When Routine Isn't [Private w/ Ax L Rose]

This area is outside of Vale's walls, but within a relatively safe distance of the city.
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Terra Fennel
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:00 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Female
Race: Wolf Faunus (Ears and Tail)
Aura Color: Lavender
Occupation: Medic
Semblance Name: Sal Norn
Weapon Name: Peregrine

A routine support mission was how it had been explained to her. A team on a patrol mission had run into trouble and sent out a distress call requesting support and possible extraction. Team QRTZ was a group of first years who's patrol was in an area that typically wasn't even as dangerous as a normal security node route, simply due to the fact it was within the security network that protected Vale. If anything particularly dangerous had been detected would have resulted in a full team of third or fourth years, or even a proper huntsman.

That was where her mind had been as the bullhead had lifted off, the normal jokes on the pilot's lips, excitement over flying again, and a sense of comfort coming over the wolf as she recognized the third year student who's lead she'd be following. Comfort that shattered as three scrolls received another alert. The team leader's aura had broken. The vital signal beside the name Almond Quill on her scroll confirmed he was still alive, but with two other members of his team in the red, and the last member, their range specialist not far off, there was no longer anything routine.

As her heart raced from what had happened, a gauntleted hand offered a small earbud that the wolf expected would be for communication. The sound of an old rock instrumental brought her back to Remnant, a reminder of who she was partnered with. Ax, the axe wielding rocker she'd been paired with once before, and far more capable in a fight than most other students she could be with. More importantly, one that new her capabilities. Their mission had changed, but who they were hadn't. From that moment, the flight was a blur as the wolf confirmed what she could about the medical information regarding each student. There had been no hesitation as she raided the Bullhead's first aid supplies for anything she might have been missing with the change in situation.

A blistering pace created a roaring wind that had drowned out her quiet words to confirm any relevant information about the team. Each member was a human, their kingdom's of origin a likely useless detail, but noted with the same focus in her mind as the one who had a replacement left eye that would limit certain kinds of dust from being used in recovery. So focused had she been that she'd nearly missed the fact she could hear the pilot speaking, confirming they were above a drop point near the endangered team, and the extraction coordinates less than a mile away. Close enough that they could easily get to it even if they needed to drag members of the team with them. A drop that happened without ceremony for the medic. A touch of wind and fire slowing her decent without her normal theatrics.

A routine support mission was how it started. Now, with their objective a just over a hundred feet away from them behind several trees on a rocky hillside, a Deathstalker was slamming its huge pincers into the small cave entrance where a rifle shot rung out striking against its hardened carapace to little effect. The word routine was something she'd never trust again, but at least they knew where the team was, and so far they were all alive. Ten creeps lingered near the larger grimm, seeming to wait for it to flush the students out. One of them tried to climb over the creature into the cave only for a precise shot to blow clean through it turning it into a cloud of black mist. Nine creeps...

“However you want to do this, I'll follow your lead.” There was a touch of fear in her voice, but it seemed neither her nor Ax had been noticed, or at the very least weren't nearly as enticing as the first years pinned in the cave. What was a Deathstalker's weakness again? Wasn't it the spots between the plates? At least she knew that she could take out the creeps with ease, but that had likely been team QRTZ's thoughts too.
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Ax L Rose
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:27 pm
Age: 22
Gender Identity: Female
Race: Faunus - Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Aura Color: Electric Blue
Occupation: Student / Workshop Assistant
Semblance Name: Affinity
Weapon Name: Electra Heart

Ax's eyes had been shut throughout most of the Bullhead trip, an instrumental rock classic playing in her ears. She let the music take hold of her, keeping her focused and grounded in the present. She ran herself through a simple exercise - shifting and redirecting the flow of power between her cybernetic arm, her gauntlet, and her greaves using her aura. The subtle thrum of elemental energy flowing through her was functionally almost invisible, save for brief flickers of static and flashes of blue light from the occasional visible spark.

She knew that some first years had called for support initially on a low-priority channel, which meant that only a little extra support was warranted according to mission coordinators. Ax was a two-person relief team composed of a specialist for handling injuries - Terra - and herself; a specialist for handling an unexpected number of what Ax's training would define as Class II Grimm. She didn't get nervous before assignments anymore like she used to, but it was worth it to do everything she could to be as focused on the mission as possible before she dropped...

...but then the alert came. High priority signal. Ax glanced down at her scroll and frowned. That wasn't good. An organized team falling apart like this was a bad sign, even if it was first years... Ax had reviewed their dossiers on the way. This bunch wasn't just some bunch of incompetent kids. Either they'd really fucked up somehow, or something very unexpected happened.

Ax exhaled a breath and dismissed the alert. She knew what she needed to know. Agonizing over events she couldn't control could compromise her composure. She needed to be alert and at her best. She and Terra were the only reinforcements in position to quickly support, so they'd just have to make it work as best they could, or at least buy time for additional support if it was really ugly. The same song was still playing when Ax handed over an earbud with a small confident little grin, hoping to help give Terra's mind something to focus on and to help them be more in sync. It usually helped when she worked with Nym, at least.

Her eyes flicked over to look at Terra as she started to gather some supplies. Then Ax was up, according to the pilot. She rose from her spot, cracking open her case beside her, raising the blade of Electra Heart and resting the blade on her back where it floated in place, locked to a magnetic holster under her cropped jacket-top. She reached up to grab the bar above the drop doors, peering out in the direction her scroll indicated she needed to go. A bird's eye view wasn't helping - too much cover and foliage despite the clear drop zone.

"Roger that. Deploying," Ax confirmed. She led the drop, raising her arms out and letting herself fall from the ship. She let her body slowly rotate forward once before her greaves kicked in, slowing her fall to an easy glide. Her feet and a single fist hit the ground with a heavy thud, muted slightly by the soft ground and the grass. She heard Terra land behind her soon after.

They were at the edge of a clearing, and Ax could see ahead what had been obscured by the trees from above. A Deathstalker. 'Definitely warrants a high priority alert for a first-year team'. Ax rose her hand and gripped Electra Heart in her left hand. She heard Terra behind her.

"I'll take the pressure off the team first. Watch the little ones."

Ax's voice was stoic, yet confident and firm like she was accustomed to giving orders. With that, her feet left the ground and she dashed forth, the air and wind rippling around her as she rapidly accelerated, levitating along the ground. A second later her feet hit the ground at a sprint. She extended her right arm out as she closed in a bit, moving between the trees to line up a clear shot, her cybernetic arm splitting apart at the wrist. Blue electricity thrummed ominously as she thrust her arm out like a cannon. Deathstalkers were a Class III threat. Their armor plating covered most of their tail, but there was one weak point Ax favored the most... the tip of the tail, just below the stinger.

An arc of flashing blue light lanced out in an instant, striking precisely at the end of the beast's tail from behind. The creature screeched, the end of the beast's tail outright severed and burnt into nothing - the ominous glowing stinger fell heavily onto the creature's head, the tail thrashing wildly and uselessly. While the stinger was partially embedded in the scorpion-grimm's upper plate and the beast was clearly disoriented, it began to turn on uneasy legs toward Ax, recognizing that there was now a threat more deserving of its attention.

Easy. A Deathstalker could be surprisingly fast and resilient at their peak, but they could be stunned and staggered. Precision was key, and Ax knew the exact amplitude needed to efficiently sever the tail. She grinned, but her smirk faded the moment she saw the creeps advancing toward her in a pack. She darted backward and to the side, strafing away between the trees and using them to slow the creeps, keeping the Deathstalker in her peripheral vision. She kept distance pretty easily, her feet leaving the ground again as she dashed back. Her arm retracted into its normal shape before she raised her weapon like an instrument, strumming a riff that would've sounded perfectly suited to the song she'd been listening to on the way to the drop zone. Electric power built quickly, orbs coalescing into being all around her as her feet touched the ground again.

"...unruly crowd, but I think I can manage," Ax murmured with a grin.
----------
The star will shine,
And then it will fall,
And you will forget it all.
Terra Fennel
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:00 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Female
Race: Wolf Faunus (Ears and Tail)
Aura Color: Lavender
Occupation: Medic
Semblance Name: Sal Norn
Weapon Name: Peregrine

“Understood.” Truly it was as good an order as she could have hoped for. As things stood, the other team was in a defensible position where the Deathstalker could not reach them, and if any of the creeps tried to get in without that armor plated monstrosity, their sniper could take them out. Another quick glance at the teams vitals showed all four were alive. That wouldn't change now that backup had arrived. That meant her own objective would be to follow Ax's initial charge, and once the avian had the attention of the grimm, deal some devastating damage of her own, and hopefully help create a weakpoint in the Deathstalker.

The forest took on a blue hue as Ax released her first attack to get the beasts attention, a devastating strike that created an opening in the Deathstalker's armor. Golden eyes blinked once and the world had already returned to its normal shades of greens and browns, the golden stinger embedded in a thick carapace holding her attention only long enough for her to commit it to memory. A plan would form in the back of her mind as she darted between trees silently, easily skating on a patch of ice rapidly forming and vanishing under her feet. There were nine targets more suited to her attention than the beast Ax had already wounded after all.

Terra drug her nails down her forearm pulling loose numerous threads of aura that trailed behind her as she skated between the trees. Flickering threads of lavender lingered in her wake like a web. Ax's initial hit had been enough to get even the Creeps attention, and without the fear that had plagued her on their last mission, she was invisible to them at the moment. The sound of guitar and the buzzing of electricity guided her direction, and helped her finish her plan.

“Flow!” Lavender shifted to a deep ocean blue, and the sound of crashing water followed her voice. A crystal of matching blue glowed behind her ear as she broke from between a pair of trees with a mad smile on her face and in the thick of the pack of creeps. One turned to snap at the wolf only for its jaws to close well behind where she'd been. A torrent of water slammed into the pack of creeps encroaching on the rocker pulling, the water rolling in on itself in her wake to pull them with her. It was impossible to know if they were all trapped in the wave of water, but those that were would be carried right back to the Deathstalker. The hard part was getting them there without getting pinched.

As the golden stinger came back into view Terra quickly reached a hand up to grab a tree branch overhead to swing herself on top of the branch. The wolf used her free hand to direct the watery payload of creeps into the air before arcing back down, the weight of all the creatures she'd trapped and a wave of water hammering the stinger like a nail. Not a one of the creatures had been killed by her attack, but she could quickly count nine of the creatures staggering from the disorienting trip. That was all of them, more importantly, they and the Deathstalker were all drenched in dust made water.
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Ax L Rose
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:27 pm
Age: 22
Gender Identity: Female
Race: Faunus - Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Aura Color: Electric Blue
Occupation: Student / Workshop Assistant
Semblance Name: Affinity
Weapon Name: Electra Heart

The fastest way to fry these Creeps wasn't quite the same thing as the most efficient way to clear them out. Ax wasn't afraid to get in close if she had to. She had terrain here she could use pretty well against them - Creeps were fast and liked to swarm you, but they weren't agile the same way Beowolves were. She could thin a few out while they advanced and take the rest down with her axe. The Deathstalker was marching in, pincers ready to smash through the trees in its way... she stood her ground confidently nevertheless. Shining spheres of electric energy orbited near her, the light reflective and almost glowing in Ax's eyes...

And then Terra was there in the thick of them. Ax's hand flattened against the strings, the music pausing long enough for Ax to process what was happening - Terra tore through them with a literal wave in tow, washing the little bastards from the trees and nearer toward the cavern. Ax watched in bewilderment as Terra managed to not only ensnare the beasts in the wave, but also to arc it through the air and drive the combined force of the water and the dogpile of little monsters onto the Deathstalker. It was a big, splashy mess... while the force of Terra's water-based bullying had clearly disoriented and stunned the beasts, Ax snapped back to attention the moment she saw movement.

Well, that was as clear a sign as any. Ax unleashed one final riff with a dark chuckle at the utter lack of threat these monsters posed under the combined might of their dust-based attacks. If she were a Grimm, she'd have been embarrassed for this bunch. As she strummed the guitar one final time, she rose her arm and pointed outward. In rapid succession the orbs all launched forth in a brief sequence, each one launching just a microsecond later, linked together by thin beams of lightning. They exploded with an almost blinding flash as they clashed into the massive mess of monsters, but after the rapid flash of blinking exploding lights, all was silent. All that remained of their foe was smoldering black and smoke.

They had not only disintegrated all the small Grimm seemingly instantly with the help of Terra's setup, but Ax had also obliterated about half of the Deathstalker's body, which was now slowly blowing away as dust in the wind. One of the trees nearby had been blown into pieces, a sizeable bit of the grass around the scorpion's disintegrating form burnt to ash. That had been a pretty efficient use of dust on Ax's part. Maybe less so on Terra's, but when you couldn't kill things efficiently, it was best to kill them fast.

Ax strummed her strings one final time, discordant notes announcing her triumph as she lowered her guitar and the strings winked away. She gave the dead Deathstalker a lazy, one-handed salute and peered up at Terra on her perch.

"...well, can safely say I've never seen a dust act like that before. That'll do, new blood. That'll do," Ax raised her hands and began to gently clap, a small grin on her lips.
----------
The star will shine,
And then it will fall,
And you will forget it all.
Terra Fennel
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:00 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Female
Race: Wolf Faunus (Ears and Tail)
Aura Color: Lavender
Occupation: Medic
Semblance Name: Sal Norn
Weapon Name: Peregrine

The wolf had been on several missions since her first with the rocker, but it was that routine security check with Ax that had stuck out the most. The memory of a horde of beowolves that was followed by an creature that had been terror itself for the wolf, a King Taijitu. A kind of grimm that had almost devoured her once before. Ax's confidence had been infectious then, and the way they had fought together had stuck out to the wolf. They both had the fire power to bring down larger threats and the agility to avoid harm, though it was the avian's experience that had made that first fight so effective. The past few months had been spent practicing with her dust, learning more efficient methods, but thanks to Ax, she'd also added water to her repertoire so that one day she could synergize more effectively with her.

That synergy was on full display as gauntleted fingers played a riff on her guitar that the wolf could feel in her chest. Or maybe that was just the chunk of wood from an exploding tree that had struck her harmlessly thanks to her aura. Terra fully expected the creeps to fry in the light show, to be nothing more than a black mist and a grim memory, but that would still leave the Deathstalker. Except, after the electric lightshow and the crackle of electricity faded, there was silence and the remains of half a Deathstalker blowing away in the wind.

“Neither have I.” The wolf was at a loss for words as she jumped down, the immediate urgency of the situation quite literally vanishing before her eyes. She still had work to do once they entered the cave, but she had a couple moments to breath and take in what had happened. There was no sarcasm in Ax's praise or clapping though. A Deathstalker was a real threat, and it was just dead. It was hard not to be in awe of what they'd done. She was just a first year!

“I mean, I've been practicing water and lightning synergy with my dust for a bit in case we worked together again, but it's never been so potent.” Maybe it had to do with the attacks coming from two different people, their aura more focused on a specific element? It could just be Ax's raw power with lightning dust. Stars, what would they have been capable of if they had done that with her semblance linking the two of them? Resonance between them would result in far more power with even less dust and aura used.
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Ax L Rose
Posts: 224
Joined: Sat Feb 06, 2021 2:27 pm
Age: 22
Gender Identity: Female
Race: Faunus - Major Mitchell's Cockatoo
Aura Color: Electric Blue
Occupation: Student / Workshop Assistant
Semblance Name: Affinity
Weapon Name: Electra Heart

The sound of metal against metal accompanied each clap of Ax's hands. Aside from that, it was simply ambience in the forest now. Distant birds, the wind blowing through the trees...

"Grimm are all predictable. You can tell how much punishment they can take from their size, their plating..." Ax shrugged her shoulders gently. The damage she'd dealt to the beast with her more concentrated blast of electricity had also tenderized the big mean bastard too. Having its own stinger lodged in its body certainly didn't improve its ability to withstand extreme amplitude.

"I know what it takes to fry a lonely creep, but you multiply all the amplitude of each sphere together and get it all running through a streamlined conduit like that... I know what it takes to fry a big scorpion too." Ax explained laconically. There was obviously a lot more to this than that when it came to subtle interactions between dust and aura, but they definitely had other concerns. Ax turned toward the cave, raised Electra Heart onto the magnetic holster on her back, and began to jog toward the cave, motioning for Terra to follow.

"M'sure you'll get to the point where you can even create an on-the-fly strategy for handling them alone in time," Ax called back.

"I classify Grimm based on the strategies I devise to eliminate them. Deathstalkers are a multi-step process, but they're still a static formula pretty much, with a little wiggle room for improvisation should it be necessary. They're what I'd call a 'Class III'."

They still had a whole other matter to help these students with. Ax had a feeling Terra would be doing most of the work making sure the team they were relieving made it to their pickup point safe and sound.
----------
The star will shine,
And then it will fall,
And you will forget it all.
Terra Fennel
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Jun 16, 2021 10:00 pm
Age: 18
Gender Identity: Female
Race: Wolf Faunus (Ears and Tail)
Aura Color: Lavender
Occupation: Medic
Semblance Name: Sal Norn
Weapon Name: Peregrine

The thought that grimm were a predictable danger sounded like a fact that should be difficult to swallow, but each encounter she'd had with them lent the idea credence. Beowolves were savage and fast, quickly picking out vulnerable targets to ravage with claw and fang. Grimm in general were attracted to weak targets, but Beowolves took that a step further. Creeps and Boarbatusks had certain similarities in how they moved. Both had the ability to move faster than their form would suggest in a straight line through a leap or roll, but they both had a harder time changing direction. They would try to leap or roll past if they missed, meaning they'd be at a distance again and able to redirect safely. It wasn't a thought the wolf had ever considered before Ax pointed it out.

“There's still a whole lot for me to learn, though I feel like I'm learning quickly.” It felt like she was always learning from the people she ended up paired with, but there was something about Ax that made a lot of what she said just click into place. It was why she had seriously started to consider broaching the idea of them being on a team, and why she'd taken the opportunity to speak with Ax's partner, Nym. Terra moved quickly to catch up with the avian, and to move ahead. While she was still learning, there were a few things where she was the more experienced of the two.

“We're friendlies from Beacon, hold your fire!” Terra called out while pulling a pair of emergency glow sticks out of the pack on her hip. A bit of pressure from her thumb caused both to begin to glow with a soft blue light. She bit down on the capped end of one and pulled it free, a few glowing specs of luminescent fluid dripping onto her top as she did so. “Team QRTZ are all humans, so they'll likely appreciate the light.”

As the pair approached the cave entrance, there were several subtle signs the wolf recognized from her time in Mantle's slums. The entrance was man-made, with old wooden and steel supported helping hold the shape of the tunnel, even under the might of a Deathstalker's destructive claws, though there was obvious damage from that and age. A mine, which meant there could be tunnels and more below to watch out for. Before Terra stepped into the mine entrance, she waved the one glowstick in front of the entrance to bait out a trigger happy sniper. No shot rung out.

The lack of a rifle shot didn't bring much comfort to the medic as she stepped into the threshold. While the soft blue light from the glowsticks in either hand only bathed about ten feet of the tunnel, the golden eyes of a faunus revealed far more. Unsturdy stone stairs down the tunnel, a rusty handrail, and the glint of light off of a sniper rifle scope, unmoving and trained right at them with the rifle braced against a damaged shield wedged into the ground. The wolf dragged the open glowstick along the wall leaving a thin trail that gave off little light.

“I don't know if you can see her, but their sniper is still aiming our way,” Terra whispered to her partner for the mission but didn't slow her steps as she carefully made her way debris covered stairs. Neither of them had suffered any injury during their fight, but a well placed rifle round could still hurt more than a little or even seriously injure one of them.

“We should try to avoid any sudden movements unless we want a sudden piercing.”
Even her sharp ears couldn't pick up the quiet sniffling of relief from the girl at the other end of the rifle who'd already taken her good hand away from the trigger, or the way the breath of the other two conscious members of Team QRTZ steadied as they realized help had arrived. There was still a general sense of unease and worry over their team leader being down, but things were looking up.
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