2019-04-05: Welcome to the Space Jam

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========================<* Luca - Blitzball Stadium *>========================

Where the Holy City of Bevelle is the spiritual centre of Spira, the blitzball stadium is its beating heart. The stadium is an enormous, open-air construction capable of holding several thousand spectators; as a result of its size, in addition to games, it has often been used by Maesters of Yevon to deliver particularly important speeches or sermons.

The stadium itself is an ancient blend of machina and sorcery, capable of holding a suspended sphere of water in place for hours at a time. Tournaments The stadium is one of the only machina formally sanctioned by the Grand Maester of Yevon, and countless Crusaders have sacrificed their lives over the centuries to turn Sin away from the city. The reason for this is simple - Blitzball lifts the heart of all who live in Spira, and even the smallest joys must be cherished.

BGM: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-QpnYvldmo
DC: Claude C. Kenny switches forms to Gear Fighter Claudoh!
DC: Claude C. Kenny switches forms to Mauve Shirt Claude!
DC: Dash Caskett switches forms to Volnutt Armor!
DC: Auron switches forms to Legendary Guardian!
DC: Lulu switches forms to The Black Mage!
DC: Emeralda Kasim switches forms to Artificial Being Emeralda!
DC: Pearl switches forms to Wolf Style Martial Artist Pearl!
DC: Isolde switches forms to Blind Swordswoman Isolde!
DC: White Knight Leo switches forms to White Knight Leo!
<Pose Tracker> Brother has posed.

THE BLITZBALL STADIUM

The Blitzball finals have begun. The first match pits the Al Bhed Psyches against the Besaid Aurochs, and despite the rumor of a new player for the Aurochs, the odd-setters have overwhelmingly favored the Psyches; the Aurochs have never won a game. It is an amazing sight: a churning sphere of water, held aloft, with players inside it.

The crowd is roaring their approval as the game seems set to begin...

THE DOCKS

...but that is not where today's story takes place. Instead, people have found themselves lured away -- or delayed -- or simply lost, able to see the huge ball of water and yet unable to make their way through Luca to get to the stadium. It is on the docks, instead, that a few have found their way here.

Which, of course, is why everything goes pear-shaped.

There is a rumbling, mechanical screech from one of the docks. A huge wooden ship rocks as a pair of Al Bhed leap onto the deck, and grab hold of a crate. They throw it onto the dock; the crate rattles, lid popping open, and no small number of (to Spirans) machina (or, to Filgaians, gunsmoke rifles) are visible inside.

Standing on the deck is a man wearing goggles over his eyes. He has a mostly bald head, save for the shock of blonde hair that forms a mohawk. And, he has blue trousers and suspenders holding them up... and a chest and arms covered in tattoos. And belts about the forearms. He is spinning an especially large machina rifle in his hand, and yelling down at the docks:

"Rao! Rao Yevon! E ys cdaymehk ouin machina yht myikrehk yd oui!" Which is when he lifts his rifle, and fires a shot straight into the air.

A trio of Al Bhed are behind Brother. One groans up at him.

DC: Brother switches forms to Brother and the Al Bhed Raiders!
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        Kamui, try to blend in amongst the Spirans. No using your Buster in crowded areas, okay?

        "Okay, Master!!"

        Kamui visits a weapon and clothiery shop and...

        ...

        *FASHION SPOTLIGHT*

        Yes, Awaken, Ecks-SOLDER! She has discovered the warriorly raiments of Spiran legend*, and thrown herself into the height of street fashion chic, the sleeveless violet turtleneck sweater! Lo, it is adorned with purple bellbottom pants, with retro military lace-up boots! Maroon is the dominating statement of the cape flowing free around her shoulders! Atop that, a faux leather combat harness to support the look, and for the ultimate in fashion statements--

        A Sword Magnet!!

        From which she brandishes, the camera angle going dutch and wide, a single-edged gigantic slab of iron covered in edgy that is completely and utterly believably** a sword and not just Gami's Saber stabbed into the blade part of a sword!!

        (*, ** probably not)

        *CLICK*

        ... then Kamui reaches down to the ground for her Picto Box, because she's a professional photographer who knows of the Obari Sunrise Stance, one weird lifehack to make your swords look longer and thicker than they really are.

        Oh, and her handless Buster arm is... well, she's stuck a gold claw-gauntlet ontop of it and then covered it with more bandages. How did she get so many bandages over herself, anyway? Well--

        HALF AN HOUR AGO

        "muiiiiii--" Kamui trips and is defeated by a service industry dispenser of brown baking paper.

        NOW

        "... mui can't see," Kamui complains as she trips over a mooring bollard. And then gets squished underneath a crate of gunsmoke Rifles as Brother's Al Bhed brethren huck crates at the dock.

        "muiii..."

DC: Kamui switches forms to The Muiseying Ecks-SOLDER!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda is a lot less happy than she was a few days ago.

Having found herself on Lunar for the first time, she had a pretty good time at first. There were places to explore and trouble to get into, and she'd done both... but she saw hardly anybody she knew. Ida and Lydia, sure, but beyond that, it didn't look like anyone she'd ever met was here. And she'd tried to look, at least past the first day or so.

She still hadn't found very many people. She certainly hadn't found Fei or Elly. This is leading directly toward her being a little anxious; what if they weren't in Luca at all? She knew they didn't mean to abandon her, but she still wasn't sure how she'd gotten from there to here, and what if they just... hadn't? How would she get back?

But if she went somewhere with a lot of people, Emeralda thought, maybe she would see someone, or someone who had seen them recently. And that's why she's at a sport tournament for a sport she doesn't know how to play and doesn't understand. Part of it seems vaguely familiar, but not very much.

Or that was the plan, anyway.

What actually happened is that Emeralda did not have a ticket or anything resembling a ticket, and also did not have any money to get one, so they didn't let her in. This was followed by her trying to sneak in, being caught by a guard and summarily removed (in the interest of not causing any more of a ruckus than she did a few days ago, Emeralda went without complaint and, critically, without the guard in question having to try to pick her up).

Which means she was instead sulking on the docks, which are close enough to the stadium that she hopes to get lucky and see someone walking towards or away that she recognizes.

She did not see that. But she did hear a commotion behind her, and she went to investigate.

Which is why Brother has a ten-year-old girl in unamused attendance as he waves the gun around, and a crate of heavy weaponry drops nearby. "What?" she says, because she doesn't know Al Bhed; it rings no bells at all. "What - "

Emeralda follows the bullet with her eyes as Brother shoots. It goes up, and away from her, and then she looks back down at him. She looks confused. "If you want to yell and make a noise you don't have to shoot."

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Sometimes the right solution at a time only causes more trouble later.
 
Yesterday, quick thinking by Jay saved Ashton's bacon when the dragons popped out. He owes her for that. On the other hand, he now has to make her excuse actually work.
 
This explains why the Symbological Swordsman is currently using his dragons to put on a puppet show for a crowd that is mostly just waiting for the signal that the game is about to begin.
 
Unfortunately, Ashton is absolute rubbish at puppetry and ventriloquism. The onlookers are more watching to see him fumble around than the actual work.
 
Then everything stops being funny because armed Al Bhed show up. While Ashton doesn't get the threat, the people around him do. And he understands 'people run screaming' as something he should pay attention to and do something about.
 
As random NPCs run, the puppeteer tosses aside the Punch & Judy facade and pulls out his blades. The dragons pull around, looming higher over his shoulders as they emerge from the leather knapsack on his back - one out of either side of the flap.
 
A short sword points at poor, poor Kamui. "HEY YOU. UNCRUSH THAT WOMAN THIS INSTANT AND APOLOGIZE. OR ELSE."
 
This would probably be more intimidating if Ashton's current look wasn't basically Oaka But Paler.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Dizzaaaaayum, Catenna gok her pop corn for sports.

The bad news is, Catenna does not gok her seat at the stadium.

"Excuse me. Excuse me. Excuse me," the Moon Shaman tries politely, cradling a bag of popped kernels of some kind in one arm and trying to let the Owlet off the hook for nibbling some of them. She doesn't normally go to sporting games but Blitzball seems interesting. She has no idea how the Aurochs even made the finals.

Or what the hell is rumbling like that. Widening her eyes, Catenna blinks at the sight of a crate bursting open.

The man who jumps onto the deck shouts something Catenna doesn't understand. Dropping her bag of popped kernels, she darts into the crowd, not bothering to ask anyone to excuse her this time but merely snaking and slipping her way through gaps in the crowd until she can get closer to the man in the box.

Gunsmoke ARMS are easy enough to see inside the crate. Catenna widens her eyes. "But I thought--"

She doesn't get to finish the thought before the person on the deck starts shouting and fires his ARM into the air. In spite of herself, she jumps slightly at the suddenness of it.

The surprise gives way to a scowl, and she reaches back to unsling the bow from over her shoulder. She shoulders past another person in the crowd before turning to call out around her.

"Everyone, please, get to safety...!"

With that said, she whirls again and looks up towards Brother - well, towards the man with the ARM, anyway. "Sir, please do not crush adorable people who can't see the mooring bollards!" she protests with a huff. "That is grossly impolite!!"

<Pose Tracker> Rikku has posed.

 
"Well there goes all subtlety."
 
A green circle and triangle align on the face of Brother from the binoculars machina she's using, as she looks at his face, before that same circle and triangle appears on the Al Bhed with him.
 
"What's the plan?"
 
Lowering her binoculars, the girl in the violet red diving suit edges away from the side of her deck and simply waves off the Al Bhed wearing a blue bandana behind her.
 
The two appear to be discussing things on an Al Bhed freighter.
 
"Start to weigh anchor. Pull out the moment the commotion starts."
 
"You're going to leave him?"
 
She turns and juts a finger in his face.
 
"Of course not! What is point of this if I leave family behind? We simply don't risk losing Yuna by letting ourselves be sitting ducks at the dock. We have to assume they are smarter than this."
 
Marching away towards an opening hatch that seems to be working by a gear and pulley system, she waves.
 
"We will pull out and support him from off shore. Using..."
 
The Al Bhed girl flashes a grin at her fellow as she starts to descend into the Hold.
 
"...that. Yevon wants the people of Spira to consider some Machina taboo and others not? That is fine by me. They will find it harder to figure out the distinction when it is shoved right in their faces."
 
The man in the Blue Bandana scratches his forehead, then glances across the way at their fellows.
 
"And you say Brother is the unsubtle one?" He pauses for a moment, before mumbling, "They must both get it from their father." He starts to descend himself.
 
Not long after, there is a noise as a chain starts it's slow crank up from below. Dock Number Four, where the ship sits is all but abandoned save a labyrinthine pattern of crates. It would seem utterly abandoned save for the slow crank of the chain upwards.
 

<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude C. Kenny has heard good things about blitzball - it sounds like someone combined two boring sports (soccer and water polo), then added football tackling and kicking balls at people's faces. Frankly, it sounds amazing. He's even wearing a bright headband with the label of the Besaid Aurochs, because their touching underdog story strikes home with him, the son of one of the twelve most famous people in two galaxies. Unfortunately, he couldn't afford a ticket because he teleported here next to naked, and has spent most of the past several days bartering for a shirt and pants.

He was... 75% successful.

Claude is therefore contenting himself with standing in the middle of an open area watching the lead-up to the match on one of the handy-dandy sphere screens (surprisingly high definition for such a low-tech world) and chatting idly with his fellow poors. "I dunno, I think the Aurochs are definitely gonna take it this year," he says.
"Not a chance - Goers all the way."
"Nah, they just gotta take it one blitz at a time."
"They don't have one blitz in them."
"They just need to give 110 percent and---"
"...what's a percent?"

Claude is saved from having to explain this by the sound of a gunshot, which is frankly not the sort of thing he expected to hear in this place. "Dangit, Filgaia," he groans, turning and dashing toward the sound of the crack, his stupid coat-side-tails flapping along behind him.

"Ha!" barks the Goers fan. "Look at the Auroch-lover run aw---"

With a surge of chi, Claude leaps across the thirty-foot gap between one dock and the other.

"..........dude, even the Aurochs' fans are better than they are."

<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
The woman called Isolde has gone all in on the point spread. There were almost no takers for 11 goals, but there is one for sure. 1,337 gil, obtained somehow (dice hustling? collecting bottles?) has been placed on that point total, because Isolde couldn't get any action on the Besaid Aurochs.

She did not go to the game.

Why should she? It's mostly lost on her anyway... and the screens will tell her what she needs to know, directly or indirectly. And so she sits out in the plaza, eating a churro with every sign of enjoyment, when she hears a machine break down.

And then someone pop off a gun.

Isolde, mid-churro, hears more chaos in the distance. She is perfectly still for several seconds, and then she finishes the bite, sets the rest of the snack down carefully, and rises upwards. After hefting up her sword belt, tightening it a notch, and sucking syrup off her fingers, she walks at a sedate and reasonable pace towards all the fuss, whistling a little as she goes.

Her head turns when Claude C. Kenny leaps between the docks, but that might've been the chains rattling. She continues her unhurried approach, moving into the shaded lee of crates as she get near enough to smell the guns.

<Pose Tracker> Dash Caskett has posed.
  1. 1241FF,Dash--)


(Hopefully after this big sports event, Dash can find a way out of here!

Having been relegated to a strange position of residing on the outskirts of town, dealing with pig-goblin things attacking people, and having to play the part of local pariah by just existing, Dash has... been in some awkward moments already in this place.

He has had to dodge the guard more than once. But with the current festivities, things are a bit more lax on this front. Or maybe it is jsut the crowds help him not be noticed. At least his family is safe elsewhere.

Data--

AN adorable little robot monkey can be seen hanging out around the strange raiders offloading crates of weapons! It seems to be doing a cute little jig, and has made many friends of Al Bhed so far, including the Psyches, who considered making a mascot before he left!

They can't really say what it wants, but it does cute little things and is made of machina, so.... msut be pretty cool!

And then a crate gets dropped on Kamui.

Data looks down and sees...

...

"Eee eeep!" It squeals after staring for a good ten seconds, wide eyed. Data scampers over and tries with all his little monkey might to move a gun away from Kamui. He really seems to want to help her for some reason!

  1. 03F7FF,Now--)


"Was... that a gunshot?" Dash comments out of the crowd. people beginning to react. Dash moves into action to see what is going on, but not before putting that indigo mask over his face with his helmet.

"H-Hey! Goggle guys! Two things! One is, invest in visoers, the yare way cooler, two, what are you brandishing weapons around for?! There's people about. You'll scare the sportball fans!"

Dash hasn't figured out the name of the sport yet. He's name improvising.

He is bad at said name-improvising.

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

EARLIER

"Where in Spira have you been!?"

The woman's words are clipped, businesslike, and short. Black-haired, black-garbed, this Guardian is... angry. And the boy she's talking to, blonde and athletic-garbed--

"Huh?"

"Yuna's been kidnapped by the Al Bhed Psyches. In exchange for her safe return, they want the Aurochs to lose."

"What?"

"If they're only blitzball players, I doubt they'd do anything drastic. But we shouldn't take chances--let's go get her."

"I'm going too! This will be no problem! They're telling the Aurochs to throw the game, as if they needed to! I mean, how good a team can they be?"

"Wakka said the same thing. He'll take care of the game, we should go get Yuna. Their boat is in dock 4. Let's go."

THE DOCKS

Brother and the Al Bhed are not the only people approaching the docks--in this case, specifically, Dock 4. Lulu--the woman in black, pale and red-eyed--runs along with the others, the shock of lightning and the smell of ozone clear in the way as she helps to blast through the Al Bhed machina that have been set in their path. Along with her is the mysterious Tidus, or, as he's known to most, 'that weirdo who got on the Sphere camera and said the Aurochs would actually win somehow' and a blue-furred Ronso warrior with a spear. And...

"Whoa," the blonde boy says, "What's with that? The crates over there--"

"Not our problem," Lulu answers, ignoring the Drifters who are also here for the moment. "Our concern is Yuna, and Yuna alone. This way!"

The three of them rush along the docks, Lulu and Kimahri--the Ronso warrior--seeming to ignore Brother and the crates entirely as they leap from the dock straight for the ship--It's probably fine. Probably.

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        A small group of Guards, led by the White Knight himself, has traveled to the city of Luca using one of the Destiny's smaller skiffs. They arrived at the eve of a grand event--and after donning civilian clothes, White Knight Leo has decided to question the local citizens. Many of them gave him strange looks, because seriously, who in Spira doesn't know Blitzball? Eventually, he made his way to the box office, whereupon he encountered a distressing fact: the tournament is completely sold out, and has been for weeks. Even the nosebleed-section is completely booked. Of course, as anyone who's fought him would know, Leo is nothing if not determined. And he doesn't want to sneak into the stadium like some common criminal. Therefore...

        AT THE DOCKS

        "A thousand gil per," says a young man decked out in full Luca Goers merch, including a pair of authentic replica Blitzball pants. "I've got five."

        "But the woman at the 'box office' was selling them for... half that price," says Leo. Since he's keeping a (relatively) low profile, he's wearing local clothing: brightly-patterned pants that cut off mid-thigh, sandals, and a top that's more vest than shirt. The sword is still there, though, and that sticks out.

        "The box office isn't selling them, is the thing," says the man, waving five slips of paper, each one marked with official League stamps. "You gonna buy them, buddy, or are you just gonna waste my time--"

        SUDDENLY, GUNSHOTS.

        The illegal ticket-seller dives for cover. Leo does not. Instead, the big and vaguely Ronso-looking man turns on a heel, and glowers at the strange man shouting in a foreign language while firing a gun. "BRIGANDS!" Leo bellows. He understood roughly zero percent of what Brother said, but Leo does have an issue with jumping to conclusion. He slams his right foot down into the docks; the earth beneath responds, the sea between the docks parting. Pillars of earth rise up from the depths, locking into place--and giving Leo just the avenue he needs to saunter right up to the Al Bhed group. "WHAT IS THE MEANING OF THIS?!"

        To the vast majority of the people around, this looks like some weird half-Ronso(?!) guy shouting at an Al Bhed, likely thinking he can be a hero. To everyone else, it's probably less puzzling. Probably.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Blitzball was certainly an interesting sport from a technical perspective - as well as from a merchant's perspective. It was, after all, Spira's favorite pasttime, which meant that a lot of people would be there in Luca for the finals.

Jacqueline, of course, would not be able to call herself a proper merchant if she wasn't there to take advantage of it. And so she had set herself up in the crowd, selling various goods to the assembled fans. They were quite a hit!

So much so, that she soon found herself running out of stock before the big game has even started. For that reason, she's decided to briefly retreat to go grab some more goods. But it's on her way back that she's some strange goings on. Her pathway back has been closed off, for one, and she is forced to take a detour...which is why she arrives just in time to see a group of individuals removing boxes from a ship in a rather hap-hazard fashion.

One of them lands on a person and Jacqueline frowns, stepping up next to Catenna.

"Sir, I do not think that is proper unloading protocol! Please take more care! Not only are you hurting people, you risk damaging your goods!" Jacqueline warns. She then launches into an explanation of the intricate details of proper unloading crates of goods from a ship.

She doesn't look particularly threatening. She wasn't dressed for battle today, so she is currently wearing a white sleeveless blouse with a long, sky-blue skirt, bearing a pattern of clouds.

She does notice the Filgaian ARMs - that's definitely concerning, but she'll address that after they revise their unloading etiquette. Does she realize they're actually doing? ...Probably so.

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Lanval, the Water Seraph now bearing a far heavier burden than most of his kind come to hold, usually finds himself reinvigorated just being around a crowd of people in a celebratory mood, for that is what his Domain helps impart. The air of Spira exerts such an unsettling, unfamiliar pressure that it's difficult for him to partake, so he's not in the Stadium. (Also, he didn't have a ticket. This is, in retrospect, the more likely reason and maybe that should've been said up front.)
        He doesn't want to really go in the water of Spira either, even with the small clarification on what the lights are, so he just sits at the ocean docks. Sometimes (actually, all the time) people call at him and wonder what he's doing there, but he doesn't answer. A part of him wonders when - not if, when! - the Claysmin's going to show up again, that he at first doesn't really think much of a bunch of ruffians speaking an unfamiliar tongue hurling crates onto the dock. A round goes off, and Lanval looks up from carefully taking a sip from his drinking gourd. The situation is a lot more urgent than lets on, but the way that shot sounds...
        "Huh. They got the shame kind of 'em like on Filgaia, then," Lanval thinks aloud as he lowers the gourd onto his lap and strokes his chin. The weight of the implications here do not seem to immediately register as people run and panic and otherwise make a big fuss. (He really should, too, the blonde mohawk guy sure sounds passionate and into the idea of firing that ARM!)
        Lanval nearly gets shoved aside by Lulu's passing entourage, comically spiraling around in a pirouette that is far too graceful for a being of his dimensions before falling to his seat anew, to another booming voice.
        "...The White Knight'sh here?!" Lanval's eyes open all the way briefly in colorless shock as the Water Seraph finds himself caught right in the middle of one half-realized revelation and one entirely missed one.

<Pose Tracker> Auron has posed.

Thanks to some companionship earlier on the way to Luca, Auron's managed to get there a little earlier than he expected. And a good thing, too. This commotion at the docks has Auron's attention in a few moments. He'd been trying to remain out of sight, as he didn't like the attention he tended to get when he was out and about.

But the shot and the shouted Al Bhed (he didn't understand it, just knew the language when he heard it, thanks to Braska) drew his attention down to the docks. So there might be a second small commotion, though this is less a commotion and more just whispered statements amongst the people.

"Sir Auron!"

"THAT Sir Auron? Lord Braska's guardian?"

"Of course! What other 'Sir Auron' do you know of?"

"What's he doing here?"

"Probably about to show that heathen Al Bhed what for!"

"I really hope so... those Al Bhed really do ruin everything they touch."

"Interrupting the game like this..."

Yadda yadda.

But there is a man with a long red coat, and a massive sword sheathed on his back. He walks slowly toward the ruckus, and the random Spiran sportsgoers gathered to see what the trouble is, are likely getting out of his way. It's not because they're afraid. It's out of respect.

And if Tidus is listening, that might draw his attention, all that talk of a 'Sir Auron'. Didn't Auron get him into this whole 'being in Spira' mess anyway? Might be a good time to yell at him. Then again, like Lulu said, rescuing Yuna is priority. So maybe Tidus can gripe at him later.

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Unlike seemingly everyone in this town, Xantia hasn't been particularly interested in seeing this Blitz thing. She did make an effort once, to get tickets. Then she saw the lines and quickly decided to forget about that. She doesn't have the patience to wait that long! She probably doesn't have the patience to sit and watch for however long a match takes, anyway. Watching a thing is a lot less fun than doing the thing.

Instead, she's just taking a stroll around Luca, like most days since her arrival in Spira. Xantia's cover, such as it is, kind of established itself accidentally, from people's assumptions based on the armor she was decked out in. Given how she ran with it and spent most of her time in town socializing and helping people out with minor problems, by now she's probably fairly well-known as 'that friendly red-haired Crusader'.

Lucky for her, she hasn't run into any actual Crusaders. Then again, it's not like she's been doing anything particularly un-Crusader-like. She took to the role pretty well, she can do the Yevonite prayer gestures flawlessly and everything.

It didn't look like the day was going to be particularly eventful. That is, until she hears the distinctive sound of a gunsmoke ARM being fired in the distance. Unlike most people, this prompts her to actually head towards the sound, expecting there might be a fight, and thus some excitement to be had. Passing people who are fleeing the scene, she catches enough snippets of conversation to pick up the word 'thieves', which tells her all she needs to know. With a smile, she increases her pace.

Those already on the scene will initially only see a red blur of movement as Xantia rushes in, dodging cargo crates left and right, or leaping over them, to close the distance towards where the trouble quite obviously is. Finally, she makes her way up onto a particularly high stack of crates, to have a good view and make herself prominently visible to make the all-important Heroic Declaration.

"Hold it right there, bandits! Surrender now, or--" She pauses mid-speech, correcting herself, "Actually please don't surrender, that would be really boring, can you put up a fight instead? That would be wonderful, thanks! Anyway..." She clears her throat to resume Heroic Mode properly, assuming a questionably heroic pose. "Prepare to face... Mystery Crusader X!"

That's... who she is now, apparently.

<Pose Tracker> Marshal Henry Smythe has posed.

The mysterious Marshal, having woken up at the crack of noon (enjoying the cool night air a little too much, as you might if you stubbornly walk around in full leather in a tropical climate), tried to make his way to the stadium to behold the magic sportosphere and feats of improbable breath-holding. But apparently the sport is really popular, which come to think of it, makes sense when the next most entertaining thing around here is swimming, followed by smashing rocks together.

The stadium might be impossible, but Henry is undeterred, forgoing the viewing screens and instead heading to the tallest building in town and piling crates up so he could climb onto the roof and watch from there. It's considerably farther away than he thought; without binoculars or a spyglass, he's forced to squint into the distance and can... sorta make it some shapes. Really it's all been a big waste of time, but Henry stubbornly lurks until the match's end. WHEN SUDDENLY! A gunshot! The siren call of something interesting actually happening overrides Henry's self-preservation instincts and leads him *toward* danger. Wasting no time, Henry gracefully dives off the building, aiming to land in the wheelbarrow of soft fruit conveniently parked below.

SCREEEEEEEeeeeeeee - that's not an eagle, but Henry's very dignified wail of terror as he notices, midair, that the wheelbarrow has been moved. He lands quite painfully in front of a group of the locals, which at least isn't any worse than his previous efforts to cultivate the goodwill of the local barbarians.

GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has attacked Marshal Henry Smythe with SPLAT!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has completed his action.
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe takes a solid hit from Marshal Henry Smythe's SPLAT for 123 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

A FEW DAYS AGO

A certain bodysuited individual is lying face down in the snow. He's quite obviously breathing, even if it's slow, rhythmic, almost... sleepy. But sleeping in snow is a bad idea, isn't it!? It's a terrible, awful plan! But... But...

'Man,' Zed thinks as he sleepily inhales a great big lungful of snow-scent, 'Snow smells real nice when it's not actively trying to kill you.'

He doesn't notice as the enormous teleportation wave ripples over him. He doesn't notice at all, until...

Until the snow... is abruptly replaced by warm seawater.

NOW

There's... There's something on the horizon. Something that, if it didn't have a distinctly mossy mop of green hair on one end, could almost be mistaken as a dolphin leaping across the waves. It shoots out of the sea, arcing majestically through the spraying seafoam before dipping back down only to repeat the process a few moments later. It's funny, you can almost hear a familiar voice on the wind. What is it saying...?

"iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii---"

Hm? What is that? What is that distant keening?

"---smeeeeeeeeeeeeellllllllllllLLLLL---"

H-hm? Wait... Wait, there's a reason that's... familiar.

"SPOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO---"

Oh no.

OH NO.

The shadow... explodes out of the ocean...!

And lands, as if it had been aiming for that exact spot this entire time, right at the very tippy-top of a great big gantry crane...!

"OOOOOOOOOOOOORTSBAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLL!"

Zed throws his arms to either side, cackling triumphantly, "Hahahaha! I knew there was something this way! Eat that, you stupid ocean! Trying to drown me like that. Hrmph. Shows what happens when you think I'd be so easily defeated by a bit of salty water! Now, where is that-- hm?"

Zed...

Peers down at the dockyard.

"...Oh!" Zed declares ominously, "I know those people! HEY GUUUUYS--" Zed... leaps!

"It's been so long! I'm proud to report that the planet is no longer actively killing us! Nyahahahaha--" Beat. Zed turns and stares at Brother, his giant robot, and the Kamui pinned under it-- and frowns. "...Hm. I sense... I am maybe interrupting something."

<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        Amaterasu similarly numbers among those who have not gone to see the game.

        This is partially due to her persistent quest to determine her sister's location... and partially because she, as they say, lacks the funds with which to purchase a ticket.

        Venturing out into the hillsides had been about as fruitful as Luca had proven. Thus, she has returned to once again darken the city's doorstep...

        ...Just as a certain game is underway.
        And as a gunshots ring out.

        "...Hm."

        Heels ring out against the city streets; Amaterasu soon after leaps then grabs onto the edge of a nearby roof, flipping herself upwards with the sheer momentum of it. Keeping low, she crawls along in search of a better view.

        Her expression is, for now, thoughtful as she regards the heart of the disturbance below.

        Perhaps even intrigued.

<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        Althena's Guard had already had a small scouting expedition into Luca. The results of that expedition had revealed that A) drifters were already there and B) the city itself was probably safe to investigate. And an investigation is why Pearl, instead of doing something fulfilling like killing fiends, is in the city, following her commanding officer around. She hasn't had much to contribute to said expedition, to be honest, as forcing one's way in, or sneaking in, are both off the table due to the company she is keeping. And then, thank Althena, something interesting happens.

        Some madman starts shooting, and suddenly the world is a more interesting place. As Leo charges off, Pearl looks down briefly at the scalper moving to hide. It is so tempting to just kick him while he's down for wasting so much time and effort.

        Eh, she can hunt him down and do that later. Right now there are things that can fight back.

        Pearl launches herself into the air, jumping from pillar to flag post to whatever other raised platform she can find to close the distance, finding her new targets. A mix of machines and humans, it seems. "How interesting." She says quietly, looking over the freshly forming battlefield. "I hope you're not the sorts to retreat at the first sign of trouble."

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Previously, on X-ARMS

Rikku flips a switch. Immediately, the device churns and it spits out a projectile!

"RUNAWAY BALL!"

A shrouded woman (Marivel) spins around, arms at the ready to catch the blitzball with a grin on her face, remembering not so long ago when a Besaid Man clobbered her in the skull with one.

The ball promptly impacts her in the face and sends her crashing to the ground.

Rikku frantically checks over Marivel's body and says, "Oh please be breathing and have your skull mostly intact!"

But when she checks the pulse...

THERE ISN'T ONE!

NOW

Marivel is a little soured on blitzball.

She has been spending time on the docks where there's some nice shade for her to laze around in. She hears the gunshot first, because obviously, and gives a long look towards the Al Bhed Man who---a mohawk, okay. She doesn't know this one.

She watches him posture for a bit but ultimately uh...

"Well I got 'machina'." Marivel murmurs to herself with mild irritation as she sits herself up and prepares herself to deal with this new menace.

She reaches into her sleeves and pulls out a pair of earplugs, laying back down apathetically.

But then she sees a goth woman run by with some furry creature and a boy band model. Needless to say, it's a motley crew and Marivel finds to be a startlingly unusual collection of individuals. She hasn't put her earplugs in yet and she isn't wholly understanding of what they are talking about but she recognizes the name Yuna.

Why does she recognize the name Yuna?

Because every day she goes to the market she nearly gets trampled by a crowd because someone shouts out 'HEY THERE'S YUNA' and she's bloody sick of it. Marivel pockets away her earplugs and follows after Lulu wordlessly, taking an umbrella with her.

But she does end up slowing down because she sees someone on the way and he seems to be taking his time. If he's taking his time, perhaps there isn't much of a worry. Keeping the umbrella overhead despite...it definitely not raining...Marivel does the opposite of get out of Auron's way. She approaches him instead.

"I had to tell a story about you in the market to appease some children." She asides to him. "But people seem to dislike the endings I craft."

She points to the ship. "I am going there because I can't resist mystery."

<Pose Tracker> Brother has posed.

"Xiead, get! E's kuhhy vena so machina cdnyekrd ehdu dra yen yht hudrehk'c kuhhy cdub sa!" Brother shouts down at Emeralda because he is, on some level, a jerk. He then turns to Ashton and scowls at him.

The trio of Al Bhed behind him sigh. One of them calls out at Ashton: "Get out of here!" he yells, his voice accented -- and distorted by the full leather facemask he wears. His eyes aren't visible behind the mask's glass goggle-lenses. "We have no complaint with all of you!" Then, he looks at Brother: "Fryd tu fa tu fedr dra uha ihtan dra lnyda?"

Brother shrugs. "Dyga ran fedr ic!"

Brother does cast a glance at the horizon -- and then turns his head back to the others, with a withering glance at Kamui -- and Catenna and, finally, at Leo. His expression shifts into one of natural rage, as a deeper rivalry that transcends the very cosmos emerges:

Punk versus The Man.

And then Mysterious Crusader X. Brother turns, stares at Xantia for a moment, and communicates a classic gesture: he sticks his tongue out at her. He watches Claude descend; he watches Zed rise up. He reaches down, cocks his gun, and lifts it up. "Mad'c cruf draca bihg fryd'c ib: Al Bhed!"

"KAD FNALGAT!" the other three Al Bhed cry out in ruin.

The four of them all heft up their machina weapons-slash-ARMS... and begin firing, rapidly, down at the docks and all of the Drifters who sought to stop them from stealing a load of ARMs. And tragically, a few shots go flying at the crate, too.

Those all come from Brother.

GS: Brother has attacked Kamui with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has attacked Xantia with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has attacked Seraph Lanval with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has attacked Emeralda Kasim with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has attacked Pearl with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has attacked Zed with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has attacked Ashton Anchors with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has attacked Marshal Henry Smythe with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has attacked Dash Caskett with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has completed his action.
GS: Kamui guards a hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 65 hit points!
GS: Pearl takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 54 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Jacqueline Barber critically Guards a hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 26 hit points!
GS: CRITICAL! Claude C. Kenny critically Guards a hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 23 hit points!
GS: Emeralda Kasim takes a solid hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 101 hit points!
GS: Xantia takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 53 hit points!
DC: Zed switches forms to Manic Blade Master Zed!
GS: Dash Caskett takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 54 hit points!
GS: Brother has attacked Zed with Machina Rapid!
GS: Brother has completed his action.
GS: Seraph Lanval takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 60 hit points!
GS: Zed takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 58 hit points!
GS: Ashton Anchors guards a hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 65 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

A lot of people show up. Emeralda still doesn't know most of them. There are a couple she recognizes ("Hey Claude! You got pants!") and a couple she looks at in confusion (like Zed's impromptu arrival, and Mystery Crusader X, who seems vaguely familiar...)

But Emeralda is mostly looking at Brother because, well, he shot. "...huh? I don't know what you said!" The language sounds weird. She digs deep into her memories, trying to think if she's ever heard it... Nope. Nothing.

"Use real words!!" Emeralda flails her arms for a moment just before, well, Brother (and the other Al Bhed shoot. Her, in fact, though they shoot a lot of other things too. The bullet hits Emeralda pretty much dead center, and that's when things get weird.

The bullets send visible shockwaves across Emeralda's form, making her clothes ripple for a moment before stabilizing. The impact of the shots forces her back a couple steps as she plants her feet to stay upright, and they don't penetrate, lodging somewhere inside her.

Emeralda had, previously, never been shot before. She doesn't like it. It hurts. And she's had a rough week.

There is a spike in Ether pressure around her as Emeralda suddenly draws in a lot of power. Blue light flickers around her as she spreads her arms wide, bundling it in a strange but still vaguely familiar way. She looks, sharply, directly at Brother.

No. Directly at Brother's feet. The ground there glows blue-white - then erupts in a vertical pillar of water, the sudden geyser threatening to pick him up and throw him. If nothing else, it ought to make him stop shooting, she figures!

The water rains down on the other Al Bhed near him. It is a lot less harmful to them, but it wins a prize on sheer annoyance - it's icy-cold.

GS: Emeralda Kasim has attacked Brother with Aqua Aroum!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

The Al Bhed continue to shout, and Claude C. Kenny - looks confused. Extremely confused. Confused about being confused, even. Because the only thing Claude brought with him to wherever he is - other than his underpants - was his Federation-issue tricorder-slash-communicator, which comes with a state-of-the-art Federation translator, capable of translating more than a thousand known alien languages* and extrapolating several unknown ones from its databanks. It is not expecting a straight-up letter transposition of English. because why would it?

"Does anyone know what they're saying?" shouts Claude as he lands, then frowns as he sees the guns pointing his way. "Never mind, I think they're saying they want to kill us," he says, preparing to roll to his left and lift his arms to cover his face, allowing the Federation armourweave to protect him. At least, that is his original plan, which unravels when he sees flowing white cloth in the place of a light tan.

YOU AREN'T IN YOUR UNIFORM, CLAUDE

THIS STUPID CLOTHING IS NOT BULLETPROOF, CLAUDE

'EVEN IF IT WAS, IT DOES NOT COVER YOUR ABS, AND YOUR ABS CANNOT BLOCK BULLETS, CLAUDE'

"Oh geeze - TEAR INTO PIECES!" Claude shouts, stomping down onto the dock; a single round gets through, grazing the young man's side, but the others ricochet off a concentric wave of stone spikes that rips up from the stone below; he's causing a lot of property damage, but he doesn't care much - he's too busy hyperventilating. "Good wall," he pants. "Good... bullet-blocking wall. Just gonna---oh God damn it," he groans, his hand coming up empty as he reaches for a sheath that isn't there. Claude looks around frantically. "HEY, DOES ANYONE HAVE AN EXTRA SWORD?" he shouts, stomping a fresh wave of spikes toward Brother. "HEY YOU, VEST-HOODIE DU---" okay, just keep running then," Claude grouses at the back of the strange young man with spike hair and 0.6 shorts. He keeps looking around, then spots the weapons crates in the process of being stolen.

¬_¬

Claude darts for the crates, preparing to add theft under 5000 gil to his charge sheet.

* - Only two Federation languages are not recognized by the common translation database; the first "language" "spoken" in the Munorian Combine, which is not so much a language as an interpretive dance, except the dance takes the form of noxious farts. The second is Welsh, because why with the consonants already.

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Brother with Ripper Blast!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Oblitzerator has posed.

 
The Al Bhed ship at Dock Number Four is a different from other Spiran ships, a machina freighter, with a mounted crane, and textured metallic plating.
 
As people run onto the deck in pursuit, it appears to already be lurching out of port lending urgency to try to catch up to it. There looks to be just enough time to jump aboard though if one is swift! No guards appear to be currently on the deck of the ship itself to hinder their approach. What luck!
 
All hopes of no interference die though when a panel on the ship's deck slides open, a shape rising up slowly by hydraulic lift from the hold, glinting in the sunlight sparkling off the ship, the shadow of an inert crane at rest slicing through it as it rises across the deck.
 
 
The machina has a bulbous base, that looks vaguely plant like, mounted upon it is a metallic ring embracing it like a hug, and two grinder like gears at the top.
 
The platform it stands upon locks in place, as a tripod of legs snap into place from the bottom of the rig, the ring slowly opening into a horseshoe like shape.
 
The gears spark to life, beginning to rotate at high speed, its motor causing the whole of the machina to juke in minute motions to the tune of the motor. The legs make small motions to compensate, snapping inward and back, giving it the affect of a gyroscope.
 
And then it begins to fire. It sounds like a machine gun, as it releases a volley of Blitzballs at high speed, dozens at a time with incredible accuracy. Even Nimrook, widely considered the greatest Blitzball goalkeeper in Spira would not be able to keep up with this many, all moving this fast.
 
The base turns as it sprays them across the attackers, the initial trajectory dangerous enough even before the ricochets - before snapping back across at lightning speed. Displaying what must be some motion tracking function to try to hinder advance.
 
Tidus and Kimahri are running towards the ship - leaping - and are taken off guard by a half dozen Blitz projectiles in mid-air. Tidus being a professional Blitzball player is able to catch one in both hands in mid-air, "AHA- wha - AURON?!"
 
Right before his distraction over Auron's presence causes three more slam into him and send him hurtling back onto the dock. "-OW HEY! Those aren't regulation Blitzballs!" Four others peg Kimahri in a spherical barrage that knock him back into the crates, shattering them in a splintering shower of wood.
 
Those with especially keen eyes may spot that some of the motion blurs have different colors. One ball impacts a face leaving behind a residue of oily sticky tar. Another looks a sickly green, like its coated in some sort of poison. Yet another upon impact releases a choking gas.
 
There's a sudden whirring noise, before twin projectiles are released at Amaterasu and Marivel. These ball impacts with a metallic ringing that feels like metal bands around the outside, as it transfers a powerful electrical shock from the ball to each recipient.
 
Tidus who has just missed the boat, leaps into the water with a sleek dive, swimming after the ship freestyle - and actually keeping pace behind it! "HEY!" Glug Glug. "THE CRANE!" Glug Glug. "TRY USING IT!"
 
The inert claw like crane on a long arm does look like it has potential, even at rest. The panel like controls look straightforward, even to those without basic knowledge of Machina.
 
OOC Note: Trying to use the crane is a free action in this round. Later rounds this will be different! Upon use your PCs will notice it has no power.
 

DC: Oblitzerator switches forms to Oblitzerator!
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        Several people cry out for them to unsquish Kamui, but it's Data the Dancing Monkey that comes close. A red camera-eye flashes underneath the pile of baking paper, and she writhes as

        MEMORY ACCESSED

        A skyscraper collapses from a firestorm of incendiary bombs in the distance. Several bomber planes whizz by on tight arcs, streams of flame echoing from the machineguns on their hardpoints. Yet all she can do, on this Central Highway, with this Monkey next to her is--

        Dance! Nothing left for her to do... but DANCE

        MEMORY CORRUPTED

        Kamui gives... a thumbs up... from amidst a pile of M1903 Sp********ds and other choice weapons. Then rises as that narrow camera-eye homes in on Brother and still finds that...

        She has no idea what he's saying.

        "An Ecks-SOLDER won't give up, mui," Kamui remarks groggily, rifles tumbling out from all around her form as she wields the Bluster Sword... for good! She catches Marivel from the corner of her eye, but she's headed elsewhere and there's someone called Yuna and she doesn't understand at all.

        There's a nearby green-haired girl that gives her some pause as she says the most relatable thing she's heard all day: 'Use real words!!'

        She can agree.

        "KAD FNALGAT!" Kamui echoes, totally not understanding what they said but just copying it like a good impressionable kid would. A whisper of 'accelerate' later, and she's suddenly trailing with blue and white afterimages as she wilfully throws herself forward towards the nearest of Brother's brothers, emergency acceleration propelling her up into the air and--

        Literally throws herself and clings onto his back, like... a climbing hazard!

        And then...

        "Zzz..."

        ... takes a really short nap on his back?!

        This climb hazzard, ugh! Don't trip and fall, good Al Bhed sir!

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        There is ARM fire that ends up sprayed somewhere in Lanval's direction, and numerous bullets graze him as he flops against the docks in a vague misunderstanding of the whole concept of 'duck and cover' that he's seen some of his Fox Company friends do when they're under similar fire. (In that he misunderstands, in the moment, the necessity to have cover and not just duck.)
        A part of him starts to slip between the cracks above the water. He catches himself, in a show of willpower - normally he'd just let himself down into the water, because that's what water does. But he doesn't really want to go swimming with all the lights.
        As things start to spiral out of control, a part of him has a thought. He really has kind of just laid around, drank, and gazed at his metaphorical navel. The water of Filgaia is, for the time being, completely silent - and has been, since he arrived on Spira. He has received no further direction.
        "Mmmm... hey, if their ARM shtuff ish the shame ash back hoooome," Lanval starts thinking of an idea, "Talishe'd be shoooo happy ta not hafta shave her shellsh! 'N Shephy'd have enough fer Foxtail... oooh, and Roshaline too~"
        Well, hey, Lanval's smile gets dumber. This could be easy, he thinks, the stuff in the crate there looks promising, all he has to do is just deal with them - as though it were a trivial matter.
        Rolling back and forth to pull himself back up, Lanval starts staggering along the docks closer to the Al Bhed quartet with a self-reassuring laugh. Hey, they might not know what hit them, he thinks. The Water Seraph-turned-Oracle of Schturdark takes one exaggerated step forward and leaps into the air like a big, rotund, silver-bearded bird with arms spread out wide as he unwisely leaps above and at them--
        His eyes open half-lidded as he starts the descent. Wait, he realizes.
        They can see me.
        Far, far, far too late to abort, Lanval descends in a body splash to some indeterminate target among the four Al Bhed raiders as he is about to initiate yet another awkward circumstance in a situation that has long since gone pear-shaped.

GS: Kamui has attacked Brother with Climb Hazzard!
GS: Kamui has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Kamui has completed her action.
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Brother with Body Splash!
GS: Seraph Lanval has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Seraph Lanval has completed his action.
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked White Knight Leo with Blind Ball!
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Auron with Poison Ball!
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Emeralda Kasim's Aqua Aroum for 56 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Marivel Armitage with Shut Up And Jam Ball !
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Amaterasu with Shut Up And Jam Ball !
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Lulu with Mute Ball!
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Isolde with Blitzball Rush !
GS: Oblitzerator has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Catenna with Blitzball Rush !
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has completed her action.
GS: Isolde critically Guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Rush  for 32 hit points!
GS: Marivel Armitage takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's Shut Up And Jam Ball  for 123 hit points!
GS: Jam! applied to Marivel Armitage!
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Rush  for 79 hit points!
GS: Auron guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Poison Ball for 67 hit points!
GS: Poison! applied to Auron!
GS: Brother completely evades a hit from Claude C. Kenny's Ripper Blast!
GS: Lulu takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's Mute Ball for 134 hit points!
GS: Mute! applied to Lulu!
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Kamui's Climb Hazzard for 148 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

They say that they have no complaint with all of them. Jacqueline frowns, folding her arms in front of her.

"Be that as it may! This is not the way to go about things. I'm sure we can discuss this properly and civilly." Jacqueline replies.

She sees a lot of things happening. White Knight Leo is here, for one, but thankfully he doesn't seem to have noticed her yet.

She hopes this continues to be the case.

Unfortunately, his presence seems to make things turn toward the worst as the four Al Bhed lift up their guns.

Jacqueline lowers her arms toward the pouches at her side...and as the Al Bhed take aim she raises them up. Both of her hands are now equipped with a familiar pair of gauntlets. A thin barrier of energy intercepts most of the bullets, though a few still manage to slip past.

"You're just making things worse for yourselves. Please reconsider. People are going to get hurt! Do you truly want that weighing on your conscience, and your criminal record? I would prefer not to fight you, but if you're going to continue on this path, I may not have a choice but to stop you." She says.

Hearing this might make it difficult to keep fighting at one-hundred percent, even if only because it's kind of exhausting to hear her keep going like that.

GS: That attack doesn't exist. []
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Brother with Extended Lecture!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

The strange men do not un-crush Kamui. This irritates Ashton. He's irritated more because they just seem to keep talking gibberish and--
 
Oh, wait, that was a sensible statement. Good, there's room for handling this in a calm, peaceful manner. "You might not have a complaint with us, but you just hurt that poor woman! At least help her--"
 
Then more shouting and the shooting starts.
 
Yeah, c'mon Ashton you knew this was going to end up with violence. It always ends up with violence.
 
Fortunately, it seems there are friends in that violence. Ashton perks up when he hears the cry for Pears Into Peaches - wait, damn it is Claude already getting those pants destroyed just after he got them?!
 
And hey! Emeralda! Oh look, she's fine. Now they don't have to explain to Fei how they melted his daughter. ...Wait, she just got shot a lot. That's weird.
 
Focus, Ashton, focus.
 
Blades out, the spellsword rushes closer amidst the hail of lead. It doesn't seem to actually bother him a whole lot. "That's quite enough out of you four! Stop shooting people I like! And Claude!" It's in that moment that he notices Kamui is.. hanging on one of them. And he makes the logical assumption. "And stop kidnapping that woman you nearly crushed!"
 
He has to check his attacks a bit, however, to avoid harming her. Still - twin swords slash, trying to keep in close and responsive to the Al Bhed's counter attacks. Who knows what they're capable of.

GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Brother with Guard Sword!
GS: Ashton Anchors gains 5 FP from Sufferer!
GS: Ashton Anchors has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

There are a lot of people out here, and that's fine. Lulu looks at each of them in passing, judges whether they're going to get in her way or someone else's, and lets it go at that, though Leo, in particular, stands out immediately to her and, in other circumstances, would prompt an outright double-take. ...As would... a Mystery Crusader X.

With the haste at which Lulu is moving, she doesn't recognize Auron for who he is, just from his red coat. Tidus, on the other hand, is mid-leap when he spots the older man, and he sure looks inclined to say something to him... if...

Well, it was a nice thought, anyway.

Lulu, for her part, leaps into the air... and as the gears are sparking to life, as the ship is moving, Lulu evades the blitzballs by virtue of most of them hitting the men of her party instead, and being a smaller target. She lands on the deck an instant later, glancing to each side to notice that... her fellow Guardian and That Boy are not here with her.

...But, as she can tell, they're fine back there. Kimahri is not as vocal as Tidus, but the blue Guardian snarls in anger as he pushes up above the waves and starts swimming with all his might after the ship. Once Lulu touches down, she drops to a crouch, grits her teeth as another set of the projectiles slams against her--chest, shoulder, side, with its choking gas. She suppresse s a cough, once... and then rises to her full height, her hair ornaments glinting in the sunlight as she narrows her eyes towards the bulbuous Oblitzerator.

Lulu notices that she is not alone on the ship. What people have in mind, she can't say, naturally. "If you're here to assist," Lulu says, "That's fine. If you're here to get in the way..."

One can imagine a close-up on Lulu's red eyes hardening. "Don't."

The strange moogle doll she holds under one arm dangles as she lifts her other hand, the concentrated power of the Blessing--is it the Blessing, to those of Lunar?--building fiercely around her.

"Against machina... lightning attacks are most effective."

She lifts her hand, and swings it down, her wide sleeve fluttering as a bolt of lightning erupts from nowhere to crash down straight for the Oblitzerator.

GS: Lulu has attacked Oblitzerator with Thunder!
GS: Lulu has completed her action.
GS: Amaterasu critically Guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Shut Up And Jam Ball  for 22 hit points!
GS: Jam! applied to Amaterasu!
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        It appears that Pearl isn't the only one in the gathered crowd who is hoping for an actual fight. Her eyes track briefly through the crowd toward Xantia, intrigued at the concept of someone else being of like mind. And then the Mystery Crusader X spiel comes out, and Pearl is reminded of a certain powerful yet stupid young wizard. It is not a favourable comparison.

        Fortunately, there are bullets. Pearl rolls to the left, a few bullets grazing a heavily scarred arm. "I don't believe what they're saying matters any more." Pearl vaguely responds to Claude. Her mouth turns into a grin, sunlight reflecting off the metallic fang jutting out from under her lip. Her retort to the gunfire is to run straight towards the closest opponent. She doesn't particularly care who her opponent is at this early juncture, she just cares that there is one.

        As she closes the gap, Pearl lashes out with her clawed gloves, letting loose with multiple wild swipes. This is not a careful or refined attack, instead much more like a beast trying to maul it's prey. The whole time, that grin remains on Pearl's face.

GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Lulu's Thunder for 148 hit points!
GS: Pearl has attacked Brother with Frenzied Claw!
GS: Pearl has completed her action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Seraph Lanval's Body Splash for 55 hit points!
GS: White Knight Leo takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's Blind Ball for 101 hit points!
GS: Weaken! applied to White Knight Leo!
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia can't understand what's all being said over there. But that's fine. They can still communicate through heroic posing and... sticking out their tongue?! "Oh, that's it," Xantia fumes, gesturing as if rolling up her non-existent sleeves, "Now you get to see how a hero takes care of the bad guys!"

Then she eeps and quickly leaps backwards to take cover behind the crates she was standing on, since the Al Bhed decided to open fire at that point. Thankfully they aren't the straightest shooters, and she thus avoids taking any worse than superficial nicks. She didn't miss that one sound of metal being impacted - that's her new armor paying off, sparing her from what could have been a pretty nasty injury. Don't expect her to learn anything from this, more likely being better protected is only going to make her more reckless.

"This isn't it yet!!" she shouts from behind cover. By which she means that she hasn't yet begun to do that hero thing she promised just now. She just needs an opening first, that's all.

As she looks behind, she gets a pretty disturbing view of a little girl getting shot. A yell of alarm remains stuck in her throat, witnessing the results of this being... unusual, to put it mildly. And then Ether happens, as she has problem identifying at this point. Putting all the pieces together along with the rudimentary description she was given a while back of a little girl with green hair, and she feels pretty safe in venturing a guess.

"...Emeralda? Hey, are you Emeralda?" Sure wouldn't have expected a meeting to finally happen while she was stuck on another planet, and in the middle of a gunfight no less, but... might as well properly introduce herself. It's fine, the people with guns can wait a moment longer. "I'm Xantia! Has Fei told you about me?"

At this point, bullets are starting to pierce through the cargo crates, making it a little perilous to stay where she is. Far be it from her to discourage a little girl from participating in a fight, so instead she suggests, "Let's beat these guys up first, okay?"

With that, she's off. Straight towards the Al Bhed bandits, taking a long leap forwards, then throwing a punch with enough force to cause a loud crashing noise, even though all she hits is air. Air which is displaced powerfully enough to blow away bullets and the ones shooting them alike.

GS: Xantia has attacked Brother with Massive Shockwave!
GS: Xantia has completed her action.
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Extended Lecture for 29 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

In fairness, Catenna probably doesn't look that threatening either. She and Jay make a good pair.

She looks on with a deepening frown at the sight of Brother's expression changing into one she's seen a hundred times on the faces of a hundred peers. Someone's having a pout at The Authority Figure.

In fairness, am I not also having a pout at The Authority Figure...?

She backs off - mostly because something is going on aboard that ship. With raised eyebrows, the Moon Shaman watches that hydraulic lift raise something up --

"Moon's sake, it looks like someone tried to chrome-plate a root bulb," she says with a rapid blink, pushing a hand through her hair as she gazes upon... the Oblitzerator.

Then it chucks a blitzball at her and hits her right in the stomach. Catenna tumbles heels over head with an ungraceful squeak.

More balls come spewing out of the huge thing, and the Moon Shaman squeaks as another slams into the ground next to her. Wincing, she kips to the side to elude another. One more bounces off the deck next to her, and she boosts forward, hitting the ground on her hands and flipping dramatically upwards with a whirl of her dress before touching down. She's barefoot today but it's not really impeding her ability to fight.

"Why have they weaponized the sports," Catenna vents. She doesn't even like sports! Usually.

Another ball screeches by her as she recovers, vaulting forward and holding herself low as she boosts towards the ship. Again she kicks off the deck, spinning through the air in a rapid spin and touching down on the deck with a peculiar grace. She's not too far from the crane.

Or really from Lulu, who warns them off.

Catenna narrows her eyes slightly, something flashing behind her pale greys.

"Consider yourself assisted," she huffs.

With a boost back towards the crane, Catenna... glances at it a moment before realizing it's not powered. "Someone more mechanically apt than me needs to look at this!" she calls out before she levels a hand - but not before watching with eyebrows arched as Lulu calls down the lightning.

Catenna adds something else. The deck of the ship just below the Oblitzerator begins to vibrate as Catenna sweeps her hand forward and shouts a word of power. Gravitational force begins to multiply, attempting to pull the blitzball machine up into the air a little ways and then slam it back down to the deck!

GS: Catenna has attacked Oblitzerator with Grav!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Marshal Henry Smythe has posed.

The good Marshal spends half a minute lying on the road, evaluating the state of his body and mind. This place is making him... like stir-crazy, except instead of being cooped up, it's too hot, there are no bullets, and nobody even wants to look at Blastemol!®, let alone listen to a sales pitch.

The sound of rapid gunfire reminds Henry of why he jumped down in such a hurry in the first place. After confirming that he has feeling in his entire body, he climbs to his feet, dusts himself off, and tips his hat to -- nobody; they're running indoors. Well, that means less collateral damage, which makes things easier. He sets into a brisk run, making his way to the source of all the commotion.

Once on the scene, Henry catches the wonderful, long-absent smell of gunsmoke on the breeze. He almost smiles, but that simple joy is replaced with utter confusion. The jumping and shooting and hollering and erupting rocks and who even are all these people!? Maybe he should just leave. The stadium might be clearing out; he might be able to sneak in and try swimming in the gravity-optional zone.

Well, that'll still be an option later; for now, it's easy enough to creep to the periphery of the action to take cover and observe. A handful of heal berries (not the freshest by now) knit up any potential new problems with his vertebrae, and then he pulls out his revolver for a quick field cleaning, leaving just his eyes and hat poking up from behind a crate at the other end of the dock.

GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Catenna's Grav for 69 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator has been weakened by Disease! Temporary hit points purged!
GS: Disease! applied to Oblitzerator!
GS: CRITICAL! Brother takes a glancing hit from Ashton Anchors's Guard Sword for 69 hit points!
GS: Cover! applied to Ashton Anchors!
GS: Ashton Anchors assumes the Stoic stance!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Rapid for 51 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        "/What/?" Leo hops off the final stone pillar, planting both sandals on the pier as he slides into a nimble, stable fighting stance. "Were you struck on the head?! I /said/, /what is the meaning of this?!" Brother glares at him. In that moment, Leo's eyes meet his. The White Knight's lip curls with all the distaste of an authority figure who has been forced to acknowledge the existence of some random punk that has become a problem. He then resorts to a tactic often used by those who don't understand a foreign language:

        Speaking louder and slower in hopes that this will magically make the other speaker understand them.

        "PUT. YOUR. ARMS. DOWN. I. WILL. NOT. ASK. AGAIN. RUFFIANS--"

        Leo's ears twitch. He catches sight of something further down the docks--a woman in a black leather dress rushing one of the other docks, where a very out-of-place craft appears to be making its escape. "Oho. A diversion!" Leo says. He breaks into a sprint, chi speeding his movements as he simply leaps out towards what looks like open ocean. The sea's surface splits, and a pillar of rock rises from beneath to meet him. Another pillar follows, some distance away, then another, then another. After the fourth pillar, Leo leaps for the deck of the fleeing Al Bhed ship, his vest blowing out behind him.

        "BRIGANDS!" Leo shouts, as he turns to face the cabin. "Don't waste my time with anything less than your best! For I am White Knight Leo, Champion of the Innocent, Chosen of the Goddess Althena! Whatever crimes you've committed against the people of this benighted land end, here and now!"

        Lulu continues to see some weird (half?)Ronso guy, posturing as though he expects everyone to bow down.

        A new challenger emerges. Leo takes a step back, and--for the first time--turns to acknowledge the woman in the black dresss, and the others with her. "Stay behind me, then!" Leo says. He draws his blade in a flash. "Whatever war machine they bring against us, know I've fought far--

        *PHOOT*

        The Oblitzerator opens fire. A ball flies for the back of Leo's head, slamming into it. Oily goo sprays into his eyes. The White Knight's head whips forwards, and he stumbles. "What dishonorable--!" Leo's vision swims. He takes a few steps back, braces on the rolling deck, and drives his blade forwards. "DEMON FANG!" Energy condenses along the weapon's edge, snapping free as a crescent of raw chi. The big Beastman might be dazed, but he's fought weirder and more dangerous than a...

        Whatever this is. Those two ladies said weaponized sports?

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Oblitzerator with Demon Fang!
GS: White Knight Leo has gained 1 Combo!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Auron has posed.

Suddenly MARIVEL! Fortunately Auron does know her. And the mention of endings people don't like? "That seems to be a common complaint from a lot of people," he notes. He's doing that cryptic old man thing again. But he nods as Marivel mentions she's heading for that ship. "I believe several of us are." He might have caught sight of Tidus and Kimahri, the two he would know best in that group. He wasn't the one to ultimately bring Yuna to Besaid, after all -- Kimahri was. So he might not know Lulu all that well.

What he does know is that as he's following Lulu, Tidus, and Kimahri, that giant machina up there is shooting Blitzballs at them. Of various kinds, so it's being quite creative. Auron starts running as the thing attacks, and raises an arm to keep from taking a Blitzball to the face. Unfortunately either it hits his arm JUST SO, or there's some kind of nasty stuff on the ball, because he can feel himself starting to lose strength.

But he's not in range yet, so he does the only thing he can think of. He pauses to concentrate his power in his voice. And when he speaks again, his voice is abnormally intense, and anyone standing near him can probably feel the vibrations from his words.

"Do not move."

GS: Auron has attacked Oblitzerator with Threaten!
GS: Auron takes 23 damage from Poison!
GS: Auron has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Xiead, get! E's kuhhy vena so machina cdnyekrd ehdu dra yen yht hudrehk'c kuhhy cdub sa!

"Eh?" Zed ehs, staring agog at the strange begoggled man shouting down a little emerald-haired girl. "Get what? Who is... Zeed? Is- is he talking about me? Do I have a fan!? But what kind of fan of mine would talk about dubs like that...? Everyone knows subs are the best--"

Bullets!

"Waugh!" Bullets shriek through the air, tearing rippling contrails of superheated air in their wake! The bullets... ping off a whirling, crescent-shaped blade! The dread caliber, Doom Bringer, has been drawn from its sheaeth-- and only ruin can possibly follow in its wake. "What. What! What are you doing!? Who shoots a guy who just got done with a swim!? That's like, that's asking for muscle cramps, or something! Ghh--" Shrapnel split by Zed's deadly blade scythes far too close, cutting thin, bleeding lines across the Hyadean's face. But...

This man... Bleeds not red, but... Silver?

"Even worse!" Zed declares, charging straight into the deadly storm of high-velocity metal. "You're shooting a child!? Only cowards do that! Cowards, and total lame-os! As a warrior of Lost Hyades, I cannot allow this criminality to continue! Here we go, COMET BLADE" He leaps! He lunges. He strikes...!

His blade glows with an awesome power as each swing sends crescents of cutting energy surging toward the cluster of Al Behd gunners.

GS: Zed has attacked Brother with RayBlade - Zed Saber!
GS: Zed has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Zed has completed his action.
GS: CRITICAL! Oblitzerator guards a hit from White Knight Leo's Demon Fang for 181 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator critically Guards a hit from Auron's Threaten for 0 hit points!
GS: Cripple and Jam! applied to Oblitzerator!
<Pose Tracker> Dash Caskett has posed.

Dash~

Sportsball. Yeah. Sportsball. Apparently incanting that word causes sudden green-haired scarf guys to fly out of the ocean.

This place is really weird.

A look to the side, and people engage the Al Bhed weapon holders, but not before they spray bullets all over the dock as if they are watering a garden. Dash has to dive behind some equipment, but still gets winged in the foot, the bullet bounces off his armor and dents it inward. He looks down to it as if someone was looking at a broken valuable. "Hmph. What a bunch of dangerous people! Better stop them!" he comments.

With a few quiet mechanical sounds, Dash's left hand disappears into his forearm, and a small cannon barrel is left in its place. "I don't understand what you are saying! But you shot at us so I assume you are a bad group of people!"

He points the Mega Buster in their direction. "And I am gonna fire back!"

The interior of the barrel glows golden before a series of rapid-fire shots of solar plasma tear down the dock at the Al Bhed!

Data~

The little robo-monket manages to move a gun with strenuous effort. He chirps and coos at her with the thumbs up, and just seems utterly enamored with seeing her! He bounces on his two little feet as she gets up.

Kamui moves to engage the opponents, and Data nods and quickly bounds between some crates off to the side, as to not get shot up but the ensuing gunfire.

GS: Dash Caskett has attacked Brother with Buster Salvo!
GS: Dash Caskett has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Dash Caskett has completed his action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Pearl's Frenzied Claw for 72 hit points!
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Xantia's Massive Shockwave for 108 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! applied to Brother!
<Pose Tracker> Marshal Henry Smythe has posed.

The good Marshal spends half a minute lying on the road, evaluating the state of his body and mind. This place is making him... like stir-crazy, except instead of being cooped up, it's too hot, there are no bullets, and nobody even wants to look at Blastemol!®, let alone listen to a sales pitch.

The sound of rapid gunfire reminds Henry of why he jumped down in such a hurry in the first place. After confirming that he has feeling in his entire body, he climbs to his feet, dusts himself off, and tips his hat to -- nobody; they're running indoors. Well, that means less collateral damage, which makes things easier. He sets into a brisk run, making his way to the source of all the commotion.

Once on the scene, Henry catches the wonderful, long-absent smell of gunsmoke on the breeze. He almost smiles, but that simple joy is replaced with utter confusion. The jumping and shooting and hollering and erupting rocks and who even are all these people!? Maybe he should just leave. The stadium might be clearing out; he might be able to sneak in and try swimming in the gravity-optional zone.

Suddenly some of those ARMs swing in his direction; Henry stumbles out of the way, getting winged before diving into cover. He shakes his head at his carelessness and checks himself for injuries, thankfully finding only a flesh wound. Well, he might not know what's going on, but he at least knows he's not on the side of the jerks trying to shoot him. He draws his revolver and pokes up from cover, just his eyes and straw cowboy hit visible, and sets up for overwatch. Anyone pointing a gun in his direction again is going to get discouraged in the form of hot brass.

GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has attacked Brother with Lead from the Rear!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has completed his action.
GS: Brother completely evades a hit from Zed's RayBlade - Zed Saber!
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel ... totally hasn't noticed Kamui's presence. Why would she be here?? But that's okay. Her heart is always with Kamui and as such Marivel's heart knows where Kamui is and it's encouraging her to do her best. Or, you know, take a nap. She believes in you Kamui.

But Marivel has a date with boat because there's a whole crew of fascinating individuals she doesn't know and one she particularly DOES know heading in that direction.

Marivel, ancient vampire, hero of the zeboim era, acting bossy person of ARMS until someone apps Ashley.... spins on her foot as she hears the familiar whirl of the blitzball cannon and--

--it's faster than last time, so it still clobbers Marivel in the face and sends her crashing down to the floor in a familiar display.

"That's three times now." Marivel says on the floor, somehow still alive. Well, 'alive'.

She flips back up to her feet. She walks forward, eyes narrowing. To think that little imp could be...

"I'd recognize that bludgeon to my head anywhere." Marivel narrows her eyes. "Nimrook."

Well or Rikku, but surely Rikku wouldn't shoot her new pal Marivel in the face with a blitzball now would she?? AGAIN??? And yes, MArivel is unaware that Nimrook is actually playing blitzball as we speak. She is not a purveyor of sportsball.

That's Lydia. Who is having. The time. Of her life. And is much happier than Marivel at the moment.

Marivel can, however, cheat. She smiles over to her friend and says, "The blondie seemed to recognize you but... I myself like unusual endings."

She then promptly vanishes because she can cheat and she appears on the boat near the crane.

She tries the crane. "Hm." She says, pushing the buttons. "Nope, I'm afraid it's out of power!" She looks towards Lulu. "Though it seems you may have a spell for that?"

Honestly Marivel would too but she's not sure if this is a 'cast lightning on it' situation or look for fuel type of situation just yet.

She sees Leo and frowns faintly. "Mayhaps I best take it easy."

She looks towards Lulu for a moment as she provides advice. And a threat.

"I have a grudge to settle against this contraption. It seems we will be working together. I like your outfit."

And with that she shouts, "INSPIRE!"

Aww she is going to inspire Lulu and give her free combo and--

--oh no wait, it's 'inspire' as in 'brainstorm' as in 'a cloud has appeared into existence above the Oblitzerator and is now crackling lightning down at it'. That kind of inspire.

"

GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Oblitzerator with Red Power!
GS: Marivel Armitage has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Marivel Armitage's Red Power for 75 hit points!
GS: Brother completely evades a hit from Dash Caskett's Buster Salvo!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Marshal Henry Smythe's Lead from the Rear for 62 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

        When it comes to journalism, there is at least one constant that holds true, even here in Spira: you can't beat a sports tournament when it comes to getting some cheap and easy sales. Maybe it's a bit mercenary of her to think of it in so glib a fashion, but she's got to get some money together somehow, and a nice easy story means she can focus on how exactly she's going to circulate a newspaper in the first place. The best idea she's got right now is to lean on that 'Rin' guy and that doesn't exactly seem like the most reliable of plans.

        Besides, she's heard about nothing but the tournament for the last week. Whatever this blitzball thing is, it's obviously a big enough deal to the people of Spira that maybe watching it will help her figure the place out just a little. And since it feels like everyone in the world has decided to descend upon Luca to do so, well, at least she's got a readership ready and waiting.

        That's the original idea, at least. Instead, she watches in disbelief as a giant sphere of water coalesces inside of what to her is clearly a 'gigantic machina feared by Yevon and the pious and forbidden to the average Spiran'. And she can feel her fingers start to itch, for that matter. She's not exactly against the church, but for an instant or two she can just imagine the investigative expose in her mind: 'BLITZED BY MACHINA ALLEGATIONS'.

        "Like we'd get away with writing something like that," she sighs out heavily, shaking her head as she discards the idea. Journalistic integrity sometimes means paying attention to journalistic survival. "Still, what a weird setup. Make sure you get some photos, Kamui."

        "... Kamui?"

        * * *

        The Maverick Hunter wandering off is not an unusual thing, and Acacia's happy enough to take a walk through the stadium and the surroundings, keeping her eyes open for the highest point possible as she satisfies her curiosity about Luca. (She's honestly surprised that Kamui isn't just standing on top of the blitzsphere contraption. She's pretty certain that's going to rate a 9 at least, 10 if a hot dog stand is in easy reach and there's a game on.)

        It's the gunfire that really gets her moving, caught on the edge of her hearing and so quiet that most of the Lucans around her don't even pick up on what it is. You can't fool a reporter's ears, though - well, maybe that's boasting a little too much. But as a Filgaian, the sound of a gunsmoke arm is a deeply familiar noise, and with Kamui still missing--

        --it's not that she's worried, or anything, but she pushes herself into a run regardless, circling the main stadium at speed as she propels herself in the direction of the docks where the crowd is thinnest. There's a commotion - and then she's rounded the corner to get a full view of a huge number of Drifters, some of whom she recognizes, locked in combat with the shadiest-looking bunch of grunts she's seen on Spira. Her fingers itch again. She's really got to get a second camera for herself.

        That thought flees in an instant, though. Acacia had wondered if Kamui's disguise really counted as much of a disguise, especially given the oversize sword. But at least it allows her to identify the Reploid...

        ... unconscious on Brother's back.

        She's not used to seeing red, and the growl in the back of her throat would surprise her if she even registered it. "Oh, hell no, you are not taking her," she mutters as she throws herself up against the railing and feels for the holster in her jacket. It might not be very heroic to line up a surprise flanking shot from the walkway above, but she's not the rest of ARMS when it comes to being hung up on that word. "Drop the girl!" she yells as she sights - and pulls the trigger.

GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Brother with Snapshot!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Acacia Saitani's Snapshot for 60 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
A lot of people begin to shout and carry on, which Isolde nods slightly to herself over. She can hear words and people moving. Shouts. Calls. Demonstrations, remonstrations... all sorts of monstrations really. She keeps up with the occasional small whistle, but it is less necessary.

She can hear machinery moving... She approaches dock four, moving quick enough that the tails of her sleeveless coat are trailing behind her. There is something starting up and Isolde works her jaw for a moment as the cannon opens fire. It begins down the dock, and that boy cries out to someone, to Auron.

Isolde hums for a moment.

The blitzfire washes over her. The first ball does in fact hit her in the shoulder enough to make her recoil but she weaves with it and by the second ball she is parrying them aside, her sword flashing in front of her in a lazy-eight formation, moving easily between one-handed twists to two-handed parries. By the fifth or sixth ball she is actually scoring hits - deflecting ones - and one headed straight towards her head (by accident, surely) is given a swift cleave in twain as she walks into the dockside area.

She hears Lulu's statement. The Don't. makes her smile, and she bows - avoiding another Blitzball in the process - before straightening up. Clucking her tongue, she says, "I'm not so good with machinery. Ah, Marie, good to meet you."

She takes a deep breath and raises her sword in front of her face, resting her palm on the smooth if slightly battered blade. She hums again, and her head tilts forwards.

Soothing force, calming and no doubt sparkly, washes towards Marie, as well as the wielder of this soft-touch magick (that's Isolde) and the battered blue-furred Guardian.

"So your plan's to block them with the crane? A solid plan. Are they thieves?" Isolde asks.

GS: Isolde has attacked Lulu with Calm Litany!
GS: Isolde has attacked Isolde with Calm Litany!
GS: Isolde has attacked Marivel Armitage with Calm Litany!
GS: Isolde has completed her action.
GS: Isolde heals Isolde! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Isolde heals Lulu! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Brother has posed.

Brother is the sort of guy who can shoot at a kid and not feel too bad, because he figures that gunshot wounds are a source of character and personal growth. He is, as a result, quite surprised when her body ripples like that. He yelps and jumps, diving out of the way just in time when Emeralda's water splashes down on the ground in front of him.

"Pmylg Sykel!?"

"Hu, cusadrehk amca!" one of the other Al Bhed shouts back. Brother steps, feet and legs (to say nothing of his bare chest) chilled by the icy blast. Another of the Al Bhed, already on the docks, leaps back from the stone spikes that Claude's attack sends ripping up for him -- then thrusts a hand outward.

With a single cry, a ball of flame forms, and goes hurtling straight for the young interloper. Which is when Kamui slams down into that Al Bhed's back, and he goes down to the docks with a WHOOMPH.

"HEY!"

That translates to any language.

Another Al Bhed spins about, aiming his rifle for Kamui -- and tries to shoot her off his friend's back with a loud, ringing report. And then a shadow comes down over the three standing Al Bhed. Lanval.

"Cruud!" Brother orders.

The three turn and open fire, raining bullets up at Lanval before he slams down onto the one next to him. This one manages to pull away before being crushed down to the docks, though. Then Brother turns, and looks at Jay... and it's clear from his expression that he hears her.

Which is why he sticks his tongue out at her and yells: "Cdibet!"

Ashton closes with one of the standing Al Bhed. His blade bites into his side -- and the Al Bhed dances backward, then thrusts a hand outward for him: "Cdneb yfyo dra knuiht fedr kmecdahehk pmytac! Drihtan!"

A bolt of lightning comes crashing down for Ashton -- and this mage has worked his spell so it lingers, making static electricity jump and twitch with each movement. The same one ducks a moment later -- and Pearl's frenzied slashes dig into his armored side as he steps back.

Brother turns, lining a shot up -- and fires a warning shot over her shoulder, before calling out again: "Cdibet!"

Xantia slams down into the ground next to him. He stumbles backward, the impact throwing him across the dock. Brother turns in midair, yelling at her too: "CDIIIIIIBEEEEEEEEEEET!"

He smashes into the wood a moment later.

"Ehlusehk!"
"Tutka ed!"
"Rec pmuut muugc fnuhk!"
"Macc cleahdevel yhymocec, suna tutkehk!"

The Al Bhed cry out and all of them bolt -- the one with Kamui actually rolls with her, away from Zed -- and the green-haired Hyadean slams down into the docks, instead, wooden planks cracking... and sword biting none of them. They turn, then, and their rifles open up -- pouring more rounds into him. Then they swing around, more shots hurtling back at Dash. One ducks behind a crate, and his shots start obliterating it, chunks of burnt wood hurtling each way. Another turns around -- and Henry's shot slashes his shoulder before he looses a burst of rounds in the Marshal's direction.

The one with Kamui on him shakes her away -- or rather, is shot back by Acacia. The bullet throws him, bodily, for the water. As he falls over, he turns, aims his gun up at Acacia, and yells: "SHE FELL ASLEEP ON ME!"

He fires, and then the Al Bhed splashes down.

Perhaps, in all of this, one thought Emeralda may have been forgotten.

This is absolutely the case. Brother is not very smart. However, he brings a buddy: a drone, a little L-shaped thing with a big discus on its top. There is a crackle of lightning, before an orb of electricity forms around it -- and then the drone tries to ram that into Emeralda!

GS: Brother has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Fire!
GS: Brother has attacked Kamui with Machina Shotblast!
GS: Brother has attacked Seraph Lanval with Machina Shotblast!
GS: Brother has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Cdibet!!
GS: Brother has attacked Pearl with Cdibet!!
GS: Brother has attacked Xantia with Cdibet!!
GS: Brother has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Brother has attacked Ashton Anchors with Thunder!
GS: Brother has attacked Zed with Machina Autoburst!
GS: Brother has attacked Dash Caskett with Machina Autoburst!
GS: Brother has attacked Marshal Henry Smythe with Machina Autoburst!
GS: Brother has attacked Acacia Saitani with Machina Autoburst!
GS: Brother enters a Counter stance!
GS: Brother has attacked Emeralda Kasim with X7 Defender Drone!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has completed his action.
GS: Kamui critically Guards a hit from Brother's Machina Shotblast for 30 hit points!
GS: Brother's  stance ends. He enters the Avenger stance!
GS: Zed takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Autoburst for 54 hit points!
GS: Claude C. Kenny guards a hit from Brother's Fire for 89 hit points!
GS: Emeralda Kasim takes a solid hit from Brother's X7 Defender Drone for 81 hit points!
GS: Brother's Avenger stance ends. He enters the Stoic stance!
GS: Seraph Lanval takes a solid hit from Brother's Machina Shotblast for 165 hit points!
GS: Brother's Stoic stance ends. He enters the Avenger stance!
GS: CRITICAL! Jacqueline Barber critically Guards a hit from Brother's Cdibet! for 0 hit points!
GS: Acacia Saitani guards a hit from Brother's Machina Autoburst for 68 hit points!
GS: Dash Caskett takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Autoburst for 52 hit points!
GS: Ashton Anchors guards a hit from Brother's Thunder for 66 hit points!
GS: Poison! applied to Ashton Anchors!
GS: Xantia guards a hit from Brother's Cdibet! for 0 hit points!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe guards a hit from Brother's Machina Autoburst for 57 hit points!
GS: Pearl completely evades a hit from Brother's Cdibet!!
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        From this angle, Amaterasu has a good view of the proceedings at hand... and those gathered here. The soldier's gaze lingers on each likely-looking individual in turn, perhaps gauging what sort of obstacle or aid they might prove in the coming stand-off before she straightens atop the roof and, with a single telescoping motion, draws her polearm -- ablaze with light now -- and leaps--

        To land behind Brother soon after he opens fire. Just as the strange-looking ship lurches to life.
        The Al Bhed man she, in this moment, leaves alone. Breaking into a run, she runs for the ship/

        Only to suddenly snap up the polearm with both hands, bearing the weapon before herself in a guard.
        An old soldier's instinct, perhaps.
        The projectile hits her dead-on -- or perhaps to be more accurate, hits Valkyrja dead-on. Black streaks about a half-foot in length marr the docks where she has been forced back; electricity snakes along the length of the armor plating her forearms, convulses down the length of her weapon's shaft.

        "Hm," Amaterasu muses, tilting her head to consider the damage left by that strange projectile.

        Her gaze falls on the ship.

        And she, once again, dashes for the ship.
        Leaps.
        And lands, seconds later, atop the deck, gleaming polearm held high in both hands. The blade flickers fleetingly, but holds still.

        "A strange weapon," she comments, leveling her weapon at the 'machina' atop the ship. Green eyes turn sidelong towards Lulu.

        "Understood." Her lips curl into a slight, amused smile. "Hmm, then this is the foe typical of this world... Let us see what you are capable of."

        Of lightning, she has none.
        But even with her trusted weapon afflicted from that strange volley earlier...

        One moment, Amaterasu is standing there with her weapon at the ready, staring down the oversized machine.
        The next, she has snapped in close to the machina, delivering a stabbing strike to a point that seems to be between metal plates. "HA!"

GS: Amaterasu has attacked Oblitzerator with Sine Qua Non!
GS: Amaterasu has completed her action.
Dash Caskett
Standing just over five feet tall, Dash is a young man with wild black hair and emerald eyes. He tends to wear a fare of
light shirts and pants when out and about, drawn to lighter colors and all shades of the color blue. He wears no eyewear
and has a perfect, light skin complexion. The fellow is well-toned for his perceived age.

Footwear tends to fall into the light boot catagory, his current favorite being a light tan worker's boot with a bit of
cerulean trim.
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Amaterasu's Sine Qua Non for 85 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        Kamui is surprisingly heavy for a girl of her size, owing to the fact that she's several dozen kilograms more worth of ancient metal, Suffering Circuits, Busters and a whole lot of bread thanks to her successfully (?) copying Acacia's Breadline, the one Special Weapon that's formed bad habits of her sticking her Buster barrel into her mouf.

        "Zzz... mu...?" Muzzle fire flares as she grumps at the Al Bhed's friend, and--

        Well, you can't blame Kamui for not being protective, at least, as she hunkers down further and purposefully presses that fellow down so that his friend doesn't accidentally shoot him. The bullets go *PING*--

        --and decidedly hit metal instead of flesh, as a shower of sparks echoes from underneath her costume for a while.

        "That huuurts..."

        She looks up towards a nearby Marshal who looks like he's not having a good time.... but his merchandise is what really catches her eye. She scans what signage exists around Marshal Henry Smythe for a moment, then holds her hand up.

        "Muister, Mui would like to purchase some Blastemol!®..."

        Then she hands him a blank cheque which reads:

        I, ACACIA SAITANI, hereby do bequeath ______________ to ____________

GS: CRITICAL! Acacia Saitani's Bank Account takes an apocalyptic hit from Break Credit Limit for 99,999 hit points!

        But speaking of our beleaguered Journalist...

        There's a perk as she looks up when Acacia shoots the guy anyway, and she lets go of him as she exclaims
cheerfully in a way Emeralda can probably appreciate: "Master!"

        "Master, Master, look--" she pirouettes around on one leg like she just got equipped with Top Spin. "I found a
disguise, just like you asked, Master!"
GS: Kamui has spent 1 Combo on Reload, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Kamui has attacked Acacia Saitani with Together with Master!!
GS: Kamui has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Kamui has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

Claude C. Kenny charges toward the crates of stolen goods, and the mohawk dude throws a fireball at his face. God, isn't that always the way. Absent any sort of shield or other means of defending himself, Claude tries accelerating his pace, but the flame seems to curve toward him. Claude sucks in a breath and crosses his arms in front of his face, then grits his teeth. The fireball connects, and the impact blows Claude off-stride; he stumbles, teeters, but manages to keep his---

No, scratch that, fireballs hit hard, he falls to the ground. Spitting up blood and curses, Claude scrambles for the weapons crate on his hands and knees, then props himself against it. He grips the lid and tears it off with a surge of power, then peeks inside. "Come on, sword, sword, gimme a---"

D

Claude C. Kenny up over the crate, a bright smile on his face, an ancient forbidden machina - an enormous shotgun - held in his two hands. The big blonde man beams and works the pump, then aims the weapon at Brother. "Say hello... to my little friend!" he shouts, then pulls the trigger.

*click*

D:

*click*click*click*

"Oh come ON!" Claude screams in frustration, throwing the empty ARM in the general direction of the Al Bhed (which will probably still hurt - he can throw pretty hard), then ducking behind the barrel for cover again. "Who the hell ships a shotgun without loading it with bullets first!? I don't have time for---ooh! OH!" Claude stops complaining, and starts waving in the direction of a man with dragons on his back. "Hey! ASHTON! HEY! IT'S CLAUDE!"

He waves some more.

"LEND ME A SWORD, YOU'VE GOT TWO!"

*wave*wave*wave*

"HEY! ASHTON! LISTEN!"

*more frantic waving*

"HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEY!"

GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Brother with Warranty Void If Not Used As Intended!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline frowns. No, actually, that's not quite right. She frooowns with an unimpressed look on her face as Brother looks at her, taunts her, and says something in that language. She doesn't understand it, but some feelings cross the language barrier just fine.

"Now you're just being childish." She chides. "Does your family now you're here, acting like this?"

But, it looks like she's going to have to take a more active role now - as some of the others point out, they're partaking in kidnapping and shooting at children.

"Ashton, and the young man in the cyan! Let me give you a hand." Jacqueline says. She removes a Crest from the gauntlet on her left hand and draws another from her deck in the center, setting it.

She then holds her hand out. A violet light, soon revolving into more of a blue, will soon surround Ashton and Dash's weaponry, imparting a cold chill that should help give them the...

...edge, in battle..

(...Okay, that really only works for Ashton.)

GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Dash Caskett with Mage Armory!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Ashton Anchors with Mage Armory!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda Kasim is frankly impressed by Zed's arrival, and also his hair, and his cool scarf. Her own scarf blows in a wind that isn't really strong enough to stir it for a moment. Though, is that silver blood...?

But then, Emeralda has her name called. "That's me!" she says, still glowing faintly bluish around the hands. She shakes them out, and the ripple of Ether still wavering finally vanishes. "Are you..."

...

"MYSTERY CRUSADER X?" That's cheating; she said that already. "I mean, Xantia! Fei told me! Have you seen him? I can't find him anywhere but I've only looked around Luca because I figured he'd go to a city if he came here and I don't know where else to go!!"

Emeralda talks quickly when she gets excited. She is doing that now. She isn't quite bouncing on her feet, but she's about one step from it. It's like the fight doesn't really matter to her... except it does, because it's still going on. A weird little electrified drone flies at Emeralda, moving fast!

Emeralda holds her ground. She laces her fingers together, and her hands start to melt together, followed by part of her lower arm; the whole combined limb lenthens and thickens, forming a ... baseball bat, faintly silvery along the seam.

Swinging the combined bat-arm, Emeralda actually spins completely around in a circle, so energetically does she whirl at the drone. The electrical aura arcs along her limb and body as soon as she touches it, but she's trying to smack it hard enough to send it right back toward the Al Bhed!

GS: Emeralda Kasim has attacked Brother with Bat Arm!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

What! Who could have ever predicted that the range provided by actual firearms might be able to achieve some kind of <ZONING ADVANTAGE> against someone swinging around a (severely cursed) chunk of sharp metal!?

Clearly not Zed.

But it's okay, he doesn't live the kind of life that deals much in predictions. Predictions are for people who care about things like fate or destiny or the principles of cause and effect. For Zed, these things are immaterial. These things exist only as chains to hold him back. For Zed... There is only do.

Which is to say that thinking too much about what Could Be is hard and it's way easier to just run forward into great big walls of painful, high-velocity rounds and hope that everything'll turn out alright by the end of it.

To his credit, they... Kind of do? One moment, Zed is charging headfirst into a storm of bullets, the next...

The next, he accidentally steps on a dead fish and abruptly goes sliding across the ground like some kind of comic relief projectile. A bullet nicks his forehead and goes spiralling off into the distance with the *TWANG* of metal ricocheting off metal.

But...

But there's no armor there.

There's just... Zed skull.

"Gah!" Zed yells, rolling into a ready crouch, "Careful with that! You'll take an eye out!" He draws his sword back and then-- lunges! Light flashes off the flat of his blade as he swings with superhuman speeds! And--

Swings... too... hard!?

No! Zed's palms! They're still slick with saltwater! "What!" Zed calls, as Doom Bringer leaps out of his hands, scything through the air like a terrible, deadly boomerang! "WHAAAAT!" Zed screams in disbelief as his sword arcs toward the briney deep! His heart nearly explodes with UTTER PANIC! His shoulders sag with abrupt relief as the sword turns and whirls... towards...

...Some guy in a monkey vest.

With blonde hair.

And...

"CLAAAAAAAUDE!" Zed yells, "HEADS UUUUUUUUP!"

Beat.

Oh right, Zed's still dealing with some dude with a gun. Uh.

Zed turns... And starts punching him instead??

GS: Zed has attacked Brother with Dark Horse - Supreme Tornado!
GS: Zed has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Lanval's no sitting duck in the air, because now he is a descending duck, having hurled himself at the optimal range in which to be filled full of buckshot. In which case, then yes, maybe 'sitting duck' still applies by the meaning of the phrase, but...
        By appearances, the robed, bearded, barefoot figure should be no match for concentrated weapons fire. It should rip through him, staining the ragged clothes a shade of crimson if not shredding them outright in the process, and leave them with a bleeding man plastered all over the one he eventually lands on top of.
        Water splashes from the point of impact, showering the four of them in a... not at all visceral display? His outfit doesn't look any worse for the wear, even when the shots clearly go through the manifested projection of the Seraph. The pained grunts are prolonged as he lies face down for a short while where water pools about him.
        An eye opens half-lidded, as it follows a curious sight. The people speaking funny, those are humans... but there's someone they're carrying who looks really weird to him, like they... aren't. Huh. He doesn't think he's ever seen anything like that.
        "Hey... hey," he says, though the distance between this curious individual - Kamui - and himself is rapidly lengthening. He starts to roll across the wooden docks, clumsily as he usually does, and gets back up as he ambles closer, aligning him nearer and nearer to Acacia's position. He exhales as he tries to breathe out the lingering discomfort of feeling himself, uh, rearranged by shotgun fire.
        Just as Kamui perks up and spins happily, he works up a little laugh from her carefree read of the situation--
        One of the Al Bhed present seem to be a bit too close for his liking, so he just takes the gourd's rope in both hands - a necessity now for the weight it carries - and swings it about wide as if to try and coax them with one hell of a mace-like strike with an explosive burst of water on impact - but overcommits to it and spirals back down into a seated position.
        "Sho hey... what are ya," Lanval asks of the chipper Reploid who is happily showing something off to her 'Master,' curiosity so overpowered that the surrounding firefight momentarily leaves his mind.

GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Brother with Layabout's Lariat!
GS: Seraph Lanval has completed his action.
GS: Dash Caskett takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Mage Armory for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper! applied to Dash Caskett!
<Pose Tracker> Dash Caskett has posed.

These folk are fast! Training in the ways of combat. THe goggles make them seem the sort. WHy is it jsut the goggles that do that? Oh, and that one guy has a mohawk. That's pretty cool.

"What is that big thing they are fighting on the ship?!" Dash calls out. It looks like it is shooting some kind of cannonballs! Or wait... no, those are the balls the sportsball uses. Huh.

This place is really weird.

"Darn!" Dash grunts, plasma fire destroying a crate, but not disabling his target.

Data is behind the crate the Al Bhed used for cover, and looks up at him cutely. When the crate promptly begins to disintegrate, he screeches and takes off across the battlefield again, looking for somewhere to hide! This is no place for a dignified monkey!

In the exchange, the blue bomber attempts to duck behind his own crate, but a bullet strikes the corner and his the back of his shoulder, denting and partly piercing the Volnutt Suit. "You are paying for repairs!" he shouts. "If you even have the tools for it, that is! If you don't, can you tell me someone that does?"

Some kind of half-hearted attempt to find a way to get fixed?! "H-Hey!" the boy shouts, seeing Kamui! "Kamui, right? Be careful!" he calls out, seeing her for a moment draped on the bad fellows and then sorta shoved off.

"Huh?" Dash lets out, looking toward Jacqueline. "Coming!" The boy makes a running roll forward to avoid getting shot more to make it to her. "Hi miss!" he says nicely through his mask. She activates some sort of magic that infuses his weaponry. "Oooh, hey, that is super cool! Magic right? Always wanted to try it, but I just dont have the talent for it."

Or possibly the ability even, but that's a story for another day.

The boy takes a small, spherical object out his his pack, and his a button. it starts beeping, even as the magic seeps into it. "Let's see how it does!" And the boy pitches it at the Al Bhed group.

Beep beep beep

BOOM

GS: Dash Caskett has attacked Brother with Grand Grenade!
GS: Dash Caskett has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Oblitzerator has posed.

 
The Al Bhed freighter begins to make a great turn - skirting the shore as if unconcerned about the fact that they've been boarded.
 
Blitzballs spew forth in the wake of the ship, slamming into the ocean water with geyser like eruptions before bobbing like corks behind them, which causes Tidus to have to weave his own course like he's swimming through a warzone that's being shelled.
 
Lulu unleashes an electrical spell, which strikes into the Oblitzerator like a thunder rod. Those listening really closely might hear a muffled shriek from inside that's hard to discern any other qualities thereof. There's a notable pause after she does it in the thing's rhythm.
 
The gravity spell causes the ring to bend a little with a metallic shriek, and Catenna might notice a red dot blinking into life on her. It's ominous, the next time she moves, even if it's simply the rise and fall of her chest to take a breath - a Blitzball careens towards that exact spot, trying to take the wind out of her.
 
Leo strikes back with a ground projectile which rocks back the thing on it's Machina like legs, it ripostes by sending out another venomous ball, brimming with contact poison. Proving that the thing is even more dishonorable than he thought.
 
Auron threatens it, and for a moment it's like the machine actually stops. One might wonder if it really is a machine, or if it's being piloted by someone subject to intimidation. Either way - the gears grind to a halt for a moment - before then whirring back to life with incredible force, spewing a trio of Blitzball's that try to splatter tar on the Legendary Guardian's sunglasses.
 
The Oblitzerator upon seeing Marivel appear approach the crane starts to turn. And then the Lightning bolt screams out of the air and again there's that muffled shriek. This time the thing seems to act with anxious panic, sending a dozen Blitzballs careening towards her rapid fire.
 
There's a banging noise from within, and the Oblitzerator's outer shell starts to spark, standing up higher on its squat Machina legs. The ring embracing it bends in, then out, like it's forcing itself back into position, the pistons grind to a halt then start to whirr faster than ever.
 
Isolde heals the others, but perhaps more importantly relays the plan. ... This causes the Oblitzerator in it's newly more upright manner to send out a ball of more choking gas their way.
 
Those who are fighting Brother and the trio of Al Bhed might notice the ship listing into their vision, the fight upon the docks. Given the battle raging they might get the ominous feeling that this ship had been meant to shell them from afar.
 
Amaterasu sends in a pinpoint strike at the joint, and the machine lurches, causing the strike to deflect just off center, before wedging in. ... ... ... hard.
 
IS SHE STUCK!? The Machina doesn't seem to understand how to handle this one at point blank range, trying to veer up, then down, but not getting a good angle to shoot her... yet.
 
Perhaps it's only a matter of time though.
 

GS: Oblitzerator enters a Counter stance!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Catenna with Motion Tracking: Obitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked White Knight Leo with Poison Ball!
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Auron with Blind Ball!
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Marivel Armitage with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has canceled their attack on Marivel Armitage.
<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Like everything else in his life, Ashton handles the oncoming bolt of electricity head-on. Which is to say he just walks into it, using the metal surfaces of his blades to redirect away the worst of the magic.
 
It still stings and still crackles across his form afterwards - but it almost seems to be more irritating than damaging.
 
On the plus side for the Al Bhed, they put Kamui down.
 
Speaking of that, Ashton takes a step through the fray towards Acacia. "Don't worry! They're not taking your friend anywhere!" This is perhaps not as reassuring as it could be as it's coming from a man with two dragons coming out of his backpack. "We'll show these bandits what--"
 
He stops. And sighs. Because there's Claude. "A moment, please."
 
And the Double Dragon Duelist twists his attention towards the Hapless Hero. "You don't have a SWORD? Why are you even here without a sword?! You're going to get yourself killed and I'm not explaining to your princess-wife what happened!" Amidst it all, Ashton still can be overdramatic. "Here! But I expect it back once we're done!"
 
One of his two short swords is lobbed to Claude - despite his better instincts, Ashton does not throw it blade-first.
 
With the other, Ashton clumsily turns back to the Al Bhed he's trying to deal with. "You need to calm yourself down! Or should I say.. Chill out!" He tilts his body, presenting Weepy's side to the man. The blue dragon quite happily opens up and unleashes a hoary gout of frost - not the full destructive power, but still decent enough.

GS: Oblitzerator has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Marivel Armitage with Blitzball Rush !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Isolde with Mute Ball!
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Ashton Anchors takes a solid hit from Jacqueline Barber's Mage Armory for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper! applied to Ashton Anchors!
GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Brother with Ururun's Ice!
GS: Ashton Anchors has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ashton Anchors takes 27 damage from Poison!
GS: Ashton Anchors gains 5 FP from Sufferer!
GS: Ashton Anchors has completed his action.
GS: Isolde takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's Mute Ball for 133 hit points!
GS: Mute! applied to Isolde!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Oblitzerator with AAAA THUNDER!!
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator has completed her action.
GS: Catenna takes a glancing hit from Oblitzerator's Motion Tracking: Obitzerate  for 52 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        Brother's warning shot goes straight over Pearl's shoulder, and past her ear. It's the sort of shot that SHOULD spook someone, even if they have already been shot once this fight. Pearl's response is, instead, to glare straight at Brother, and changes her combat priorities. "...Did you think that would intimidate me?" She says, a low growl creeping into her voice.

        Again, Pearl charges forward, going straight for the mohawked Al Bhed that seems to be in charge. The charge leaves her open to attack by the others, and possibly getting hit by stray fire from 'her' side, but there is a point to be made. "You insult me."

        And then, she appears to swing out with her claws again, only to be a feint. The real goal is to try and wrap up his arm and ARM in a grab, and then deliver a vicious bite to his shoulder, aided by the massive metal fang in her mouth.

GS: Pearl has attacked Brother with Fangs of the Pack!
GS: Pearl has completed her action.
GS: Isolde heals Marivel Armitage! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Marivel Armitage completely evades a hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Rush !
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's AAAA THUNDER! for 0 hit points!
GS: Disrupt and Weaken! applied to Oblitzerator!
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Oblitzerator with Tune Up!!
GS: Oblitzerator has completed her action.
GS: White Knight Leo guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Poison Ball for 60 hit points!
GS: Poison! applied to White Knight Leo!
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's Tune Up! for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper and Shield! applied to Oblitzerator!
GS: Auron guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Blind Ball for 66 hit points!
GS: Weaken! applied to Auron!
GS: Kamui heals Acacia Saitani! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Reload! Acacia Saitani gains 15 extra FP from Kamui!
GS: COUNTER! Brother counterattacks Claude C. Kennywith Counter Attack!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Claude C. Kenny's Warranty Void If Not Used As Intended for 51 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

There's a grunt from the side of the ship. You might be excused for not hearing it over the clang of metal and the blasting of Blitzballs, of course.

Then another, louder, and a loud slap of a heavy hand against the deck, as a broad man hefts himself over the edge with the power of main force alone, dragging himself over and then flopping onto the deck. "No, it's fine," Brad Evans says to the sky. "I understand, you're busy with all this..."

He rolls over to his side and blinks at the chaos. "...robot death?" he mutters. It does appear to have spared him the initial few waves of blitzballs, at least.

Oh hey it's doing something. Better stay down for that, Brad figures.

"This one takes me back," he mutters, tugging the Mechanical Glove on his fist as it fills with light.

Then: "DOWN!" booms across the deck.

That happens about two seconds before there's a thunderous BOOM, and the Mechanical Glove's onboard cannon blasts a shell the size of a baseball toward the robot, Brad standing tall before it, the main block of his gauntlet smoldering from its offset muzzle

Brad generally assumes he is invited to break things that are shooting blitzballs at his vampire boss.

GS: Brad Evans has attacked Oblitzerator with Onboard Cannon!
GS: Brad Evans has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brad Evans has completed his action.
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Brad Evans's Onboard Cannon for 76 hit points!
GS: Claude C. Kenny takes a solid hit from Brother's Counter Attack for 125 hit points!
GS: Brother assumes the Stoic stance!
<Pose Tracker> Auron has posed.

Despite how slowly Auron runs, he does eventually make it into range of the Oblitzerator now. And in range of the others that appear to be up against the thing! There's little time for greetings at the moment apart from a nod to Isolde. "I believe I heard the word 'kidnap'," he notes to Isolde. 'Kidnap' and 'Yuna', in fact. These are two words that should never be in the same country as each other as far as he's concerned.

Tar is playing dirty, though. Hardly unexpected though. But since he WAS wearing sunglasses, they can be removed. He proceeds to do this, tossing them somewhere he couldn't care less about at the moment. Right now he's just concerned with stopping this machine. He'll need a bit more time to get anything serious lined up, but for now he darts into melee range and tries to whack the Oblitzerator with his sword.

Notably he does this well AFTER Brad fires at the thing. He doesn't want to be in melee range when something explodes in his target's general vicinity. That would just be all kinds of bad.

GS: Auron has attacked Oblitzerator with Swing the BFS!
GS: Auron has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Auron takes 28 damage from Poison!
GS: Auron has completed his action.
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Emeralda Kasim's Bat Arm for 110 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Auron's Swing the BFS for 78 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

Catenna huffs at her--Lulu does not look away from her foe at the other woman, but she doesn't need to, for the moment--she can feel, instead, the nature of her power. "Gravitational magic," she comments. "Interesting. Very well, then." She hears, meanwhile, Auron's voice, but a legend is not easily identifiable by voice alone--she does not see him, at first.

But Lulu glances once to White Knight Leo, again, recognizing him from a moment ago--his resemblence to, and yet divergence from, the Ronso... and particularly, his words. "...The Goddess Althena?" Lulu repeats, though she obviously heard well enough. "Very well."

Marivel tries the crane--and can report its status. Lulu considers it for a moment, and makes her decision quickly. "I do. Power is a problem that I can solve."

She pauses, and then inclines her head. "Thank you. But I'll save the introductions for when we've completed our business."

Isolde's question, meanwhile--Lulu has not smiled yet--gets an answer from the Guardian, "I believe he had something in mind," Lulu agrees about the crane, "But their theiving doesn't concern me. I'm here to recover someone that they've taken."

She stands up a little straighter under the sparkling magic Isolde gives her, though, and if the quiet smirk isn't obvious appreciation, then maybe Lulu will have time for pleasantries when her mission is accomplished.

Lulu cannot help but notice Amaterasu--powerfully tall, of warrior stance--and, with a strange weapon herself.

"I agree," Lulu says simply to her. "My objective is past it--the ship needs to stay intact, for now."

She didn't think that she would have to say that to anyone here. But then, she didn't expect an armored warrior out of some kind of history with a great gleaming weapon of light to appear, either. In general, though--

She adds, "The Al Bhed often have powerful salvaged machina to bring to bear." Not something someone would have to say to someone from Spira, naturally, and yet she says it anyway. "...Electricity can power them, in a pinch, if you're careful." And then Brad pulls out a fucking bazooka or something and to be perfectly honest Lulu gives the biggest stare as she turns for a moment. She does not look pleased. "what."

Regardless, she turns immediately after, focuses--and once again, pure magical power of lightning coalesces, and this time a wider set of individually smaller jolts crash down--towards the crane's generator. "Like this!"

GS: Lulu has attacked Crane with Excessive Thunder!
GS: Lulu has completed her action.
GS: Crane takes a solid hit from Lulu's Excessive Thunder for 122 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Marshal Henry Smythe has posed.

Henry ducks behind his sturdy wooden cover as retaliatory fire comes his way, lest he suffer the horrible humiliation of having his hat shot off. Unfortunately, their ARMs aren't stopped by the might of crate, chewing through it and giving Henry a faceful of splinters as the bullets narrowly miss; he drops prone and waits for a break in the fire (thankfully there's... a bit of chaos to prevent being flanked), at which point he sprints for new cover. And then finds a robot with a giant sword.

Which is a hell of a thing to suddenly find, but thankfully it's not trying to kill him! And wants to engage in commerce!!

"Well sure, lil' m-" uh.. what do you call a.. "S-Sure! Instructions're on the side! Give 'em hell and mind the waiver!" he reaches into his duster to retrieve one of the precious cardboard boxes of Blastemol!® SD brought from Filgaia. He accepts the blank cheque with a slightly manic grin, mostly from the sheer surreality of the situation combined with appreciation of dynamite appreciation.

Speaking of.. peeking around the corner, Henry thinks he spots a familiar figure. It's been a while; the kid's name was.. "Hey Crawd!" Weird name; short for Crawdaddy or something? Did he like seafood? Anyway.. Henry reaches for his rondel dagger and throws it toward Claude with a cocksure grin. "Stay on your toes, kid!"

GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has spent 2 Combo on Inspire and Reload!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has attacked Kamui with Hold the Line!!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Hold the Line!!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has completed his action.
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe heals Claude C. Kenny! He gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Reload! Claude C. Kenny gains 15 extra FP from Marshal Henry Smythe!
GS: Claude C. Kenny gains a Combo from Inspire!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe heals Kamui! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Reload! Kamui gains 15 extra FP from Marshal Henry Smythe!
GS: Kamui gains a Combo from Inspire!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Zed's Dark Horse - Supreme Tornado for 63 hit points!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Seraph Lanval's Layabout's Lariat for 62 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Though Xantia can't get back to Emeralda's questions immediately, that whole talking quickly when excited thing is certainly familiar. Being an expert at this herself, rest assured that she caught every word.

But first there's the matter of stopping all the shooting, which the force of her impact certainly helped with. Xantia rises slowly after delivering her opening statement - because the actual fight hasn't started yet from her perspective - grinning ear to ear. Now that she's gotten in close, they can get to the good part.

Brother shouting a strange word at her gives her a moment's pause. In the end, she can only shrug. "I don't understand what you're saying." This makes effective fight banter a lot more difficult. Pretty rude. But it's even ruder to, rather than starting the fight properly, just scatter and run, as the Al Bhed proceed to do. Xantia just kind of extends a hand, unable to decide what to do immediately. "...Hey! You're running already? No fair, come back!"

Turning back to the docks from where she came to attempt to cut them off, catching Emeralda with... a different limb, giving some sort of machine a wallop. Conveniently, in the direction of where the Al Bhed are hunkering down, giving Xantia a good chance to follow up. But how can she best do that? Her ranged options are pretty limited. She'll have to improvise.

A nearby smashed crate gives her the answer. It's full of... Blitzballs? It'll do, Xantia's not picky. Grabbing one at random, Xantia tosses the ball with all her considerable might, seeing if she can't eliminate someone in an impromptu game of dodgeball.

Afterwards, she calmly turns to get back to Emeralda on those questions she asked. "Fei's around, he's helping Elly! She's, um... sick." That's an accurate enough way of putting it, isn't it? "So you did good to stay here, he does come by Luca sometimes! We can go find him together!" A pause. "...After we take care of these weirdos, of course."

Not even a comment on Emeralda's unusual abilities. It's like that isn't even strange to her at all.

GS: Xantia has attacked Brother with When In Spira!
GS: Xantia has gained 2 Combo!
GS: Xantia has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
"Oh, did you," Isolde answers Auron, and you can actually track how her tone frosts over. She is about to say something else when she instead receives a sudden blitzball to the throat, rendering her next statement something like, "In that chggkhgkh," followed by a hand clasping at her throat.

"bzwgh," Isolde grunts. A couple of quick deep breaths tell her that this is the voice box - somehow - her throat feels numb - she bares her teeth and then shifts her stance, raising the blade upwards.

She dips it forwards to catch the thrown sunglasses, tosses them in the air, catches them and slides them in her top for later resale.

After this Isolde lets herself exhale and sink back into a ready posture. She seems to be waiting for something. Guns and explosions fire and she feels the ship rock under her feet, and when a particular swell comes, she dives forwards into it - kicking off the railing to thrust that broadsword down into a gap between plating. She worries the wound for a moment, twists the blade round as she herself twirls around it, and then rips it outwards-- hopefully bearing SOMETHING from within behind her, even as she ducks into a low roll along the deck.

Isolde then starts to say something airy -

"..."

And frowns again.

Her grip on her blade tightens.

GS: Isolde has attacked Oblitzerator with A hundred blood drops more!!
GS: Isolde has completed her action.
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Isolde's A hundred blood drops more! for 154 hit points!
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Dash Caskett's Grand Grenade for 65 hit points!
GS: Disrupt! applied to Brother!
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna watches as White Knight Leo tries to be a hero and gets sports'd for his trouble.

She lowers her eyelids slightly and sighs. "...But have you fought a sports machine...."

Taking a second to sass deprives her of awareness of the fact that the big metal bulb of balls has trained a laser sight of some kind on her. (Or is it a laser? Does Catenna even know what a laser is?) When she whirls back into the battle, she gasps as a blitzball comes rocketing at her with pinpoint precision...!

Catenna widens her eyes and does the only thing she can think of in the split second she's got: She cranks herself backwards, throws her shoulders back and tries to arch back as hard as she can so that the blitzball sails over her. And she manages it. She bows back deeply, arms swept out to her sides - and the blitzball whirls straight over her, missing her face by inches, before ripping on past to slam into the deck.

A second later, Catenna slams into the deck too. She lands on her bottom with a squeak and tumbles the rest of the way, her legs coming up over her head as she rolls awkwardly backwards. It doesn't really hurt as badly as it could.

But it's embarrassing. Thank Celesdue that Jean wasn't there to witness it.

Worse yet, that lightning mage is. Catenna brushes herself off and tumbles back to her feet - and only then does she frown and glance down at herself, realizing a red light has been tracking her all along.

"Unfortunate," she murmurs.

Tensing, the Moon Shaman whips her hair back and moves forward at a brisk dash. She diverts after a couple of steps and begins to run around the periphery of the Oblitzerator, sparing a moment to throw a curious look back towards Auron - and then back to Lulu as she comes to a halt near the woman.

"They've taken someone?" she echoes.

A small frown follows as she levels her hand again. "...Very well: I will not wreck the ship while you shock the machina."

Stepping past Lulu, Catenna brings herself to bear on the Obliterator again, her fingers splayed. "Whomever is driving that Gear, please, end this now!" she calls out, before barking a few words of power.

Light twists in the air around the blitzballbot, weaving itself into curious white patterns. Gravity churns, the air lensing and distorting bizarrely for a moment - but nothing is pulled. The effect simply fades away.

And yet... if the spell works, the Oblitzerator will suddenly find that its earlier repairs are no longer in effect, and no amount of elbow grease will cause them to work again.

GS: Catenna has attacked Oblitzerator with Dispel!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Ashton Anchors's Ururun's Ice for 60 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Catenna's Dispel for 0 hit points!
GS:  Dispel reduces positive status durations by 3 rounds each!
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Pearl's Fangs of the Pack for 149 hit points!
GS: Brother completely evades a hit from Xantia's When In Spira!
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        '...someone that they've taken.'

        "Who?" Leo says, his eyes narrowing. The toxin turns his suspicious glance into a squint, which kind of kills the severity of it. "Regardless, they won't get away with this, madam. Stay behind me!"

        *PHOOT*

        Leo surges forwards, his arms, shoulders, back, legs, and blade moving as one. He slashes clean through the flying blitzball in a single strike, cutting the regulation ball into two neat hemispheres. More goop sprays from inside it, splattering the White Knight's face. His skin starts to burn wherever it touches him. "Ghk," Leo grunts, pressing a hand to his face and wiping. Poisonous glop clings to his fingers, burning his hand. He'd shout for a medic, but... he can't show that kind of weakness in front of people he just met. Instead, Leo grips his sword with one hand, grins at Auron--his pupils are too wide, and there's toxin still dripping down his face--and slides back into a fighting stance. "A student of the blade?" he says. "And a sorceress..." Which is... odd, because...

        Leo looks at Lulu as if she'd suddenly grown a second head. He reaches for something dangling from a chain around his neck. "White Dragon," Leo intones, his voice taking on an impassioned, almost prayer-like tone. "Extend me thy blessing, that I may ensure swift victory!" The Beastman's aura billows out from him, white and pearlescent. It washes across the battlefield, clinging to Catenna, Lulu, and Isolde. The White Dragon's power shields them, a potent barrier against all harm.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel's gaze settles on Amaterasu for a moment, but just for a moment. "Ah, Amaterasu, I have news for--"

She cuts herself off because the Oblitzerator is firing blitzballs in her direction. A dozen of them by the looks of it. She exhales once and turns towards them. Wilder, she thinks, velocity hasn't changed.


Marivel walks forward, weaving between the balls, taking only the subtlest of movements to avoid getting captured. She smiles at Lulu and says, "Of course."

She even has forgotten, for the moment, about saying what she was going to say to Amaterasu as she despite the instructions approaches the Oblitzerator.

She looks right at it with unerring, inhuman calm and then with a faint tilt of her head, she allows a small smirk to herself. She heard those muffled shrieks.

"I can smell your fear..." She tells the Oblitzerator, a weird thing to say to the machina. "But I believe I understand your aim now."

She can feel Isolde's song, her magic sustaining her. It ignites a warm familiar feeling within her heart. She gestures a hand towards the Oblitzerator. A strange blue light pulls itself out from the Oblitzerator. Not the pilot (as Marivel now suspects there to be one) but rather the machine itself. The light floats back towards Marivel like a pyrefly and she opens up her mouth and clamps down on it, eyes have lidded closed.

RED SKILL: SHUT UP AND JAM BALL

She tastes the spirit of the Oblitzerator. Just a little bit. Not enough to really harm it. Just enough to get a feeling for it. See, souls are not very discriminatory. Any machine that has enough love and care put into it has a soul, a spirit that can linger within the gears and switches and buttons and even Blitzball launchers.

She feels that hard work. She senses that passion for engineering. She takes a moment to enjoy it. To appreciate it. And then she lets it pass through her and linger as part of her own soul.

Marivel gestures out with one hand. In a flash of light, a blitzball appears into her hand.

"You are not my enemy. But if you wish to interfere with the pilgrimage, then you are an enemy of this world and I cannot turn my gaze away from it. Tis a duty she has chosen and so long tis a duty chosen, tis a duty I will protect."

And with that, a crackling electric aura ripples around the blitzball as she flings it towards the crane with surprising inhuman force.

"Brad," Marivel says. "Perfect timing, as always. I know I can count on you to make an explosive entrance."

GS: White Knight Leo has attacked White Knight Leo with White Dragon's Protection!
GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Lulu with White Dragon's Protection!
GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Catenna with White Dragon's Protection!
GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Isolde with White Dragon's Protection!
GS: White Knight Leo has gained 1 Combo!
GS: White Knight Leo takes 25 damage from Poison!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
GS: White Knight Leo takes a solid hit from White Knight Leo's White Dragon's Protection for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! applied to White Knight Leo!
GS: Catenna takes a solid hit from White Knight Leo's White Dragon's Protection for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! applied to Catenna!
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Then a giant man climbs out of the sea and shoots the blitzball launcher with an ARM. "What the," Leo says.

GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Crane with Shut Up And Jam Ball - Elec Charged!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        Tragically, Marivel's news is interrupted. First by the volley that cuts her off before she can so much as say something quite important.
        And secondly when Amaterasu drills in on the foe before them.

        "Intact," Amaterasu echoes, cocking her head a few degrees to the left. "I will endeavor to keep that in mind," she states, as if the destruction of the ship had not been a state of battle to avoid undertaking previously. But so be it: she will focus her strikes accordingly.
        Besides. It might be unsporting to merely drop the machine into the sea, regardless, even if this might serve to resolve the threat it presents. It just feels unseemly to attempt, however effective it might be.

        So be it.

        Dashing forward, her flash-attack is deterred by a last-moment movement of that part of the machina: Valkyrja sinks into the plating, which devours momentarily even a few parts of the weapon not composed of a laser-like blade. It does not come free readily.

        A sound from behind her prompts her to glance back over her shoulder, at the man -- that familiar man -- who shouts at them to get clear.

        "Ah," Amaterasu murmurs, and she wrenches on Valkyrja once--

        The blade of light dimming, dying, dead.
        The whole of the polearm telescoping inwards into something far smaller.

        --And springs forwards in a blurring dash of a run along the deck, shadows already beginning to gather at her feet and rising as she clears away from the machina before that ARM can so much as begin to discharge.

        About her the shadows continue to rise, swirling into the fascimile of a suit of armor before sinking inwards.
        Vanishing from sight.

        This display is followed a twist of her forearm. In the blink of an eye, her polearm -- gleaming blade of light and all -- is fully extended once more.

        "So that's your plan," she remarks, as lightning strikes near to the crane. "Ha, interesting. However, I am ill-suited to such a maneuver. Allow me instead to be both blade and shield."

GS: Amaterasu has attacked Amaterasu with Ghostdark Purge!
GS: Amaterasu has completed her action.
GS: Amaterasu heals Amaterasu! She gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS:  Restore reduces negative status durations by 3 rounds each!
GS: Cover! applied to Amaterasu!
GS: Isolde takes a solid hit from White Knight Leo's White Dragon's Protection for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! applied to Isolde!
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

        Acacia might be acting rougher and tougher than she is in the face of Kamui's possible kidnapping, but she still has enough survival instinct to duck her head down with a rather uncharacteristic yelp, trying to use her position above the fight to avoid most of the gunfire headed her way; it works well enough as a general plan, but the crates next to her are suddenly a shower of painful splinters and cracked wood, and she's forced to grimace as she covers her face as well as she can with an arm.

        "Like I'm going to believe that!" she blurts over the railing with an indignant tone, never mind the fact that she's now addressing the water's surface rather than a grunt who can actually hear her. Fortunately there's an immediate answer from Kamui as the Reploid perks up in a way that leaves the reporter sagging with relief, completely unaware that her monetary reserves have just taken a serious and lasting hit against them.

        "I see it, I see it," she replies in that very familiar tone, mild disbelief and exasperation mixed with fondness; despite the rest of their surroundings, her smile is a lopsided one she can't hold back, especially when the sword on Kamui's back means that her pirouette twirl very nearly takes out the nearest Al Bhed as a bonus. 'I think you still kind of stand out', she almost says, but that would feel much too much like kicking a puppy.

        Then old habits resurface, and she firms up her expression as she calls down. "--just make sure you look after yourself! And don't forget to get some good close-ups of their faces! And their-- whatever the heck that big thing is! Action shots!" she adds rather glibly, trusting her photographer's rather offbeat style on that front. "I'm gonna-- I'm gonna--"

        She almost looks tempted to leap down over the railing, but the adrenaline can't quite win out against the common sense. It's a longer drop than she expected, that's all she's saying. Besides, the heavy noise means that Brad is somewhere down there, and between Kamui, Brad and Marivel, the reporter definitely feels a little surplus to requirements. Right?

        Besides, she's got a perfect vantage point to focus down on Brother. "--hey!" she yells. "You really think you're going to get away with this, with this many witnesses? You don't even know what half these people can do, and we've all seen your face! Don't underestimate the press! I can make sure every person in Luca knows your descriptions by tomorrow morning! Kamui, get 'em!" she calls out, sketching furiously in her notepad.

        (In truth it's just squiggles - Acacia can't draw for shit, but Brother doesn't have to know that for her to try to put the fear of media in him.)

GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Brother with Paparazzi!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Acacia Saitani's Paparazzi for 0 hit points!
GS: Disrupt, Entangle, and Shieldbreak! applied to Brother!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Marivel Armitage's attack becomes clear!
GS: Crane takes a solid hit from Marivel Armitage's WILD CARD for 187 hit points!
GS: Crane has Fallen! He is no longer able to fight!
GS: Lulu takes a solid hit from White Knight Leo's White Dragon's Protection for 0 hit points!
GS: Quick and Shield! applied to Lulu!
<Pose Tracker> Brother has posed.

The empty machina rifle comes flying at the Al Bhed. Before it gets there, the drone in front of Emeralda moves up -- and the electrified field catches it. It shudders -- and then it goes screaming right back at Claude, even as he hides. It has a parabolic arc that descends with great promise.

Brother points and laughs at him. While he does, he aims his machina rifle, and fires a shotgun blast from it in Claude's direction. Which is when Jay chides him further. He looks at her and glares: "Tuh'd dymg ypuid so vysemo! Oui tuh'd ghuf sa!"

The drone had risen a little over Emeralda... but not enough for her arm that becomes a baseball bat. The electric barrier around it, this time, is broken through. It explodes out with electricity, before the bat slams into it. Armor crumples; it shakes, flying backward, and then its bottom side swings up. The end of it is a shotcannon -- and it fires, a larger round than before hurtling towards Emeralda.

Nearby, Zed punches an Al Bhed in the face. His goggles fly off. Brother turns at him, thrusts a free hand out, and a olt of lightning crashes down from the skies at Zed's head.

A second Al Bhed raider is slammed into by Lanval's water spell, the whip smashing him backward. He yelps, before he throws a hand out -- not aware of Lanval's nature -- and then sends a fireball hurtling for him. But Brother and three Al Bhed on the deck all scatter, blown back by Dash's grenade. Which is when one turns, really looks at Ashton, and realizes:

"Tnykuh!"

The blue dragon's ice smashes that Al Bhed over the dock. He splashes down; the one down there drags himself up out of the water. He emerges in time to see the masked Al Bhed get bit by Pearl, blood erupting from his torn shoulder, and he makes a face.

So he raises his rifle, and tries to shoot her off his friend.

The blitzall flies in -- only for the drone to swivel up, and the lightning field deploys. The blitzball hits it, is zapped, and hurtles away... and back at Xantia!

"Vilg dra Fynneun Suhg! E's hud clynat uv dras!" Brother shouts back at Acacia, turning to look at her -- and then he lifts his rifle, firing furiously at her position, pouring shotgun blasts into it. The other Al Bhed look at him, then each other, with concern.
"Red dras fedr cbammc!" "Tuh'd cdub!" "Dryd'c dra fyo!"

Two of the Al Bhed throw their hands out -- and blasts of fire and bolts of lightning begin crashing down. Flame rushes at Kamui; a lightning bolt smashes into the docks not a moment later. Fire and lightning crash together at Jay, while a pair of fireballs hurtles off towards Ashton. Henry finds lightning bolts crashing down with each step.

GS: Brother has attacked Claude C. Kenny with Machina Shotblast!
GS: Brother has attacked Emeralda Kasim with Machina Shotblast!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has spent 1 Combo on Poison, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Brother has attacked Zed with Thunder!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has attacked Seraph Lanval with Fire!
GS: Brother has attacked Pearl with Machina Shotblast!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has attacked Acacia Saitani with Machina Shotblast!
GS: Brother has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Brother has attacked Kamui with Multi-Cast!
GS: Brother has attacked Jacqueline Barber with Multi-Cast!
GS: Brother has attacked Ashton Anchors with Multi-Cast!
GS: Brother has attacked Marshal Henry Smythe with Multi-Cast!
GS: Brother enters a Counter stance!
GS: Brother has attacked Xantia with X7 Defender Drone!
GS: Zed completely evades a hit from Brother's Thunder!
GS: Disrupt and Poison! applied to Zed!
GS: Claude C. Kenny takes a solid hit from Brother's Machina Shotblast for 145 hit points!
GS: Claude C. Kenny enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Kamui critically Guards a hit from Brother's Multi-Cast for 81 hit points!
GS: Kamui enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has activated a Force Action!
GS: Emeralda Kasim critically Guards a hit from Brother's Machina Shotblast for 29 hit points!
GS: Jacqueline Barber guards a hit from Brother's Multi-Cast for 142 hit points!
GS: Pearl takes a glancing hit from Brother's Machina Shotblast for 74 hit points!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has activated a Force Action!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe guards a hit from Brother's Multi-Cast for 80 hit points!
GS: Xantia guards a hit from Brother's X7 Defender Drone for 53 hit points!
GS: Brother's Avenger stance ends. He enters the Stoic stance!
GS: Ashton Anchors guards a hit from Brother's Multi-Cast for 102 hit points!
GS: Ashton Anchors enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Acacia Saitani guards a hit from Brother's Machina Shotblast for 91 hit points!
GS: Brother's Stoic stance ends. He enters the Avenger stance!
GS: Seraph Lanval guards a hit from Brother's Fire for 88 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Oblitzerator has posed.

 
Brad's shell thunders towards the Oblitzerator. And the blast wave of the impact is forceful enough that it rocks the things off its front legs. However then it slams back down, smoke rising from its now blackened front. A large dent within it.
 
Auron at that same moment darts in and whacks it with his blade. The squat thing actually shrieking as it's shoved back across the deck, almost clean off its platform.
 
Lulu however starts to charge the crane, and the Oblitzerator seems to respond to that. It feels far too intelligent to actually be completely mechanized, doesn't it? The gears begin to whirr faster and faster, until the grinders are blurs without any ridges.
 
Which is when Isolde acts, ricocheting off the side in order to return, thrusting the broadsword in a gap between plating. Just as Catenna's dispel causes the machinery to begin to settle down, a touch, like it's power output just abruptly fell.
 
-=-=-
 
Inside:
 
A blade erupts from the wall. Narrowly avoiding giving the Al Bhed girl a haircut.
 
"Drao yldiymmo pnaylrat dra ynsun!? Sayh-!" The dispel though has just caused her power output to drop considerably.
 
The girl bends down lower inside, opening a hatch. As she rewires it, sparks reflect on the outside of her goggles. "Yna oui caneuic!? Kiacc E'mm ryja du drehg uidceta dra puq."
 
"Mad'c caa ruf oui 'Kiynteyhc' mega drec!"
 
-=-=-
 
Just as Marivel's lightning attack finishes charging the crane fully.
 
Which is when the Machina seems to go mad, spewing out Blitzballs everywhere without ceasing in an endless barrage. Hundreds upon hundreds of Blitzballs striking everyone. It has what feels like total, complete coverage, making the console impossible to approach during this terrible rain of Blitzballs...
 

GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Brad Evans with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Lulu with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Amaterasu with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked White Knight Leo with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Marivel Armitage with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Isolde with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Auron with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Catenna with Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Oblitzerator has gained 1 Combo!
<Pose Tracker> Oblitzerator has posed.

 
Which is when Tidus leaps into the air like a graceful dolphin, water sparkling in the sunlight. One stray Blitzball ricochets off his head in a header that sends it back towards the boat. As it rebounds towards him, he kicks it while aerial to cause it to smash into the freighter again.
 
Upon hitting the water, he erupts back out instantly, in an aerial twist, that corkscrews him around. As his momentum stops, the ball makes it back to him, and his foot smashes into it into a monstrous kick.
 
Right into the console.
 
The mechanism sputters to life, as the arm of the crane rises into the air unpredictably, right over the dead center of the ship where it was last programmed to be. The crane claw begins to fall...
 
... right on top of the Oblitzerator, clamping down, causing a reprieve from it's awful onslaught as its gears are forced to a halt. The thing rocks from side to side like it is attempting to escape its fate as it is lifted into the air.
 
It is about a full thirty feet off the deck when its weight becomes too much for itself. The crane rips the twin gears at the top right off. The Oblitzerator slams heavily on the deck, its machina legs busted, its armor plating buckling, electricity sparking throughout its carapace.
 
"Hahaha - aha - the best? Yeah right." Tidus says triumphantly to himself as he treads water.
 
The machine retaliates with a single Blitzball that hurtles towards Tidus head' conking him at a pathetically normal speed, causing him to sink underwater.
 

GS: Crane takes a solid hit from Jecht Shot MK.III for Cutscene damage.
GS: Tidus' Pride takes a solid hit from Divine Karma for Cutscene damage.
 

GS: Oblitzerator has attacked Oblitzerator with  Crane Games!
GS: Isolde takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate  for 174 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Isolde!
GS: Catenna completely evades a hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate !
GS: Cripple! applied to Catenna!
GS: Cripple, Disease, and Jam expired!
GS: Oblitzerator has completed her action.
GS: Auron has activated a Force Action!
GS: Auron guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate  for 94 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Auron!
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's  Crane Games for 549 hit points!
GS: Entangle and Shieldbreak! applied to Oblitzerator!
GS: Marivel Armitage takes a solid hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate  for 150 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Marivel Armitage!
GS: White Knight Leo guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate  for 94 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to White Knight Leo!
GS: Amaterasu guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate  for 143 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Amaterasu!
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        At the very least, if nothing else, Henry will get to see a satisfied customer that's probably a literal equivalent of a child just being given the keys to a candy store.

        A candy store that's more like explosive dynamite as she looks at the instructions for about as long as--

        1) something something
        2) something something
        ...
        7) EXPLODE!

        "Good enough for mui!" Kamui exclaims, totally ignoring disclaimers and waivers and EULAs because who ever reads those anyway. Henry's encouragement is infectious to her as she pumps herself up well and full, striking a pose with the Bluster Sword as she looks to Acacia--

        And then suddenly catches on fire, ababababa, oboj! The baking paper goes up first, because it's cheap baking paper that can't withstand oven heat after all.

        "Waaa..." Kamui flings her now-cindered cape off, the second victim of such a crime, pouting as she looks towards the Al Bhed raiders. "Behold, then..."

        "I've got it, Master! I'll take good shots, I promise!"

        Kamui's enthusiasm has hit maximum!

        -=KAMUI LIMUIT BREAK=-

        A golden eruption of energy erupts around the Reploid as she squares off with the man who sets her on fire. "For the sake of Money-Making Journalism... and Explosives..."

        The enormously heavy Bluster Sword gets hefted around as if it were little more than a feather. Round, round, and around it goes--

        *SCHWINGG*

        And rather, uh, expectedly, it slips straight out and splashes onto the Spiran waters because all Kamui did was stick her Saber into it instead of doing anything proper like securing it like a responsible person or anything--

        "... ... ..."

        And what's left is a brilliant emerald Saber, triangular and two-dimensional in thickness.

        "Limuits are..." Kamui improvises as she soars up into the air, grabbing the full satchel of Blastemol!® and hucking it towards her poor, hapless target. They aren't lit, so they don't explode right away--

        MEMORY ACCESSED

        A blonde woman in a lab coat, face blurred until there's nothing but a glob of colour, laughs and pats Kamui on the head. A second blonde with a flash of blue in her outfit leans and pokes her--

        A spherical unit bobbles up and down excitedly in front of her face. A third woman, hair violet in colour-- colour-- colourrrrr--

        MEMORY ARCHIVE CORRUPTED

        "Meant... to be..."

        --but the searing hot sword-waves coming out of the Saber towards the fated circle probably will, if the Al Bhed raider doesn't do anything about it!!

        "BROKEN!!"

GS: Kamui has spent 1 Combo on Link, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Kamui has attacked Brother with Limuits are Meant to be Broken...!
GS: Kamui has launched an attack Link!
GS: Kamui has attacked Brother with M.U.I.teorain ver. Blastemol!
<Pose Tracker> Claude C. Kenny has posed.

"I figured I could pick one up off of one of the bad guys, but none of these goobers are even using swords!" Claude C. Kenny explains to Ashton, and frankly it's not the dumbest thing he's ever said to the dragonman. A relieved look crosses his face when Ashton finally decides to loan him a weapon, and the big blonde's expression is like the sun coming up. "Thanks!" he says, holding his hand. "I'll be sure to--"

(heads up)

"Wait, wh---" Claude looks up, sees Doom Bringer hurtling toward him, remembers he's supposed to be catching a different sword, fumbles that catch, grabs for it, misses it, then kicks Ashton's sword up into the air. "I got it! Them!" he shouts. I got---"

An electrically-charged shotgun zips past Claude at high speed, clipping the side of his head - he pirouettes drunkenly, and a patch of his fine blonde hair starts to stain a dark orange. "Got it--- got em," he grunts, scrambling to his feet as the two swords spin through the air on different arcs. "I---"

(stay on your toes, kid)

A rondel dagger gets shoved into Claude's gut as he dashes past Henry; he sputters a thankful grunt, fumbles for the blade, drops it, curses, then kicks it up into the air after the other two swords. "God damn it, will these stupid things---" Claude grimaces as the slug round erupts into the column beside his face, spraying his body with shrapnel, tearing holes through his new and definitely not bulletproof clothes.

And between the still-spinning weapons, the multiple wounds, and the fact that these pompoud pompadours are laughing their asses off at him, Claude C. Kenny has a Little Moment.

"Enough... is... ENOUGH!" he roars, leaping into the air, chi flickering around him. "I have had it with these SHOTGUN-FIRING--" his left hand snatches Ashton's sword by the hilt, holding the thick-bladed shortsword in a reverse grip. "---TUNNEL SNAKES---" His right hand grasps the hilt of Doom Bringer, the blade lighting up with crackling green Hyadean technosorcery. Which leaves Marshal Henry Smythe's knife without a hand to catch it in.

Which is why he bites down on the hilt with his teeth.

Claude comes down hard, cracking the dockstones with his landing. "---RRMN GRF MRRGRFFRGN PRRGNRRF!" he mumble-shouts around the rondel-dagger's hilt; a short second later and Claude is dashing through the lines at a blistering place, firing off Air Slashes with both hands, one for each of the Al Bhed, then finishing up with a full-power thrust of Doom Bringer at that drone and its crackling electrical shield.

GS: Lulu takes a glancing hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate  for 128 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Lulu!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has attacked Brother with Two-And-A-Half-Sword-Style Secret Art - Not Stabbing Yourself In The Face,
Somehow!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Claude C. Kenny has completed his action.
GS: Brad Evans guards a hit from Oblitzerator's Blitzball Oblitzerate  for 1 hit points!
GS: Cripple! applied to Brad Evans!
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Kamui's Limuits are Meant to be Broken... for 168 hit points!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Kamui's attack becomes clear!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Kamui's Limuit Break -Memories of M. and A.- for 89 hit points!
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Claude C. Kenny's attack becomes clear!
GS: CRITICAL! Brother takes a glancing hit from Claude C. Kenny's Freestyle Combat Arts for 145 hit points!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has activated a Force Action!
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda Kasim manages to spot Ashton ('s dragon) breathing ice. She is delighted. She is also momentarily distracted by the decidedly metal sound Kamui being hit puts out. Is she metal, too?

But she's more interested in Xantia's words. "Really? They're here? I need to find them! Even if Elly is sick, maybe I can help. Can you take me there once these bandits are gone?" Emeralda doesn't know what the Al Bhed want (she is not really sure what an Al Bhed is) so calling them bandits seems accurate enough to her.

Almost absently, part of Emeralda's hair curls around her face, hardening into a shield-like wall. The shot hits it, mostly caught with a loud ringing sound. She's not even trying to be subtle. At the same time, she pulls her hands apart, the faintly silver seam stretching like taffy before her arms are just arms again, complete with hands and fingers and everything. It's like it never happened.

Well, aside from the damage Emeralda is racking up. It doesn't show on her, much (yet), but she can't take hits like that forever. Damage adds up.

"You," Emeralda calls to the Al Bhed, "are doing bad things! Stop attacking a town with the guns and the boat and everything! Stop attacking people like this! Or - or - "

Emeralda starts to act. She hooks her thumbs together, spreading her hands out, and her hands flatten, spreading out.

And out.

And out.

Emeralda's hands become giant, almost two feet across... each. Put next to each other as she has right now, they're together as wide as she is tall. The fingers press up against each other as they flatten even further, no wider than a piece of paper. They even flutter like a piece of paper, until Emeralda starts paying attention and stiffening them too.

"I'll blow you all down!"

Emeralda begins to flap her arms. Her gigantic hands catch the air and blow, gusting bursts of air toward the Al Bhed; the crosswinds start to combine oddly, forming a swirling whirl of air that moves forward in front of her, a tornado strong enough to pick up small objects... even some of the fallen blitzballs... just from Emeralda flapping her arms.

This is not how physics works at *all*. Emeralda does not seem to care about that.

GS: Emeralda Kasim has attacked Brother with Tornado Hand!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Emeralda Kasim has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Two fireballs. They come crashing in - and wash over Ashton. New clothes singe and burn, as does his hair. But that's part of the fight, now isn't it? All in the daily life of a Drifter.
 
Honestly, he's at a disadvantage now - and a deep one. While his unique style of fighting works out great most of the time, Ashton now suffers the disadvantage: he's practically crippled in combat when he can't use it. Such as when one of his swords is in somebody else's hands.
 
Admittedly what Claude is doing with it IS sort of impressive. If the work of a lunatic.
 
But that leaves Ashton short on options. He staggers back a step, trying to find a new solution. And one does appear.
 
The guns are useless - as Claude found out, they're not loaded so pulling one from the crates is a waste of time. But it isn't the crates that catch Ashton's eyes. It's a different friend. A new one.
 
Lunging to the side, Ashton knee-slides across the dock to the mess of crates. Among them is a barrel. A barrel full of ammunition for the weapons the Al Bhed brought.
 
ARMs are not Ashton's area of knowledge. He's terrible with mechanical weapons. But he understands the most basic of principles.
 
The barrel is hefted onto his shoulder, aimed like a bazooka at the Al Bhed. "Creepy? Light me." And the red dragon breathes fire into the back of the container, setting the ammunition alight.
 
The explosion - directed by the barrel into a lance of lead and smoke - is chaotic and loud. But reasonably effective.

GS: Ashton Anchors has attacked Brother with Staring Down The Barrel Of A Gun!
GS: Ashton Anchors has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Ashton Anchors takes 28 damage from Poison!
GS: Poison expired!
GS: Ashton Anchors gains 5 FP from Sufferer!
GS: Ashton Anchors has completed his action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Emeralda Kasim's Tornado Hand for 90 hit points!
GS: Slow! applied to Brother!
<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I'm not sure, but a friend of mine went up there to help...I have full confidence in her ability to take care of it, though." Jacqueline calls back to Dash. She knows Catenna is fairly effective against that kind of machinery, though she doesn't have the full view of what it actually...is.

If she did, she would feel the utmost sympathy for her.

At this point, Dash hurries over to her. She nods, proudly.

"That's correct! Crest Sorcery, specifically - I've temporarily infused your ARMs with coldness to improve their capabilities." She explains. "I'd usually ask first, but the situation didn't provide for it...but it won't get in the way of their normal functionality!"

It's at this point that Brother glares at her, and Jacqueline frowns. This time, though, it's because she has no idea what he's trying to say. And this one is a bit too long for her to figure anything out.

"...I'm sorry, I don't understand..." She admits with a shrug. "What I'm trying to say is...violence isn't the answer, and only makes things worse for everyone. You can still put a stop to this."

And, as Acacia points out, there are a lot of witnesses, and a lot of angry people with all kinds of unusual powers.

But it turns out, they have unusual powers too. Fire and lightning combine into a furious storm as they crash down toward her. Jacqueline hunkers down to protect herself. The gauntlet's barrier helps, but only some. She comes out lightly singed.

...And then, she huffs.

"Alright." With a sigh she reaches into her bags. She pulls out three bottles - one of them containing a fluid that looks a lot like liquid gold, with the other two clearer and indistinct. She combines the pours the latter two into the golden bottle and shakes them both. The golden liquid begins to glow.

She looks around then, her eyes landing on Lanval.

She hadn't noticed him yet, but she was glad to see him here. He was generally helpful to have around...and, also, she wasn't entirely sure yet if this mixture had the effectiveness she was looking for.

"Lanval! Good timing - I've got something for you." She says, hurrying over to him and offering him the bottle.

It's a rather impressive mixture, if she says so herself - it greatly invigorates the imbiber, as well as patching up any recently acquired injuries.

This was her first time mixing it in the middle of combat - it was more cost-effective that way.

GS: Jacqueline Barber has spent 2 Combo on Inspire and Reload!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has attacked Seraph Lanval with Aura Bottle!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Jacqueline Barber has completed her action.
GS: Jacqueline Barber heals Seraph Lanval! He gains 100 temporary hit points!
GS: Hyper! applied to Seraph Lanval!
GS: Healthy! For entering Condition Green, Seraph Lanval receives 50 temporary hit points.
GS: Seraph Lanval enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Reload! Seraph Lanval gains 15 extra FP from Jacqueline Barber!
GS: Seraph Lanval gains a Combo from Inspire!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Ashton Anchors's Staring Down The Barrel Of A Gun for 41 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        The bite finds it's mark, the unusual tactic of a human trained by werewolves. But it leaves her vulnerable. She's quick, but not quite quick enough to avoid the shot that digs into her back and leg as she tries to flip over the Al Bhed she is currently engaged in combat with. She lands roughly, blood spurting from the wounds as she lands. It's the sort of thing that should hurt, but if there's any acknowledgement of pain, she doesn't show it. It leaves her in the thick of the fighting, which is apparently exactly where she wants to be.

        This is a dangerous place to be, as Air Slashes and explosives and energy swords start flying around willy nilly. Again, none of this causes her to move for safety. Instead, she uses the chaos as an opening. The moment attention shifts off her to the swarm of other threats, Pearl launches herself at the nearest Al Bhed, aiming to drive her claws into their shoulders and rake down their back. Much like the rest of her style, it more resembles an animal attack than an actual martial art.

        Still, she's enjoying herself, if that manic smile on her face is anything to go by.

<Pose Tracker> Auron has posed.

In the time before Tidus does manage to deal with the problem, Auron, attempting to protect others from the rain of Blitzballs -- and failing pretty miserably, it deserves to be noted; he is one person, and can't be everywhere -- ends up pelted repeatedly with them. He's got his head down and his blade up, trying to deflect them, but there are just too many. Once the rain does stop, however, Auron's on the move again. He's not really sure what the status of the machine is, but he's about to very clearly display his opinion about it.

He pauses to gather his strength, and lifts his blade, running a hand down the blunt edge briefly. Auron almost seems to be surrounded by a golden nimbus of energy for a moment. Then he leaps up, into the air, an unnatural gleam sliding down the blade. Weirdly, he seems to hang in the air a few moments longer than he should be capable of... and when he comes down he buries his blade in the deck of the ship near his feet. Completely missed? A nimbus of energy surrounds him, but that seems harmless...

...Of course the explosion of energy he's aimed at the 'feet' of the Oblitzerator might not be so harmless...

GS: Auron has spent 1 Combo on Headshot!
GS: Auron has attacked Oblitzerator with Dragon Fang!
GS: Auron takes 20 damage from Poison!
GS: Poison expired!
GS: Auron has completed his action.
GS: Pearl has attacked Brother with Predator's Opening!
GS: Pearl has completed her action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Pearl's Predator's Opening for 77 hit points!
GS: Pearl assumes the Avenger stance!
<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

"Yes," Lulu answers Catenna simply, and inclines her head at her statement. They understand each other here--and, well, if the mage in question has anything negative to say about Catenna being hit, she doesn't say it for the moment. She merely hears--'Gear'.

Leo asks who--and this, Lulu can answer; 'Jean' isn't here, but, "The Summoner Yuna," Lulu says, though her voice is kept lower. "She is my responsibility, and I will see her safe."

'From whoever threatens her' is left unspoken. It really goes without saying. But... There is one other issue--Lulu of course cannot know why Leo's confused at looking towards her, but she can say--

"...I appreciate the assistance, but as a Guardian, I won't retire from the front. We can fight together, if you choose."

The power of Leo's Goddess rises, if not the knowledge of her--Lulu does not know the Dragon of which the White Knight speaks, but that dragon's power billows around her like a shield, its brilliance inuring her towards the dangers of the battle before them. Perhaps, even more effectively than simply remaining behind the Knight.

This time, though, it is Marivel that catches Lulu's eye, with her strange approach to the great machine. She speaks of a pilgrimage, but this is no surprise--anyone would know of that. But her strange magic...

"What... are you?" Lulu finds herself asking of Marivel in the instant, staring before she makes herself focus. And instead... Well. Amaterasu will attempt to keep that in mind. Lulu, for one, is glad she thought to mention it, now.

"Blade and shield both are just as important," Lulu tells Amaterasu.

But this--this is the point at which Lulu finds herself hit, and hard. The absolute barrage of Blitzballs knocks her backward, one at a time, forcing her to give ground with gritted teeth until she finds herself at a kneel just near the edge of the ship. She looks up, then, and she sees--

Her eyes widen. "...Sir Auron?" Lulu asks, in obvious shock.

...Behind, Kimahri can catch Tidus--he's done his work well. But shortly--

<Pose Tracker> Marshal Henry Smythe has posed.

Cover is running low, and cover from ABOVE is quite absent, so Henry resorts to trying to dodge, dip, duck, dive, and dodge things coming from the sky at many thousands of miles per second. It doesn't go all that well, stopping only when Henry's muscles stop responding properly and he collapses into a twitching mess.

Intent: "That's it, your ARMs're nice, but it's time y'all got sent packin'!" Henry threatens, rolling to his feet undaunted.
Reality: "Ah ihh, yoaahi uhhidiii.." Henry mumbles, twitching and flopping over, eventually gathering all his limbs and getting undiscombobulated.

Henry scowls and fumbles with his ARM, eventually getting into a proper firing position. Magic is bullshit, but there's one thing he can help with - those ARMs of theirs. He looks for gaps in the fighting, finding opportunities to shoot at the Al Bheds' hands or even shoot the ARMs right out of them.

GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has attacked Brother with Trick Shot!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Dash Caskett has posed.

"Score!" Dash shouts, fist-pumping when he hears the explosion and others diving for cover! "Miss," he says toward Jacqueline. "That was some strong magic! You're really good at that! Cold, huh? Neat!" The boy peeks over his cover, pointing the Mega Buster out, looking for targets. A flying stray gunshot makes him take cover again. "What a firefight!"

Data stumbles behind the same cover, holding his wittle tail. It looks like it took a glancing hit from a bullet! "D-Data?!" Dash exclaims, looking him over. "How did you-- You know what, don't worry, just get over here!" he calls.

The monkey cheeps a few times happily.
"Dash, I've just about decoded their language for you!"

"What, really? Hey, useful! I can't understand a thing they say. Wait, how are you doing that?"

No response. Data just stares. "You are a strange little fella." Dash pats Data on the head. The little monkey climbs onto Dash's back, and the boy recalibrates his Mega Buster to a different energy frequency.

<Mega Buster, Energy Transfer, OK_>

"Hey, hold your guns up, guys!" he calls out to allies. "Just for a second!" Dash snaps off a few shots, which are a bluish to minty-green tint, aiming for the ARMs of others. On impact, it infuses them temporarily with solar energy. He makes sure to get Henry's weaponry, and makes a tricky shot across the docks and pegs Brad's gauntlet. It'll most likely effect everything he creates with it, too!

Kamui's X-Buster will most likely even synergize with the effect better, considering the similar energy types!

GS: Dash Caskett has activated a Force Action!
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Marshal Henry Smythe's Trick Shot for 64 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

        Well, that worked, right? Sort of? At the very least, their ringleader let off a longer stream of Al Bhed than any she's heard yet, and even if she's can't understand the first thing he's saying, he certainly seems to have understood her. It doesn't quite count as getting their entire attention, but it does at least divert enough of it that hopefully the other ARMS members can get to work down below and capitalize on things.

        At least, that's what she tells herself as she watches rather more raiders than she expected lift their weapons. They might not be the most accurate raiders ever, but there are certainly a lot of them - and Acacia doesn't exactly throw herself to the ground in defence as her knees straight-up buckle instead, once more shielding her face as she tries to hide behind the railings of the upper walkway. There's a hot feeling at her cheek, and another at her side - though thankfully, the lower hit is somewhat deflected by the padding of her vest.

        "Shiiit--" she whines to herself under her breath as she scrabbles for cover, grimacing a little; part of her is still trying to figure out why she leapt into the battle so readily. It wasn't like she expected to get through her tenure with ARMS without fighting, but the actual reality of it hadn't exactly sunk in, and facing down a bunch of human raiders with guns feels a whole lot different to a bunch of pigmen flanked by a monster. At least there, she could dip into fantasy.

        She's not a coward. She's pretty sure. She's just not the sort of person to fight other humans. That's okay, right?... is what she tells herself. But she's surprised to find her teeth clenched as she hears the explosion beneath her, and a cry of determination from beneath her that's a lot more animated than anything she's heard her assistant say before. Her fists clench for a moment, and she grimaces quietly to herself. Even a bunch of merchants are stuck in the middle of the fray like it's no big deal.

        "Argh, damn it!" she blurts all of a sudden in frustration at herself as she heaves herself up - and then before she can second guess herself any more she's vaulted right over the railing, taking what little time she's got to scan the melee below her. There are some frankly bizarre sights - a small girl with enormous hands and a man with two toy dragons taped to his back amongst them - but also no end of good targets.

        The reporter is not a subtle fighter, more a utilitarian one. The easiest thing to do given where she is simply drop on someone knee first, bearing the poor Al Bhed to the ground as she uses him to break her fall; the world spins for a moment as she tries to recover her bearings, and then she takes the very sensible route of slamming a hand towards the man's shoulder to try to keep him down and then planting a fist into his face to take him out.

GS: Acacia Saitani enters a Counter stance!
GS: Acacia Saitani has attacked Brother with Hit Piece!
GS: Acacia Saitani has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        Hey, hold your guns up, guys!

        Kamui immediately turns to Dash and flexes!!

        A synthetic muscle fiber goes 'POP' and slaps her on the face right after. "m-muiiii..."

GS: Dash Caskett has spent 1 Combo on Inspire, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Dash Caskett has attacked Kamui with Photon Infusion!
GS: Dash Caskett has attacked Marshal Henry Smythe with Photon Infusion!
GS: Dash Caskett has completed his action.
GS: Kamui has activated a Force Action!
GS: Kamui takes a solid hit from Dash Caskett's Photon Infusion for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify! applied to Kamui!
GS: Kamui gains a Combo from Inspire!
GS: Kamui has completed her action.
GS: Brother takes a glancing hit from Acacia Saitani's Hit Piece for 50 hit points!
GS:  Infect extends negative status by 1 round!
<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
Someone wants the operator of this - Gear? Are those what's behind this? Isolde wonders as she tries to hum and feels her throat stick and then suddenly, with a gasp, come -

Well not undone, but she can croak out, "finally" in an audible if dragged-out way.

And then a blessing falls upon her. For some reason this makes the pout of her lips thin even more tightly despite being a beneficial thing, but she is, very likely, getting into the zone. "thank you," she tells the White Knight, breathing out through clenched teeth.

Thunder flies into the nearby crane. Isolde thinks she can hear it, but, she thinks further, she's heard a lot of things. Be silent for a moment, she considers. When you penetrated the plating, did you not hear someone cry out? But not with pain, Isolde thinks... "But with surprise."

Isolde twists her blade around - and stabs it into the deck before her, pensively. (?)

How am I going to explain this, she thinks further. The god damned White General is standing over there.

At this point she is interrupted by the gorgeous breaching of Tidus mystori; the legendary Blitzballer. As he rises, the crane falls - and Isolde says, "It's going to be a big risk, isn't it?" She takes a deep breath, makes a low hum-m-m-m in her aching throat, and the pommel of her blade, right in front of her midsection, seems to twinkle --

-- there is a strange violet-black streak, like some crude glitch in the visualization of the space before them --

-- but it is aimed for the space where Isolde heard that noise. For a fleeting moment that space would be plunged into an absolute vantablackness, completely and utterly devoid of even the afterimages of light!

... which doesn't look like much externally.

And at that point Isolde's ear twitches, and she laughs, with abrupt surprise. From across the water she heard a name - "Yuna!"

The sword is brought out of the decking with another flourish. "I had wondered! Perhaps now I can meet this legendary figure - we have nearly missed each other so many times!"

After this, bold as brass, Isolde marches down the deck towards the machina, saying as she closes the distance, "Was it you I heard inside of there, Summoner Yuna...? But I suspect it is not." And then the last several yards are closed with a sudden dive, her shoulders and arms blurring with hammering speed as she drives the sharpened steel of her blade forwards with flurrious strikes, rebounds echoing through her upper body as the acceleration drives sparks up through the colors of the rainbow

with one final inverted SLASH at the end, accompanied by a somersault back the way she had come and a momentary delay before, completely unneccessarily, she catches her sword from midair.

GS: Isolde has attacked Oblitzerator with Right behind you...!
GS: Isolde has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Isolde has launched an attack Link!
GS: Isolde has attacked Oblitzerator with I See The Millions!
<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel laughs wildly like a true supervillain as the crane becomes SUPERCHARGED with electrical power. She throws her head back and gives the most villainous laugh she can provide. This is your punishment...! The punishment for hitting her in the face repeatedly with a blitzball! Marivel can be a goof sometimes and just enjoy the moment as much as anyone.

"Your desperation grows...!!" She shouts, her body weathering the gradually unconciousable amount of blitzballs slamming in and around her. "Excellent work, young child! You have saved the day with your star athlete powers...! Tis just a matter of time now before the enemy begs for mercy...!"

'What are you' Marivel is asked and she pauses for a moment, abandoning the theatrics to turn and look at her. She opens her mouth and--

--is promptly buried under blitzballs hilariously. There is a downside to pride and that is that it's way more hilarious when you get dunked on.

The blitzballs eventually roll away from Marivel's body and reveals...empty robes.

Instead, a young pale sanguine eyed elf woman with an umbrella in hand appears behind Lulu and and exhales out a long sigh.

"The Al Bhed are unorthodox but their talents are beyond reproach. To think I would be forced to reveal myself so early."

She approaches Lulu and says, "Call me Marie Valeria, acting bossy type of ARMS." She isn't going to say WHAT she is in front of this many people, though her appearances might be suggestive to those who know of the mythology all the same. Probably not Lulu though. She's not from Filgaia.

"And... recent friend to Auron. So it seems we have a friend in common. My service is yours."

She bows, briefly, and then upon straightening.

"Your magic power is clearly unreasonably large." She adds, gesturing forward with one hand.

"Allow me to make it even more unreasonable."

A red crackling pentagram rapidly forms underneath Lulu's feet and shimmers with crimson light, filling Lulu with a nice generalized power up.

"But be wary, there may be someone inside." She adds.

DC: Marivel Armitage switches forms to Crimson Noble Marivel!
GS: Marivel Armitage has attacked Lulu with Booster!
GS: Jam expired!
GS: Marivel Armitage has completed her action.
GS: Lulu takes a solid hit from Marivel Armitage's Booster for 0 hit points!
GS: Hyper, Quick, and Shield! applied to Lulu!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe takes a solid hit from Dash Caskett's Photon Infusion for 0 hit points!
GS: Amplify! applied to Marshal Henry Smythe!
GS: Marshal Henry Smythe gains a Combo from Inspire!
<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        Flame washes over the Seraph. There is very little to fault about the execution of the Fire spell, especially as the entity is bodily (...kind of) sort of sitting there, prone, idiotically in the middle of a pitched battle between heavily-armed societal outcasts and some of the very best Drifters of Filgaia and other parts of Lunar. (Some of whom may also be societal outcasts.)
        Among Seraphim, it is the charge of the water to regulate the eternal hunger of fire, but there is a ferocity within the sorcery of the Al Bhed raider that sees the flame wash over the water elemental momentarily before a sweep of the hand sees the enveloping flame from the fireball impact put out. Steam and smoke rise from the (...for now) upright, if unsteady-looking, water spirit.
        "...Mmmm." He starts to sit back down, momentarily feeling a quiet peace as the once-captive Reploid bursts to life without passing him a look. It's very interesting, he thinks - virtually everyone here, so far, could see him (but they're also in the middle of a pitched battle over... something or another and don't have much time to idly humor an odd portly fellow just hanging around there).
        Lanval, seated again, looks into the gourd with the momentary space afforded. He can't hear Schturdark. A part of him feels lost, in the moment, detached as he sits on the docks from the mortal engagements. He seems to think in terms most of 'would be nice to get those ARMs for his friends,' and yet, a moment of hesitation from the sheer ferocity of mortals he can no longer take for granted or ignorant. They can see him, they can (and have, a lot) shoot him...
        Jay says his name, and Lanval's eyes open half-lidded. He works up a smile that's kind of hard to. "Ohhh... hey there. Shomethin' fer li'l ol' me? Ha ha ha!" Oh boy, Brewte Force...!
        ...That's not Brewte Force. He takes it in hand a bit more casually than the urgency in her steps might be telling him to. "Cheersh!" Not that he's going to turn it down, for such kindness offered while she was in the middle of a pitched battle, and all. So he has himself a drink, and...
        ...oh wow
        Laughter starts to grow as the golden liquid is taken in. The tastes! The texture! Medicinal in nature and intent, but both relaxing and energetic! His eyes open all the way to a bright aquamarine color.
        The battlefield feels a sudden, brief wash of an air not unlike the fresh air following a light rain, or the mist of a crashing wave. (They're near the ocean so this doesn't really amount to much, but, theatrics.)
        "Jacqueline Barber! Finest potion brewer of Filgaia!" He addresses, voice booming, as he stands up straight. "Thy offering hath been accepted!" Lanval knows full well, at least, that Jay has done very good by Filgaia, and the way he sees it, if she's going to 'ask' him nicely by plying his favor with such incredible drink...
        "Ha ha haaaa...! Very well! I doth grant thee mine strength against thy foes!" This is really a lot of sound about nothing, and it sure doesn't seem like it's, uh, a lot of help, because now Lanval is just careening about the docks like he were having a celebratory drunken stroll. In a burst of excitement, he holds his gourd up in one hand (!!) and just...
        ...rudely bumps into the back of one of the Al Bhed raiders, like it were an afterthought. Huh.

GS: Seraph Lanval enters CONDITION GREEN!!
GS: Seraph Lanval enters a Counter stance!
GS: Seraph Lanval has attacked Brother with Carefree Stroll!
GS: Seraph Lanval has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Seraph Lanval has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Pearlescent white ripples around Catenna as White Knight Leo calls forth the power of his silver idol. The Moon Shaman inhales and braces as Althena's White Champion grants the dragon's blessing, the shielding power swaddling her like a comforting hug.

Less comforting is what Marivel says. Catenna frowns deeply, her eyes focusing again on the Oblitzerator as she recalls the conversations she'd had with various villagers in Luca since their arrival.

"...the Pilgrimage...." she murmurs, her eyes softening a little.

Could anyone really be blamed for wanting to stop someone they care about from confronting something like that...?

The Moon Shaman looks on with a frown as the Oblitzerator begins to spark again. She doesn't have long to look, though.

The blitzballs fly. The sports pile doesn't stop from getting taller. Moving rapidly, Catenna lunges out of the way of one ball, rolls clear of another, sets her bow down to vault into a front flip, springing off with her hands to boost over another, landing on her toes and pirouetting away from another blitzball, then twisting to elude another that hurtles at her with a graceful twist and a leap--

Were a certain Lunarian here, she might recognize some of the moves. Catenna's putting her dance lessons to good use to weave through the blitzball obliteration, leaving her bow behind to do it, but managing to put herself closer to the Gear.

A Gear which is in the process of being hoisted into the air, and then dropping down to the deck with a crackle of stumpy machina legs. Catenna opens her mouth slightly, then closes it, before looking back towards where Tidus is sinking.

But it's Lulu that she's listening to. The Moon Shaman sets her jaw a little and nods.

"If you wish to see to a Summoner's success, then you and I share a goal," Catenna assures Lulu with a simple, firm nod.

Auron lunges past her, shining with gold. Catenna widens her eyes and takes a step back, startled.

But the Oblitzerator is still throwing Blitzballs, even in its immobile state. Catenna purses her lips, torn between options, before finally stepping forward and raising her hand - and her voice.

"Whomever is piloting that... machina," she calls out. "I would rather we talk about this. I'm going to disable your machina now. If you can understand me, step out--"

Isolde steps in and starts attacking straight out. Catenna cuts off and stares for a moment.

Then, sighing, she pushes her hand forward. "Please, get out of the machina!!" she shouts at the Oblitzerator -

Before the air suddenly groans and yawns open above the machine. The open sky distorts bizarrely, lensing open around a black sphere that gapes in the air. Gouts of water gush up into the little black hole; the deck vibrates with it. The gravitational force is enough to try and peel the Oblitzerator, trying to rip off components and plating and gobble them up.

The black hole is also gobbling up stray Blitzballs. If Catenna got points for every one she got in the hole, she could probably beat the Psychs solo.

GS: COUNTER! Brother counterattacks Seraph Lanvalwith Counter Attack!
GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Seraph Lanval's Carefree Stroll for 89 hit points!
GS: Catenna has spent 2 Combo on Headshot, including 1 on Gatling!
GS: Catenna has attacked Oblitzerator with Grand Singularity!
GS: Catenna has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Catenna has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

<Claude gets equipped with Doom Bringer!> Zed... Zed is relieved. So relieved. There are three reasons for this. The first is that Claude is actually here. The second is that Claude is not dead. The third is that his sword isn't sinking to a watery grave. This sea is salty! SALTY! It would... It would rust so bad...!

Okay, maybe not. Doom Bringer is probably way too cursed to oxidize. It would be too easy to destroy if something like that is enough to end its existence. "Phew," Zed wipes his brow, simultaneously elbowing a second Al Bhed in the goggles. "That was close. I was worried you were some kind of weird Claude lookalike and I was about to behead a guy without a sword. That would've been awful. I have great news, Claude! The planet! It's not actively trying to kill me anymore! Ahahahaha! Hold on, I'll tell you all about it when we're done with these weird goggle boys!"

Zed... leaps!! He soars through the air, brilliant orange scarf twisting and twining majestically as he goes higher, higher, higher...! "What's even the deal with these guys? I've heard of sportsball fans getting intense, but this!?" Zed reaches his zednith, pivoting and contorting in mid-air to assume one of his trademark DYNAMIC POSES. "This is just... JUST HOOLIGANNERY!"

Now.

Ordinarily, taking to the air like this, it would be foolhardy. Lightning, as everyone knows, is always super-effective against anything that flies. But... But that's not entirely always the case. As long as the atmospheric charge doesn't form a complete circuit with the ground, lightning is harmless. But the probability of that to happen, for Zed's scarves to twine in just the right way to accidentally seize hold of Brother's lightning magic, to soak it all in and set the air all around the Hyadean warrior alight with arcs of coruscating electricity, is astronomically small. And yet... And yet...!

And yet that's exactly what happens...!!!

But how...!?

  1. -1 FUNCTION (CENTER) EXPECTS BETWEEN 2 AND 4 ARGUMENTS BUT GOT 9
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Xantia's gift of Blitzball is unexpectedly returned to sender! She reacts in reflex, with a "Wah--!" noise, covering her face by crossing her arms in front of it. A successful block, but... "Oww..." Xantia shakes her arms, not very pleased about taking the brunt of that momentum which she originally caused herself. Though it was an impressive interception, she has to admit. Perhaps it was folly to use a kind of attack that the people here would be well accustomed to, but then... who knew using Blitzballs as weapons had been done before?

Xantia has clearly not noticed what's happening on the boat nearby.

"Of course! I'm sure they want to see you too," Xantia feels confident in confirming to Emeralda. She has no idea about the helping Elly part, but it would sure be nice if that were the case.

She watches with interest as Emeralda changes herself again, finally able to get a good close look at it. Confirm something for herself. She's pretty sure that she knows exactly what's happening here. Even if, like a lot of things, she has no idea how she knows.

She isn't about to bring that up, though. Now's not the time. Instead, she cheers Emeralda on as she tells the Al Bhed like it is. "Yeah! That's the spirit!" She quiets down after what follows, because... well, that was another fascinating kind of power that was put on display there.

Not to be outdone, Xantia steps forwards when Emeralda is done, cracking her knuckles. It sends electric sparks flying, her own Ether employed to wreath her fists in electricity. "You've got the right idea there... time to start getting serious!"

And getting serious, in Xantia's case, means that she charges headlong for the Al Bhed ranks, more and more lightning gathering in her hands, until she unleashes it all - directly into the defense drone when it inevitably gets in her way again. The impact of lightning against lightning causes an electrical explosion, a massive amount of electricity surging past the machina towards the Al Bhed themselves.

GS: Xantia has spent 3 Combo on Gatling, including 3 on Gatling!
GS: Xantia has attacked Brother with Exploding Fist!
GS: Xantia has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

<Claude gets equipped with Doom Bringer!> Zed... Zed is relieved. So relieved. There are three reasons for this. The first is that Claude is actually here. The second is that Claude is not dead. The third is that his sword isn't sinking to a watery grave. This sea is salty! SALTY! It would... It would rust so bad...!

Okay, maybe not. Doom Bringer is probably way too cursed to oxidize. It would be too easy to destroy if something like that is enough to end its existence. "Phew," Zed wipes his brow, simultaneously elbowing a second Al Bhed in the goggles. "That was close. I was worried you were some kind of weird Claude lookalike and I was about to behead a guy without a sword. That would've been awful. I have great news, Claude! The planet! It's not actively trying to kill me anymore! Ahahahaha! Hold on, I'll tell you all about it when we're done with these weird goggle boys!"

Zed... leaps!! He soars through the air, brilliant orange scarf twisting and twining majestically as he goes higher, higher, higher...! "What's even the deal with these guys? I've heard of sportsball fans getting intense, but this!?" Zed reaches his zednith, pivoting and contorting in mid-air to assume one of his trademark DYNAMIC POSES. "This is just... JUST HOOLIGANNERY!"

Now.

Ordinarily, taking to the air like this, it would be foolhardy. Lightning, as everyone knows, is always super-effective against anything that flies. But... But that's not entirely always the case. As long as the atmospheric charge doesn't form a complete circuit with the ground, lightning is harmless. But the probability of that to happen, for Zed's scarves to twine in just the right way to accidentally seize hold of Brother's lightning magic, to soak it all in and set the air all around the Hyadean warrior alight with arcs of coruscating electricity, is astronomically small. And yet... And yet...!

And yet that's exactly what happens...!!!

But how...!?

                 <Claude gets equipped with Doom Bringer!>
                         But his Luck becomes Worst

"HERE I GO!" Zed roars, "SUUUUUUUUUPEEEEEEEEER--" He twists, lightning arcing across his shoulders, surging from the top of his head down to the tips of his toes. "INAZUMAAAAAAAAAA--"

Suddenly, he explodes in a supernova of lightning, streaking down out of the sky like a FALLING STAR! His voice reverberates louder with every moment, shaking the air with the full might of the DOPPLER EFFECT! "KIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIICK!"

He smashes into the dock! Right in the middle of the gunslinging Al Bhed, just as Emeralda unleashes that devastating vortex of air! The moment foot touches ground, a shockwave of thunder and lightning races outward like an explosive blastwave!

Is this... The power of LUCKY ZED!?

GS: Brother takes a solid hit from Xantia's Exploding Fist for 147 hit points!
GS: Zed has attacked Brother with SUPER INAZUMA KIIIIIIIICK-U!
GS: Zed takes 26 damage from Poison!
GS: Zed has completed his action.
GS: Sneak! The true nature of Zed's attack becomes clear!
GS: CRITICAL! Brother takes a glancing hit from Zed's Ultimate Attack of the Week for 189 hit points!
<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

"Explosive entrance," Brad says, and manages to suppress much more than a flicker of a grin. "Nice."

Two different people he doesn't know give him a deeply baffled look. Brad briefly reviews what he knows of his situation.

        ~not that long ago~

        "I suggest you hide your machina," Auron replies. "Do not bring them to the attention of the Church. Like as not, any wielding machina will be declared heretics, no matter their intentions. The Church is not particularly forgiving about the use of machina."

"Oh. Right," Brad mutters. He fidgets briefly with the Mechanical Glove, the heavy glove and massive gauntlet wrapped about his hand and arm. "Heh. Wouldn't be my first time in prison," he says, and then snaps his arm up, and then gets absolutely domed by blitzball mayhem. Instead of dying immediately, as is normally what happens when you let yourself get shot by a robot, he just gets bonked "ow", bapped, "ow!" and chunkachunkachunkaWHAMMED

That last one is the sound of Brad getting shot in the face 14 trimes and then falling completely flat. He lies there groaning. "Knew I hated sports," Brad mutters. Then he slams his fist to the deck and forces himself, again, laboriously up, wobbling a little - just in time to see someone soar into the air like a majestic sea mammal (Brad is from Aquvy and knows those). He finds himself looking at Marivel, as if wondering if this is some kind of wizard thing, and only then realizes she is, in fact, attempting to siphon blood from a machine. Fortunately Tidus finishes styling and the crane does a number on the Oblitzerator, clamping down and dragging it into the sky. Brad watches it go up, up, up, as he meanders over toward Marivel. "Did you just...eat its soul?" he asks, blankly.

Then it comes crashing back down, and Brad shouts, "DOWN!" again and dives, because he grew up in war zones and is assuming it's going to blow up or something.

It doesn't. It just....kinda lies there. Hm. Brad grunts, seeing Auron, whom he does know, is continuing the assault. "Well," he says, and holds out his hand, light blossoming around his hand in luminous motes. "Best to make sure," he says, and takes a knee. When he shifts his ARM to forward it's holding what appears to be a bulky tube, with a few trigger parts sticking down, which he hefts up to his shoulder and fires. It disgorges a MISSILE, which sprays plumes of smoke behind it as it careens toward Oblitzerator and explodes!!

GS: Brad Evans has attacked Oblitzerator with Mini Scud!
GS: Brad Evans has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Brother has posed.

"Fryd ec cra!?" Brother cries, as Kamui rises into the sky. He realizes, then, that he sorely underestimated her. He runs from the Blastemol(r) as it slams into the docks. The other Al Bhed do the same, but it rocks the docks under their feet. Then, Kamui's shockwaves blow them to the side. Then, they hit the Blastemol.

It goes up in a titanic fireball, leaving a burnt hole in the center of the dock. Flame and smoke lifts and wafts off it.

And Claude slams down in the midst of the scattering Al Bhed. One yelps and goes flying into the water with one Air Slash; a second pitches a third into the water. Brother turns, finally, and swings the machina rifle in his hands to parry the third Air Slash and Claude's teeth-gripped knife.

"Fryd ec cra!?" the Al Bhed still on the docks shouts, as Emeralda makes her hands gigantic. Wind blows them backwards -- and it catches the remaining Al Bhed. He lets out a shout... and is then blown back, sent flying into the water with a splash. Brother is the only one left on the dock -- and he ducks down as a barrel (literally) is used as a dragon fire bazooka. Flame blasts just over his head, scorching the top of his mohawk.

"Dryd dygac vunajan du cdoma! Zylgycc!"

He is only just able to avoid being mauled by Pearl. His side is slashed open, her claws biting into shoulder and bicep. Blood runs down the side of him, but Brother shoves with the butt of his rifle to get some distance -- if briefly. Still, for a second, his rifle's shot. It swings to the side, wildly, and he spins with it--and that lets Acacia drop down, slamming her knee into his shoulder, and she punches his goggles and face. His head reels backward.

"Ugh!" he shouts, stumbling back from her... and into Lanval's merry stroll. He gets bumped into and knocked back. "Snknkn...!"

And then hurled across the dock by Xantia's mighty fist. She smashes into him, lightning exploding outward, and Brother flies a little further... and more, when Zed slams into him. The kick smashes into the dock just before Brother, and then the exploding remains of the dock rise up over Brother. His shadow is cast long.

"Cu drec ec dra vyda uv yh yfacusa kio..." He raises one hand towards Zed, and he makes the famous one-fingered salute of the Al Bhed youth, as he whispers: "...du pa cmekrdmo ehluhjaheahlat po y knaah-ryenat mucan."

And then Brother is blown out to sea with the rest of the Brother Squad.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

"..." Marivel looks towards Brad.

"..."
"..."
"...Just a little." She tells him, offering him a thumbsup as if that makes it ok.

It only mildly suppresses the horror of her boosting Lulu with all the powers of hell.

<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        'The Summoner Yuna'.

        There's a name Amaterasu has heard before. But only a glance -- in time with the tone of the magician's words -- is enough to inform her of the rest.
        It is as clear as day.

        Some of the others joining this battle turn their attentions on the crane. Amaterasu instead readies herself for the moment.

        That moment.
        When the tactic thus laid by the mage will play itself forth--

        Though, perhaps, first she might have to contend with the absolute storm of sportsballs loosed by the damaged machinery. She has seen these spheres before, she realizes, bringing Valkyrja up as she assumes a guard's stance. That's right, in the town, with those athletes--

        She stands fast, bearing through the chaos though it is not without its costs. Valkyrja blazes as bright as before unlike that earlier strike, perhaps in a sort of defiance; her armor is still strong and stable. But somehow...
        Somehow, Amaterasu is certain that she will find herself with a score of angry bruises once she takes her rest this night.
        ...No matter.

        Something -- she doesn't see it -- slams into the crane. The crane enacts the plan as precisely as Lulu might have planned it.

        "Now it all comes together," she says. Just once, she nods.

        Marivel and Catenna might speak of and to the pilot within. Amaterasu makes no such commentary or pleas. Instead, slowly, Amaterasu strides towards the perhaps beleagured machina, her face plate at last slamming into place. Lights about the mask begin to glow, a brilliant green.

        "You have fought well," she informs the machine.

Before catapulting forward, all-cutting edge of the spear's blade held before her.

        "But."
        She does not cease there.
        "It is not enough!"
        Launching herself towards the heavens, the Veruni soldier flips about in midair before ricocheting downwards once more.
        Spear first.

GS: Amaterasu has attacked Oblitzerator with Ex Aequo Et Bono!
GS: Amaterasu has gained 3 Combo!
GS: Amaterasu has completed her action.
<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        "The Summoner," Leo says. His eyes shoot open. "Then we shall rescue her at once!" Even if he has his own plans to defeat Sin, it would hardly be honorable to allow such a person to languish in the custody of common brigands.

        The Oblitzerator seems to have other plans. The machina opens fire, and the air seems to fill with blitzballs--Leo would gape at the sight of it, if it weren't putting everyone in danger. The Beastman steps forwards, lets out a sharp "HAAH!", and slashes clean through the first blitzball to come at him. The second slams into his shoulder and bounces off; a glancing hit, but it stings. Leo swats a third blitzball with the flat of his blade, but the fourth is just a split-second behind. Leo is no slouch at swordsmanship, but the Oblitzerator has the advantage of sheer volume of fire. A blitzball slams into Leo's gut, and the air rushes from his lungs. The world turns into a blur. If not for the grace of the White Dragon, that hit might've laid him out on the deck, or thrown him into the drink alongside that blonde kid.

        "Ghk," Leo says, eloquently. He sucks in a breath, and then another. The pain of the poison seems to be fading, and the horrible metallic noises coming from the Oblitzerator's direction indicate that it isn't having a very good time, either. Leo looks back just in time to see the machine collapse to the deck, breaking its own legs. "Well! Why don't we--" Cough, gasp. "Just carve it open and see what's inside?" Leo takes a step, and then another, and then closes the remaining distance in a charge. He raises his blade with both hands, and brings it down in a single, mighty cleave--trying to hack through the thing's armor, while staying on-guard for anything else it might throw at him.

GS: White Knight Leo enters a Counter stance!
GS: White Knight Leo has attacked Oblitzerator with Flashing Crescent!
GS: White Knight Leo takes 27 damage from Poison!
GS: Weaken expired!
GS: White Knight Leo has completed his action.
<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

"AND DON'T COME BACK!" Emeralda yells, in the general direction of the now involuntarily departing Brother and his crew.

Then she turns to Xantia, impressed by her tricks, and offers her a high-five. Emeralda does not bother to unflatten her hand before she does it, so it is a very easy target.

<Pose Tracker> Marshal Henry Smythe has posed.

Henry breathes a sigh of relief, then reloads his revolver and surveys the scene. Still some stuff over there, but the immediate vicinity is safe. He moves to check out the remnants of the dock in case there's some evidence that needs securing.

"Phew, can't believe THOSE JERKS blew up the entire dock!" He muses to himself really loudly.

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

It looks like her enchantment worked...like a charm! Jacqueline makes a mental reminder to tell her mother how it wents when she gets back to Filgaia - she wouldn't have considered it if she hadn't suggested it.

"Thank you! I did my best..." She replies with a smile toward Dash.

And then, Lanval. He accepts the offered potion with the sort of casual nature you wouldn't expect to find in a battlefield, but she absolutely expected to find in him.

He accepts the potion. And...it really seems to have hit the spot!

"F-finest potion brewer? R-really...?" She comments with a sheepish grin, a nervous chuckle, and a massage to the back of her neck, but she nods as he says he'll grant her his strength. "Thank you! But don't hurt them too badly..."

And he doesn't...but he does knock Brother into Xantia, which leads to a combination attack that sends him flying into the sea.

Jacqueline sighs, and shakes her head.

"...It's probably for the best. I'm...sure they'll make it out of there okay." She says with a sigh, then looks around to judge everyone's condition.

"Is everyone alright? I have medical supplies here, if anyone is in need of them." She asks, then takes a look up toward the boat in the distance, where fighting is still going on. "...Should we see if we can't help them out...?"

She hopes Catenna's alright.

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

Isolde mentions Yuna--she's heard of her. ...Of course she's heard of her; Yuna belongs to the world, she would say, all of Spira could easily know Yuna. So it is not strange at all. A legendary figure--

"Yes," Lulu answers. "Once she is safe, I'm sure she'll be glad to meet you."

It's even true, Lulu is fairly sure. But amidst the din and chaos of battle--

A strange apperance, and soemone who speaks as if she is older than she looks. A friend of Auron, who offers her service... Someone who might manage to eat the souls of machines. She is dangerous, probably heretical...

And she wishes to help Yuna, if indirectly. So Lulu, from her position where she had paused, shocked, thinks of the strange pale girl behind her and beside her... and inclines her head.

"...We can discuss reasons to be wary later," Lulu says. "But in this..."

Lulu rises. "We agree."

"...The boy will be fine," she says of Tidus, because Marivel seemed to notice and be concerned for him. Frankly... It was an impressive shot.

But there is something yet to be done. Lulu can feel the power back at the docks--she can feel the force in Catenna's magic, as she pleads with, perhaps, someone piloting the machina before them. Amaterasu is crashing down; Brad is... frankly, using more strange machina. But all of that, for a moment, falls away into utter and complete stillness.

"...Everyone," Lulu says, raising her voice and yet sounding perfectly controlled, utterly icy. "Get down."

At first, it's nothing--but Lulu steps forward, raising her hand once, and power begins to collect within it. Those used to the Blessing can feel its familiarity--but its channeling is... different, its shapes unknown.

And there is a great deal of it. There's an aura of heat that washes off of the Guardian in that instant, an encapsulation of unadulterated rage.

Lulu says nothing else. She extends her hand, and the first strike comes, crackling yellow lightning from the skies--once. ....Twice. Three times, four, five--

From a cloudless sky a cascade of terrible lightning crashes down, thunderous bolts slamming towards the monster one after another in a deafening rush of eye-and-nose-searing ozone as Lulu's fury erupts against their foe.

GS: Lulu has attacked Oblitzerator with Get Down!
GS: Lulu has launched an attack Link!
GS: Lulu has attacked Oblitzerator with F U R Y!
GS: Lulu has gained 1 Combo!
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Isolde's Right behind you... for 0 hit points!
GS: Slow! applied to Oblitzerator!
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Isolde's I See The Millions for 135 hit points!
GS: Break! applied to Oblitzerator!
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Brad Evans's Mini Scud for 135 hit points!
GS: Mighty! applied to Brad Evans!
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Catenna's Grand Singularity for 188 hit points!
GS:  Dispel reduces positive status durations by 3 rounds each!
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Amaterasu's Ex Aequo Et Bono for 137 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator takes a solid hit from Auron's Dragon Fang for 168 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Lulu's Get Down for 67 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from Lulu's F U R Y for 168 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
GS: Oblitzerator guards a hit from White Knight Leo's Flashing Crescent for 137 hit points!
GS: Oblitzerator has Fallen! She is no longer able to fight!
<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Even though she was kind of in the middle of the localized electrical disaster she herself caused, Xantia herself is just fine after that, merely shaking her hands again, only slightly inconvenienced by the impact. She smiles when Emeralda offers the familiar high-five gesture, returning it without hesitation. "Yeah! Nicely done!"

Still, her smile fades shortly after, turning back into the direction the Brother Squad flew off in. She appears to be bothered by something. Perhaps she's wondering about what exactly the were hoping to accomplish? That this might have been about something more than simple theft?

The answer comes in the form of her suddenly shouting in dismay. "Oh come on!! It's over already? Were you even trying?"

Please excuse her, Xantia hasn't had a good fight in like... two weeks. This was over way too fast to cover that enormous period of time in any kind of satisfying way.

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Ashton is proud. He has gained one of the greatest victories one can have over an opponent: he has destroyed the man's 'do.
 
It was worth the barrel's sacrifice.
 
Rising to his feet, the Double Dragon Duelist strikes a pose. "That's right, retreat! And don't come back!"

<Pose Tracker> Oblitzerator has posed.

 
The crane, having only had enough charge for a short run, begins to power down, its arm sliding back to rest on the side of the ship, its claw retracting back up to it. It sits there inert, almost like it a predator that was mocking its prey with its deadly effectiveness.
 
The Machina device appears to have lost most of its momentum with the gears at the top ground off. Auron's approach is unhindered as a wave of energy melts a leg clean off, causing it to topple sideways so that part of the base is resting on the ground.
 
Whether Summoner Yuna is inside or not - remains unclear, however the dive - followed by inverted slash from Isolde may soon cause it to be more clear. Because the armor feels like it is being peeled off, like an onion revealing its layers beneath.
 
Marivel then empowers Lulu's magic - and...
 
... was that a whimper anyone just heard from inside the thing? Nah. It couldn't be.
 
It's unclear whether the person within heard Catenna, just as the air yawns and groans open, and it feels like the metal of the thing is buckling beneath the sheer force of it. The Machina creature appearing narrower after, like the singularity had simply compacted it slightly.
 
Brad fires a missile, which smashes into the remains of the Oblitzerator, causing a massive explosion that feels like to tear a hole in its side. In the wake of its impact, smoke pours out of every crack of the Machina, obfuscating vision.
 
Right before the Veruni soldier descends with her shining laser spear, plunging it into the Machina, running it through fully, at the same time that Leo's blade flashes in a mighty cleaving strike.
 
It feels like their efforts have neatly pried open the guts of the Machina, wires spilling out and sputtering in space. If they look carefully they might get a glimpse of violet red in one of the gaps. Though perhaps it's a trick of light as it's hard to see with all this smoke.
 
However as Lulu begins to cast her spell though, there's the sound of a metallic shriek, like metal grinding away from partially fused metal, but nothing is visible in the haze of smoke. Just as the lightning falls again and again and again. The Oblitzerator sparks and explodes - leaving only debris on the deck, and a shroud of swiftly clearing smoke.
 
And not a single sign of a pilot - if there ever was one.

<Pose Tracker> Dash Caskett has posed.

Infusing other's weapons felt like the smart choice. Dash takes cover again while he calibrates the Mega Buster back to norma lfunctionality.

Two big ears and a pair of eyes poke out from behind the shipping quipment, still watching the fight.

By the time it is ready to fire upon their opponents and Dash erupts up and over the equipment, the have been... disintegrated? Or more likely, junst gone'd. "All in a... days work...!" he says, switching the left arm back to hand form. "K... Kamui, you okay?" he asks nicely, having seen her arm partially come apart from that cute flex. "M... Maybe we should get that look at..."

There is something worrisome about seeing that, because that has to be what he looks like on the inside. Suppose it might be a similar feeling to people seeing blood. That awkward, gut-wrenching feeling. Even if he had guts. Data peers at Kamui from over Dash's shoulder.

And just. Stares.

3

"Thanks for that magic, miss! I appreciate it again!" he adds toward Jacqueline. "So um, who are those guys anyway?"

A look toward Zed as well. "Cool style! Where did you learn it? Also did I summon you by saying Sportsball? That timing seemed really convenient."

Straight to the point.

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

Zed, fortunately, does not see Brother make the sign of the beast of two backs. This is, admittedly, only because Zed has turned his back towards the catastrophic shockwave consuming the docks because cool guys never look at their own explosions.

Instead, Zed stands tall and proud, arms crossed over his chest, scarf fluttering in the breeze as the blastwave toussles the saltwater out of his moss green hair. "Hmmm. Yes, this was good. Ahahahaha! I am truly one with nature! Nyahahahaha-- hmm??"

Zed... Is being talked to.

By some kind of blue guy!?

"Eh? Ah! Yes. My style, you know. It is... Impetuous. It's self-taught, mostly! I picked up a bit from some other places, a little more from some really old books. Hmhmhm, you have a good eye, blue boy! I am Zed! The Ultimate Macho Man! The Grim Reaper's Pen Pal! The Dark Hero What Fights in the Dark So You Don't Have To! Nice to meet you. I come when I am called. And uhhh, maybe? I dunno, I heard someone mention sportsball. Was that you? I was lost at sea for a bit, you know! One moment I was in the snow, the next I was almost choking on saltwater! Also."

Beat.

Zed looks to Emeralda, and... squints.

Squints hard.

"Hmmmmmmm," Zed says to this green-haired, bescarfed girl. "...Little miss, are you perhaps one of my people?"

<Pose Tracker> Seraph Lanval has posed.

        It is an exceedingly incongruous sight. The Water Seraph exudes joy in a place that seems to always have this undercurrent of sorrow and premonition, mirthful laughter filling the air as the (rapidly disintegrating, another discordant element to the idea of being happy) docks seem to have cleared themselves of hostiles by everyone's efforts and impromptu pinball games with raiders as the ball. Every so often, Lanval pivots and turns, swinging an arm into the air in celebration. The sort of arm swing of someone who is extremely unaware of their surroundings, a force that rivals the fiercest uppercuts in form and force. There might be a close call here and there, before the Seraph just plops on down on solid ground on his seat.
        His eyes close, and he looks flush and pleasant as he flops on his back.
        "Mmmmph... shaaaay, it'sh kinda weeeeeird, ain't it... thish place having shome of the exact kind of ARM shtuff Filgaia hash... ha ha ha... what're the oddsh of that?"
        Beat.
        "...Anybody shee where they wennnnt...?"

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna looks on with her head canted to one side as Lulu unleashes the magic of Lunar in a way she's never seen before. Her eyebrows go up.

The sight of the Oblitzerator pried open and smouldering spurs her forward. She stoops to pick up her bow, advancing quietly towards what remains - though it's mostly just debris at that point. The glimpse of colours she saw within seems to be gone now.

<Curious,> Saarda-Shanta muses as the little Owlet flutters down to land on Catenna's shoulder. <I'm fairly sure someone was there. They must have been quite crafty to get out ahead of all that.>

Catenna frowns and folds her arms loosely. "...I can understand why someone would fear a friend or loved one challenging Obsession," she admits in a murmur. "I would be afraid as well."

<As would anyone. That thing should not be alive.> The Owlet shudders visibly and ducks her head.

"Even so, we should see to the Summoner they spoke of," Catenna says as she rests her bow over this shoulder. "This Yuna we heard about. If there is a way to destroy Sin, then that is a goal I share."

The Owlet ducks her head. <Oh child.>

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"...A group of dissatisfied youths, maybe? ...No, I'm sure there was more to it than that..." Jacqueline comments in response to Dash's question with a frown. "They were after ARMs, but...what for...?"

She wasn't on the boat, so she didn't hear the exposition. Lanval comments on this, too - apparently back to his usual self.

"...What are the odds, indeed..." She murmurs with a pensive frown, folding her arms in front of her.

...If the Guard were here, then she supposed it made sense that other groups had found their way, too, and were smuggling in ARMs - unless it was the Guard themselves.

This really was a problem...

<Pose Tracker> Yuna has posed.

The ocean is never truly silent, but there is, at least, a moment of relative QUIET after the massive machina meets its end. The bubbling rush of cresting waves and the lovely slap of water upon dockside and shipside alike. The cries of seabirds flapping through the salty air -- and more distantly, almost but not quite out of earshot -- the roar of the blitzball crowds.

The robot, the crane -- the absence of their noisy engines is just so loud.

And then, just at that point where shoulders and jaws and fists have a chance to unclench, out there in the breeze and sunshine... another mechanical whine starts up.

The whole ship begins to vibrate. Something is grinding.

...and then the hatch door -- the elevator door, as is subtly evident from the shifting shadows along the crack at the base -- opens.

Someone comes out. No, correction, someone FALLS out; they must have been leaning their full weight on the door, which is no longer there to hold them up.

That might be because they're unconscious, though it's hard to see behind that Al Bhed facemask and goggles. Still, their limp limbs tell the story well enough. At the last second, there's a soft "oh!" of dismay, and then their fall is arrested by a tug on their collar from behind. They slide backwards instead, and their landing sounds gentle.

And then, rather more voluntarily, someone else appears as well. She of the exclamation, surely. Her little feet, sensibly shod in traveling boots, make equally tiny tap-taps on the metallic surface of the boat. The shadows surrender her hands next, which are out in front of the rest of her, clutching firmly onto an ornate, ritualistic rod as though this is the Titanic and it is her lifeboat. They're delicate, and pale, and well-kept; the hands of a scholar, not a warrior.

Or the hands of a priestess.

There's no better time than a major tournament at Luca to get a chance to survey the epic diversity of Spiran garb, but there's something distinctly ceremonial about what this young woman is wearing -- fused, intriguingly, with practicality. Freedom of movement is self-evidently the highest value, above all else. With one step, then another, the girl emerges into the light, and with each of these steps, her garments -- first and foremost -- they flow. Even when she stops moving, her skirts, her sleeves, her ribbons and beads, all continue their dance without her.

Her eyes narrow almost to slits as they adjust to the brightness; she blinks several times to clear them. And then again, more slowly, more curiously, at the sight of all the people up on deck, people other than the owners of the ship. People who've obviously just finished a major fight.

Like the flowers that adorn her clothes, the summoner blossoms; her expression, which had been rather severely carved by the intensity of a jailbreak in progress, opens up, unfolding into gratitude and relief instead.

Yuna's first smile in the presence of Otherworlders is a small one, made so by stress and exhaustion.

But it is a memorable one.

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

After giving a high-five, Emeralda squeezes her hands into fists, which seems to press it back to its normal proportions.

She releases them a moment later when she looks up at Zed asking her a question. He, too, has green hair (not quite the same shade, but whatever) and a scarf (not the same style as hers). She isn't sure what to think.

"I don't know what people you are," she says, quite honestly. But, well, between him and Xantia... "I could be a hero though!" She poses, though with a lot less experience than Xantia did, earlier. Her scarf billows again, in the not-quite-enough wind to move it like that.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

        "Dash..." she calls to the boy in blue as he charges up the X-Buster -- the gold gauntlet it's under starts to reverberate as she stores the power within, for later. "Data... is really nice. Thank him for me, if I don't get the chance."

        Wait... did she just call him 'Data'?

        Where did she remember that name...? Ugh--

        Kamui stares at the titanic fireball she's just detonated with all the Blastemol!(R) she's bought from Henry. She looks at Henry. She looks at the waiver and squints for a hard moment.

        A pause, as she winds down and lets out a little mewl. A muiwl, as the emerald flash of her Saber dissipates as she recalls its blade.

        It's a really blatant piece of Machina, but at least it's easy to hide.

        "Master... did I commit an act of wanton terrorism?"

        A pause.

        "We have more blank cheques for the Luca Committee, right, Master?"

        Hang in there, Acacia's bank wallet...

        But, as the familiar tune comes up-- she starts singing along!!

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

Since Zed comes over to speak to Emeralda, and Xantia is right there as well, Zed is now automatically also speaking to Xantia. He probably won't mind, given that she's a bit of a fan of all heroes, self-proclaimed or otherwise.

"Oh! It's the Dark Hero!" See, Dash? He's not lying, others call him that too. "I didn't you were here too, that's great!" Not to imply that it's a good thing that he's stuck on another planet too of course, you know what she means.

And would you look at that, Emeralda is getting in on the hero business too! That obviously isn't something Xantia is going to discourage. "You're right, if you work hard at it, you can one day become a hero too! I'm not there yet myself, but I'll keep working hard too!"

That's all she has to add. Does any more need to be? She's pretty sure she covered everything important.

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

As support castings go... Lulu will have to remember that one. When the magic she wields fades, she lowers her hand, and looks towards the shattered remains of what was their opponent. The fate of its pilot is noted as uncertain--....and, given that they're gone instead of continuing to press the issue, treated as no longer a concern.

Her views, on Catenna's worries--they will wait, as Lulu does not stay with the owlet to speak; she walks immediately towards the door. Things are... quieter, in this moment--but the door opens, and then, the forms that fall...

Lulu pauses, but only long enough to look upon the young woman who has the priestess's hands, who wears the very garb sewn for her--

and so, as Yuna smiles, Lulu reaches her, immediately enfolding Summoner in her arms and lifting her head a little to look her over, delicate fingers at her hair to smooth a stray lock in all the confusion. "...I hope you hurt them," the Guardian tells her.

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel lets out a soft exhale once the machine is destroyed but she frowns. Was she mistaken about hearing voices from within the machine? Perhaps she was. Or the Al Bhed girl is craftier than expected. She continues to not talk about her suspicions.

"I'm glad we have something in common." She says, approaching her robes. Is that smoke drifting away from her body? Probably not. She pulls the heavy garb over her body and wraps the scarf around ner neck before picking up her hat and dusting it off.

She is about to put it back on when the ship starts rumbling. She blinks in surprise and turns around to see the source.

Now that things are a little quiet she hears--in the distance--faint muisic in her ears.

Her victory pose is placing her hat back on her head and stretching her arms above her head.

But happy muisic like that mean she is well. That allows her to work. She looks at the guard's body for a moment, head tilted to the side, then someone else arrives.

This is the person whose existence has been making her have all sorts of trouble in the Luca Market time and time again. Marivel presses her lips together and steps forward to give a Marivel style chastisement when--

--she sees a smile. She pauses, then laughs a little.

"Seems they made a mistake in trying to kidnap you," She says. "Lady Yuna."

Yeah a smile like that, she's just going to let it slide. Instead she looks to Lulu and adds, "Well, one day we shall speak of wariness then where there are fewer ears." She approaches Brad.

'I hope you hurt them' Lulu says.

"Oh I like her." Marivel tells Brad.

<Pose Tracker> Acacia Saitani has posed.

        Acacia can't quite down the bandit, instead sending him reeling rather than out cold; she clicks her tongue in frustration as the group slip away, because she was kind of hoping that they'd at least manage to capture some of the Al Bhed to prove that they weren't just lighting up the Luca docks for shits and giggles. At least there's the wreckage of the strange and ramshackle Gear to prove the point, and at least some of the crates have been held back.

        Straightening up, she winces as she checks herself over and shakes the leg she landed on. It's painful, but it seems-- mostly okay despite her wild fall. "Well... at least we're not the only ones. Or the most obvious ones. Besides, you were doing your best to help," she adds thoughtfully as she gives Kamui a celebratory pat on the head and sums up their options. "Just hide anything else you've got under your cloak or something, okay, and let's-- get clear and get some good shots."

        Right? If they're clear, it can't have been them. Impeccable logic. Besides, with any luck, the tournament will keep most people's attention distracted, and a full description of what happened from the Al Bhed side might hopefully keep the authorities off of asking too many questions about the rest of them. They can probably rely on ARMS to have their backs anyways.

        There's just one thing that keeps niggling at her, though, and it isn't Kamui's singing. Furrowing her brow, the reporter's lips move as she reels back over her recent memory, trying to pin down what exactly has ruffled her attention. The next time that a hand lands in Kamui's hair it's with a bit of a squeeze, as the upper half of her face is suddenly shadowed under her hair.

        "Ka-mu-i," she intones each syllable like a slab of stone. "What do you mean, 'more' blank cheques?"

<Pose Tracker> Auron has posed.

Once the Oblitzerator is finally... well, Blitzed out, Auron sheathes his blade. Now they just have to find Yuna and...

...And there she is, exiting from the ship. With an unconscious Al Bhed. That gets a bit of a smirk. However, Auron remains where he is. Lulu will be the one to go to Yuna's side here. For now? Replacement sunglasses. He has them.

Auron withdraws a new pair from somewhere in his coat, sliding them back onto his face where his sunglasses are supposed to be. And then he tucks his left arm into his coat again, in that sling-like way he does.

<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
Isolde looks to Catenna as she finishes her attack, and smiles a little. Of course the 'demise' of the Oblitzerator probably overshadows much of that.

She sheathes her blade and turns herself towards the figure emerging from below decks. She steps towards her, cautiously, quietly. She nudges the wreckage before her with her feet, and sweeps forwards into a grand bow that lasts long enough for her hair to risk brushing the deck.

"Lady Summoner," Isolde says to her, "I hope you're well. You have wonderful people around ye." Another warm smile.

The smile remains but becomes a little more... realistic? as Isolde asides, to Lulu, "Is someone in control of this vessel? I mean," and here she tosses her hair out with one hand, "I suppose there's no RUSH, exactly, but I'm a little superstitious about long voyages these days."

<Pose Tracker> Marshal Henry Smythe has posed.

Henry, having just finished confiscating a shotgun and shell box, was thinking of approaching others when he overhears the conversation nearby. He takes this as his cue to leave. Capitalism, ho!

<Pose Tracker> Ashton Anchors has posed.

Easing over to the rest of the forming group as the boat pulls back to dock, Ashton casts a curious eye on the natives. They seem... different? Nothing like the hapless crowds or the blitzball players they've run into so far.
 
Trying to blend, he makes the weird two-hands-around-a-ball gesture that so many of the locals do.
 
"Everyone alright? All in order?" He looks actually to Marivel first on that one - he knows both who she is and she seemed sort of In Charge before anyway.

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad huffs a few breaths. Fighting robots on foot is tough work, even when you do have Marivel her...co-Noble? No this one looks too confused by his weaponry to be in with Marivel, he decides, as he releases some of the muscle tension required of his Mechanical Glove. He glances to Marivel, then saunters up to the fallen Oblitzerator, frowning. "No sign of a pilot. That last spell did enough of a number I'm not sure I could even verify there was a cockpit..." He glances back to Marivel, whom he appears to consider in charge, because she is allowed to make his head explode. "Guess we got the job done, though."

Then the whole boat starts making noises and Brad's right back in it, shifting to put himself in front of what of the party he can pack behind his frame, light beginning to gather around the Mechanical Glove in preparation for another attack. But that's not...quite what occurs.

Brad Evans remains, of course, a man halfway to seven feet, with skin a bit darker than just a tan. He considers the approaching woman, noting the attire, the way she holds that staff. The sincere smile, yes, and the way Marivel's blaster accomplice approaches with confidence. Alright, that'll explain a few things, he decides, and turns aside, toward Marivel. "You would," he replies, lips curling just a little. "Seems we got things squared away."

Then Isolde reminds him of something.

"Oh," he says, in the tone of a man who has forgotten his toast. "Right. The ocean."

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Leo looks away, shielding his face with an arm in case of shrapnel. When he looks back, the Oblitzerator is a shattered husk on the deck, and the door behind it opens--

        Leo pauses, blade raised, as the unconscious person's body tumbles out, followed at a more leisurely pace by a young woman. Leo is a sight for sore eyes--he's bruised, his face is red with burns, and he still wobbles a little from the aftereffects of the toxins. He is dressed like a Spiran, but he looks like something that exists in the realm of hypotheticals: someone with mixed human and Ronso ancestry. Still, he draws himself up as the woman steps out, puffing his chest up and looking down at her.

        "Lady Summoner, I presume," Leo says. "I am White Knight Leo, Champion of Althena, and I have come to this place to rid this world of Sin once and for all." The same exact thing he insisted when he first saw Lulu and the others. "You... have good taste in companions," Leo admits, after a moment or two.

<Pose Tracker> Tragedienne has posed.

In point of fact, someone is driving. ...After Tidus's shot to disable the crane, the ship was finally forced to a stop in its holding pattern, trying to pick up Brother and his compatriots and their guns... and in that span of time--

One Kimahri Ronso made it abovedecks, where, up past the elevator, he now stands beside a dazed, recovering Tidus working the controls to pull the ship back to dock.

...Naturally, the blonde athlete, well--'he' is going to get back out here to the deck where Yuna's gone very shortly. But for now, the docks crew sees that mechanical ship pull right... back... in.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

<I suspect that's the person you were looking for,> Saarda-Shanta makes a note, bobbing her head.

Catenna blinks once, turning with a small flick of her hair to chase a few stray locks out of her face. One hand at her hip and the other on her bow, she watches as various and sundry figures converge on the one she assumes is Yuna.

At least, she hopes that's who it is. Moon knows she's heard the name thrown around in the streets enough.

Hanging back, Catenna glances back at Isolde with a quiet smile, nodding politely. She'd had no chance to actually talk to the woman, but they at least seem to be in it together. And the moment at least gives her the change to give Lulu and Yuna the chance to get reacquainted without some weird outworlder and her owl barging into the conversation (but does Catenna truly barge? She wouldn't say so).

Only after a moment does the Moon Shaman make her way over to join the conversation, resting her bow over her shoulder.

She approaches to give first Yuna, the Lulu, a quiet incline of her head. Before she can say anything, though, Leo says his piece.

"Summoner, if it is your mission to defeat Sin, then we are of one mind," Catenna says quietly. "My name is Catenna; I am a Shaman of Celesdue, of the Moon. My companion is Saarda-Shanta."

<Hello,> says the little white Owlet perched on Catenna's shoulder. Well, 'says.' It's more felt than heard, the Owlet's mental voice low and a little throaty.

Catenna clears her throat. "I hope they did not injure you."

<Pose Tracker> Amaterasu has posed.

        She lands, and shortly after impact, Amaterasu flips backwards to land with perhaps-startling lightness atop the swaying deck of the ship. Spear hoisted before her, she stands at the ready and waiting as the barrage against the machina continues...

        ...to ultimately reveal the damaged contents of the machine to be nothing. Nothing at all.

        The soldier's faceplate slides up. "Hm. An autonomous device...?" A skeptical expression lingers on her face, however.

        "I suppose we shall see." A snap of the wrist and the weapon once again folds in on itself, attaining a smaller form than before. Green eyes linger then on the young woman once she makes her appearance.

        "Your summoner, I assume. ...And it seems the incident ashore is resolved. Well then." Approaching the starboard, she appears intent on watching the docks for the time being.

        She has learned a few interesting things here today, hasn't she...

<Pose Tracker> Zed has posed.

"Mmn?? Well, I mean, Hyadean of course!" Zed declares, hands upon his hips, "I just thought-- the way you changed your hands like that. Hmmm. Well, anyway!" Zed... throws a thumbs-up! "I approve of any and all heroic ambitions! You have made an excellent choice in scarves for heroic work, little miss." Zed's scarf billows in that same non-existent breeze. How strange.

And then, Xantia! Zed blinks! Oh! He recognizes that voice! "Hey! Uh. Why wouldn't I be here? This is obviously where all the AWESOME PEOPLE are! Hahahahaha! Hm. Well, if you're both seeking to be heroes... Then perhaps one of these days, we can hang out and discuss ~proper hero techniques!?~"

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

Jacqueline watches as the boat finally pulls back to the dock. It looks like everyone is alright, but just to be sure...Jacqueline carefully makes her way up to the deck.

"The ruffians got away, but they left the ARMs behind. Hopefully they'll think twice before trying anything like that again. I hope we didn't go too overboard with them..." She explains, to those gathered. "Everyone on ground level is alright, how's everyone here? Does anyone require any medical attention?"

She takes a brief look over everyone. She spots Catenna who, thankfully, appears to be alright, as well as a new face who she didn't recognize from those who made their way onto the ship.

She overhears people calling her a Summoner...though she doesn't know that it's Yuna yet.

"It looks like I missed something..." She comments to herself.

<Pose Tracker> Kamui has posed.

"... I'll be okay..." Kamui answers Dash kind of sadly, even as her wiggly muscle-fiber keeps wiggling. She stuffs it underneath the strange navy bodysuit that composes most of her body, which isn't just... fabric. It is probably not exaggerating to say that it's literally part of her skin.
        "Ka-mu-i," she intones each syllable like a slab of stone. "What do you mean, 'more' blank cheques?"

        Kamui starts sweating, despite getting celebratory headpats, and turns towards Henry--

        Who's now a Henry-shaped dotted line cutout.

        "... it's time for... mui escape..." Kamui pirouette-slides out of the scene. Top Spin, it's a very powerful weapon...

<Pose Tracker> Emeralda Kasim has posed.

Emeralda Kasim is an inexperienced hero. There is time.

"Oh! No," Emeralda says. "I'm not a Hyadean!" She is only aware of what a Hyadean is second-hand, of course; meeting Ida is as close as she's come to one, since she didn't wake up until after Mother was dead.

She thinks about that for a moment. "Maybe," she says. Actually, she'd like that, but: "But right now I have to go and find some people, so that can be later! Come on, Mysterious Crusader X, let's go!!"

Emeralda is really eager to go Fei- and Elly-hunting.

<Pose Tracker> Dash Caskett has posed.

"Looks like they are bringing the boat back," Dash comments, seeing the situation resolve itself from the dock. Or more precisely, what is left of it after the exchange of gunfire and magics. "Did you just... Data, were you hanging out with her?"

He remains silent. Odd that she knew his name though. Probably did meet before. Maybe. "Master?" he ruminates on hearing Kamui say that toward Acacia.

"Cool titles too! And yeah, I said sportsball, that is what they are playing! In water in that big arena place. I'm not sure it is called sportsball though." A look toward Emeralda. Did her hands...? Nah, maybe he was seeing things.

"So he is called that?!" he asks Xantia, she being the second opinion. "How do people get cool titles like that?" Back to Zed. "Hero techniques... I could get better with my Sword Arm if you know anything about swords! But I think that other guy took yours." A gesture toward Claude.

"Yeah, it looks like someone was pulled from inside the ship," Dash comments toward Jacqueline. "Was the fighting a distraction?"

Dash watches Kamui spin out. Strong attack...!

<Pose Tracker> Pearl has posed.

        Pearl gets the satisfaction of making Brother bleed before he is sent flying into the water. It's a pleasant feeling. It would have been nicer to confirm the kill, but you can't have everything. Especially if you are trying to keep a low profile.

        Pearl scans the remaining crowd. Jay and Lanval stand out, as rather high priority targets, of course. But they were supposed to be being subtle here. And they were almost certainly outnumbered, were they to even try the arrest. That could still be interesting. Potentially deadly, but interesting.

        But today is not the day to press her luck, it seems. There will be other times. She glances around the dock, trying to track where Leo ended up. Seeing him on the boat coming in, she makes herself scarce. She'll re-emerge when he's done doing the talking thing. And besides, there's no reason for her to stand there, boring herself stupid listening to diplomacy.

<Pose Tracker> Yuna has posed.

"I hope you hurt them," says Lulu.

---

Yuna has been very quiet in the chamber the Al Bhed left her in. No screaming or shouting or beating of fists, no weeping, no tantrums. At most, soft-spoken prayer. This is of no great concern to the guard at the door. His prisoner is a Yevonite; naturally she would pray, in times of distress.

CLANG!

The first great sound of battle up on deck is much more notable. The guard cranes his neck up to stare, as though hoping that his goggles will spontaneously develop an X-Ray property.

With a soft shushing of skirts, Yuna rises to her feet at last. The guard isn't watching, so he doesn't see the status effect names that pop up over her head.

Protect
Shell
Regen
NulShock
Reflect

Soft-spoken prayer is definitely nothing to be concerned about.

---

Jogging quietly through the hold, Yuna's forward progress is suddenly arrested by her own staff. Two broad arms close around her from behind, while the rod presses her into her attacker's chest.

!!

NOW she struggles.

But she doesn't have to struggle to know what to do, thanks to the patient tutelege of the very first of her Guardians.

Solar plexus! Instep! Nose! Groin!

All things considered, they're lucky they grabbed Yuna, who is precise but not strong. But then, not many people grab Kimahri.

She quietly reclaims her staff from their twitching body, then steps into the elevator.

"Um," she says to the Al Bhed there, wide-eyed and earnest, "Are you sure you wouldn't rather get out?"

---

"...a little," Yuna's shy admission is muffled by Lulu's embrace, as she is enfolded entirely in the arms of her Guardian.

They share a tender moment. Afterwards, she hears a great many things from a great many people but with one sentiment that especially attracts her attention and agreement:

"Yes," she murmurs. Her eyes glow with pride and affection, as she looks over Lulu and Kimahri. One of her hands comes to rest on her lightly chest, an earnest gesture. "I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful Guardians."

She bows deeply, then. Get used to this; Yuna bows early and often, and in the Yevonite manner of prayer, hands shaping an invisible sphere that definitely isn't a blitzball.

"Your assistance, too, is a blessing," she continues, addressing the group in general. "Thank you very much for your help! I'm so sorry to have caused so much trouble." Her apology is sincere; obviously she blames herself.

A few people offer her their names. "I'm very pleased to meet you," she adds. "Yes," Marivel has named her, and she confirms it, "My name is Yuna, from the isle of Besaid."

<Pose Tracker> Xantia has posed.

A scarf... Xantia is missing a scarf, oh no! She does have a cape though, which is also quite capable of billowing in odd sudden localized breezes. Hopefully that will be enough to be successful as a hero...!

Naturally, her response to Dash is obvious: "You get called a Hero when you become a Hero, of course!" Of course. That explains everything. It's just as obvious as her response to the offer of learning more about hero techniques. "Really?! That'd be great, I'd love to! Oh, but uh, I can't be your sidekick or anything, I'm already Locus's sidekick. Being a sidekick to more than one hero is against the rules." What rules? The rules, duh.

She still doesn't involve herself in the 'possible Hyadean' aspect of things at all, it's like that isn't even part of the conversation as far as she's concerned. But when Emeralda urges her to go, Xantia doensn't hesitate. "Right! We shouldn't keep them waiting. Let's go!"

As she wanders off with Emeralda, the last thing she can be heard saying is a correction, "Actually it's Mystery Crusader X... or, normally it's Mystery Hero X... um, wait, let me start over from the beginning..."

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

The battle has ended without Amaterasu destroying the ship, with Catenna making good on her word... and with a great many new introductions indeed, now that Lulu has time to prioritize them, given Yuna's obvious safety.

"Good," the Guardian addresses her Summoner, and will... finally stop fussing over her to allow her to address everyone, in a moment. Because--

"That's correct," Lulu says to Amaterasu, and to the others, "We appreciate your assistance. ...This is an unusual circumstance."

Catenna, a Shaman of a name Lulu hasn't heard; Leo, a Champion of... Althena, was it? Something that was mentioned... "I had heard that there were travellers from afar in this land," Lulu says to those as a whole who remain close. "Though I admit, you must be from farther than any place I could name." At Jay's concern--well, nobody up here seems to immediately need a healer desperately, at least. Lulu indeed looks to Jay as she approaches, "Thank you--I believe these men," Lulu steps away to reveal the Al Bhed that Yuna... hurt a little... "May need assistance, when we've left."

"Catenna... White Knight," Lulu addresses in specific. "We are interestedin what brought you here--Yuna, they assisted in the battle, as it turns out. But..."

She trails off, and her attention focuses on one man--one, in particular.

"But first, I must ask..." Lulu's red eyes are on the man in sunglasses. "Sir Auron? Is it really you?"

Her calm, measured voice may be at odds with the raging magic she displayed a moment ago. ...It also doesn't hide the steps coming from further inside the ship.

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna actually doesn't seem taken aback by the way Yuna bows.

In fact, the Summoner's gesture is met with Catenna bringing her hands together almost as if in prayer, then bowing shallowly from the waist in her own right. The gesture comes entirely naturally to her. The Owlet on her shoulder bobs her head as well.

"It was unexpected," she concedes quietly when she straightens up, shifting her hands to fold neatly at her waist. "But you have nothing to apologize for. I am only glad that everyone is safe and that this could be resolved quickly."

Catenna was going to say 'and without killing anyone' but she's not sure there wasn't a person in that Oblitzerator, or what happened to the person she could've sworn she glimpsed. Unless it had a purple and red autopilot for some reason.

Catenna dips her head once again. "We are honoured. The people here speak very highly of you," she answers Yuna politely. She's soft-spoken and with a fairly level tone, with the subtle hints of a rolling accent that she's probably had to train out with time.

"If there is anything that can be done to aid you, I would be pleased to help. The creature you seek should not exist. My faith tells me that. That is why if ending Sin is what you wish, then we are allies."

From Catenna's shoulder, Saarda-Shanta emits a faint mental pressure that might be the equivalent of a sigh. <You are both pursuing something incredibly dangerous.>

"I know," Catenna murmurs to the Owlet, before she tilts her head toward Lulu. Her eyebrows rise a little.

"It is a long story," she admits. "We should sit down and talk about it, given that there's... some context I will have to go into. Suffice it to say that--" She pauses. Then she grimaces.

"The short version is that a bad man did a magic thing with a globe."

<Pose Tracker> Marivel Armitage has posed.

Marivel looks towards Lulu and Yuna embracing. Sometimes in a long life of service towards the world's well-being, little moments like this that lighten an old heart's load. It's very sweet.

To Brad she says, "It seems we have." as she looks over the side of the ship.

She wonders why she feels this way about this big guy she barely knows, this strange platonic affection. They just work together well, she thinks to herself, tis nothing more. But perhaps working with a team again...

Ah, yes, working with a team again. She closes her eyes for a moment, taking in the sea air.

"I'd like to believe the pilot escaped, if she was in there." She tells Brad. "But tis hard to say, hard to say. Even battles like this come with casualties. I am not one who is fond of war though I shan't quail before a conflict that finds its way to me."

She straightens up, her gaze towards the implanted bombs. She exhales once and adds, "One step at a time. Tis the way, tis the way."

She turns to look back towards Yuna who confirms her identity as she leans back against the railing, then over to Lulu. They seem to know him. They seem to know him well.

Marivel thinks back to the moonflow where she had met Auron for the first time. They do not speak of Auron the way that the children in the market do. They speak to him as if they see him closer to a friend or acquaintance than a legend.

But even here she keeps her vows, her secrets.

"Leo is a good man," Marivel says. "Even his enemies say so" this is with that crooked grin.

To Yuna, "I've been to Besaid. A man named Guba hit me in the face with a blitzball with barely any warning. I am glad you are more respectful than he."

<Pose Tracker> Isolde has posed.

 
Isolde puts a hand on her hip and asks Leo, from behind the other hand, "She lives up to her voice?"

"Please, think nothing of it; I was waiting for the game to finish anyway," Isolde tells Yuna. She places a hand to her breastbone as she says it, and then listens as others speak, still with that faint smile. ("I am Isolde," she adds afterwards.)

<Pose Tracker> White Knight Leo has posed.

        Leo claps both hands before him, and bows, ever-so-slightly, in response to Yuna's gesture. He glances aside at Catenna, his whole face tightening. He hasn't forgotten what she did. He hasn't forgotten what any of them did. But this is not the place to demand an explanation, nor is he in any position to try and arrest anyone. The look he gives the young Moon Shaman is half anger and half disappointment. It passes.

        The feeling of betrayal remains.

        "I come from the land of Meribus, far beyond the sea," Leo says. "The creature you call Sin came to our shores, and killed our faithful. The Goddess, who shelters us, sent the mightiest of her Chosen here, to Spira, to destroy it." He glances at Auron, who seems to be important to Lulu for some reason, but then goes right back to his speech. "And that is what we are here to do. To ensure that monstrosity meets a final end."

<Pose Tracker> Auron has posed.

Auron is being addressed now. And now his sunglasses are back in place -- an extra pair, sure, but they're there -- he feels ready to answer. Honestly, they're not just a fashion statement, those sunglasses. It's the same reason he started wearing the high collar around his neck.

To HIDE.

Not to hide from the people of Spira, no. He couldn't hide from the people of Spira, particularly not when he consistently wears that long red coat and wields the blade he's so known for. Well, not to hide from them so directly or literally. Not to hide his presence. It's to hide his emotions.

Auron is -- was -- an emotional man, believe it or not. The stoic face that's his usual expression belies that, yes. But that's the one thing he's afraid of... giving away too much in his expression. He has one final task to see to before he can rest...

But yes. His answer. He is eventually supposed to answer Lulu. And when he does, it is... noncommittal. The kinds of answers he specializes in, apparently. "...In some form."

<Pose Tracker> Jacqueline Barber has posed.

"I believe it was." Jacqueline comments, looking back at Dash. If the woman in front of them is any indication, it didn't seem as if she was there of her own volition.

"I'm Jacqueline Barber, of the Caravan Kinship. It's a pleasure to meet you!" Jacqueline replies with a polite bow toward Yuna. She recognizes the name, but she doesn't call it out. "And, it's no trouble, really..."

She looks toward Lulu, then, who indicates that there are people who may need help...and its more of the masked individuals.

"...Oh. Oh my, yes... Don't worry, I'll take good care of them." She replies, with a hint of surprise. They'll definitely need some assistance - even if they were the ones responsible.

She then looks quietly toward Catenna, who seems to be getting along quite well. She summarizes things better than she could, too.

She sends a brief glance over to Leo, but doesn't address him directly. She doesn't want to attract his attention if she can avoid it, but she looks a little sad...

<Pose Tracker> Brad Evans has posed.

Brad has that intriguing quiet of a man whose pains do not own him, but ache with every step just the same. Or maybe it's just that he keeps shooting rockets at people trying to kill Marivel. "Well the thing to ripped in half at one point," he notes, idly, eyes scanning the horizon with that inscrutable distance. "If someone was inside, getting out might not be so hard. Doing it unnoticed would be pretty impressive." His eyes tick down. "Doesn't usually go that well," he murmurs. Remembering something he's seen.

Still, he sees the Summoner turning her attention upon the gathered...whoever is around, and half-turns to not have his back to a thankful woman like an actual jerk. "The Summoner," he says, more to himself, though it seems he's accepting the greeting. May as well answer it: "Brad Evans. The young lady and I aren't from around here."

Where Yuna may be an effusive bower, Brad Evans is a man who seems to accept greetings by way of looking at you for four seconds. This is possibly not an unfamiliar character trait. Brad finds himself glancing at bundled-up Auron for a moment, his hands settling into his jean pockets. "He knows them," he notes idly to Marivel.

<Pose Tracker> Yuna has posed.

"Ridding the world of Sin forever is the highest goal of all summoners," Yuna replies, quietly but intensely. "You all must have truly traveled far, to hail from a place beyond the shores of Spira... and you are most welcome here."

Accustomed to the attention of a crowd (which isn't quite the same thing as enjoying it), she is able to respond to each greeting with at least a nod, a smile, a heartbeat's worth of connection, gaze to gaze. Later: Yuna's great memory will be on full display. Give her your name now, and she has internalized it, in some gigantic mental library.

Lulu draws her attention to--

"Sir Auron?" Yuna inhales abruptly. Apparently he's a celebrity's celebrity. And now she's bowing again. When she rises, her eyes are about three times bigger than before.

The girl is easy to read. Awe and respect, yes, but something more complex, too.

Shyness; tenderness; wistfulness.

"Thank you... for coming to my aid," she repeats, with the halting awkwardness of someone with too many emotions and not enough words, and with a sunrise of a smile, only for him.

It's so very much like Braska's.

<Pose Tracker> Dash Caskett has posed.

A nod is given to Jacqueline, and Dash, along with Data clinging around his neck, head up onto the boat, the scene of the abduction and tussle with some sort of Reaverbot-akin device. "Hey everyone!" the young boy in his gleaming two tone armor says. Well, gleaning except for the spot on his back shoulder and right calf. Those are pretty well scuffed and damaged.

Subroutines and patching will fix those later.

"Everyone okay?" he asks nicely from behind his indigo mask and helmet. In fact, the only thing visible are his emerald eyes. "That was quite the fight against that Reaverbot thing! Good to know no one was grievously injured."

Most of the folks here are natives for sure, though Leviram-- or was it Marivel? He is confused and will have to ask later-- was a recognizeable face. As was Brad. Definitely from Filgaia. A group of them also surround the individual that came from below decks. "Guess it was part of some kind of two-pronged attack."

<Pose Tracker> Catenna has posed.

Catenna's eyes dart towards Leo. She can see the way his face turns to stone when he looks at her.

The Moon Shaman's expression doesn't change, though she does lift her chin a little more. It probably means she's not sorry for whatever she did. Probably.

"Thank you," she answers Yuna with a deep dip of her head, momentarily closing her eyes. "Spira is new to us, but we will do our best to honour the land and its people as we would our own homeland."

She's quiet from there. Yuna has her own friends to connect with, and Catenna's not about to try and swing anyone's attention off of something that important.

<Pose Tracker> Lulu has posed.

Leo explains his presence, and the presence of his companions--not Catenna, one assumes, but the 'others' of which Lulu has heard. Catenna's story is... different, and Lulu will have to follow it separately as she's able. His talk of Sin, however, gets a thoughtful look--and a shake of her head.

"...It's unfortunate, that Sin has found new lands to ruin," Lulu says. "...But if you're here to fight it..." Lulu looks to Auron again, though this is not addressed to him, "Then your people have a great deal to learn." Her words are not so kind as Yuna's, but there is no malice in them... this time.

Is there a connection, between all of these Spirans, who speak with names known? Maybe. But Lulu, for one, does not share the source of her knowledge, much as she has shown that she does not share much of anything else for now. She simply nods to Jacqueline as she moves to help. ...It would seem, at least, that while Lulu was willing to batter through these men if necessary, she does not insist on their deaths.

"Oh--" Lulu stops, short, as Isolde speaks, and looks surprised. "The game!" She steps back from the group, and that crackle of power emerges again--

...But this time, it is not a terrible attack, but a ball of light that bursts into sparks high, high above, visible in the sky for quite some distance.

"There," she says. "...Wakka will know what it means."

Then, she can continue speaking. "I can imagine not," Lulu answers Brad, and the lift of her eyebrow is not actually audible. She does not literally transmute herself into every strict teacher Brad has known in all his upbringing, staring him down in an instant. ...that's the effect she might have on someone of lesser composure than his, though.

"...Sir Auron," Lulu explains to the group of admitted foreigners, "Is one of those who have fought Sin in the past. He is well-known to the people of Spira."

Lulu does not merely talk about Auron, however. "I will be willing to trade information with you--but we do have somewhere we have to be, very shortly."

Then, she finishes approaching Auron, and the question in her eyes is obvious. ...But, that conversation... Will wait a moment, because over the speakers there will be a louder voice than Lulu's.

<Pose Tracker> Rikku has posed.

 
Meanwhile-
 
The roar of the crowd is distorted by the water of the Sphere Pool. The people of Spira enjoy a good game. If it's a good game that shows up the Al Bhed Psyches - one of the best teams in the league, and also one of the most disliked teams in the league. All the better.
 
Little do they know that the Al Bhed have staked the fate of the Lady Summoner on the outcome of this game.
 
All the same, Wakka believes he understands what the Al Bhed want. It would never do to throw it entirely in a blow out. No. Instead the Aurochs have played for all they're worth to keep it a tied game.
 
"The Aurochs have been keeping the score tied with some excellent defense folks!"
 
        Be patient.
 
He tells himself as he regains possession of the ball. Holding his ground as two forwards and a midfielder come at him. He holds his ground rather than passes it. Oh he sees Letty wide open. He sees him.
 
Berrik rams into Wakka full force, taking him in the Solar Plexus, while another forward - he doesn't even see which, takes him from the side.
 
"Ow! He'll feel that one folks!"
 
"But the referee doesn't call the foul! Wakka's taking a real beating out there!"
 
Of course they don't. The Captain of the Besaid Aurochs just slumps over in the water.
 
        Be patient.
 
He tells himself. Lulu will get the job done. Lulu will send the signal. Let them hit him with all of those cheap shots.
 
        Be patient.
 
Count on Lulu - Kimahri - and the newest Guardian Tidus to get Yuna back.
 
Right now being patient amounts to floating in the sphere pool, barely cognizant of his surroundings. But strip away everything else - and Wakka... can always cling to his faith.
 
-=-=-
 
Somehow the Defenders managed to hold the Psyches long enough that lightning enters into his vision. Shaking off that feeling, he waves, and all of his teammates swim forward in their rally.
 
"What's this? Thirty seconds left! The Aurochs are launching an all out offensive!"
 
Swimming down to the bottom of the pool, he turns around and swims backwards-
 
"A looonnggg pass from Letty!"
 
 -as Letty sends a pass spiralling right into his hands.
 
"It goes through!"
 
Using his momentum, he curls his body protectively over the ball, and rotates himself around before starting to paddle forward.
 
There's Berrik again, trying to spear his guard with an ambush from below. Rolling his shoulder, he allows the impact to drive him upwards, rotating him around-
 
"Oh-OH!"
 
-planting his feet into the Psyche Captain's shoulder, he launches off of him, jackknifing to the top of the pool. Holding back his arm, he spikes the ball suddenly-
 
"He shoots!"
 
-sending it hurtling towards the triangular goal on an unpredictable path.
 
Past Nimrook - scoring the winning goal with only split seconds left on the clock.
 
"Goooooal!"
 
His patience has been rewarded. His faith had been rewarded.
 
He knew that even if Yuna's life were not at stake - that Lulu would never allow him to lose his final game like that. Now he can retire with no regrets.
 
"Unbelievable! The Aurochs win the match 3-2!"
 
First thing's first though. Now that the game is over he intends to do the dignified thing...
 
...and pass out in the locker room.