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Nico, meanwhile, only had flash bangs and tear gas canisters shot at him through the window. He'd evade those easily considering how his Noble Arm was suddenly empowered by an infusion of magical energy that nevertheless marked the arrival of an enemy; it was an open secret that Huo Ren could not choose who his Noble Arm's leakage of power made stronger as long as the other Noble Arm had a fitting theme (Sun or Fire).

And indeed he was, his spear drawn and his eyes gleaming with greedy desire. Accompanying him was Yulian, who was carrying a strange sword, closer to a baton or small lance, that glowed with spinning red script.

"Qingshe is dead," Huo Ren had the temerity to announce. "The embarrassment I was put through today has been more than made up for, as now, I have been avenged. And now, thanks to Mr. Suburov here, I will have what I want..."


Nico made the conscious decision to ignore everything that Huo Ren had to say, summoning and igniting his Noble Arm. As soon as he felt the influx of power from the artificial sun, Nico moved like a blur, batting away flashbangs and exploding tear gas canisters long before they got within reach of him. He wasn’t quite sure why it was all happening, but he knew that the people firing through the window weren’t actively trying to kill him. No point giving them a reason to start using real bullets.

With little hesitation, Nico rushed down the Dragon with a Wildfire Dance boosted swipe, seemingly trying to cut the Dragon in two.

Huo Ren twirled his spear and fought defensively, blocking each slash and cut while allowing himself to be pushed back by his assailant, even as Yulian, seemingly content with letting his ally be on the backfoot, smiled and stepped out of the way of the fight, letting the ‘Dragon’ sweat for his rewards.

But sweating or not, Huo Ren knew how to fight, to cover multiple points with his spear’s shaft, not risking a chance to counterattack as his mind began to grasp how outclassed he was by this young mercenary, who was more than a pretty face and honed body.

Then, the sound of chains began to ring behind Nico Makri as he fought…

Nipping that in the bud before it nips me in the face. With a quick use of Radiant Burst to blind the Dragon, Nico sent a massive Wildfire strike behind him, and another towards Yulian to be safe.

But it was clear that Nico was through with playing cautiously. It was now or never again, and the Dragon slipped away twice now. Nico swapped hands, using his dominant right hand to attempt to yank Huo Ren off balance, using his foot to try to trip the Zodiac.

In response, Huo Ren staggered back further, not hiding the fact that he was struggling against an opponent that was cutting loose, even as Yulian, some ways behind Nico, had caused chains to flash into existence from underneath his cloak; there were four, each one darting towards the Greek’s limbs even as that strange Noble Arm’s blade/baton/whatever continued spinning.

Nico let Huo Ren stagger back, turning his attention to the chains aimed at him. “Thanks for the help, paper dragon. But I’ve got better shit to take care of.” He took a couple steps forward, which covered a significant amount of distance at his speed.

What little Nico gleaned from his last fight with Superbia made him very aware that any amount of time for the Downward Descent leader to prepare was too much. So, he improvised, using Wildfire Dance to stab at Yulian’s face from a distance with a more focused wave of flames.

Yulian continued to smile as his chains swatted away the wave of fire, then, he pointed his spinning baton at Nico, before saying, “Hmm… I changed my mind.”

The chains withdrew, as the blond caused his baton to disperse into rectangular fragments of data and instead drew another weapon, a freezing bluish-white blade that glowed with bright runes.

One swing at Nico and a wave of strong winds, carrying ice and frost, filled the corridor. At the same time, Huo Ren launched a volley of fireballs at the youth’s back; when the ice and fire met, the room would fill with steam.

“Right stupid you two are, huh?” Without the chains to keep track of, Nico could fight at his pace, moving from the pincer attack. He used an explosive strike to kick a hole through one of the room’s walls, letting the steam escape. Nico used the remaining steam in the room as cover to once again go after the Dragon, the only sign of his overhead swing being the flames wrapped around Helios Rod, beginning to turn from orange to yellow with the increased heat.

That was enough for Huo Ren to block the glowing sword with the blade of his spear, even as the chains re-appeared once more; this time, they were covered in frost as they tried to wrap around Nico Makri’s feet and left hand.

Nico’s expression was filled with shock, as he sidestepped the chains, moving backwards and then lunging forward to strike once again. The flames around Helios Rod grew even brighter, a bit of heat haze beginning to form around the blade as the temperature spiked. Just a little bit more, just a little bit more.

Huo Ren sent a whip of superheated hydrogen to curl itself around Nico’s foot as the young swordsman began to sidestep, even as the chains drew back, their wielder building up an unholy purple darkness that gathered onto his sword’s blade…

As the whip came for Nico, his expression became a mocking smile, looking straight at the Zodiac. “You’re way too easy to bait, ain’t ya, salamander?!” Nico had made a risky fakeout, but it ended up being a success. He only knew a few things about Huo Ren: how cocky he was, and the fact the Dragon’s own fire burned him. Even during the day, Nico had at least a bit of heat resistance, and it was all he needed.

The buildup of heat for Wildfire Dance was a crucial step, even if it was nearly unbearable after a prolonged period. But Nico was more than fine with it, at least in this moment. With no warning or fanfare, Nico smacked Helios Rod against the room’s floor, letting a massive pillar of flames engulf both Sun users.

Yulian smiled; Nico and Huo Ren were on the second floor, and the pillar both broke through the floors above that and the roof while melting the ground they stood on all the way to the basements.

Huo Ren had vanished; it was unknown if Cao Bao had managed to retrieve and reconstitute him or if he was actually dead. But now, Nico was falling to the depths of the building, Yulian’s chains multiplied to eight, then sixteen, pursuing him…

Nico used the freshly made pit in the building to grab onto the edges of the hole in the first floor, hoisting himself up. While he would normally try the door, there wasn’t time for gentlemanly behavior. Instead, he blew another hole through the window and hopped out, running as fast as he could while Sun Stoked.

The window led right into the massing Cambodian forces, specifically on top of one of their BTR-60s, which was now directly able to fire its machine gun, capable of eviscerating even an Arms Master, at him. Without hesitation, its gunner did so, and a stream of bullets were fired at Nico’s position; enough to tear off arms, legs, and the head.

To add to the overkill, there were a platoon of soldiers around the BTR-60, all firing rifles at Nico even as more of Yulian’s chains darted at the young man’s limbs; to take them was his only apparent hope.

Nico made the split second decision to duck beneath the lip of the armored carrier, tossing his Noble Arm out into the open. “Hey, hey, I surrender, I surrender! Let’s talk this out, before this Descent crony grabs me! I swear to my life that I won’t try anything, just don’t shoot!”

One of the squad spoke English and she said, “Fully dispel your Noble Arm!,” as she accepted his surrender.

A few seconds passed. For a brief moment, it looked as though it would be all right. Then, a dark lance of dark purple matter that radiated un-light - Darkness - engulfed them all.

The squad trying to take him in. The APC. And Nico Makri himself, unless he managed to pull off another miraculous dodge.

Nico stood his ground, using Radiant Burst in an attempt to dispel as much of the darkness as he could. From his position, he shouted a rather simple request. “Whatever ya got, unload it into that building I just came from! Superbia’s inside and I know he’s worth more than some hotel clerk like me!”

The Radiant Burst was only enough to clear his body of the overwhelming pain from the agony beam, a beam that caused the mundane soldiers to writhe on the ground as though their bones and nerves were being melted inside their bodies, screaming themselves hoarse, tearing apart their own vocal cords in an effort to express their own unspeakable agony.

Then it ceased, as Yulian Suburov, bowing to the demands of pragmatism, radioed the rest, saying in English and Cambodian, “What is he talking about?! I am Yulian Suburov, observer from the Russian Federation! This young man is crazy, hand him over to -”

Then he leapt down from the second floor, his fall slowing to allow the blond to land on his feet. He then pulled out his sword once more, purple dark un-light gathering around it, as he said, to Nico, “On second thought… If I am Superbia, I can probably cause them all to suffer and pass it off as friendly fire.”

Stretching out his blade, even as a chain crawled towards Nico’s discarded blade, Superbia/Yulian smirked and said, “Here’s an idea; if you actually care about your enemies so much, hand yourself over to me.”

Nico dispelled Helios Rod at seeing the chain move closer to it, walking over to the Cambodian platoon and giving a slight nod. “Sorry that you got lumped into this, that’s on me. But I surrender to Cambodia, not him. I’ll even radio my squad mates, tell them to calm down so we can all talk this out.”

“As for you,” He turned to Yulian with a fury like the sun in his eyes. “If so much as a drop of innocent blood is spilled, I’ll kill ya, god or otherwise. They aren’t my enemies. Enemies don’t let people eat nice food and invite people to fancy stuff.”

Yulian began breathing harder, but a look at his face and lips showed that it was not due to anger, but a spike of desire, as he rasped out, “I can see why Huo Ren wants you… The perfect gentleman even towards those turned against him.”

He then turned away and began to fly up, saying, “I’ll just take my consolation prize - Noel.”

His cape fluttered behind him as he presented his back to Nico, daring him to attack.

He rolled his eyes, taking out his radio to message the rest of Task Force Obsidian. “This is Volunteer Nico Makri. Good news, I got these good people to stop trying to turn us into Swiss cheese. Bad news, Superbia might just be on the way over. Over.”

He turned to the platoon. “Mind telling your guys to not kill my colorful comrades? I’m sure there’s a way to explain all of this without anyone dying today.”

The interpreter, who was trying to recover, said, “We can, but orders from higher-up are -”

Footsteps could be heard walking towards them, it was the Cambodian Arms Master who had accompanied them earlier - Dara Chea, was it?


Originally Bourbon from Detective Conan


The man’s next words were, “Your comrade, Callie Lindmann, has literally been caught having murdered one of our Assembly - What we call our Parliament - members. And by that… She was framed. Our Government hired her father, a wanted terrorist and a former member of the Hammer of Masters, to lure her over so she can be in the same room as the murdered Assemblyman, one of ASEAN’s allies, by the way.”

He then turned to Nico, making eye contact with the youth, “My sister is in on their plans, but after seeing you do your job, like heck I am.”

There was a platoon of Cambodian Soldiers around to listen to the exchange; probably more with how many of them were surrounding the building. Dara Chea then extended a hand to Nico and said, “Let’s do a counter-coup, shall we?”

Nico smiled goofily at how well his - not even a plan - reckless optimism paid off, shaking Dara Chea’s hand with his own large one. “Thank the gods, it makes sense. And sure. I’m all for that ‘taking down evil regimes’ thing.”

On top of a nearby rooftop, Diligence, Avatar of Industria of the Seven Virtues, was nursing a heavy nosebleed…

END

@Gerlando@Nimbus@QJT@Amidatelion@Digmata@Chiro@Creative Chaos@DammitVictor@PrinceAlbert

Mission Four Climax Post Summary:

- Huo Ren is *probably* dead.
- Yulian decided to retreat to try and capture Noel.
- Biggest Plot Twist: Nico's duel with Yulian/Superbia II and the latter's willingness to harm and threaten his own allies convinced the Cambodian Troops surrounding the building to turn on the Cambodian Government and return to ASEAN service. This was not something Bee had planned, but is a very well-earned reward.



Nico remained at his post, looking around for any signs of intrusion or an attack on the delegates. In the meantime, his thoughts went back to the last few weeks. I swear, each and every mission is crazier than the last. First the paper dragon, then a haunted ship, and now Superbia. What a time to be alive…

He gave a slight smile. Despite the extreme shift in scale from his time in Athens to being at a wartime meeting, it still felt oddly nice to have a bigger purpose, to save lives and fight for something that wasn’t just himself. The mercenary work, while paying reasonably well, never seemed right. Nico only ever took jobs he thought had a greater chance of helping out someone other than the client, and Task Force Obsidian absolutely fit the bill.

Even if most of his comrades were of an odd sort, they were still good friends in Nico’s eyes. He went out of his way to learn at least a little about them, but hadn’t quite gotten around to fully talking with everyone, including the newcomers. Williams seemed alright enough, with the kind of sarcasm that comes with age, and likely similar conversation. Mikoto on the other hand seemed like someone to be avoided, from what little he could tell, but it wouldn’t stop him from trying to make small talk if the opportunity came up.

Nico shook his head and took out a spare phone he had in his pocket: nothing too cutting edge, just something to occupy time between theaters of combat. Like he’d done a few times before, he started to scroll through old pictures of before he joined the war efforts: family photos, birthday pictures, and a few snapshots of the time he spent with his friends back home. It gave him a twinge of nostalgia, and a bit of homesickness that faded away.

”Soon enough.” Nico muttered the affirmation in his native Greek. He’d make it back there. There was nothing to be homesick about.




“As you wish.” Aoi didn’t care enough to say a farewell, it was a waste. She just took the beacon and went to work. The scout was putting her skills to use from the moment she walked in. Ren and Yulian made a mistake by threatening the group, as it let Aoi know what they looked, sounded, and walked like, and that was enough to track the two in the crowded exhibition center. She let the goings on and her fellow newcomer, an older man named Williams, be her distraction, they were interesting enough to function as such.

Hearing that not only was the old man Jaime dead, but the Seven Virtues had gotten to the Bamboo Spear only added another part to her long term plans. But the current steps took priority. With no sound and no light, her Noble Arm appeared while she held the beacon box in her hand. The gloves she called Perfect Accomplice weren’t flashy or imposing, and that was perfect. As Aoi began to get closer to Huo Ren, the more useful of her abilities became active: Death Count - Evasion, the skill that made her a ghost to the world around her. The count has begun.

Navigating a crowd was not a new skill for her, and this was no real challenge for her, as she took some extra care in order to not be touched. It was well under a minute between the activation and her making contact with the Dragon’s phone. She activated the beacon the moment her finger grazed the phone, silently warping away.

The count has concluded. 23 minutes remain. Any intermittent uses were rounded to one minute; her Noble Arm was particular in that regard, for whatever odd reason it had. The fact Death Count was used at all was enough to burn through precious time, and all that Aoi could hope for was that Myron’s shield had room, and that one minute wouldn’t be missed later on.


Standing outside the meeting area was one Nico Makri, not looking too out of place in comparison to the more mundane security detail. While his Noble Arm wasn’t manifested, he managed to snag a gun from Mischief Reef’s armory and was currently drumming his fingers against the holster absently.


The thinly veiled threat Superbia (or Yulian, in this case) said forced him to think of just what a round two would look like against a force of nature like the leader of Downward Descent. It was true that he would likely not have the dual state he tapped into last time, but that bout gave him some insight into how Superbia approached a fight. No two ways about it, I’m not winning a straight fight with the immortal bastard. But, if this version isn’t as much of a copycat as the one I fought, then I could stand a chance. He only really seems to know the basics of using a weapon.

”Damn.” Nico swore in an irritated whisper. Huo Ren was easy to figure out, what with him being a showboat and such. At the least, it was clear that the Dragon wasn’t a real spearman. He wouldn’t be here if that were the case. And as much as he would love to prove it wrong, the only reason he was even alive was because of his Noble Arm’s apparent fusion state. Seriously need to figure out what in every gods’ name that was.



Aoi remained to herself after the incident with Huo Ren and Yulian, walking the area while the rest of the Task Force kept up appearances. She wasn’t looking too sore on the eyes herself, having bought a dress and hat set from a local outlet for the occasion, as well as a .50 cal Desert Eagle in a holster on her leg. She made sure it was relatively unseen beneath the frills of her dress, but still close enough for easy access in a pinch.


This is it. My ultimate opportunity to complete my goals. Aoi didn’t walk up to Myron, she just appeared behind him, as if the mere mention of her name was enough to summon her. She tipped her hat to the gathered group, bowing politely and speaking accented English for the sake of being concise. ”Should you have a means for me to take the Dragon’s phone without actively exposing myself, I will volunteer for this request.”

It wasn’t clear in her expression or voice, but her eyes betrayed the idea that Aoi was planning for future events rather than the current pressing matters. Her mission to kill the Zodiac had led her to one of the members she despised almost as much as she dreaded facing. But a chance to both humiliate the Dragon and make her move was a once in a lifetime opportunity. All she needed was a way to make it happen.

ɴᴀᴍᴇ
Kujaku Soragami

ᴀʟɪᴀꜱ
The Forecast Hero - Heavy Weather

ʟɪꜰᴇᴛɪᴍᴇ
19-5-2109 18

ꜱᴛᴀɢᴇᴘʟᴀʏ
A brief explanation of your personality & backstory bits, I don't want backstory detailed when it can be discussed to me privately, 3 paragraphs minimum.

Kujaku is a quiet and laid back student, who prefers to let his actions speak louder than his words. Unless asked to elaborate, he’s the type to give the most simple answer to a question or problem, even if said problem requires more tact and subtlety. In his opinion, most people overcomplicate things by thinking too much, so it’s his civil duty to give a straightforward answer. Because of this approach, his grades are generally average, with a notable skill in science and literature. Kujaku doesn’t look to make friends, but tends to attract bullies and friendly people alike with his casual nature and dry wit. Either way, he just does what he decides he wants, and tries his best not to interfere with other people.

He’s an innovative student, rarely using conventional methods to solve problems, whether it’s in school or in hero training courses. He’s not a genius by any stretch of the imagination, but he puts in enough effort to make him stick out a bit amongst a good chunk of students in terms of his skills, to a point where he became an intern student with Best Jeanist.

Despite his decent grades, average looks, and reputation for helping slackers with their homework, teachers tend to give the side eye to him, for a rather simple reason: his ability to cause absolute chaos in seconds. Kujaku Soragami is a prolific prankster of a high caliber. While most of his meteorological knowledge is from practicing the use of his Quirk, he also learned a few ways to create mischief. Most of his pranks involve very small use of his Quirk to garner a few laughs, but he takes caution to not hurt people with his antics.

ᴀʙɪʟɪᴛɪᴇꜱ
Bluff: While decidedly an unheroic act, Kujaku is adept at gambling and bluffing, using his laidback nature to hide his emotions in dire straits, or while playing cards.

Meteorologist: Even before he got the hang of his quirk, Kujaku slowly became an expert on the weather, now hosting a small radio program that tells the weather and random news in Eirei.

Driver: Being a hero means getting from place to place as fast as possible to save lives. Defensive driving is an important part of that.

ꜱᴜᴘᴘᴏʀᴛ ɪᴛᴇᴍꜱ
Forecast-o-Vision: A set of contacts that give Kujaku a constant feed of the weather conditions in real time, to facilitate the proper use of his Quirk.

Great Lightning Staff - Fabulous Rod: A superconducting retractable staff that allows Kujaku to guide electricity to and away from him.

Qᴜɪʀᴋ
Rainmaker – Emulation [Awakened]

The quirk Rainmaker allows Kujaku to surround an area in a bubble, the max size being 15 meters. In this bubble, he can control and simulate various weather conditions, including unusual phenomena like acid rain and ball lightning. The bubble is mostly opaque on the outside, but bright lights and shadows can be seen through it. Kujaku can currently make two bubbles at a time, and manifest them at a range of 40 meters. The bubbles move faster the smaller they are, with the largest bubbles being near immobile.

The bubbles can expand and shrink after being manifested. As the size of the bubble increases, the energy required to maintain it increases as well. At most, Kujaku can currently make ten 15 meter bubbles before needing to rest. The conditions that can be created are partly dependent on the current temperature and humidity. If it’s too hot, snow and ice will take more energy to manifest, and vice versa. The bubble can be popped with a significant amount of force, a large lapse in concentration . Unless Kujaku chooses to, the weather inside is released in an area equal to the bubble’s size x1.5 as the bubble bursts, before vanishing.

ꜱᴜᴘᴇʀ ᴍᴏvᴇꜱ

Weather Report: While the bubble is manifested, Kujaku creates multiple dangerous weather phenomena at once. His usual combination is a dust devil, followed by repeat lightning, then a pressure drop. The combination changes with the target and climate.

ɴᴀᴍᴇ
Kujaku Soragami

ᴀʟɪᴀꜱ
The Forecast Hero - Heavy Weather

ʟɪꜰᴇᴛɪᴍᴇ
19-5-2109 18

ꜱᴛᴀɢᴇᴘʟᴀʏ
A brief explanation of your personality & backstory bits, I don't want backstory detailed when it can be discussed to me privately, 3 paragraphs minimum.

Kujaku is a quiet and laid back student, who prefers to let his actions speak louder than his words. Unless asked to elaborate, he’s the type to give the most simple answer to a question or problem, even if said problem requires more tact and subtlety. In his opinion, most people overcomplicate things by thinking too much, so it’s his civil duty to give a straightforward answer. Because of this approach, his grades are generally average, with a notable skill in science and literature. Kujaku doesn’t look to make friends, but tends to attract bullies and friendly people alike with his casual nature and dry wit. Either way, he just does what he decides he wants, and tries his best not to interfere with other people.

He’s an innovative student, rarely using conventional methods to solve problems, whether it’s in school or in hero training courses. He’s not a genius by any stretch of the imagination, but he puts in enough effort to make him stick out a bit amongst a good chunk of students in terms of his skills, to a point where he became an intern student with Best Jeanist.

Despite his decent grades, average looks, and reputation for helping slackers with their homework, teachers tend to give the side eye to him, for a rather simple reason: his ability to cause absolute chaos in seconds. Kujaku Soragami is a prolific prankster of a high caliber. While most of his meteorological knowledge is from practicing the use of his Quirk, he also learned a few ways to create mischief. Most of his pranks involve very small use of his Quirk to garner a few laughs, but he takes caution to not hurt people with his antics.

ᴀʙɪʟɪᴛɪᴇꜱ
Bluff: While decidedly an unheroic act, Kujaku is adept at gambling and bluffing, using his laidback nature to hide his emotions in dire straits, or while playing cards.

Meteorologist: Even before he got the hang of his quirk, Kujaku slowly became an expert on the weather, now hosting a small radio program that tells the weather and random news in Eirei.

Driver: Being a hero means getting from place to place as fast as possible to save lives. Defensive driving is an important part of that.

ꜱᴜᴘᴘᴏʀᴛ ɪᴛᴇᴍꜱ
Forecast-o-Vision: A set of contacts that give Kujaku a constant feed of the weather conditions in real time, to facilitate the proper use of his Quirk.

Great Lightning Staff - Fabulous Rod: A superconducting retractable staff that allows Kujaku to guide electricity to and away from him.

Qᴜɪʀᴋ
Rainmaker – Emulation [Awakened]

The quirk Rainmaker allows Kujaku to surround an area in a bubble, the max size being 15 meters. In this bubble, he can control and simulate various weather conditions, including unusual phenomena like acid rain and ball lightning. The bubble is mostly opaque on the outside, but bright lights and shadows can be seen through it. Kujaku can currently make two bubbles at a time, and manifest them at a range of 40 meters. The bubbles move faster the smaller they are, with the largest bubbles being near immobile.

The bubbles can expand and shrink after being manifested. As the size of the bubble increases, the energy required to maintain it increases as well. At most, Kujaku can currently make ten 15 meter bubbles before needing to rest. The conditions that can be created are partly dependent on the current temperature and humidity. If it’s too hot, snow and ice will take more energy to manifest, and vice versa. The bubble can be popped with a significant amount of force, a large lapse in concentration . Unless Kujaku chooses to, the weather inside is released in an area equal to the bubble’s size x1.5 as the bubble bursts, before vanishing.

ꜱᴜᴘᴇʀ ᴍᴏvᴇꜱ

Weather Report: While the bubble is manifested, Kujaku creates multiple dangerous weather phenomena at once. His usual combination is a dust devil, followed by repeat lightning, then a pressure drop. The combination changes with the target and climate.
Bump of interest



No more time for playing careful. At this point, they’ll win off of pure attrition instead of combatting us outright. For the past few minutes, Vier had been trying to figure out a way to get through the Talderian line. They were better trained than him, and certainly more zealous to their cause. All he could think of at the moment was to pepper the left flank with a few wind spells: a more recent addition to his arsenal after his most recent bout of training.

He realized that it wasn’t enough, as Renar began to rally a few of the other Iron Roses for a charge at the near edge of the wall. While a rather bold move in his eyes, it did cause an idea to begin to emerge. The goal isn’t to go through them, but just to make it past them. Vier cracked a smile beneath his helmet, pushing up the visor and sheathing his longsword.

He took a few large steps back, looking for the proper place to make his move, until he found his path: at the borderline between the left and far left of the Talderian line, while four of his brothers in arms were engaging the enemy. ”For the Roses.” He took no time to prepare, using a small burst of wind magic to remove the need for acceleration, as he made an attempt to vault over the shield line, using own of the guardsmen’s shields as a way to propel himself over them. Should he land, Vier would promptly begin helping Gerard from the opposite side, taking out the opposition as they made attempts to attack his fellow knights.



Early mornings were nothing new for Nico Makri. All it took was a cup of cold water and a bit of fruit for him to be relatively prepared for the briefing. His foot was mostly healed, he had a rare six hours of sleep, and he successfully nipped whatever Alonso was going for in the bud without any noticeable problems. For once, things are fully looking up. And this mission doesn’t seem all that awful. Nico smiled a bit despite himself, humming a nursery rhyme as the briefing took place.

“Glad I brought a suit...” All he was hoping for was a peaceful day, at least in the beginning. If someone pulled something after that, it would be a problem for everyone, not just himself. The thought brought a bit of surety to him as everyone started piping up. All he could pray for was some sanity from the PRC and Zodiac, even as a pipe dream.




I can’t wait to leave.

Odd thoughts, considering that the ghost known as Aoi Mikoto had only been on Mischief Reef for a few days. But after going through the routine of walking the base, checking the ceilings and walls for any leaks, and getting rearmed, there wasn’t much to do except find a new haunt for the few days before deployment. Despite knowing what would be polite, she made an effort to keep scarce before the briefing. The less people expected her to be present, the more likely she wouldn’t be asked to be seen, and the easier her job became.

An early briefing was welcome, even if it was a little boring. She arrived early and sat in the far back, taking the extra time to grab a mug of scalding tea to let cool off during the wait. As the briefing progressed, Aoi took note of the other members of the Task Force: from the locals, mercenaries like Makri, Lidmann, Rocha and Berto (Note to self, stay aware of Williams and Lidmann, learn some more about Rocha, and keep away from Makri), the other transfers like, Nil, Janssens, and…

There simply no avoiding the strand of thought that led to her. To say that she disliked the Snake was a severe understatement. Aoi tapped her fingers on her lap to calm herself down, listening as Qingshe spoke up about the potential obstacles and pitfalls of the current theater: a diplomacy event in Cambodia. Everything about the mission was almost laughably strange. This group, for security and safety? At least Williams has the right idea; this is absurd.

She was grinning, but there was a glint of seriousness in her eyes. "This is going to be a delicate political situation. It cannot be overstated how important it is to not be seen to 'strike first' should anything... untoward occur. So, dress to impress and bring your best manners, even if Huo Ren himself should stand in front of you. Our actions will reflect on ASEAN and the security of their position at the bargaining table, and if you're feeling trigger happy... Don't. In an ideal world, all we're there for is to look pretty and -at worst- loom with vague menace while the politics happen. Violating a national diplomatic truce would be a disaster for us... Rather, for anyone who is going to be at that table." Shaking her head, she smirked. "Really, this is the sort of thing that shouldn't need to be said, but I realize that not all of you here today may come from backgrounds sufficient to grant you a complete understanding of the stakes at hand... So, I say it anyway."


As the Snake finished, Aoi got up, and cleared her throat to get Noel’s attention, looking him in the eye with a softly haunting gaze. Filipino should work. Only a few people need to understand me anyways. “First Lieutenant, if I may state the obvious, this is a ploy. There are three things we know for certain. First, Downward Descent has been reported in, and allegedly has yet to leave Cambodia. Second…” She pointed a thumb at Qingshe.

“Like she said, China and Downward Descent are clearly connected in some way. So, there is no reason not to assume that the location is already either compromised or being watched by the Downward Descent. And finally, thanks to him…” She motioned to Nico. “We know that there’s no prerogative for either party to be subtle, as the People’s Republic can simply use the Downward Descent as a perfect scapegoat for any events that may transpire.” Her Filipino wasn’t exactly perfect, but her accent hardly showed in her speech.

“A delicate situation such as this cannot be viewed in a vacuum. So, I suggest that you and Rear Admiral Abasolo take my concerns into consideration alongside any potential plans or stratagems that you may have prepared.” And with that, she sat down, her eyes never leaving Noel and Qingshe from view.
New character dropped. Awaiting approval.

Thank you. Should I just DM him?
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