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Big Eyes, Small Mouth (BESM): Nexus Earth - Chapter 14: Aradia

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Many years before, Aradia took in Refugees from Arcadia. Sadly this wasn't all that came through. The Blight, Wormwood, also set upon a tiny corner of the world, isolated behind powerful barriers or Aradian magics. There it has remained, the sole blight upon the glorious peaceful realm of Aradia.

Thhe destruction of realms, dimensions, worlds, however you term them, is not new. This threat rose once before in times of antiquity, before even the Precursors. It has come again, and now, The bravew Warriors of Satoshi, the Ruler of the Dalaraan Empire, The SPiritual Guide for the empire, they stand at the cusp of a war to save or end all things.

With them stand travelers both planned and unplanned, of the dimensional and temporal pathways, thrust into the swirling chaos with only minimal guidance, and a burden of responsibility beyond all ken.

ONe remembers ancient ways, her people all but extinct, her slumber of millienia interrupted, her fate tied to these new comrades.

The story cannot be told without the sole remaining female Amaha, Sakura. Revealed by her cousin to be the Master Key of the realm of Aradia, only her forgotten power can unseal the barriers isolating Aradia. The Young halfblood faces a great decision, risking her life to undo the seal, or risking her sole remaining relatives, and everyone around them.

It was never really a decision. Sakura had been trained for this, to fight on for the betterment of others over herself. How could she deny this fate if it was to be hers. She sat with Kai in the Meteor, the Mecha itself positioned between the tuning fork bows of the Madesico, the largest, most powerful ship of the fleet Kai had mustered to combat this threat. The Aegis Class Chronicle was being left to defend the Homeline space station that had been pulled along in the warp field, if the need arose they could use it to escape to one of the few remaining realities. It was all they could afford, now.

Any other time, the cockpit would be arranged for each person to have their own seat. This time, Sakura sat with him, on a seat that accomodated them both, on the left was the slot occupied by Senbonzakura, his Zanpukto. To the right her own Crimson Blossom was slotted. The two swords were humming in a sychnronized resonance, They too were cousins of a sort.

He smiled and nodded. "It's time Sakura." There was no gate, so they'd be using the warpfield itself from the entire fleet spun up to full power, to forge ahead, wuth one chance. The lines of his Command Mantra began to shine brightly, as The Meteor's sword split into millions of pieces, forming a large gate. "Gate of The Infinite, now open, Onward to Bright Aradia."

The gate shifted, and a cascade was begininning,from the feedback from the world's defensive locks.

"Now Sakura."

She spoke with clear tones, as everyone heard them, "Hear my call and grant passage, I the Master Key of this world, Bid these locks open." As she spoke the words, The gate shifted, the cascade calmed and she could feel more power than ever before flow through her. The cascade storm of light vanished, and Aradia, home to her father, home to Angels, long the symbol of light and order lay before them.

She slumpted into his arms, the usage of power leaving her feeling exhausted, Still they could only go forward now. "Admiral, Take us in." The fleet moved forward, with the Nadescio going last the gate collapsing as the bits were recalled, reforging into the great blade of the Meteor, as they emerged on the other side, the gate now firmly closed behind them. Kai could feel the door lock behind them, and he knew there'd be no escape here.

Below them what should have been a blue-white world was mostly brown and sickly green. What land could be seen was that of wastelands, and volcanic floes. It was not the Aradia of Sakura's memories.

On the world horizon, they could see them, a group of 4 Invader warshipbeasts, and among them the familiar Granzong.

The invaders were here, and Aradia, thought to be a bastion of strength and order was under siiege, and failing..

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"SeaTalon... you see that?!? You have those on target, I hope?"

Affirmative, 4 battleship class vessels. Origin unknown.
"Tactical?"
Negative.
"Assess enemy power sources and priortitize targetting to those points first, load combat protocol White Glint, tactical program Strayed."
Affirmative. Weapons tactics and pilot tactics loaded into memory.
"All weapons loaded and ready?"
Tactical HUD interface online.
Sensors; Online.
Man-Machine interface; Online
Cockpit interlock confirmed, ejection systems diagnostic green.
Weapon load-out confirmed.
Rail Rifle is loaded and targetting system is online.
Tachyon Rifle is fully charged and interfaced with the power system.
Beam saber stored in right holster.
Missile packs have been equipped with supplemental combat harness.
Interface complete.
SCRT OS v10.23 Loaded. Is the GUI to your standards?[/code]

"Confirmed visual on the HUD GUI, everything is green." Rebecca says, making sure her flight suit suit is interfaced with the new cockpit system and making sure the seal on her helmet is locked to the suit for life support. "Lower pressure for combat operations on my mark... mark."

The cockpit's air-pressure is lowered, diverting life support to the suit itself. Rebecca opens a tight communication to Kai's Mecha. "Captain Kai, This is Lieutenant R. S. Rathbone, Callsign Osprey. Awaiting launch orders. SeaTalon Valisone is at 100% combat readiness. Are you alright, by the way?"

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Anger, fury, wrath filled her as she looked down on her beloved Aradia, and her memory went back to a moment of training with her father..

"Anger can be dangerous, darling, it does give us resolve in the face of evil, and there are times when it is the right thing to feel, but undisciplined anger is a weakness and worse, it can blind us to justice and fairness, be angry if you must, if the situation calls for it, but do not let it control or direct your actions."

She closed her eyes a moment and took a deep breath. "I remember, daddy.."

She looked back down at the world again, feeling a moment of sorrow, then gathering her resolve. "Let us take the battle to the enemy.. "

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Kai nodded. "All pilots to their machines. Kuzuha, take the Spartans planetside with the rest of our CRT. Establish a pereimiter and render aid to any and all who require it. We will not lose this world." The other captains dispersed and already Gai exited the bay.Klan leading Shiukumei to the sizing chambers. They'd be out of action but a good powerful reserve.

Hideko, Lily, Skye and FrancisWent down to the dropship bay, where a dozen battle armored troopers were mounting up in a dropship. They were led aboard and situated by Kelly, a familar face among them one of those who'd gone to the Dalaraan throneworld.

"When we hit planetside, everyone stay cool, We'll set up a defenisive perimeter and then move out where needed, unless we have friendlies on the ground. The we render aid."

The ship departed and landed, but not before giving the a final view of the satoshi fleet going into battle, blue-white beams lancing out to burn the flesh of the Invader ships.Over a thousand Satoshi mecha launched from their ships.There were now over three thousand invader space class monsters, most resembling large starfish with razor edged teeth.Seatalon was fed data on the foes, and warned that the ships there showed a distinct chance for the presence of other Ace pilots aside from Granzong.

On the ground the dropship touched down and the trroopers emerged in what could be the last pristine land on Aradia. to their backs was an evergreen forest at the foothills of the mountains. All around them they could see an encroaching blight, with a mix of demons and Invaders (1/10 ratio) attacking the last few defenders of this part of the realm. Their duty was clear as the battle armored troopers waded in cutting a huge swaith off the bat in the attacking hord, allowing the Aradian defenders space to breathe. Perhaps three dozen wer left on this large field against ten times their number in attackers.

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Launch Order Confirmed.

"Roger that, Head Captain."

Rebecca moves her hand across a holographic cockpit interface, disengaging the safeties to her weapons, and marking targets using the Ark Royal's sensor arrays.

"Red Squadron, Gold Squadron, engage the foreward eschelon. Osprey 2 and Osprey 3, you got my back."

5 gold marked YF-25s of gold squadron and 5 of red squadron fly off, and start their attack runs. She personally oversaw their training, and held them in high regard as her best of her classes. But the two white super veritechs with blue markings that made them look like they had sailor suits were Rebecca's personal wingmen. Osprey 2 and Osprey 3 of Osprey Squadron. They launched from the hangar bay, the two veritechs peeling off in flight mode in a guard tactic, watching Rebecca's back.

She lands in the center of a group of Bazaroth ground grunts and invader grunts. And it is as if the mecha spoke with her own mouth, it's face looking like Rebecca's own.

"Targets Acquired... Commencing Hostilities."

She jumps up, and fires off a series of concussive missiles, fired for effect to cause area damage, followed by using her rail rifle and tachyon rifle to take out any stragglers.

She turns around as a particularly stubborn and resilient demon leaps towards her. She dashes back as he roars his challenge, brandishing his broadsword. She holsters her rifles with slings that go over her shoulders and deploys her beam saber and engages blade to plasma.

The blacksmith that made that broadsword failed his commission... She cuts right through and runs the blade into the chest of the beast. Black ichor and red blood splash on the armor, making the SeaTalon Valisone look like a righteous paladin running through a servant of the devil himself.

Osprey Two and Three switch to Humanoid mode and stand side by side at the SeaTalon's back, gunning down the last stragglers in the group.

"Sir! We've cleared the enemy squad. What are your orders?"

She looked up at the capitol ships. It still wasn't possible to engage them. And to make the SeaTalon vulnerable to attack by using the Tachyon Cannon in her chest would be a bad idea.

"Osprey 1, this is Red Leader, our objective is secured. Friendly forces have suffered major casualties, but we arrived in time to prevent a wipe. We've secured the perimeters and it should be cleared for medivac."

"Osprey 1, this is Gold Leader... same on our end, but the casualties are much heavier."

"Ark Royal, this is Osprey 1, send Medivacs to the Gold Squadron's location first and handle the casualty situation. Any remaining medical personnel are needed to prep for combat service and launch to the Red Squadron's location. I will meet you there to oversee establishing a medical post. Red Leader, you're in charge of seeing who among the friendlies are medics and start assisting them with triage."

"I'm fully trained for this, Ma'am!"

"Good. As I intended. You are the Hospitalers Militant. The 32nd Valkyries."

"Gold Leader, these are your orders."

"Gold Leader here."

"As the 99th Gold Paladins, your job is to protect the Medivacs and get them to the base I'm establishing on the ground at the Red Squadron's location. The drop ships with the medical personel and supplies should arrive in 2 minutes."

"Roger that."

SeaTalon and her guard fly to the location of the 32nd Valkyries and Osprey 2 and 3 take guard positions.

"Osprey 2 and 3, you will assist Gold and Red squadron, and help protect the assets arriving."

"Understood, Ma'am!"

"I'm needed on the battlefield."

She holsters her beam saber and draws her rifles again. "Happy hunting, Ma'am!"

"Oh... my hunt has only begun."

She starts checking the area for new targets to engage. "Keep alert... something tells me we just pissed them off."

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No sooner than Lily hit the ground than she soared back up to provide some air support for the power armor. Radiant blasts of energy coruscated from her hands in bright blue bursts, exploding where they fell and scattering the formations of weaker demons that were meant to screen the larger ones behind them. As the operation pushed the infernal forces away, she blipped back to the ground and found Sakura and Skye.

"Who's in charge of the Aradian forces?" she asked, raising her voice over the din of combat all around. "We need to link up and coordinate!"

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Rebecca opens her com-channel to the team.

"As soon as we have communication between our forces and the resistance's command structure, please find some way to link them into our network. I'm busy at point Baker organizing medical efforts here before moving forward with operations. I don't think the enemy expected us yet, but they will have adapted to our arrival, I'm afraid."

She adjusts her suit. "Do not drop your guard."

She sighs. "Of course, I'm sure that is part of your plan, Kai?"

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Francis had teleported into the morass of the fight, Nagareboshi in had and blazing bullets in a constant stream of trigger pumping. Demons were worn down and penetrated in the eyes, head, anywhere vulnerable. He heard Lily's call, but that wasn't going to work. The circle of Aradians still had demons on their front, so Francis popped in, shot one, kicked another away from the Aradian it was going to chop and shot that.

"Ok, cavalry's here. How bad is Aradia in general?"

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"Kai, all modifications and fast packs are installed, the regular troops should have increased effectiveness based on the pilots strengths, good luck." She turned off the com and paused at a large shielded window, her ruby eyes following Gai, "bury your enemies or yourself." It was an old saying from far back, even compared to when Shiyu was contemporary, in the times where even these giants engaged in terrestrial warfare. Turning on heel, she walked into the chamber and set herself in waiting for her turn to fight.

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Responding to Lily's statement, she spoke up, even as she looked around "The Sabaoth are the most militant of Aradian warriors, they were formed to fight the bane, and contain the greatest warriors of our people, they are the ones we need to get in contact with, though they answer to the council of Emissaries." She looked over to Kai a moment, and then waved to the devastated landscape around them. "Aradia is a living world, a sentient being in it's own right, I'm amazed that the world isn't fighting with us, it's like someone put the world to sleep or something... is that possible?"

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With the battles raging around both in space and on the ground, it took time to find any Aradian's of Authority. Those who'd been fighting consisted of a handful of warriors, with mostly rushtrained "civilians" The Aradian in charge of that sector of the field was Timaeus a two winged warrior Angel. He was covered in blood and ichor, some his own. He was directing the small band in defense there, from the frontline itself. He looked young, only a teenager.

Kai scowled "The world isn't fighting because it's dying. Look at it Sakura, where it isn't green, the world is grey and brown, and dead."

He nodded.. "We won't let these bastards finish the job."

He reached out to grab Senbonzakura and nodded. "Bankai!" In space the Meteor shown like a beacon in the depths of blackness, as the sword mimiced Senbonzakura becoming millions of nano laser pods, with razor edged blades, as Kai directed them into the Invader swarm. "All Satoshi personnel, push on, Battleships maintain continuous bombardment, Nadesico, use Aetheric comms to locate the COuncil, or any high level Aradian, aside from Sakura."

"Shiyukumei, Clan Maintain fleet defense net."

The battle raged on.

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"Roger that, Captain..."

"Osprey 2 and 3, I require your escort!"

The two squadron-mates of Rebecca's fall into position. "Alright, we are going to assist all forces as a harassing element to the enemy. The people of this dimension and world are fighting a losing battle, so more than likely they will be using guerrilla tactics at this point, watch for friendly fire and friendly casualties. I give you permission to break off to assist the wounded in getting back to Firebase Baker."

"Ma'am!" Her two wingwomen shout, saluting.

"I will be providing air support, taking our their heavy troops. If you guys are in the fight focus on the smaller grunts."

"If a big-bad shows up that gets heated with me, we team up and bum-rush the bastard. Osprey Squadron... time to bring justice and peace to this ravaged planet!"

SeaTalon Valisone Looks to the west, and sees another horde to engage. "Time to rock..." Rebecca says flying off with her squadron-mates in tow.

SeaTalon flies in low and sees mostly Invader grunts. Osprey 2 and 3 open up clearing a path as Rebecca and SeaTalon close the distance to a Juggernaut of a monster from Bazaroth.

Rebecca dashes about, as the juggernaut fires blast after blast of eldritch fire from it's mouth. Then Rebecca glares, the eyes of the SeaTalon reflecting her righteous fury.

"In the name of God, impure souls of the abyss shall be banished into eternal damnation..."

For a moment, the demon steps back, it saw what this titanic paladin of Satoshi had done... it's strange compatriots making mince of it's foot soldiers. It starts to retreat in terror, but Rebecca and SeaTalon would have none of it as the light and heat of it's tachyon rifle burst through it's chest.

The behemoth fell to the ground, lifeless. It tries to regenerate as it writhed in pain.

Rebecca jumps up and runs her plasma sabre through it's neck, decapitating it. "...Amen!"

As SeaTalon stood erect, she observed her progress... dead bodies of Invader and Demon strewn before her.

"Sir... are you alright?" Osprey 2 asked.

"Yes... never felt better... This is not just a battle to save every reality including this planet... but for our very souls..."

She looks up at the menacing fleet.

"Sir... what can we do against such aggression?" Osprey 3 asked.

"Ensigns... Remember when we did that test... when you had to get your Veritechs back to base with that important cargo?"

"Right."

"Yeah, what about it?"

"I illustrated how a zealot would take not only the lives of those on that ship but everyone not even involved... and why? Because it suited me."

She stepped to her companions and placed her hands on their shoulders. "I need you to remember, we're fighting the very spawns of the abyss. We're fighting for our friends... for this realm... for reality... so no others will die."

"You understand that?"

"YES MA'AM!" The two Veritechs salute.

"Then we continue our battle!"

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More fighting. When will it end? Skye’s eyes were sad as she surveyed the battlefield. The priestess felt like all she’d done her entire life was struggle – save the part when she’d been lied to by her “husband”. Her fans snapped open; Skye rose into the air, looking for enemies to engage. Time to redden my hands once more. The thought was fatalistic; almost emotionless as she scanned the field for someone to kill.

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SeaTalon and Rebecca get surprised as a juggernaut-sized Invader struck from behind with some sort of ranged melee weapon deployed from it's arm. It wraps around SeaTalon's right arm and tries to pull the Mecha from her backup.

Osprey 2 and 3 move about "ground skating" with their foot thrusters, firing on the tether and the invader without much luck. With the free arm, Osprey deploys her plasma blade and cuts through the tether before it could yank harder. The veritech guardians switch to jet mode and harass the invader.

The three start unloading on it but the invader holds it's ground until if sets off a pulse from it's chest, temporarily shutting down the two veritechs and forcing the pilots to eject. The Veritechs grind on the ground offline and practically dead, but still functional if they come back online.

Angered by this, and protected by many levels of anti-energy shields and armoring, the SeaTalon shoulder-tackles the invader and engages in bare hand-to-hand combat after dropping her rifles. The fight is brutal as chunks of armored flesh and nano-technical cells fly in all directions followed by blood and reddish mixture of lubrication fluid and hydraulics.

This was the distraction that Osprey 2 and 3's pilots needed to land and reboot their systems.

"Osprey 2 and 3... raagh... your vehicles aren't damaged... aggh... much by their crash... get back to... the Arc Royal and get your canopes fixed! Deploy into Humanoid mode so that you have protection over your cockpits!"

"Roger that Osprey 1!"

The two switch to humanoid and fly back to the Ark Royal as SeaTalon and the invader finish their boxing match as SeaTalon unloads a punch so hard it punctures through the core of the invader. When she rips back pulling it's heart from it's chest... it collapses in a fountain of blood.

"Settle down..."

Osprey walks away, the heart of that invader still in her hand, then she tosses it aside.

"Ark Royal, status report?"

"Osprey 2 and 3 are docking now for repairs, We're going through the module swap process as we speak. It should take 10 minutes for combat repairs."

"Make it so... I'm returning to Firebase Baker. Scramble Osprey 2 and 3 to that location after repairs are made. Osprey out."

She picks up her rifles and walks back, some of the bodies of the invaders and demons of Bazaroth still smouldering and flaning from her Tachyon beam weapon.

"This is the funeral pyre of countless universes... fueled by my sanction..."

"Beginning Nanotechnical repairs, Rebecca.
Should be complete in 10 minutes but I require a emergency supply drop
from the Ark Royal to replenish ammunition and lost vital fluids."[/code]

"Understood."

"Ark Royal, launch a Class 1 restock package to my location."

Out of the main hangar in a grey hexagonal ball is SeaTalon's request. It's fired from the catapult, and it lands screaming on the ground just a little after it deploys airbags to protect it's internal cargo. The airbags deflate after it comes to a stop and it unfolds revealing several ammunition canisters, a replacement focusing crystal for it's tachyon rifle, and several tanks of lubrication and hydroaulic fluid.

"Care Package confirmed and contents intact, thank you Sister."

Ensign Kirumi Rathbone smiles and nods from the Ark Royal's position in space, wearing her grey and black life-support/combat flight suit and helmet all crews are required to wear in combat situations to protect against sudden decompression. Her choice of the heat-resistant quick-deploy cargo container was a good choice.

"Not a problem... did you kick some ass?"

"More than enough, Ensign. See to it that Osprey 2 and 3 get their weapons switched out to those new gauss rifles that the combat teams are going to roll out."

"The new model of "Mikoto" rifles?"

"Exactly..."

"Will do, Sis!"

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Lily looked up as Kai's mecha was wreathed in pink particles and Skye took to the...well, sky.

She clapped the angel on the shoulder and said, "Hold and keep your heads down. We'll take the brunt of the attack, and try to clear out enough room for evac."

Unlike many of the humans who had learned to unleash their powers in stages, she was either on or off...her normal existence was something most people had to train and focus their spiritual abilities for years to achieve. She wasn't sure how long she could maintain herself at her highest level. The power was enormous, but it took a toll on her energy. And if she maintained it as long as she could, when it was gone she'd be all but useless.

On the other hand, the relentless press of monsters was simply too much to slay just a few at a time. And worse creatures were coming, striding through the foot soldiers...sometimes knocking them aside or even crushing them with casual disregard as they approached.

"Blood of Tsunami," she said, the mantra helping focus her mind, "Burn."

The world turned into sky-blue fire as energy enveloped her.

...bankai...

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SeaTalon completes her recovery cycle, as she restocks her fluids once no leaks would defeat the effort.

"Okay... Osprey 2 and 3 are back inbound. The Valkyries and Paladins got things secure at Firebase Baker. And by noting the change in sky here suddenly... Lily has gone to her level."

She straightens her flight suit as SeaTalon closes the case her resupply was in and sits on it.

"Once 2 and 3 arrives we'll look around to see where we can assist where needed. The ground forces we've engaged have been falling to our fury."

She sighs. "But... Something tells me we've been battering against the softer parts of their army... the real threat..." She looks up. "Is up there."

I agree. My tactical analysis can confirm that assumption, Rebecca.
"SeaTalon... have we been fighting at our peak? Or do we have new heights to achieve?"
I am not no where near my limits... neither are you...
"Good..." Rebecca says, standing back up. "...then we are ready... once we get the order we're going to take on one of their ships I wager. Feel like being a giant killer again, SeaTalon?" SeaTalon felt more than ready. "So be it... Just to let you know, It's been an honor being your pilot."
And I your Mecha.

"Then let's make this partnership one to be remembered. We can do this... we will do this!"

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In space the battle raged onward as the ships closed, and still no enemy ace moved foreard, then theere was a flash, and the four massive starship class invaders were gone, and the aces with them. Shifting into a mop up scenario the Satoshi forces moved to keep any of the Invaders from dropping to the planet. "Don't let them escape, exterminate this infestation, then begin blockade measures to prevent those ships from returning."

Kai's order was acknowledged and the fleet moved forward, the Invaders with no hope of salvation fought even more savagely.

On the planet, With Lily's bankai, the Angels fought in awe, It was as though a memeber of the council was there with them, spurring them onward.

For Skye there were almost fourdozen demons to chose from and invaders ranging in size from wolves to ones the size of elephants, still moving in slashing at her allies, intent to kill maim or devour all who stood before them. This was the world that kazuo owed his power to, it was a tiny piece of him, but nonetheless, a link to the real Kazuo, her Kazuo.

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"Sis..." Kirumi says over her com. "We're pushing back the Invaders. The rest disappeared."

"I know, I saw the tactical... I'm staying planet-side to assist ground efforts. Stay alive. If anything happens I got your distress beacon frequency isolated. Turn it on if the Ark Royal is in danger. I will come to your side as fast as I can."

"Understood, Ma'am." Kirumi says. "And You stay alive."

"I will..."

She turns to her tactical readout to see which of her compatriots are still in battle. She sees Osprey 2 and 3 arrive and switch back to humanoid mode.

"Okay... We assist Lily and Skye's efforts now. We must put all our efforts to achieve victory. Be prepared for an emergency pull-back to the Ark Royal if they require assistance, understood?"

"Roger that, Osprey 1." Osprey 2 says, watching Rebecca's back.

"I'm on it, Ma'am!" Osprey one shouts, standing by Rebecca's side.

"Okay, let's push forward. We're liberating this planet today."

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Shiyu allowed Angelus to take her in, she glanced through the HUD and didn't even go through her checks, Angelus and her were one. "Klan are you ready?"

"I am, but can you even keep up in that ancient thing?" Klan teased.

"Ancient, but believe me, the designs of this era..." she paused and smirked, "come up short." Angelus flared to life and wings spread propelling her from the hangar into space, feathers flying off and formed a defensive perimeter. "Defense eh? Acknowledged."

Klan followed suit and they held defense over the fleet, Shiyu and Klan fought furiously, one after another fell, Angelus proved to be a devastating machine despite it's age. This spurred Klan to even greater heights of ferocity as waves of enemies fell to them both.

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Kelly and her team had fought near to Francis, and The six man battle armor squad was showing why they were among the best. In a moment of quiet as the invaders and demons regrouped. "This is one small force. Scans from the fleet show much larger ones across the planet. With this living world they're trying to infect the planet itself. So long as we can keep an area free of infection, we can keep that from happening. Their ships fled, and the space forces are mopping up. Lieutenant Rathbone and her team are the vanguard of the Mecha being dropped now, to protect this place. On the other side of the mountain They've dropped a full regiment of mecha under Lieutenant Mizuha, to hold that front."

She punctuated her words by firing a missile that exploded killing half a dozen smaller invaders. "Sadly they've really got a huge reserve. Initial reports exceed 100 million. We've picked up at least three S-class demons here as well." Even as she spoke she fought, seamlessly as part of her team.

For Shiyu and Klan the operation was mostly mopping up and the two of them were exceptionally good at it As the last of the spaceborn invaders perished, Kai gave the order for the dropships to head planetside, and set up a hardened defense around the last pristine point on planet. He moved to them. "Klan I want you and Gai to stay here with the fleet, Shiyukumei, if you wish you can come down with Sakura and I, we're going to make sure everyone's okay, and mopup there.

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Rebecca took her position, at a point where she can observe the firebase she's established. If Firebase Baker falls, Aradia falls.

"Okay, I need the Hospitalers and Paladins to form a circle around the firebase. I will be taking position in the center. I'm itching to face one of these "S-Class" demons personally... I don't think I've cut loose yet."

She goes over her system diagnostics.

"Kai, this is Osprey in the SeaTalon. Setting up for a big fight now... Should we let them come to us or should we take the fight to them?"

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"That's only going to be temporary," Francis pointed out, firing Nagareboshi and the continual stream of bullets cutting down a pack of wolf-sized Invaders on the charge. "Attrition's not on our side here, and once the enemy figures out what's going on... I fear we become the Three Hundred at the Hot Gates." On the plus side, we've got something to bond over, don't we Nagareboshi?

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She felt what the others were doing, she was standing next to Kai as he called upon Bankai, then Lily and Skye each of them called upon their own transformations and she lifted her sword a moment then let it down, the moment hadn't come.. she felt, almost restrained, she wanted to join the battle, but she was best for the battle on the ground, here in space wasn't the best battleground for her, though she could fight here with the right equipment, the others were better suited for it.

"Send me let me go after the forces on the planet, some of the folks down there trained with me, I know them and they know me, we should be able to join forces and hit the enemy hard and drive them back."

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"Hold them there Lieutenant, Sakura and I are going to clear the valley next door to buy some breathing room." With that the meteor descended about two kilometers away from the others. He dismissed the Meteor, and soon he and Sakura bound themselves totally surrounded. "You want to go first Sakura, or should I?"

Nagareboshi answered him surprisngly. "Of course. I am a weapon after all, battle is where I shine brightest, and when you truly believe in me, in our power, I know There are few things that will stand against us."

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Anne hovered about 300 meters from the ground, her two squadrons and her honor guard in their positions.

"Understood, Captain."

She pulls out her Rail Rifle and starts synchronizing the advanced targeting computer with the Ark Royal's sensors.

"Gold Paladins, guard our flanks, Red Hospitalers, Protect the firebase. Osprey 2 and Osprey 3, engage and assist the two squadrons."

Sea talon starts firing off shots with her Rail Rifle, dropping grunts one at a time with headshot after headshot. "I'm gonna run outta ammo before I run out of enemies... Ark Royale, send a emergency supply drop to my location. Omega Pattern. Authorization falls under Head Captain Kai himself. Firebase Baker must not fall. All the ammo and focusing crystals for our energy weapons you can spare. Every beam sword you can muster. Use all the drop pods you can and get that stuff here. This is war and we need ammo!"

She levels her rifle as the first clip of her supply is expended and she reloads. "Attention my squadrons... you have the priority on the supplies. I got a few extra tricks up my sleeve... SeaTalon has been showing me her best... time I show her mine."

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"Allow me, Cousin." She drew her blade and whispered the words "Crimson Flower, Blossom." As the power of the blade unfolded to her, she reached out with her soul to attempt to speak with the blade, believing in the link between them... "This beautiful world is under attack, my friend.. let us act now to defend this world that I know we both love." with that, she smiled and looked into the eyes of those who surrounded them, and unleashed the power of the blade, with passion and fury.. 'Blossom Hurricane' the power of the blade reached out to strike everyone around them out to the limits of her attack, clearing the around around them as she entered the battle in her own right, bringing her sword to bear on those still standing.

[First Action, Activation of Crimson Blossom,

Second action, Attack, Spending 75 energy - 35 for Passion, 40 for Blossom Hurricane, to do damage at 400 in an area of 100 yards around her and Kai, does no damage to Kai or herself, sense it's under her control who is damaged... remaining 2 attacks launched at those closest or anyone still standing in the radius

Crimson Blossom Attack - Krul *rolls* 2d6: 2+5+20: 27

2nd Melee Attack - Krul *rolls* 2d6: 5+6+20: 31

3rd Melee Attack - Krul *rolls* 2d6: 3+2+20: 25

LP: 500 EP: 720 - 75 = 645 - Regeneration and Energy Regeneration Active: Gain 15 LP and 5 EP per round.. health presently at max - Energy raises to 650 next round]

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Yes, Francis agreed as the last Invader tried to move despite a ripped up mid-section and collapsed with the futility. And plenty of targets to demonstrate that too... As the grass- still quite green crunched under his boots, Nagareboshi smiled- he could feel it, and offered a comment that surprised him. I think you're ready then.

For what? It took a few hazy moments of communion to sort this all out, but Nagareboshi pointed out she'd been in Shikai all this time- Francis could only blame his lack of experience with the nature of Zanpakuto, otherwise he would have connected the facts that no mundane, technological pistol could deal damage the way her bullets could. Except now Francis had the power to bring their game up a notch.

A horde of demons bunched up for another surge, and this time, Francis didn't wait. In a blink, he teleported right in front of their onrushing charge and grinned. Nagareboshi was raised, pointed out at the wave, and Francis focused his energies as he spoke the attack name. "Comet Bullet." A single bullet fired, with a fiery glow around it and tail of energy, moving at speeds far far faster than the regular bullet shot. It drilled right through the neck of a larger demon with insectoid features- and then exploded in a great sphere of fire, letting off a boom like an asteroid's impact with terrestrial ground.

The blast swallowed up the demonic surge, and when it dissipated, there was nothing but a waste of incinerated bodies... Francis grinned and punched the air. "Yeeha!"

Just doing this cinematically right now, but welcome to Francis' special shikai attack: Comet Bullet!

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Hideko flies out in a brilliant burst of red and white

From her hands are formed two cross bow like weapons as Hideko flies at full speed.

As moves she targets and fires off dozens of shots what look like arrows made of energy into each enemy.

Finally surrounded, she switches out her guns for.....even bigger guns.

"Now, it's show time!"

The chain guns spin rapidly before she mows down her attackers, running and gunning her way through field

Hideko smirks as she walks off from the bloody remains of her opponents.

"Hey Rebecca? You read me? How many did you take out yet?"

She said flying towards the others at full speed.

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Rebecca continued to take shots, now at ground level, carting a backpack full of clips for her rail rifle.

"Roughly 250, why?"

She sees many hostile blips vanish suddenly around Hideko's location. "Awesome! This isn't a contest. this is a fight for justice. And for that we must hold the line."

She levels her rifle again. "I can use your help, Hideko. I could use your efforts on keeping our flanks safe, so I can then devote my tactical resources to pushing the front and rear away from the base."

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Lily stayed near the angels at first, hovering several feet off the ground where the main demon force was surging forward to overwhelm the defenders. Blue bars of blinding light lanced through their ranks and tracked sideways...cutting swaths of unclean flesh like a scythe through wheat. Coruscating explosions of sky-colored light flowered wherever she let one of those beams linger for a moment, throwing demons every which way. When they charged her, the few that got through were thrown back by the seemingly impenetrable glowing barrier that surrounded the bright lines of the Avatar like a halo.

But then a new kind of demon...or was it an invader?...surged into the gap left by smoking bodies. They looked a bit like a cross between twisted imp-like things, and cockroaches, with large plated segments on their backs that extended a bit past their heads and out over their shoulders and ribs. They didn't look particularly powerful, and Lily didn't treat them any differently. Her first blast carved a trough through them...but then they started grabbing onto each other.

What followed was horrifying, even for Lily in that state.

Imagine a giant that's made of tiny interlocking metal bits that can either grip each other or let go. If they all let go at once, what once had the shape of a man simply slumps into a pile of bits; disintegrating.

This was like that...but in reverse. The small creatures piled onto one another, linking their carapaces and holding onto each others arms and legs just so. With impressive speed, a towering humanoid figure began rising out of the pile...a man-shaped swarm of demons that was at least twice as tall as Lily's Avatar.

It reached down, narrowly missing Lily as she winked out of existence and reappeared several yards away. Demons screamed as the force of their own 'body' crushed them against the ground...but they didn't let go or try to save themselves. The giant 'hand' lifted off again, and even the ones grievously hurt tenaciously clung to the swarm.

Lily returned fire, arcs of blue light slicing out and tracking across the monster. Twisted, burned bodies fell out of the line, creating a deep scar in the manifestation, but that scar just as quickly filled in as more creatures clambered up its body from below and joined their fellows. She lifted off and streaked up and away from the angelic camp, hoping to distract it from killing them while she figured out how to deal with it.

It didn't give her much time to think though...no sooner was she out of reach than it extended a vaguely arm-like pseudopod and from it burst a series of tiny projectiles! Explosions wracked the air around the Dalaraan Avatar, damaging its protective barriers and wobbling its progress through the air! Startled, Lily whirled to face the monster as it came at her, still encircled by tiny minions that hadn't yet climbed aboard to add themselves to it. Another salvo of projectiles came, and this time she realized that each 'bullet' was actually one of those demons! It was flinging its own body mass at her, and they exploded on impact, or even just nearby her!

She rocketed up, then began trading shots with the thing. Her agility...an agility belied by the Avatar's size...and teleportation kept her from being overwhelmed...but the beast was learning. It would discharge dozens of the monsters at once, saturating the sky so that only a longer range teleport could get her out in time...but the extra time that cost her meant it was harder to fire back as often.

Finally she teleported in close, energy swords appearing in her hands and chopping at the beasts as she tried to sever one of its arms. It took time for them to fall, break apart and return...time it would be more vulnerable...

But the swarm-thing was not limited by a skeleton. The arm she was trying to cut off at the shoulder suddenly merged with the thing's side...and a new arm jutted suddenly out and swung around to hit the Avatar solidly!

For a moment Lily was a shooting star...a bright blue meteor that streaked across the sky and slammed into a rocky outcropping a good hundred or more meters away. A concussion radiated outward that blew a ring of dust and debris ahead of it, and the outcropping collapsed into a heap of rubble.

Ponderously the unspeakable thing turned to 'look' down at the angels, who stood transfixed with horror at the death of yet another shining figure in this battle to end the Light.

And then, behind the monster, a giant slab of rock rose into the air...borne by a noticeably dimmer, but still bright, Avatar of Light. Lily flew the immense boulder up over the creature...and dropped it from directly overhead. As enormous as the beast was...it could not move quickly over the ground. It was only as fast as the much smaller creatures that made it up...and it could not instantly repair the damage from something that size hitting with that speed. The boulder...encountering negligible resistance to its progress in the semi-solid body of the swarm, simply fell THROUGH it...crushing its core wholesale and scattering its pieces in all directions.

"NOW!" the avatar bugled in a voice that was at once Lily's...and something greater's.

The angels, once aghast with horror, now raised their burning swords and bows of lightning and joined the battle as Lily herself arrowed down from the heavens and struck into the center of the pile as it started to try to rebuild itself.

It was over just minutes later, with the angels able to fly going on mop-up runs. Kept from assembling, the little monsters were not difficult to kill, and Lily watched from on high now, blasting apart any patch where they had started to cling to each other again.

The swarm itself had destroyed not a few demons who hadn't escaped the front line in time...and now there were only stragglers left.

For now at least, the main ground front was won. Lily just hoped the others could keep the skies and flanks from being overrun until she could help reinforce...

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"Looks like you have things covered, I'll keep a vigil up here," she sighed and relaxed, letting Angelus keep vigil while she drinks from a built in water pack. Shiyu flipped through some read outs to survey the damage on the allied mecha and ships. Breathing a sigh of relief she continued to read the results and effectiveness against enemy weapons and defenses, "we won, but nothing wrong with wanting to win by even greater margins next time."

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As Rebecca watched the lines, she saw it... a titanic invader. One she knew though she was up to the challenge to fight.

"Base command, spotted a Juggernaut. Going in so, focus resources on base defense."

SeaTalon Valisone, commanded by Rebecca scream towards the lone behemoth. It was a quadruped breed of invader, and not very bright, but it had one thing... grafted-on orbital defense cannons.. along it's back and spine. It was a walking land battleship.

It opened it's chitinous wings, revealing even more guns.

"Nice... just like the Spirit of Mother Will! SeaTalon, load combat protocol Strayed."

Error, data file incompatible.
"What?"
All AMS files are corrupted.
The main gun aims for SeaTalon, and rebecca grins. "Then... activate freestyle mode."
Affirmative, Rebecca.

When the gun fires, Rebecca dodges, ground-skating along. Then she goes to town, siwtching between her rail rifle and tachyon rifle, taking out gun after gun. The monster fires some sort of homing energy balls in response and she dodges most, the rest she shakes off of her armor. She then charges in, after dropping her rifles, pulling our her energy sword she comes down stabbing through where the neck meets the spine.

With a deft move she severs the spinal-cord from the skull, and leaps away as the beast collapses on the battlefield.

"Threat neutralized... damage... insignificant. Returning to base."

After retrieving her rifles, Rebecca jumped up in SeaTalon and flew back at best speed, converting to the Valisone configuration's high-speed flight mode. When she arrives she lands and grinds her feet in the dirt in a 180 degree turn.

"Command, this is Lieutenant Rathbone of the SeaTalon Valisone. All visible targets are neutralized, I repeat, all neutralized."

"Roger that, Lieutenant. I see your portion is in fact dealt with." Rebecca's sister said over the comlink at her position on the bridge.

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As tbattle nearby wound to a close,t he aradians who had been fighting so hard finally retreated to the firebase, a triangle where the dropships had landed, their guns and attendant mecha now watching over things. The invaders and demons were pulling back what scant few remained here, and giving them room.. This battle was decidedly a win.Kelly and her squad Rallied to Francis. "We're going to establish the perimeter, and do a little recon, you game?"

While Sakura unleashed her Shikai, Kai fought with his, they were killing foes but more took their place. "There's too many Sakura, we'll burn out at this rate and be overwhelmed. I'm going to end this. As she watched he held out his sword even as more invaders came at them, and released it, disappearing into the ground. Along the top of the sides of the valley rows of thirty foot swords could be seen, and the sky began to blacken. "Bankai."

Lily an the others could feel the massive wave of power coming from the valley and thoswe who'd seen it before knew the familiar feel of Kai releasing his bankai.

In her hand Sakura felt Crimson Blossom pulse with power, resonating with what Kai was doing, in her mind she heard her voice. "See this Sakura, this is the power of bankai, the power I know you can attain. You are ready, But still you hesitate. I am here for you, my power will be yours, once you truly master me, and yourself."

"Scatter Senbonzakura, Kageyoshi!" The pillarine swords obeyed his command, and a typhoon of blades poured into the valley, killing everything aside from the two of them. The ground was left scoured even of taint, purified by the sheer level of pure mana pouring from Kai into this attack. Once it was done, his sword reappeared in his hand, and he resheathed it without effort, and then dropped to one knee. "Damn. They took more power from me than I realized..."

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"Why not?" Francis was all for it. With his blood pounding from the thrill of unlocking that powerful attack with Nagareboshi, he wasn't exactly ready to simply stay back for the time being. He needed some sort of activity, and Kelly's suggestion did give him the answer to that need.

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The Avatar dissolved and Lily appeared from nowhere next to Kai, blue energy still crackling and fading around her from the residue of her dismissed bankai.

"Damnit, Kai," she snapped, leaning over to offer him an arm for support. "You didn't have to do that. We were winning. You have to take better care of yourself!"

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Kelly nodded, and gave him the comm frequency she and her squad used, and then the eight man team set off into what was once the beautiful forests of Aradia. "Keep close, and do your best to conceal your mana. granted with the headcaptain doing his trick they should be blind in this direction for a while. We know from orbital scans there's still another Next, we've got to recon and elimanate it if we can."

back in the valley, Kai nodded. "Couldn't stand it. besides this was a different fight. all I did was make sure that more wouldn't be coming for a little while." He looked to Sakura. "I want to bring down some heavier ships, set up a temporary hardpoint base here on the ground,until we can meet with whatever authorities are left."

At the drop zone, the beleagured Asrai took their first real look at the technological and spiritual tools wielded by their saviors and for many of them, it was profound awe. The few officers knew these were the ones the Council had spoken of, either great saviours, or the harbingers of Damnation. Still they had nothing left to give, and these new arrivals were fresh, and fought the demons as vehemently as any Asrai.

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Hideko drops down as soon as she reaches the meet up point.

"Testing! Okay, the new Comlink I have is working. Glad it is. You'd have to cut me open to fix it."

Ping!

"Yes! I know the Nanomachines would fix it. It was a joke!"

Ping!

"Oh Come on! Just shut up!"

PING!

"Whattaya Mean they can't hear you through the link....oh......Sorry Folks. Anyways, what's the current situation?

She said as she was landing. at the drop zone.

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Rebecca flies over to the defended point, and keeps watch. She doesn't dare step outside SeaTalon until she knows the situation is completely secure.

"Paladins, status?

"Situation Nominal, no casualties."

"Hospitalers, Status?"

"Light damage, field crews are handling it."

"Osprey 2 and 3, status?"

"All green, refueling now."

"Good. Take this time to get done what is needed. Our mission is to assist the make shift base and secure it's position. We are at wartime shifts."

She nods and starts doing a diagnostic.

"SeaTalon, start a Class III diagnostic of your Positronic system."

Understood, Rebecca.
"Also, debug your old AMS tactics files."
Situation already assessed, faulty conversion to the current tactical OS format.
"Is the data salvageable?"
Afirmative.

"Good, that is the last remnant of that universe... our experience. That must be protected."

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"Roger that." Francis acknowledged, as he set out on his own recon path but within easy contact of Kelly's team. It was a concerning thought, that this was only one small fraction of the world, demons and Invaders still present everyone. And the destruction of universes still was worrisomely present in his mind. What did they have to do with this?

It seemed even for them, out of character to be so nilistically active, unless they were being driven by whatever force destroyed universes. But that was no help. Damnit, he thought as he sweeped the area, we're still barely any closer to the answer than before.

OOC
Perception roll:

Jeremy *rolls* 2d6: 5+6+12: 23

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"A base is a good start," Lily said to Kai, "But it won't solve the problem. We have to find where they're coming from and stop them from reinforcing. Can you sense any dimensional disruptions nearby? A gate big enough to bring all these creatures through should be huge."

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