Cherry Blossom Procession 4 1 32

[22:08] <Minaplo> [Fire blossomed bright across the sea.-
[23:00] <Minaplo> [Across the Caribbean vied two battlefleets, trading massive cannonfire and missiles endlessly; the air between them hung with smoke and fire and flashes of light.-
[23:12] <Minaplo> [In the sky above soared aircraft, but greater than those were Superheavies, darting around each other, each one unleashing at each other the power to erase armies.-
[23:13] <Minaplo> [But standing on the decks of warships, or gliding through the air on wings of gossamer or morphic flesh, were something even greater. Something ethereal and unsettling: Evangelions.-
[23:19] <Minaplo> [Atop the deck of the UEF's Eva-carrier stood a green Evangelion, a drill-like lance in one hand and a massive shield in the other. A Mass-Production Eva lunged at it, and the green Eva batted it aside almost absent-mindedly.-
[23:53] <Minaplo> [Sitting on the coast was a fortress: a great towering ediface that seemed half-buried in the mountainside nonetheless, its walls at a sloped angle, massive cannons jutting outwards.-
[23:57] <Minaplo> [From the largest and longest of these cannons came a hum that set the teeth on edge, rising greater and more intense, before the cannon erupted with a bright blue beam of light. The blast ripped through the air and tore its way into the hull of the Eva-carrier. The sea beneath it exploded, sending the Eva-carrier listing violently forwards. The green Evangelion suddenly toppled, almost
[23:57] <Minaplo> falling into the water- it caught itself only by stabbing the lance through the hull.-
[00:02] <Minaplo> [Within the fortress' Operations Centre, Narendra Gadhavi sat.-
[00:17] <Minaplo> [He stared up at the viewscreens that dominated the eastern wall, his brow furrowed and his jaw set. Despite the cool, conditioned air blowing through the room via vents, he felt the sweat on his skin. Absently he rubbed at his cheek. "How long until the GPC can fire again?"-
[00:17] <Minaplo> ["Two minutes." Said Choi Hyun, her attention focused on her console.-
[00:21] <Minaplo> ["Hrm."-
[00:36] <Minaplo> ["That big gun is helping, but we need something more if we're going to get through that big green bastard." Said Marshal Magistrate Jackson. The titanic man was speaking via a video-screen.-
[00:37] <Minaplo> ["He's off-balance now. I'll concentrate our attacks on him." Said Gadhavi. "Redirect the Avengers and Augustine to drag de Pteres into the ocean."-
[00:42] <Minaplo> [("Gadhavi.") Came Augustine's voice. ("Enterprise just fired something at the fortress.")-
[00:51] <Minaplo> ["Choi, can you bring it up on screen?" Said Gadhavi.-
[01:09] <Minaplo> [But it wasn't just one thing- it was a dozen. Spheres, about ten metres in radius, hurtling at rapid speed toward the fortress.-
[01:09] <Minaplo> ["What the hell?" Muttered Choi.-
[01:09] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi leapt to his feet. "Autodefenses! Focus on those pods!"-
[01:09] <Minaplo> ["What are they?" Asked JB, who was seated to Gadhavi's left.-
[01:10] <Minaplo> ["Assault torpedoes." Said Gadhavi. "Iron Guard assault torpedoes."-
[01:11] <Minaplo> [Autocannons and maser swatters opened fire, raking the sky around the torpedoes; yet despite the barrage they emerged unscathed. The torpedoes had an unerring evasiveness, and the strikes that hit simply bounced off thick armour.-
[01:21] <Minaplo> ["Fire is ineffective!" Said Choi.-
[01:21] <Minaplo> ["Tell the Phantom garrison to move into action." Said Gadhavi hurriedly. "Calculate likely breach locations-"-
[01:23] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi froze.-
[01:30] <Minaplo> [He saw something flying alongside the pods. A small glimmering yellow light. It too dodged and weaved, but eventually it broke off ahead of the pack.-
[01:30] <Minaplo> [A shiver ran up Gadhavi's spine. Something about it…-
[01:31] <Minaplo> [The light was streaking towards the positron cannon.-
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["Choi!" He barked. "The cannon charge-"-
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["It's at 95%-"-
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["Discharge it, now!"-
[01:32] <Minaplo> ["Wh-"-
[01:33] <Minaplo> [Choi barely managed it.-
[01:35] <Minaplo> [The cannon's capacitors released an uncontrolled spray of positron energy into the air around them.-
[01:39] <Minaplo> [Nonetheless the release wasn't fast enough; the yellow light vanished for a moment, and the capacitor nearest simply exploded. There was energy enough within to overwhelm half the cannon.-
[01:39] <Minaplo> [The cannon quickly fell apart, the other capacitors exploding in a ruinous chain reaction that tore through the outer plates of the fortress and deeper still.-
[01:42] <Minaplo> [The eruption sent tremors all the way to Ops; Gadhavi fell backwards into his chair, slamming his head hard against the headrest. His vision swam for a moment.-
[01:43] <Minaplo> [The explosions were followed up with smaller little tremors- the torpedoes hitting home.-
[01:44] <Minaplo> ["Phantoms moving to intercept." Said Choi.-
[01:45] <Minaplo> ["Good." Said Gadhavi, a little breathlessly. "Let's hope they're as good as I've been incessantly told."-
[01:46] <Minaplo> [Choi gave him a split second frown before turning back to her console.-
[01:46] <Minaplo> ["… Wait, something's wrong-"-
[01:47] <Minaplo> [Ops trembled. So did the walls; something was breaking through the eastern wall.-
[01:47] <Minaplo> ["Security to Ops." Said Gadhavi, leaping back to his feet. "How did they find us? Ops is supposed to be hidden-"-
[01:48] <Minaplo> [The walls shuddered once more; the bulkheads sagged inwards, and one of the viewscreens flickered and went out.-
[01:54] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi suddenly shivered, although he couldn't explain why.-
[01:55] <Minaplo> [A moment later he understood. The eastern wall broke apart.-
[01:56] <Minaplo> [An unearthly golden flooded the room, too bright to properly look at.-
[01:56] <Minaplo> [Yet Gadhavi didn't need to look. His blood turned to ice in his veins.-
[02:01] <Minaplo> [Albus Mortens glided into the room with all the grace of an angel.-
[02:04] <Minaplo> ["I missed you at Paris, Gadhavi." Said Albus softly.-
[02:04] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi tried to force himself to look. Tried to raise his head-
[02:04] <Minaplo> [Stormtroopers burst into the room. Hardened veterans, they levelled their guns and fired.-
[02:05] <Minaplo> [The pulse rounds froze in mid-air around Albus. He kept his gaze focused on Gadhavi.-
[02:05] <Minaplo> [A moment later the rounds reversed course, tearing their way into the bodies of his men. They crumpled, screaming.-
[02:06] <Minaplo> ["It hasn't been the same without you." Said Albus. "But no matter. Soon everything will be the way it was again…"-
[02:06] <Minaplo> ["Look at me."-
[02:06] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi snapped his eyes toward Albus.-
[02:07] <Minaplo> [He could feel it digging into his head. Memories and tendrils he thought he'd peeled away- no. He'd known better. Deep down, he'd always known, no matter what. Albus's control had been so deep and total- Gadhavi would never be free.-
[02:08] <Minaplo> [Albus was not re-entering his head; in his own way he'd never left.-
[02:09] <Minaplo> [The panic and disgust in Gadhavi began to give way to a sort of hollowness. He felt the world around him going quiet- JB was praying fretfully. Choi was shouting…-
[02:10] <Minaplo> [The only thing he could hear clearly was the voice of Albus.-
[02:11] <Minaplo> ["Kill them all."-
[02:11] <Minaplo> [Before he realised it, Gadhavi's hand was going for his hip pistol. He pulled it out, raised it at Choi, and fired.-
[02:11] <Minaplo> [The bolt struck the wall a metre to her right.-
[02:12] <Minaplo> [Albus chuckled. "Look at you. You've become strong, Gadhavi."-
[02:12] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi's hand trembled. He bit down so tightly on his own tongue that it began to bleed. With all the force he could muster, he began pushing back, pushing his arm back towards Albus.-
[02:16] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi's hand swung back towards Choi- but by now she'd started to dive out of the way. The pulse bolt buried itself into the monitor of her console.-
[02:18] <Minaplo> ["Try harder."-
[02:19] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi dropped the pistol. He leapt across the room- Choi was quick, but she didn't have Gadhavi's speed or experience. He grabbed her by the throat and dashed her to the ground.-
[02:20] <Minaplo> [He levelled his wrist-mounted knife-thrower at her head.-
[02:21] <Minaplo> [She was terrified, trembling in his grip. Her mint-green eyes filled with tears.-
[02:21] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi hesitated. Just for a moment-
[02:21] <Minaplo> [And suddenly his mind became painfully clear. The world came into sharp relief. His ears filled with sound.-
[02:21] <Minaplo> [Albus's influence was gone.-
[02:22] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi sprang back, letting Choi go. He turned-
[02:22] <Minaplo> [Standing in the doorway was a tall, slender figure, dressed in ornate bone-white robes, wearing a high-crested helmet of white. The patterns on the front of the helmet made it look a though the being were weeping.-
[02:23] <Minaplo> [It wore over its shoulders a grand damaskite mantle.-
[02:23] <Minaplo> ["I missed you at Paris, Mortens." Said Augustine mockingly.-
[02:24] <Minaplo> [The serene smile on Albus's face vanished.-
[02:25] <Minaplo> ["Yes, I'm still wearing your father's cloak. It's great at parties." Said Augustine cheerfully. "I tell all my friends the story about the man who fathered a golden coward."-
[02:26] <Minaplo> [A hefty staff burst into Albus's hand. From its ornate tip burst a streaking ray of AT energy.-
[02:26] <Minaplo> [It tore through Augustine's chest.-
[02:27] <Minaplo> [And then, curiously, Augustine's body vanished. A moment later he reappeared from the thin air behind Albus. With one solid kick he drove Albus into the ground.-
[02:28] <Minaplo> [Albus twisted in mid-air, catching himself and leaping to his feet. Before the second was one he was lunging at Augustine with his staff, which was now wreathed in flame.-
[02:29] <Minaplo> [Augustine vanished yet again; when he reappeared it was above Albus, and in his hands were two swords.-
[02:29] <Minaplo> [Albus barely caught Augustine's swing with his staff.-
[02:30] <Minaplo> [Augustine rolled, landing in a crouch about six metres away.-
[02:30] <Minaplo> ["I'll kill you, Solomon." Said Albus coldly.-
[02:31] <Minaplo> ["If I had a penny." Said Augustine happily. "You should know, Albus, that I don't like killing. I'm compelled to do it by Mary Caine, you know. Taking lives, spreading misery and despair…"-
[02:32] <Minaplo> ["But for a twisted wreck like you? I'm perfectly happy to own my kill. Just this once."-
[02:33] <Minaplo> [The two clashed once again.-
[02:35] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi, despite the trauma, wasted no time in evacuating Ops; he shepherded JB and Choi out, then he followed and sealed the door behind him.-
[02:35] <Minaplo> [As the door closed, he shouted- "Augustine!"-
[02:35] <Minaplo> ["Don't mind me." Said Augustine. "Get yourself as far away as you can."-
[02:35] <Minaplo> [And then the door sealed itself. The sound of combat vanished.-
[02:37] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi turned to his companions, although he couldn't bear to meet them eye-to-eye. "We need to evacuate. I don't think the fortress can…"-
[02:38] <Minaplo> [JB nodded; Choi, however, rubbed painfully at her throat. "Director-"-
[02:38] <Minaplo> ["I'm sorry." Said Gadhavi, his voice cracking. "I want to explain, but this isn't the time. JB, Hyun, the emergency exit- go. Please."-
[02:38] <Minaplo> [There was a pause-
[02:38] <Minaplo> ["What about you?" Said Choi.-
[02:39] <Minaplo> ["My men are fighting." Said Gadhavi.-
[02:39] <Minaplo> [For a moment, his knees buckled; tears filled his eyes.-
[02:40] <Minaplo> [But he steadied himself. "I need to reach them, pull them back. They won't survive an Iron Guard attack on this scale."-
[02:41] <Minaplo> ["But…" Began Choi.-
[02:41] <Minaplo> ["I can look after myself." He cracked her a raw smile. "If I can't, well, it won't be any major loss, will it?"-
[02:44] <Minaplo> [She looked shocked for a second, but Gadhavi had already turned away.-
[02:44] <Minaplo> […-
[02:45] <Minaplo> [The most dangerous thing about fighting Iron Guard was not their massive strength or toughness. It was not their incredible armour or their brutal equipment. Nor was it their fearlessness.-
[02:45] <Minaplo> [To Narendra Gadhavi, the most dangerous thing about fighting Iron Guard was just how easily they caught people by surprise.-
[02:46] <Minaplo> [People have a natural habit of equating size with strength, but they also have a habit of equating it with slowness- of action and thought.-
[02:47] <Minaplo> [An Iron Guard was neither slow nor stupid. They moved with a speed that seemed incongruent with their hulking physiology, and they were just as smart as any war veteran… Moreso, perhaps.-
[02:47] <Minaplo> [And in moments like this, that edge was keenly felt. The Iron Guard worked in perfect harmony with each other. Within minutes of arriving, they had already disabled communications across the fortress.-
[02:48] <Minaplo> [Fortress assault. It was at this role amongst any other that the Iron Guard excelled.-
[02:49] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi walked through corridors that smelled of blood and burning plasma; stormtroopers lay dead in his path.-
[02:50] <Minaplo> [That was another weapon the Iron Guard had: fear. They didn't feel it, but they knew how to use it. They attacked with such brutality that most normal soldiers would crack and flee.-
[02:51] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi was not afraid.-
[02:51] <Minaplo> [But every time he came to a door, it opened on yet more corpses. Men and women, good soldiers, loyal soldiers. Slaughtered where they stood.-
[02:52] <Minaplo> [He had yet to see even one Iron Guard body.-
[02:54] <Minaplo> [Eventually, Gadhavi would come to what the soldiers sarcastically called the Town Square. It was a wide room at the heart of the fortress, serving as a parade ground.-
[02:55] <Minaplo> [The slaughter was particularly dense here. His soldiers had raised the recessive barricades that turned the Town Square into rows of artificial surovite trenches, but it hadn't helped.-
[02:56] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi wandered through the rows, almost in a daze. He checked for survivors, but the Guard were thorough.-
[02:56] <Minaplo> [Suddenly he heard a noise to his right. He dove for cover-
[02:57] <Minaplo> [A figure emerged into the light from one of the corridors. A slim feminine figure wearing the white silk-and-carapace armour of a Phantom.-
[02:57] <Minaplo> [She stumbled for a few seconds, then fell on all fours near a pillar.-
[02:57] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi stared.-
[03:00] <Minaplo> [The phantom coughed for a few long seconds, then collapsed against the pillar. She didn't seem wounded, but she was disoriented and separated…-
[03:00] <Minaplo> [Her Adept's been killed…-
[03:01] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi cleared the barricades and approached her. He knelt down next to her.-
[03:01] <Minaplo> [She stared up at him: he saw his face reflected in the lenses of her helmet.-
[03:02] <Minaplo> [The voice flashed through his mind. Kill her.-
[03:02] <Minaplo> [Images swam through his head. Albus. The Ayanami. Their sickening mind control- his mind- hatred filled him-
[03:04] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi tightened his hands around her throat.-
[03:04] <Minaplo> [She choked; feebly she grabbed at his hands, but whatever trauma she'd experienced had pushed her out of her battlemind.-
[03:05] <Minaplo> [It was at that moment that he accidentally pressed the helmet release on her collar. The helmet collapsed away, revealing a face streaked with dirt and tears.-
[03:06] <Minaplo> [They stared at each other. Gadhavi saw red eyes, filled with fear and confusion-
[03:06] <Minaplo> [He sprang away from her as though he'd been burned.-
[03:06] <Minaplo> [He was falling apart.-
[03:07] <Minaplo> [There was no other term for it. Here he was, surrounded by the corpses of the men he'd sworn to protect, and he was so aberrant, so utterly broken by everything that he was following a command that had not been given except in the psychological shadow projected across his mind by the actions of his tormentor.-
[03:09] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi saw things. Things he had seen but ignored, now coming into sharp focus, cutting him with truths he hated. It was as though the entire world had begun to swirl around him in such a blur that all he could see were shapes, but as time went on the shapes turned into memories, the memories of every sin he'd ever committed.-
[03:10] <Minaplo> [He collapsed on the ground and sobbed. He didn't bother trying to hide or control it.-
[03:16] <Minaplo> [In that moment, Gadhavi saw himself and unequivocally hated what he saw.-
[03:17] <Minaplo> […-
[03:17] <Minaplo> [Heavy footfalls on the ground. The Phantom squeaked.-
[03:18] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi looked up, pulled suddenly out of his grief.-
[03:18] <Minaplo> [An Iron Guard had entered the room. This one was a little brawnier than the others. It bore a sword and a shield; both were covered with gore.-
[03:19] <Minaplo> ["You!" It roared- it had a woman's voice.-
[03:19] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi's mouth went dry.-
[03:20] <Minaplo> [The Iron Guard laughed; her voice was harsh and her laugh was cruel. "Narendra Gadhavi!" She cried.-
[03:21] <Minaplo> ["Yes?" He said dumbly.-
[03:21] <Minaplo> ["Consider yourself a prisoner." Said the Guard. "Yes, you'll do…"-
[03:21] <Minaplo> [Dimly he saw the edging on her shield beneath the blood; the word 'Helen' had been engraved across one surface.-
[03:22] <Minaplo> [Still he didn't move. "We're prisoners…?"-
[03:22] <Minaplo> ["You are." Said Helen. "This one's dead, though."-
[03:22] <Minaplo> [The Phantom shrank away, scrambling helplessly away.-
[03:23] <Minaplo> ["Why…? She's done." Said Gadhavi.-
[03:23] <Minaplo> ["Phantoms." Spat Helen. "They like to pretend to surrender, to be helpless- that's when they get you…"-
[03:24] <Minaplo> [Was that right? Like pretending to be dead near a bear?-
[03:27] <Minaplo> [Helen began walking toward the Phantom; the Guard raised her sword. Gadhavi didn't care.-
[03:28] <Minaplo> [Was that right? Somehow he wasn't so sure… Perhaps he had just given up, finally. Helen would execute the Phantom. He would be a prisoner, paraded back to France. The Director of NERV, plucked from Panama after his latest and greatest failure.-
[03:29] <Minaplo> [Then he would spend the rest of the war in a Federation cell. The Feds would offer to sell him back for a ransom, but the UN would wisely refuse.-
[03:30] <Minaplo> [But if he somehow fought and escaped? He would return to the UN. This would be one failure too many. He'd be stripped of his position, punished in other ways. He would lose the respect of his men, deservedly- he had failed so many of their brothers and sisters. He would spend the rest of the war as a nobody- worse than a nobody, a failure.-
[03:30] <Minaplo> [Whether he stood up or stayed down didn't change the outcome. Gadhavi was ruined.-
[03:31] <Minaplo> [Resist…-
[03:31] <Minaplo> [But was that right? The outcome didn't matter.-
[03:31] <Minaplo> [Get up.-
[03:31] <Minaplo> [Not for him, anyway. He was doomed either way.-
[03:31] <Minaplo> [You're not the man you think you are.-
[03:32] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi stood up.-
[03:32] <Minaplo> ["No movements." Said Helen harshly.-
[03:32] <Minaplo> ["Go to hell." Snapped Gadhavi.-
[03:32] <Minaplo> [There was silence.-
[03:33] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi took another step; he grabbed the Phantom's hand and dragged her sharply behind him.-
[03:33] <Minaplo> ["What are you doing?" Snarled Helen.-
[03:33] <Minaplo> ["This one is under my protection." Said Gadhavi. "So now, Guard, you will leave. Or I will kill you."-
[03:34] <Minaplo> [Helen laughed.-
[03:35] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi reacted immediately; he threw out his right arm. From the back of his armour came a whoosh; then, a small rod about two feet in length flew out and into his hand.-
[03:36] <Minaplo> [The top end of the rod ended in a heavy mace-like sphere, whilst the bottom telescoped out, terminating in a small round hole at the very bottom.-
[03:36] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi gripped it with both hands and smashed it as hard as he could into Helen's left kneecap.-
[03:38] <Minaplo> [Helen's laugh instantly turned into a roar of pain. The Guard staggered back for a moment. The armour had been dented and damaged- the macehead had been pneumatic, multiplying the force of the swing.-
[03:39] <Minaplo> [But Helen countered, ramming her shield into his chest. The blow sent him off his feet. He flew back a metre and hit the ground hard.-
[03:41] <Minaplo> [He rolled, leapt to his feet, but Helen was already on him, bringing her positron sabre down on his head.-
[03:42] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi swung his left arm up, and a positron wave burst from it like a fire or a sword. He caught her sword on the edge, and positron struck positron; the sword was stopped.-
[03:43] <Minaplo> [Nonetheless the force nearly sent him to his knees. He went with it, tucking into a roll backwards. He swung his staff upwards as he rose, nearly catching Helen on the chin; she leaned back a milisecond before, then swung out with her sword.-
[03:45] <Minaplo> [She had natural reach over him, and the sword nearly caught him across the chest; he leapt away, and caught his footing on the shoulder pad of a fallen Stormtrooper. He toppled, again.-
[03:48] <Minaplo> [He wasn't able to rise in time; Helen swung down towards him. He jinked to the left; the sword buried itself into the chest of the dead trooper.-
[03:49] <Minaplo> [That gave him a shaved second longer to jump to his feet. Gadhavi braced himself behind his staff and lunged toward Helen's face.-
[03:50] <Minaplo> [She smashed it away with her shield, but didn't stop; the parry turned into a shoulder charge. She caught him against the chest, then threw her weight against him. Once again he fell with enough force to jerk the air from his lungs.-
[03:51] <Minaplo> [Helen drove her shield into his head; his vision swam. She struck again, and he only barely managed to bring his shoulder up in time to deflect the blow; even then he felt the blow jut through his bones.-
[03:52] <Minaplo> [He couldn't wriggle free, and he didn't have the space to strike back.-
[03:52] <Minaplo> [Helen lifted her shield, preparing for another strike-
[03:53] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi pulled his legs up to his chest and kicked against her shield. At the same time he hit the jets of his suit.-
[03:53] <Minaplo> [He skidded quickly across the ground, the squeal of his armour against the metal ground ringing in his ears. Gadhavi kicked wildly, trying to regain his footing-
[03:54] <Minaplo> [Helen lifted her sword up to her shoulder and charged; her roar drowned out the shrieking metal.-
[03:55] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi smacked his staff-end into the ground; he turned sharply to the left, out of her path. With a sharp jerk of the head he cut his jets and tumbled to his feet.-
[03:56] <Minaplo> [But Helen turned almost as quickly, and Gadhavi would realise that he was up against a wall.-
[03:57] <Minaplo> [He snapped out his left arm and fired half a dozen knives toward her. Helen promptly lifted her shield and caught them-
[03:57] <Minaplo> [But a moment later they exploded, causing her shield to jerk; she stumbled.-
[03:59] <Minaplo> [His body groaned and his head still rung, but he had to act fast. He burned his positron flame and slashed it into the wall, carving out a little alcove. Into this he jabbed his staff.-
[03:59] <Minaplo> [Helen had recovered, and was preparing to charge; this time however Gadhavi acted first.-
[04:00] <Minaplo> [He ran towards her as quickly as he could, positron flame at the ready. Helen raised her shield; the surface of it shimmered with the telltale sign of an AM coat.-
[04:00] <Minaplo> [He slashed- she parried-
[04:01] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi leapt, the jets carrying him over her head. He fired his daggers at her, but she smashed them out of the air with her sword.-
[04:01] <Minaplo> [He landed, but Helen was already facing him. Now, however, she was between him and the wall.-
[04:01] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi clenched his right hand.-
[04:01] <Minaplo> [Helen ignored it; she raised her sword-
[04:02] <Minaplo> [At that moment, Gadhavi's staff propelled itself out of the wall and smashed square into the back of her armour's power pack.-
[04:03] <Minaplo> [A moment later the head exploded, tearing through her chest and destroying the pack entirely. Helen went up in flames.-
[04:03] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi felt the heat on his face; he turned away, reflexing lifting his arms to shield himself from the heat.-
[04:03] <Minaplo> [But Helen wasn't dead.-
[04:03] <Minaplo> [She swung; the edge of her sword caught him across both arms.-
[04:04] <Minaplo> [For a moment, the air seemed still; Gadhavi's eyes widened. He stared down at himself-
[04:04] <Minaplo> [his right arm had been severed at the elbow; his left had been just a few inches past the wrist.-
[04:05] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi staggered backward.-
[04:06] <Minaplo> [This last act of spite had been all Helen's burning brain had been able to handle, however, and now her burning carcass toppled to the ground.-
[04:06] <Minaplo> [A few seconds later, Gadhavi did the same.-
[04:07] <Minaplo> [His body was convulsing. Curiously, he didn't feel any pain.-
[04:07] <Minaplo> [Perhaps he was going into shock…-
[04:08] <Minaplo> [The ragged remains of his arms now hung across his torso, oozing blood over his armour. Too much of it… He was going to bleed out.-
[04:08] <Minaplo> ["Haha." He chuckled darkly. "One down, a hundred to go. I can take 'em."-
[04:09] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[04:09] <Minaplo> [His vision was darkening. It felt strange and warm, wherever he was…-
[04:09] <Minaplo> […-
[04:09] <Minaplo> [Someone was lifting his right arm.-
[04:10] <Minaplo> [He groaned, his vision swimming back into focus as his armour delivered a sudden cocktail of stimulants into his system. Suddenly the pain kicked in; Gadhavi let out a short, sharp scream.-
[04:11] <Minaplo> [The Phantom was kneeling next to him; she had her arm in her hands.-
[04:12] <Minaplo> [She'd removed her chestplate, and a moment later Gadhavi would realise why; every second she'd reach toward the little red gem in her chest, pinch the tip and pull a long spool of angelic silk from it. As she applied it to his stump it took on an odd rubbery consistency, almost oozing into his wounds…-
[04:13] <Minaplo> [Sealing them.-
[04:13] <Minaplo> [She worked quickly and carefully on his right arm; before long she was done, and had moved onto his left.-
[04:14] <Minaplo> ["Angel silk." He murmured. "Of course. Armour that seals your wounds."-
[04:14] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi began to laugh.-
[04:14] <Minaplo> […-
[04:14] <Minaplo> […-
[04:16] <Minaplo> [He swam back into consciousness. JB and Choi were pulling him up. For a moment he allowed himself the spark of anger- they came back for him! The fools!-
[04:16] <Minaplo> [… But beyond that he felt a light of simple happiness blossom. They came back for him.-
[04:17] <Minaplo> [The Phantom was helping too- lifting his legs…-
[04:17] <Minaplo> […-
[04:17] <Minaplo> [He saw the stars.-
[04:17] <Minaplo> [The air was warm and heavy…-
[04:18] <Minaplo> ["We're nearly there." He heard someone say. Choi, perhaps…-
[04:18] <Minaplo> ["Thank you." Mumbled Gadhavi. "I'm sorry…"-
[04:18] <Minaplo> ["Don't be." She whispered.-
[04:18] <Minaplo> ["…"-
[04:18] <Minaplo> [Gadhavi closed his eyes, and his awareness faded away.]

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