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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:23 am 
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For the entire duration of the conversation, Lumina has been sitting on a desk nearby, unmoving and unspeaking, Naomi sitting quietly in her lap. Listening to the conversations but with nothing she feels important enough to add, she passed the time scratching Naomi's ear and reflecting thoughtfully on the mission come to pass.

At the revelation of the student Arbiter's souls, Lumina stands up and looks down at herself and Naomi for a better view. Lumina's soul is a constantly rippling and shimmering mass of clear, crystal encased liquid. Floating around inside the crystalline orb of liquid are tiny geodes inscribed with semi-distorted runes the size of pebbles, no more than a handful of them. No lock is in evidence on her soul. It takes a moment, but those who look closely can see inside Naomi, too. The Shift has a soul of its own. A great deal tinier than Lumina's, Naomi's soul is hard to see underneath the chains and locks of foreign Ether that encase it.

Frowning, Lumina thinks upon herself for a moment and focuses on her own soul. The runes on the geodes abruptly start to shine, the solid crystal surface rippling and distorting in on itself as Lumina compresses her own soul. Within seconds, her soul contracts and expands, spinning like a top as it does. The geodes are forced to touch with the crystal shell by the centrifugal energy, the runes shining bright and pushing themselves through the surface to become blades. The spinning saw of Lumina's soul approaches Naomi's soul, shearing away at the chains binding it. Almost immediately, Naomi doubles in size, her own soul tearing its way free of the chains and becoming a single rune inscribed ribbon of great length. The ribbon darts about the classroom for a second before surging back at Lumina, twining itself around her and floating gently above her skin.

Lumina's soul stops spinning, the runes sinking back into the liquid to become geodes once more. Every so often a rune will fall off the ribbon into the crystal and become a geode. Every now and again a geode will rise to the surface, floating free of the crystal and becoming one with the ribbon.

Lumina falls to her knees, wrapping her arms around Naomi. "I had no idea, Naomi. I didn't know that's what happened... You must have been hurting, being bound like that for so long..." Naomi nudges up against Lumina, Ether releasing itself from her fur and flooding into Lumina's body as she does.

[Unlock Limiter – Spiritual Suppression]

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:00 pm 
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Shortly after Athena makes a note in her shift, Asch snaps her fingers under her desk, seemingly at random

As Asch's soul rises in to sight, the class can see it as a single ball of weave divided in to two hemispheres. One side is blue, the color of her Duster; the other is red, the color of Ashley's dress. Dividing the hemispheres is a single long gold binding around the circumference of the ball of weave. Asch looks down at it as she tries to determine what is most holding her back...

Once she has decided, she compresses her soul and focuses, expanding it and releasing the limits that have held her body back.

[Unlock Limiter - Physical Suppression]

"A detective needs to be fit of body as well as fit of mind. Especially with where we will be going next. I vote for the stealth escort as well."

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:31 pm 
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The Awakener seems nonplussed as the ominous orb of its soul is revealed. A number of comparatively large bands of Weave, folded over themselves, gently writhing in a serpentine manner. With the band of ether around them, only traces of the dark sphere in the center can be seen. However, as the Awakener focuses, the bands of ether pulse outwards, shattering the thin bond on its soul... And then the true form of what lies beneath becomes quickly apparent.

The center of the Awakener's soul is an endless hole in space, seemingly infinitely deep. Around it, there is a faint red luminescence, shifting to blue, then violet, and then into the ultraviolet spectrum as Ether begins to be pulled into or around it and then into it. Around it, not many bands but one single band now drifts lazily, looping around the Awakener then coiling in on itself. There is no start or finish - simply a perfect loop, its planes running parallel to the dark sphere brneat them. On the surface, the sides, and beneath it, countless runes have been inscribed... But a closer examination shows that this is not quite the case. Rather, it is the same rune, repeated over and over again - and with a closer look into the darkness of the sphere, it becomes evident that the same rune glows within it with a faint, eerie light that nevertheless reaches out of the infinite abyss of its soul.

The Final Rune. The Rune of the End, repeated over and over forever on the band of its Weave.

If the Awakener has any thoughts on the souls of the others, it does not give voice to them. It simply examines the new pull of Ether into the chasm of its soul, and says "It appears that our decision has been made. Let us assist with the transport mission."

OOC: Spiritual Suppression released.

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 5:42 pm 
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When Athena reveals everyone's souls, the others get a brief glimpse of Harmony's... two huge, great Weaves, one solid and glowing with strength, the other... broken. Scarred. All throughout, as if it had been torn to shreds and put back together piece by piece. But somehow... in some way... that torn soul is healing. The others also may notice that the broken soul is being held away from the whole soul, as if to prevent the two from joining together - bound away by some unseen force. A force that seems to be tied to... MUSE? Harmony looks down... seeing her own soul for the first time.

Harmony’s twin Weaves clench in on themselves… and then explode with power, easily thrusting aside the Limiter.

A complex range of expressions go across Harmony’s face as she freezes at the sight of her own soul and MUSE zips in front of her face. Confusion, anger, sadness, anger again, more confusion… she sits down in her chair with a thump and a blank look on her face. MUSE twitches slightly, and suddenly Harmony’s soul is veiled from view. The sphere turns, to the point you almost get the feeling that it is looking at Athena… and bobs up and down in what seems close to a tired nod.

[Unlock Limiter – Mental Suppression]

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 24, 2013 8:42 pm 
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Serpico's soul surfaces, and it is....hard to see. There are many colors in it, like flowing paint, but it also shifts and spins so much that it is indistinct, a blur of random form and shape. It pulses from within with an indistinct light, as if the blur is only a shell over something else, but this is a vague impression.

He appraises it for a moment, then shrugs, and focuses his choice. "Always felt my mind takes me the furthest."

He compresses it with a quick movement, cramming it down into a point, and then it pops free.
[unlock limiter - mental suppression]

"So, the escort mission, was it?"

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 12:04 am 
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As everyone shakes off the invasive shackles their souls fade away inside their bodies again. Athena looks up at Chandi, "This is part of why I wanted you all to experience your deaths in training with me... get the embarrassment of being 'naked' in front of your teammates out of the way, but noooo," she gives a warm smile, "you all had to go and kick my ass!" She nods at Chandi with a more stern look, "This is the first step in learning to control that scar of yours... I think you may have an understanding now of what sets it off. Will you avoid it? Or will you control it?"

At the mention of the missions goals she adjusts her glasses, "Get whatever information you can when you can; use your best judgement on how to obtain it. As for the scout, they've yet to be chosen. We have quite a few Arbiters of the 'Scout' class - meaning they are good at getting someplace quickly and getting out again. Once we get information from them, I can relay it to you. As for communication... well I'm about to get to that." A wink at Chandi.

She walks over to Lumina and gives Naomi a pet, "I assure you, no physical harm was done to her Lumina. I deeply apologize for any mental trauma she may have suffered under the chains... I am afraid it always comes down to an argument for my students when they are chained that ends with 'you either let them be chained or you don't teach them.' Lucky for all of you, I was able to skip the rest of the ridiculous restrictions and rank privilege systems they normally apply. Your teacher has some sway around here!"

She walks back towards the front of the classroom with a hint of a glance at Asch, "You are all getting used to each other by now... bonds formed in battle are strong indeed. But I implore... do not be shy with each other. If you see something out of place, such as an alternate personality, don't by shy about asking. If the person doesn't wish to reply, they will say so. At the very least you need to learn all of you powers and quirks less you be fooled by the simplistic of tricks and illusions."

She notes Harmony's distress, but at the bob from MUSE she lets it be for now. "Now, your mission and your challenge..." she claps her hands, "Communication was an issue on the last world wasn't it? Normally an Arbiter team can communicate freely with headquarters and get advice from higher ranking officers and teachers. There's a caveat to such a privilege... some Gods abuse the hell out of it." She purses her lips, "The more an Arbiter depends on advice, the less of a reliable God they seem. They will be given less difficult missions and tend not to go anywhere in ranking. Those Gods who do not use it, or only use it sparingly, tend to go much further in the ranks an eventually end up being the ones who are asked these questions. My challenge is thus!" She snaps her fingers and each Arbiter had a white small rune appears at their temple and sink into it, fading away. "I've given you all communication runes... they don't draw from your power at all, think of them like a headset. Simply think to activate them, or press two fingers to your temple to switch it on. Right now they only communicate with me... when you are done with you trials, they will go fully active and give you full access to the communications hub here at HQ."

A sly grin appears on her face, "Your challenge is not to use them." She gives pause to let her words sink in, "You can use these to talk to me anytime... and you can get advice from me with them. If you ask me a question on them during your mission, I will answer you openly and honestly. As a group, I am giving you three passes... this is as a group, not per person. If someone asks me a question, you lose a pass. If you go through the entire mission without ever seeking advice, you will get a great bonus reward at the completion of the mission. If you use it once, a nice reward;twice, a small reward; three times or more? Well then you'll get the normal upgrade at the end of the mission and nothing more. Understood?"

She opens her book and two sets of seven runes begin to fly around the room and attach themselves to each Arbiter. "These are hyper-flight and stealth runes... once again, they aren't something you control. You will be joining the ship in space on it's flight... being a God, space will not harm you - but these ships can move near-light speed and at your current level you'd be left in the space dust. So when you hit the vacuum these runes will activate - one will let you fly at the ships speed and the other will cloak you from radar and sight, making you match the space around you; you'll still be able to see each other. If you use any runes, the stealth will break - and I mean one of you casting anything will break everyone's stealth. These humans are not to be underestimated; their technology is impressive and even the simplest of runes can set off their sensors. If you need to cast Runes, I recommend revealing yourself and approaching them openly. They do not care for Gods, but I rather think they'd be more angry if they caught you sneaking about." She raises a finger, "When the stealth Runes break, they will fade away and you will not be able to stealth again. If you make planetfall or get inside the ship, your speed runes will de-activate but remain, turning back on if you fly out into space again. They will be removed after the mission."

She presses a panel on the wall and the wall slides up, revealing a teleportation pad like in the main hub you all went to before. "The only reason you needed the hub-pad before is because of the quarentene around Ryuseii's world allowed the single-use transport of you all from there. You can use this one for the rest of your missions now." She leads everyone onto the pad, tapping the crystal ball on her desk - it shows the image of a small red transport ship in space. "I'll be watching you all again from here. Good luck, and be careful. If any raiding or battles break out, use your judgement. Decide if you should hold back and let it play out or reveal yourself and stop the fighting. Remember, your primary objective is to protect the humans above all else. If you can get information, do so. Are we clear?"

After answering, she starts the teleportation process. The room begins to bubble out and she smiles and waves as everyone begins to warp. As the room disapears, everyone hears Athena plainly ask, "Hmm, is that another ship?"

-------------------------------

The sudden transition from a pressured environment into deep space is... slightly disorientating. Those who were once mortal make expect blood to start boiling out and their flesh to freeze... but the only thing that happens is a dark rune going active and making everyone seem a little translucent to each other; it must be the stealth rune. The team is now undetectable. Breathing still seems to work somehow but it's a strange sensation to have air fill your lungs when there's nothing but void around you. A moment of experimenting reveals the air seems to be seeping from your weave when you inhale inside of your mouths.

Taking a quick look around reveals stars, a lot of stars; my god it's full of stars! And a massive planet covered in land and water. Oh and there's a small shining orb of a red sun far off in the distance lightning the planets side that faces it. The planet doesn't seem to have a visible moon. There's also a small red ship flying near the planet; it doesn't look like it's going to land on it, but seems like it may use it's gravity to slingshot it off into another direction.

Before anyone can speak a word, which feels rather odd because the sound is transmitted via ether, a second, slightly bigger white ship with robotic arms as long as it's hull slams a fist into the top of the other red ship. It appears to have jumped in out of nowhere and attacked without warning. As quick as it hit, it's somehow repelled away from the red ship like some invisible force slammed into it's bottom and shoved it away. As the Arbiters begin to react, the red ship opens fire on the white one with the most peculiar weapon... it fires out glowing blue orbs that explode near the white ship... and then the explosions seem to freeze mid-expansion. The blue spikey frozen balls hang in space, glowing with a orange inner light. The white ship fires back with red orbs that light up even the darkness of space. Even from this far away, the Arbiters can feel how hot the shots are.

The heat is emphasized by the fact that a near-miss with the red ship boiled away a part of it's hull, the damaged section explodes outwards, air blasting out of the ship trying to fill the endless void of space in vain. The breach only lasts a moment... then it's sealed from within by something large and wrinkly... closer inspection reveals the item plugging the hole to be a gigantic walnut. There is no other way to describe it; it's a giant walnut fused to the metal. The red ship extends it's own grappling arm from inside it's belly and grabs the hands on the other ships arms. They begin to dance around each other, twirling towards the large planet below them, still firing at each other.

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 10:57 am 
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Alexis' fight pattern wobbles. With no wind beneath his wings, how can he tell which way is up? With no air to conduct the sound, how can he echolocate?

...

"I'M BLIND! I CAN'T ECHOLOCATE!" he yells, beginning to panic just a little. And just how is one supposed to manage on vision alone? Why, he can hardly judge the distance from here to the two grappling ships!

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 1:42 pm 
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The Awakener looks to the others, and says "the white ship is an immediate threat to our mission. It is vital that we disable it immediately. I will provide you means of entry - should you enter the ship, you should be able to disable its combat systems and force it to release its target. I will direct the ships away from making planetfall, but can only defend them without revealing our existence for so long."

The Awakener then waits for everyone to gather, activates the Spiral Nemesis, and grinds the drill-like blade across the enemy ship, ripping open a wide hole for them to enter. It then places its metal hands against the surface of the ship, and with strength at the very limits of divinity, begins to push the white ship so that its engines angle away from the planet rather than towards it, setting the ships back on course to continue their slingshot.

[Arrange - Activate Spiral Nemesis]
[Aggress - Hull Breach]
[Arrange - Corrective Thrusters]

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 Post Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2013 4:39 pm 
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Asch nods at Awakener's sentiment. "I'll head on board... Be careful, though. Don't do anything to expose us."

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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:50 am 
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"No." objects Alexis, pulling himself together with an effort. "This is wrong. The time for stealth has passed - passed when the attack started. This is not the time to be sneaking around."

Alexis taps into his Sonic rune, reaching out to the red ship, creating a Sonic Link to allow sound to travel back and forth to the ship. "Hello, um, wooden cylinder! Looks like you could use some help. We're on our way."

His Shift flows to his tail, where it lengthens, creating a Dark Tail of incredible length; this he immediately wraps about the white ship, grabbing hold and squeezing.

Sonic Rune: Reveal presence, offer help
Shift: Create Dark Tail
Aggress: Squeeze white ship

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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 12:17 pm 
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Asch gives a sigh. "Or not..."

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 Post Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2013 2:08 pm 
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OOC - Well that's a game changer - replying now, Asch n Awakener since you're about to be revealed and you're slower than Alexis, I'm going to stop you from preforming your last two actions or else you'd be thrown into needless danger. I remind you all this is a game where I don't pull punches, and while some actions may help in the long run? Characters can make mistakes. They will have consequences, so sorry CCC, but Alexis is not going to enjoy this ^^"

Awakener and Asch are about to preform a little bit of sabotage and recon when Alexis decides that stealth really isn't needed. He casts a sonic rune, instantly shattering the stealth rune field around everyone. He gets a reply from the red ship along the lines of, "....what the hell was that." Alexis flies over and wraps a shift-enhanced tail around the white ship and begins to squeeze.

There's but a single moment where the ship begins to creak.

Then something new happens. A deep brown torn cloak seems to spiral out of nowhere, it swirls a few times and then fully expands, revealing itself wraped about the shoulders of a dark haired human with white streaks running on either side of his temples. He's short, wearing black clothing under the cloak, and standing in space completely unprotected. He peers up at Alexis with deep amber eyes and from under the cloak draws a katana that seems to be made of glowing metal - it shines like light.

It's at that time the Arbiters feel something incredibly strange... while their senses inform them that this person is indeed mortal, he begins to gather Ether... but it feels wrong. Almost like it's too perfect, it flows in almost a flawless pattern - everyone else's weave they've encountered changes, flows like water, gas or an ice flow... this is so perfect that it feels very unnatural.

He swings his light-blade... and it severs Alexis' shadow-shift like a hot knife through butter.

And then Alexis' tail splits in half, spraying blood into space while the bottom half floats away. The white ship is released, the black-haired human swings his cloak around himself and it spirals into a single point before disappearing. Then the white ship does something strange... with a second lurch of the too-perfect ether from within, the white ships hull extends into dozens of large spikes that slam into the hull of the red ship and appear to bend, forming hooks. Retro rockets from the bottom of the white ship explode with energy as both ships flip backward and scream downwards towards the planet, leaving Alexis floating bleeding in space.

Both ships have fire start to peel around them as they hit the atmosphere and fall downwards towards the ground. The stealth runes may be gone, but the space runes are still active and they somehow make you feel like diving down towards the planet is safe and they will protect you from burning up on entry. The ships aren't all that far down yet and the Arbiter's can catch up to them without spending any extra effort.

    —————————————>
    [Black Haired Human] HP [25/25] // Weave [80/90]
    <—————————————

    —————————————>
    [Alexis] HP [14/24] // EP [62/67] // SP [7] // RG [2] // RC [11] // PC [10]

    <Effects>
    [Missing Bottom Half of Tail]
    <Blessed Darkness> - Dark Runes cast at Half Cost, +1 Bonus Rolls
    <Ether Regen> - +5 Passive EP Regeneration per round
    <Echolocate> - Cannot be blinded, can scan for free action
    <Precise Strikes> - Allows you to physically attack with your Keen Stat instead of Edge
    <Light Body, Sharp Mind> - Retain 1 HP on Stun/Death, 3 Turn Cooldown
    <—————————————

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 Post Posted: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:14 am 
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Flashback

"Any of you may, at some point, find yourself losing a limb." Athena told her class. "An arm, a leg, perhaps a wing. In such a case, there are several ways to regain that limb - as long as your soul is not scarred. The first of these is simply to reattach it; the life does not flee from a severed limb immediately, and so with a bit of healing magic the missing limb can be restored. But make sure that, when doing so, you put it on the right way round. The second way to restore a lost limb..."

End flashback

Alexis grabs for his severed tail with his feet, holding it in place and lining up his stump so as to meet, end-to-end. He applies a touch of Dark, to heal the break and re-attach the tail - and his Shift.

Fire - why did it have to be fire...

He dives after the falling ships; he prepares to reach for his Cold rune, but revises this idea on Chandi's suggestion.

"Does anyone have any suggestions?" he asks.

Grab tail, position for reattachment
Dark Rune: Reattach tail
Sonic Rune: Communicate with red ship (see later post)

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 12:34 am 
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"Yes." Chandi says, a scowl on her face. "Next time you decide to blow our cover, try asking the rest of us what we think of the idea!" Chandi grimaces, trying to analyze the rapidly worsening situation. Finally she begins "Awakener, get down there and see if you can push those ships back up. At the very least, End their movement. Lumina, Confidence Rune. Boost yourself and help Awakener. Serpico, see if you can use your Speed Rune in reverse. Slow them down, or make us faster. Asch, do some detective work. Find out what makes the white ship and Brown Cloak tick, and what's wrong with that Weave. Harmony, boost whatever runes you can. Preferably what'll help Awakener, Serpico, and Lumina. Alexis, get in contact with our ship. Since you aren't worried about keeping it secret, let them know why we're here, and see if they have anything that could help." Chandi starts moving towards the ships, keeping a steady pace, her Shift twisting and shaping itself along her arm.

[Arrange - Bracelet Shape Change: Shield]

"Leave Brown Cloak to me. Just be ready for a sudden shift, but other than that, focus on keeping our mission from going up in flames." Chandi focuses her own senses on the full area, watching for any sign of the reappearance of the intruder with the strange Weave. Prepping herself to jump in and strike back at whatever action he takes.

[Setup Rune: Change - Change Places]
[Arrange - Counter Brown Cloak]

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 Post Posted: Thu Jan 31, 2013 1:30 am 
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There is a surprised sound from MUSE as it sees the blade of light.

"IT CANNOT BE." The voice of the Core Program emits from the sphere.

"MUSE?"

"GUARD YOUR SHADOW. IF THAT WAS HIM..."

"You know who that was?"

There is a silence from MUSE.

"I AM NOT CERTAIN. THE MAN I KNEW COULD KILL YOU BY ATTACKING YOUR SHADOW - AN ASSASSIN, NAMED KANON. DAMAGE YOUR SHADOW TOOK WAS DAMAGE YOU TOOK. IF HE CUT OFF THE HEAD OF YOUR SHADOW..."

"How do you know him?"

"HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE OPPOSING FORCE IN A WAR. A WAR BETWEEN PLANETS. A MEMBER OF AN ELITE FORCE, HIGH UP IN THEIR RANKS."

"What happened to him?"

"HE HAD A... DISAGREEMENT WITH HIS LAST EMPLOYER'S METHODS. HE OBJECTED TO THE KILLING OF INNOCENTS. OUR FORCES HAPPENED TO BE THERE AT THE TIME WHEN HE ... TURNED IN HIS RESIGNATION."

"So it could be him?"

"HIS LAST EMPLOYER DIDN'T TAKE HIS RESIGNATION TOO WELL. HE WAS... FIRED... INSTEAD."

"You mean he was killed?"

"I MEAN HE TRIED TO KILL HIS EMPLOYER AND HIS EMPLOYER OBJECTED. VIOLENTLY. LETHALLY. THEY BOTH DIED."

There is a pensive silence as MUSE hovers around Harmony, watching the distant ballet of the two connected ships.

"HE WAS A GOOD MAN, IN HIS WAY. THE HONORABLE ASSASSIN. BUT IF HE IS HERE..."

"What?"

"THE OTHERS OF THAT FORCE COULD BE HERE AS WELL."

There is a soft hissing sound, full of anger and hate. Harmony is startled to find it coming from MUSE.

"Who are they?"

"THE ENEMY. THEY TRIED TO KILL HIM - MY MASTER. AND IF THEY ARE HERE, TODAY..."

There is cold silence as MUSE seems to look in the direction of the ships.

"THEY WILL WISH THEY'D NEVER BEEN REBORN."

Harmony eyes MUSE. "First things first. How can we stop those ships?"

"WE DON'T. LET THEM CRASH ON THE PLANET AND WE CAN PICK THROUGH THE REMAINS. PROBLEM SOLVED."

"MUSE!"

"...OR YOU COULD HELP YOUR COLLEAGUES SLOW THE SHIPS DOWN. YOU KNOW THE SONGS. JUST... WATCH YOUR SHADOW."

"Even better... what if I have no shadow?"

Harmony flashes into action, using the high speed Rune Athena gave them to get ahead of the ships. She Tunes herself to the thread of Light and uses it to glow softly in the darkness, a being of light that leaves no shadow, even as she maneuvers herself right in front of the ships... from what you can tell, she's about to try and catch/slow them like Superman trying to stop an airplane from crashing.

################

You know, on one hand, the glowiness strikes me as an excellent idea.

/On the other hand... isn't she a big, glowing target right now?/

################

[Arrange - Harmony Rune - Tune to Light]
[Arrange - Support - Light: Piano (Glow softly)]
[Avert - Superman CATCH!]

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