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The world suddenly faded away and Strix was abruptly pulled back to reality. The pod opened, and all she could feel was her head spinning. She took a hesitant step out of the pod, clutching the side of it. She only managed to form a few words, "Well that was... something." Strix looked around at the team and the techs, still gripping the pod in case she fell over. After a few minutes she was able to stand up without gripping the pod, and she stretched to help get her blood flowing more.

"I'd gladly take that landing procedure a hundred times before going back in there. But it seems like we have a good group here. How long were we out for anyways?"

Strix paused from her stretching and noticed all their bags had been removed from the room. Hopefully hers were handled well, she would hate for anything to happen to her precious cargo.

"What else does Retra have on the docket for today, or can we lie down for a bit."
Strix gave a sigh of relief as the droids were downed, relaxing her arts and rubbing the growing pain in her leg. Thrones was in bad shape after that impressive display, so hopefully they dont encounter too much more heavy resistance. With any luck they'll be able to take the much shorter flying route to their destination. Strix hurried to the downed VTOL with the rest of the team, thinking out loud.

"We will need to be wary of the simulations other gunships. Also aerial drones. I wonder what this thing has for armaments..."

She paused, and looked around the team.

"Does anyone have experience flying something like this?"
A beacon, Strix wondered what it meant for them. Were they doing well...? She continued giving directions through the streets to the skyscrapers glad to not have encountered more resistance before they arrived. They had covered a decent amount of ground, but now they were going to be fighting in more enclosed spaces once they ascended the skyscraper. But that thought would have to wait as the VTOL's approach and deployment suddenly became a more pressing concern.

Strix fired off a quick shot of her own at the droids as they deployed, not taking the time to line it up well before she rolled to cover behind one of the sturdier desks as the droids opened fire. The suppressing fire was too much for her to reliably take any more shots at them, and there didn't seem to be any openings. Shit.

Thrones voice came over the comms, "Ten seconds, ten droids.", and Strix prepared herself. She blinked, and her eyes were glowing again. The twinge of pain in her leg again. She was ready. She wouldn't miss.

Strix could feel the change in pressure Thrones exerted on the droids, and on Thrones mark she swung out from behind her cover and took aim. Dragoon was hitting them on one side, so Strix started shooting at the other side. These droids didn't seem to be as sturdy as the armored ones, so she fired as quickly as she could line up her shots. Two bullets in the first one, one to the chest and one to the head, two in the second one, and two more in a third one.
Strix rolled out of the way of an incoming piece of debris. What terrifying firepower... She composed herself and observed the remaining scene. There wasn't much left, and she easily dispatched the two normal droids assailing their new team member. With Vlad and Mule taking care of the three closest heavies, she re-positioned to get a better line on the two armored droids near Dragoon.

"Dragoon, stay low and get ready."

Strix took aim, waiting for her chance amidst the vanguards swift movements to take two shots at each of their heads, hopefully causing enough damage to disable the droids or let Dragoon's spear get in to finish them off.
Strix kept her position off to the side of the street, knelt down with her rifle steadied as the skirmish continued. She dispatched another two of the smaller bots heading towards her, Mule, and Thrones, putting a hole through the torso of one and shooting out the leg of another.

"On your mark, Thrones."

The droids were about to do something big, but hopefully their combined efforts could prevent that. Strix adjusted her position to get a clean line towards the caster droids, and her eyes lit up a bright orange. Though she doesn't use arts proper, she still had some ability with it which she used to enhance her eyesight. As Thrones finished counting down, the droids were lifted up and Strix had a clear shot at both of them. At this range, and with them being held immobile in the air, she shouldn't have any issue hitting them through the fray. She fired two successive shots at the first one, once to the torso and once to the head. Her eyes gleamed again, and she felt a twinge of pain in her thigh as she quickly switched targets. Even this, here... Though useful, her ability carried with it an embarrassing reminder of her failure. She cleared her thoughts and fired again at the second droid in the same pattern as the first, once in the torso and once in the head.

Strix blinked as her vision returned to normal, and her attention was brought back to the encroaching droids. She fired at one of the exposed heads of an armored droid as she took a few step backs to stay at a safe distance. "Mule, are you alright? Thrones, what can you do about these armored droids?"
Strix kept on the comms, giving directions as the group made it's way to the skyscrapers. "There are gunships ahead, so once we can get inside that will be our best bet for avoiding them." She paused a moment before asking, "Diver, what counts as identifying a target? Do we need to seek and destroy the gunships, or do we need to have a clearer identification? Can we totally avoid them if need be?"

After rounding the latest corner and coming across the enemy forces Strix quickly analyzed the situation. She could probably make the shot to hit the exposed heads of the armored drones, but with so many smaller androids and the groups own melee operators it will be chaos shooting into close quarters, and it may not even stop them. But beyond the armored drones, the arts ones may prove to be more dangerous. She moved to one side of the street, shooting the heads off two of the smaller droids as they advanced.

"Do it, Thrones. Let's take out the arts drones before they can cause any serious damage."
Ah sorry I meant to try and get another post in before we progressed but I'll add to the collab a little later tonight after I finish up stuff for my classes. The transition to online classes has been a bit hectic.
Strix kept pace near Diver throughout the walk down the halls, observing the various employees as they passed. She nodded along with Diver's words, wincing at the answer about the boarding sequence. While they walked, Strix pondered on the nature of what kind of area they would be doing a simulation in. Sure the Vindsvalr was huge but would they really have an appropriate space for testing their combat abilities? Then the group arrived at the pods and Strix's stomach turned and her face went pale.

Neural networks? An actual simulation? With computers? Ugh of course they would have something like this. Great.

Strix eyed the pods and computers tentatively, staying near the door. When the drone arrived with coffee, Strix started filling her cup with lots of milk and sugar before downing the whole thing. This was part of the job though, and she would just have to get used to it. Strix hesitantly got into one of the pods, strapped herself in, and took a few deep breaths with her eyes closed.

Moments later Strix opened her eyes to see the white void, and her fellow operators standing around a slowly forming case. There was a faint ringing in her head that was slowly subsiding, and she could hear Diver's voice coming from... nowhere. She grabbed hold of the rifle that appeared on her back, feeling the weight in her hands. It's almost like it's really there...

After getting her bearings, the world began to change and buildings rose out from the white void, the scene quickly becoming a deserted cityscape. Strix took a deep breath. The air was still. She exhaled. The buildings could prove a good vantage point for me, but I would be wide open if I was alone. And this is definitely not a situation to run solo. She looked between the group members as Vlad tested the case and made his initial assessment. Vlad was the more experienced operator here, and Strix would be glad to defer to his judgement but she quickly gave her thoughts on the immediate situation to the group.

"We should figure out how we're going to move. I see two options, one where we stay as a big group and move together, and two where we split up and move in two smaller groups. Personally I would be more comfortable getting on one of those buildings with a better view of things, but we don't know how big the city is or what kind of obstacles they're going to put in our way so having to reposition a lot could prove dangerous. One group may be better in terms of safety in case we get overwhelmed, but two groups could help to split up the enemies and draw enemies away from the case. Thoughts?"
As the rest of the operators finished their introductions Strix relaxed more in her seat. She started to perk up and looked to Vlad as he spoke, but before she could respond the plane's shaking intensified causing her to clutch her bag tightly and clench her eyes and jaw shut. The turbulence from the landing was unlike anything she had experienced before. When she heard crates starting to move about her eyes shot open, and she looked down and tested with her legs to make sure her stowed duffel bag was where she left it. Knowing it was safe, she untensed for a moment before more alarms and turbulence caused her to stiffen up again.

When the plane finally began to descend into the depths of the Vindsvalr, Strix started to relax with a sigh. She said, "Unpleasant doesn't even begin-" and she was cut off by a final alarm and jostle from the elevators halt. She finished her thought, unhooking her mask and tilting her head from side to side, "-to describe. Not looking forward to doing this again." She unbuckled and stretched, waiting for some other operators to start moving before she grabbed her bags and disembarked.

Strix took in the massive hangar and the number of people bustling around, and she got distracted trying to figure out what all the different color coded jumpsuits meant. At the mention of the combat simulation she brought herself back and thought, Retra doesn't seem to waste any time. We'll know soon enough if everyone is up to speed.

She chimed in after Dragoon, "Yes. Coffee please. Lots of milk and sugar." She turned her attention to Diver, gesturing to the cargo plane "How often are we going to need to do... that? And who can I give my bag to for safe keeping? I assume we won't get a chance to stop by the dorms on our way to the examination."
Sorry I've been dealing with stuff over the weekend, I'll get something up soon!
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