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"He made it through the preliminaries, didn't he?" asked Seifer with a smirk on his face, "You think he would have managed that without my helping him in practice?" he sounded like a jerk, but... he did have a valid point on that one.

"Yeah, lighten up!" said Rai, unflinching in his loyalty to Seifer, "Seifer's just usin' a 'sink or swim' method, y'know?"

"Tough love." said Fuu in her usual cold and pragmatic tone while pointing a finger in Vivi's direction.

"So what'll it be, Vivi?" asked Seifer, who hadn't done anything to stop Droka or Julia. As far as he knew, they weren't Struggle Combatants like Zack or Jacob usually were, so he had no reason to antagonize them. Vivi, on the other hand... "You gonna man up and tough it out? Or would you rather get coddled by these lamers? I've got my own training I could be focusing on right now, so you'd better make up your mind." And there it was. An ultimatum. Seifer clearly had what he considered better things to do with his time and so now it was up to Vivi to decide what he wanted to do, "I guess you could spar with Chicken-Wuss, but I wouldn't rely on him if I were you. Seeing as how I trounced him last year."

"Replay!" Fuu taunted.

"Now you're talking!" Seifer pointed his struggle bat in Zack's direction, taking his infamous stance, "You lamers think you know this sport better than I do? Then why don't you step up here and prove it?"

@FalloutJack I'm fine with either route, so yeah go ahead.
Han offered a brief sigh, "I'll have your back, of course." he said, making sure it was clear that he would stick with Niko regardless of what his next move was. He gave his word that he would help Niko with this mission he was on. And Han had every intention of honoring his word. So if Niko wished to depart for Mars immediately, then Han would offer no objections and join him on the ship.

"She wasn't bluffing about the gravity." he commented, lifting his now heavier arm and tightening his hand into a fist. Weight training was something he had only been exposed to briefly before he'd severed his ties with his father. Of course, that was accomplished via weighted clothing, but even that wasn't quite the same level as this. So even though Han understood the concept, this was still going to take some getting used to. But he recalled something his great-grandfather had always said: Training was never truly finished. Han could see just how true those words were, now. But he also wondered if even his great-grandfather could have foreseen this kind of training?

"Well, your intention is fairly obvious." Han said to Niko, correctly picking up on his desire to use this gravity for training, "And that being the case, we would be wise not to waste our travel time. I'm ready if you are."

It occurred to Han to this would be his first time going to Mars. In fact it would be his first time going into space altogether. He never had any reason to visit Mars or leave the planet, at least not until now. It was a shame that his first time into space had to be under such circumstances, but there was nothing to be done about that now.

Everyone was voicing their concerns, and rightfully so. In truth, Ovaan was not without concerns of his own regarding this mission objective. For all they knew, this universe had been rendered completely uninhabitable and they could die mere moments after arrival due to any number of unforeseen hazards. Granted, that was a worst-case scenario. But still valid, nonetheless. Ovaan decided to keep those concerns to himself, being too busy gathering the capsule cases he had brought to verbally voice any of them for the time being. Well, there was one thing he decided to provide a verbal response to.

"Payback is all well and good, but I for one would appreciate us not allowing such things to cloud our judgement. Thank you." he had seen his fair share of would-be "heroes", both in and outside his time in the Freeza Force. And in his experience, it never ended well. Heroes had a bad habit of acting on emotional impulse, resulting in poor decisions being made that only served to get people killed. His own crew had tended to make a point of avoiding such mistakes at all costs. Which of course required them to make decisions that often seemed rather callous to those observing from afar. But if the choice was between doing something one might feel guilty about later and getting everyone including one's own self killed outright? Ovaan would choose the former every time.

He remained quiet after that. Instead he focused on steeling himself for whatever waited for them on the other side of that portal. No matter what, it probably wasn't going to be pleasant. And so, with a hardened resolved, the former Captain stepped through the portal.

And what awaited on the other side was... exactly as he had mentally predicted, and then some. Crimson spheres filling out the skies. Bodies dumped in truly immeasurable numbers, only to be scooped up and hauled away by 8-legged machines. It was enough to make Ovaan want to puke on the spot. He took another breath, reaffirming his resolve and maintaining his composure for the most part. But he still looked visibly uncomfortable at what he was seeing. He couldn't recall a single instance of the Freeza Force doing anything even remotely on this level. They at least maintained some kind of governmental order. This? This just looked like pure horror. And yet, a certain question nagged its way into his mind. One that every single person likely wondered as well. And it looked like Ovaan would have to be the one to ask what they were all probably thinking.

"Harvesting? What could they possibly be harvesting these... remains... for?" he asked in a hushed, low voice. The truth was they probably didn't want to know. And yet, he had the distinct feeling they would need to find out, anyway.
One could tell that Seifer had a rather harsh definition for the phrase "training Vivi". Because it looked less like training and more like Seifer using Vivi as a training dummy. Vivi swung when he could, clearly showing a determination to see this through. But Seifer's guard was just too tight and impenetrable for the little guy. Finally, after another failed attack by Vivi, Seifer appeared to start losing his patience and came at Vivi with a hard enough blow to knock him flat onto the ground.

"Come on, Vivi!" Seifer barked, appearing to wait for Vivi to stand back up before making any other moves, "Stop thinking and trying to hit me, and just do it!" he said in what sounded like a taunt, but could also be interpreted as his own brand of sagely combat advice. Meanwhile, Vivi did still get back up on his feet, but did so slowly, likely indicating fatigue settling in. Despite looking tired, Vivi weakly made another lunge for Seifer. But like the previous time, he was side-stepped and knocked face-first onto the Sandlot floor.

Vivi didn't say anything, but did sound like he was whimpering a bit. He wasn't hurt, but he was starting to look pretty disappointed in himself for this showing. Unfortunately for him, Seifer caught it and was finally starting to get angry.

"What did I say at the beginning of all this, Vivi?" he demanded, now even pointing his struggle bat in Vivi's direction in what looked like a threatening gesture, "That you better not whine or complain once we start! Well this looks a lot like whining to me." This time Vivi had only staggered back to his feet before Seifer immediately knocked him back down. This wasn't even training anymore. It was a merciless beatdown, "Come on! If you expect to make it anywhere in the Tournament, then you better start putting up a better fight than this!" that was when Seifer caught a glimpse of Droka in the corner of his eye.

Seifer had targeted Droka once in the past, but he was clearly no fighter and so Seifer stopped bothering with him after a certain point because of this. He had always been more interested in going after people who would fight back and give him a challenge. But that didn't mean he couldn't use Droka as a means of mocking Vivi. Suddenly Seifer pointed a finger over in Droka's direction, "Even four-eyes over there could put up a better fight then you! Now stop whining and actually take this seriously!" after this, he knocked Vivi down once again.

This was about where Zack and the Banks Siblings came in. Like with Droka, Seifer was quick to notice their arrival. He anticipated at least one of them would try to play hero, and decided to nip that in the bud right away, "What do you want, Chicken-Wuss?" he looked back in Zack's direction in particular, "This doesn't concern you!"

As have I.

I apologize if it seems like I'm not here. Rest assured, I am reading every post and paying close attention. For now I'm just letting the conversation at the house play out before I make anything else happen.

Also wanted to make sure everyone knows that my activity for this week at least will be a bit sporadic. Currently recovering from throwing out my back on Sunday so sitting at my desk for long periods, especially after having to do so at work all day, takes its toll. But I will be back fully once the pulled muscle is healed.
@Wayward Probably not. No way to feasibly pull that off. Instead I'll probably stick to a ring out rule instead.
@Letter Bee Finally got around to finishing Osvaldo's CS.
@Spectral The Struggle Tournament is still 4 days away in-universe. It's not "today".
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