks.

They are not an explanation.

Mikoto growls a low warning, but before she can reply - before she can demand it of him - she hears something tap-tap-tapping down the hall.

Mikoto glances aside, as a robonoid drifts through on its patrol, and - there, even more than her suspicion, is the sharpness she has shown to Endo, time and again in a wave of overwhelming force. It's a look which assesses her enemies in a moment, harsh and savage and fearless. She turns towards it, sharp and quick, and her nostrils flare as she thinks, her lips curling over suddenly-grit teeth.

It's small, perhaps not impossible to attack. Round, difficult to strike - the limbs, perhaps, though it seems to float independently of them. Smooth, likely hard, like the rest of this place. Perhaps shatterable, perhaps impenetrable. Mikoto clicks her tongue against her teeth in frustration at the uncertainty, an annoyed hiss of breath which can only be likened to a spitting cat. Either way, it doesn't seem possible with her hands; they are designed to strike human weak points in order to let her get away and retrieve Miroku. She'll need to fashion a tool. Rip its limb off, use that, perhaps. It is not a straight line, there is a grip which can be fashioned.

She decides all this in a moment, as it passes on its way, jagged legs skittering across the diamond-patterned floor.

"Jasper," Mikoto states, finally, and her voice is cold. "Referred to as Jasper." That's the name she'd heard the green one call her, on the beach.

Her eyes slip back from the retreating robot to the boy against the wall. They, too, are cold.

"And I'm Mikoto. And you're..."

It is a quiet, direct demand, with no room for argument. Mai has taught her how to introduce herself in polite society. She is not polite at all, now.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo's head too turns toward the sphere-shaped robot that scoots past the cell door. He doesn't see it the way Mikoto does, not exactly. He's not trained to break down it's weak points, to kill it quickly and efficiently and use what's left to keep on killing more of them after. If he could, he'd hit it. Wherever is fine.

He also notes Mikoto's response to it, the shift in her attitude from distraught to overtly hostile. It's something closer to what he was expecting. And when she speaks Jasper's name, he gives a nod after a few still moments.

And then she asks his. His eyes had returned to the floor in the interim, but they rise again when his cellmate asks his name.

It would be smarter to not tell her. It would put the people he loves at even more risk, if she came for them. It would be smarter to act in secret, smarter still to stop her from ever finding that terrible sword and the monster that comes with it ever again.

But Endo is not smart. And Endo wants her to know that he knows what she's done, and what she is. So he tells her, with just a hint of defiance in his voice:


<Pose Tracker> Mikoto Minagi [Ohtori Academy (11)] has posed.
<Soundtracker> t.A.T.u - Perfect Enemy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovaZ0KfIWiE

'I... couldn't defeat him... I broke him, but I couldn't defeat him.' Always.

'And Endo, broke me, again. If Endo did this to me, what would Endo do to - someone like Yumi? I withstand. But Endo is too strong. I won't let Endo destroy them... won't let Endo destroy me.' That.

'... Endo, Fallen Stern's wielder, if I find, I'll kill. Endo is my enemy, now. And I won't forgive. I can't allow it.' Boy.

He is here. When he speaks his name with that hint of defiance, those terrible golden eyes flood with the same cold hatred which chills her blood. Looking into her eyes, he can see the instantaneous change, as Endo goes from being an unknown suspicion to Endo Naoki. She snarls like an animal, tense and ready to spring up from her sitting position in a moment, shown in the way her hands flatten against the floor, the way her weight rolls back as if preparing to fling herself up. She doesn't say a word, now, vicious and terrible and utterly inscrutable. There can be no words said, between enemies. It means she reveals nothing of her sins, of the weight of her sorrows - only cold rage.

But -

- but something makes her pause in her nascent violence, settling her weight again, her shoulders dropping back down, and the entire sequence lasts only the length of her snarl. "Tch," Mikoto hisses against her teeth, halfway to words as she shakes her head, bitter and resigned. She cannot deny the way those lean muscles of her arms quiver with the effort. Cannot deny her priorities.

It's the broken chopsticks, again. She can't advise Kasagami not to break herself on the altar of her anger, and then throw herself into a situation where she would surely be decimated again in the name of her own prideful wrath. That would be hypocritical, and that is like lying. If she fought Endo in the depths of this new enemy's territory, captive and weak, she would make a liar of herself, and Mikoto Minagi so hates lies on her breath.

"... stay away," she warns him, instead, after a tense quiet moment as she steels herself to speak with her enemy. Her voice is low and threatening, and she doesn't take those cold golden eyes off of him for a moment. She is unkind, now - so full of hatred for Endo Naoki. "I don't need Miroku to kill." And there is nothing about her which suggests a lie to those words. Mikoto's body is a tool perfectly designed for destruction, after all.

And yet - bladeless, disrupted, face messed with tears - she is so shamefully aware of how pitiful that warning might sound. Normally, she knows the places to strike. Now - she's not sure she has the strength even for that. She still hurts so much from the forcefield. She's still so weak from the disruptor.

And he wasn't wrong. They are stuck here. They are stuck here, and her constant obsidian companions are not here. At first, it makes her growl again, but the reality soon hits her, muting her expression and her bestial voice.

All is the will of the sword. And it is gone. It is lost to her and she has failed and her life ought to be forfeit but she is still alive and it is wrong. It is wrong, wrong, wrong, she cannot be without Miroku, cannot leave its side, cannot leave it unprotected. And she must never be without her necklace, the one thing which will guide her to her Lord Brother's side - yet it, too, is gone.

But foremost, Miroku is gone, and she cannot call it to her side. It would not abandon her; they share the same blood. Whatever that Gem did to her... she is alone amidst her enemies.

Mikoto has failed in her most sacred duty, and despair once again overwhelms the hatred in her terrible catlike eyes as they well with tears, as if simply saying the name of her blade has summoned in her an awful kind of sorrow.

Her gaze drops from her enemy to the floor, those tears leaking from her eyes as she tries to blink them away. Her voice is quieter still, and it shakes with loathsome fragility even as her lips curl in a growl and her hands curl into fists on the cold ground. The way her ears twitch and her nostrils flare, she's still quite aware of him, even now she's looking away. "... I'll destroy Endo... I will... but... Jasper has, broken me, more than Endo ever did. Broken my heart." It's a strangely honest admission, to someone she hates so much, but Mikoto is so wounded by her desperation that she scarcely notices the slip.

"... here, Jasper's my target," Mikoto returns her gaze to Endo's as she snarls her name with that same terrible hatred she speaks Endo's with. It's as though the names of her enemies are a terrible curse. "Understand?"

She is all sharp edges as she demands his comprehension, tension knotting at her again, as if she fully expects him to throw caution to the wind and attack her while she's down. Or as if she can't believe she's offering even a temporary truce to a hated enemy.

Perhaps both.

... perhaps she'd feel differently, if she knew he was thinking of preventing her from finding her purpose again.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

Endo might have expected Mikoto to reach violently. There is a slight tension to his body, ragged and slumped as it is. A momentary tightening of muscles, to defend himself if Mikoto decided to be the monster that she's proclaimed she is.

But she doesn't attack. He doesn't either. He could have before, perhaps, but that time has long since passed. He doesn't bother to tell Mikoto that, though. She'd already know that, or she wouldn't believe it anyway.

He certainly believes she's sincere, about destroying him.

He believes she's equally as sincere about Jasper. They're the same, after all. He acknowledges that, painful as it might be. Both of them are broken, weakened, separated from the things that make them themselves. Power that they need to fulfil their duties, to protect...or to kill.

Maybe those are the same thing. Maybe they have to be. For a moment he remembers Mikoto's words, her tear-streaked face and obsidian shards high above Shinjuku: "... if it's for people I love, I'll be a monster."

Endo's gaze turns to the door, and then Mikoto again. "Jasper," He replies, "Is my enemy. I won't let her take anyone else." That, it seems, is agreement.

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

To protect, or to kill? They have always been the same, to Mikoto Minagi.

Her Lord Brother will have enemies - she must destroy them. Must know how to destroy them. Must practice, every day, at destroying them. Must learn it so much deeper than words said and gestures followed. Must engrave it into muscle and reaction again and again and again, deeper and deeper and deeper, until it becomes instinct.

It's instinct which first drives her to attack Endo. What makes her stop are her feelings.

She's not entirely comfortable with it, and it shows in the way her chin lowers to protect her vulnerable neck, the way her shoulders bristle with tension. It doesn't feel right, stopping. She's not meant to stop. There is an enemy before her, and she must destroy them.

... but she can't. She is bladeless and weakened and addled and she cannot afford to fight on two fronts, amidst so many powerful enemies.


The enemy of her enemy is not, necessarily, her friend. Certainly not, here, the way those terrible golden eyes track Endo's movements, the tension and the glance. She doesn't take her eyes off of him for a moment, caring nothing for how unsettling that attention might be.

He has her full, undivided attention. How flattering.

She takes in a breath, through teeth held together but not quite clenched any more. It feels so wrong to speak with him, and at first, she just nods, makes an affirmative noise.

When finally she speaks, it is with that same cold and terrible assessment, and there is no hint of a flinch to her as she says it, no hint of regret. "We escape. Kill Jasper, if we can. Then, I'll kill Endo. Not before." How... reassuring.

<Pose Tracker> Endo Naoki [Juuban Public School (12)] has posed.

It's almost hard to reconcile the sobbing, distraught girl from a few minutes ago with the menacing presence that now occupies the cell with Endo. Hard in some ways, and easier in others. This is what he expected. It's easier to see Mikoto as a threat. It hurts less than thinking of her as a broken, scared child. As thinking she's the same as him.

"Fine." He's probably not agreeing so much to the last part of the plan, but the first is really the important part. "But we have to find a way out." Which is harder. He glances at the yellow barrier once again.

"And then we can find Jasper." There are likely other steps first, of course. He needs Fallen Stern. Mikoto needs Miroku. There's a chill that the last thought gives him, remembering how terriftying Mikoto is with that blade-and the thing that bears the same name.

But this, for now, is the only choice he has. The only way to save Fate, and everyone else. So this is what he will do.

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

Mikoto is not a normal girl. She tries, sometimes. She's always rebuffed, one way or another. She's... different.

Perhaps it's a comfort, because she does not seem much like a girl at all, right now. She is a force of destruction which happens to bear resemblance to a human being. Those terrible bright eyes betray no hint of compassion or consideration for her enemies.

Including him.

"Everything has its weakness," Mikoto says. "Cell's no different. Something inside, something outside..." she grunts, a frustrated noise, as she spares a quick glare towards the light field which hurt her so. "... I'm not made to solve puzzles. Made to fight."

She clicks her tongue against her teeth, and breathes out through them. "... but I'll figure it out. I must. And, then -" - there is something like fear in her eyes. It can't be, but at the same time, she glances away for a second time, this time towards her fists on the floor, as if trying to hide the emotion. It's hopeless. She's always shown her feelings so plainly.

Endo asked what a monster like her had to be afraid of.

"... Jasper."

What a succinct answer.