Myriad Hunters [Mission for ScorchMan]

As Griffin put on a show for his much-invested audience, the fire-fighter might well pick up on the tell-tale signs of a lady-viewer being influenced by her subconscious; the way she swayed back and forth, her waist leading the rhythm of her fragmented humming while she made a pretence of working; the way her head tilted slowly to one side, eyes focused far too firmly on her view screen and not nearly enough on the console in front of her; the way her lips had drifted apart while one small, pointed fang caught at her lower lip and her tongue played slowly over the revealed point on the opposite side. Program or not, he clearly had her attention – possibly too much of it, all things considered.

She seemed to start upon realising that Griffin was actually watching her back, and a fresh blush, just faintly visible through the patches on her cheeks where the fur was thinnest, broke out above a playful grin. She averted her own eyes long enough to look away, and turned to one side, offering a better angle on her profile; the console itself was still dormant and now the easily distracted bunny peered across one side of the device. She gave a small “Ah...” under her breath, and then leaned over the console, and over further still, and then a little more, hoisting herself up onto it until she was bent over at the hip, seemingly reaching back to fiddle with something else out of sight. The obvious view for Griffin, of course, was the graceful line of her back and side, down to the point where the soft white fur was covered by her racy red bikini bottoms. From this angle, he had a good view of the way her dainty white tail stood up from the back of her swim wear, showing the brighter white of its underside – a gesture which likely meant little to any watching humans even if the display might have carried meaning to creatures of her own type; even so, it still afforded him a chance to enjoy the rest of her more universally appreciable assets while she worked.

The mutual teasing couldn't go on forever, unfortunately; within moments a more serious alarm was raised and Prose slipped back off the console and stood straight as ScorchMan returned to the first room with his warning. A watching Griffin might get the impression that she'd scooted back very suddenly indeed, and the faint blush from before was several notches more visible now, like she'd been caught out misbehaving.

“Ah... um, right... getting this going... working on it!” She glanced at the still dead screen and hurriedly put her hand on one side of the machine; a moment later it flickered online, beginning whatever startup protocols it needed to get through after a long hibernation. The other connected consoles were still wrecked, broken and dead, but at least this one had power now.

“Um, what have you got there? Are you going to be alright to handle it? Defence system? Dispersal units? She peered past ScorchMan into the gloom, trying to see what he'd retreated from. A half dozen streams of minuscule orange, yellow and white glows began to stream up through the faults in the tunnel plug and snake their way through the chamber. Prose brightened.

“Oh, mites! Ember-mites. That's good, actually. That means it's definitely here, and it's dug in properly! That's good.” ScorchMan felt a light contact somewhere around his hip region as Prose reached up to give him a reassuring pat. “You've got these, I'll work. Just, um... don't let any of them get into any open injuries or anything. That's real bad. Other than that, you'll be fine!” She darted back to the console again, turning to it as though to work, though she kept one eye on the tunnel even so. The many streams of swarming mites surged and closed in.

-=Ember-Mite Pests=-

Mite.F.swrm A: 60Hp [2 Segments] [Lava, Coal]
Mite.F.swrm B 60Hp [2 Segments] [Lava, Coal]
Mite.F.swrm C 60Hp [2 Segments] [Lava, Coal]
Mite.F.swrm D: 60Hp [2 Segments] [Lava, Coal]
Mite.F.swrm E: 60Hp [2 Segments] [Lava, Coal]
Mite.F.swrm F: 60Hp [2 Segments] [Lava, Coal]

- Mite swarms move by extending, and grow by two segments each turn.
- Each segment can be destroy separately.
- Segments cut off from their source will continue to move and attack but will not grow
- Swarms can turn the tiles they are on to lava, with enough exposure; this happens faster on coal.

-=Scorching Exterminator=-

ScorchMan.Exe: 120Hp [Normal][In the breach between the rooms]

Prosopoppoeia.lapin: [Integrity Masked][Normal][Behind and to SocrchMan's left, at one of the terminals]

-=Potential Collateral=-

Access Terminals (4): 40Hp each [left side of the near room]

Lava Tanks (6): 60Hp each [HeatBody][MetalBody][two lines of three, the length of the near room The right three seem empty, the left three are full of black rock, the middle one is already ruptured]

-=Battle Space=-

10% Lava
  • Non-Fire Elementals lose 5 HP/action standing, 10 HP/action submerged. Doubled for Wood Elementals, nullified for Fire Elementals.
  • Aqua attacks: Panel explodes, +100% Source Aqua Damage, change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Fire.
(Back of the far room, where the bore is)
30% Coal
  • Fire Elementals gain +20 Strengthen/turn, but must be allocated to Fire Element attacks only. Any Coal Strengthen vanishes after moving off of it.
  • Non-Fire Elementals get Burn (5 Fire/action for 1 turn or until cured) the turn after they come into contact with Coal Terrain.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Soil.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to to Lava.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Fire.
(Back end of the far room; the blackened area around the tunnel]
40% Normal
  • No effects.
(Near end of the far room and most of the near room)
20% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.
(Gantry work and lava tanks in the near room)

Area is two large chambers conjoined by a melted breach between them. The near room contains numerous lava storage tanks, with climbable gantry surrounding them, all empty or hardened (will count as coal if broken open). The far room is littered with ruined furniture and other structures, that have become an uneven landscape of small hills and obstructions, as they were covered in now-dried lava. At the back of the far room, the dark bore is still blocked by a molten magma plug, from which the swarms are emerging. At the back of the near room, a broad pool of magma remains, where SorchMan entered the area.

-=Battle Mode: Survival=-

- The swarms seem to keep coming in vast numbers.
- Endure the swarms until they stop coming without being overwhelmed.
- There may be ways to break the assault early.

-=Battle, Start!=-
"Here!" Griffin's return was punctuated with the of a PET being jostled about, the man having crashed into the room at a dead sprint, dove for his PET, and slammed a chip home like he was scoring a touchdown. The workout had primed the pump of his adrenaline, so his grin had a bit of a wild edge to it. "Defences up and get ready to dive in!" Griffin called, Battlechips clattering between his fingers. The gym had no table, so he just knelt on the mats and spread his chip folder across the floor, squinting at the tiny printed names.

The Guard was a welcome weight on ScorchMan's arm, comfortably large and reassuring in its heft. It would give him enough room for what came next: a flash of fluorescent light more felt than processed, a second Battlechip slotted in seconds after the first. Griffin was barking in his ear, "Quick, get a clear shot at the tunnel!" The skittering was getting louder.

A quick pulse of heat sent hot air buffeting through the far room. Keeping the far room from being overrun was sure to be a battle decided in seconds; ScorchMan used one of the few left to scan the heat as it rushed against the walls, feeling for where it caught at the tunnel's mouth, and then it was time to run.

With a dark grey Guard held high like a tower shield, ScorchMan took one, two, three bounding strides into the room. His free gauntlet unfolded a set of long metal rods, already crackling; at the back of his throat, the pungent sharpness of ozone. Trying to track just one Mite was the wrong play - better to light up the tunnel and catch the swarm in the bottleneck, and clean up the stragglers. Only thing was, he was blind - but, thankfully, not helpless. The bore was a heat source all on its own, tangible even across the room. It was just a matter of reaching out to feel for the hottest point in the room, and letting loose the DollThunder.

For a moment Griffin was flash-blind, staring as he was into a screen full of lightning. He took a moment to blink away the worst of the glare, and returned to planking (it was still core hour). His chip-trading spree during ScorchMan's aborted busting run had landed them with almost more options than Griffin knew what to do with - it took a few moments just to remember what they all did. "Gotta keep throwing em out big, catch em while they're still grouped close," he thought aloud, mostly focused on his Navi (though, it must be said, his eyes couldn't quite stay off the other screen that had popped up, and the way Prose's, ah, dimensions were so perfectly framed as she clambered over the console). ScorchMan, for his part, leaned into his Guard and grunted his assent. Where was he again? Right, Battlechips. He shifted to take his bodyweight on one arm, freeing the other to pluck one from the lot and slap it into the PET. "Alright, Scorch, got a nice big bum - boom, big boom for you here," Griffin said. Unseen by his Navi, he brought a hand to his lips and blew his eyes wide for the camera for a playful, wordless 'oops!'

"So glad you're taking this seriously," ScorchMan snarked. Seemed Griffin was taking cues from Prose as far as the level of danger was concerned. It might have felt reassuring, but the arrhythmic skittering was loud enough to drown out any peace of mind. Still, the FlameLine was hot in his chest, and that was something. Feeling for the far wall was as much aiming as ScorchMan allowed himself, still facing the borehole, before stomping a boot down. A wave of heat sent embers scattering off the coal bed, breaking in a curling wall of fire against the lava's shore. "Alright!" ScorchMan huffed once the rush of burning died down, "What else have we got, Griffin?"

For a few seconds the Navi heard only a low hum of thought. ScorchMan thought his Operator was trying to choose another chips. He was incorrect; the chips lay momentarily forgotten, in favour of the much more engaging thought of 'what business does a Navi have going around with a butt like that?' For a guy whose definition of Navi had previously stopped at ScorchMan, it was a hell of a thing to contemplate. Griffin adjusted his shorts and resumed the thought: what else did they have? "We have options," he started, "but most of em aren't quite enough on their own. Either we start a daisy chain, or get more oomph from somewhere else..."

"On it." ScorchMan was moving before Griffin finished. The far side of the room was a swirling red glow, tangibly full of latent heat. His furnace, that inner welter of heat that defined his virtual makeup, longed to bask in that heat, knew in some wordless, instinctual sense that he could channel the energy seeping from the coalbed. He could even make more if he chose, immolate the room at his leisure, but for the sake of keeping Prose's console from taking any further damage, best to avoid damaging the facility if he could help it.

So, ScorchMan crouched low and felt for the Mites, listening for their scrabbling legs and keeping his Guard facing the worst of the noise. All the while he waited for one to commit to a lunge, and took the opportunity to dash past them, closer to the bore. Griffin would warn him if any started making for the breach, and he'd do his best to keep the Mites' attention on him. The thought made his teeth grind - he leaned into the feeling, let it fuel him as he roared out, "That lightning taste good? You want more? Well, go ahead and try me!" Heat swirled tantalizing just a little further, just one more leap and roll deeper into the fray, one more and you're there, just don't let them catch you.

-Turn Summary-
1. Guard2Effect: (1 Hit Shield) + (Reflect(up to 120 + Piercing + Line Attack): On Hit)
Accuracy: S
Description: Generates a 1-Hit Shield upon activation. When this shield blocks one hit from a non-Break attack, it responds with a hyper-fast damage ray.
Duration: Until broken or overridden.
Element: Null
Special: Negated by Break. Ignores Impact.
Special: Reflect: Damage returned is equal to the damage of the attack blocked or the damage cap listed, whichever comes first. Reflect is not subject to negation by Impact.
Special: Status Guard: This chip blocks debuffs.
Trader Rank: C
[1-Hit Shield, Reflect [≤120, Piercing, Line Attack]
2. Feint: dash towards bore-tunnel
3. DollThunder1Damage: 80 + Line-Attack5
Accuracy: B
Description: Fires a powerful bolt of lightning that pierces through objects and enemies alike.
Duration: Once
Element: Elec
Trader Rank: D
: Mite A [80 Elec {B}, Line Attack 5 aimed down bore-tunnel]
4. FlameLine1Damage: 70 + Ground Attack + Wide Attack
Accuracy: B
Description: A wall of fire erupts from the ground, burning up to 3 targets.
Duration: Once
Element: Fire
Trader Rank: D
: Mite Swarm [70 Fire {B}, Ground Attack, Wide Attack, aimed at back of Coal terrain]
5. Dodge towards Coal
6. Dodge further towards Coal
While Griffin was left to ponder the philosophical implications of navis with appealing designs – and a playful attitude to go with them – ScorchMan had business to focus on. The curving, skittering swarms snaked their way up and out of the bore, spreading into the ruined room as long tendrils of head that swiftly began the melt the coal beneath them into more magma. At the back of the room, the cracks across the bore hole continued to pulse with heat and the plug began to melt inwards as the mites surged through it to attack.

ScorchMan got his defences ready and charged in, moving towards the focus point of the swarms, crossing the uneven terrain of the room more easily than he might have at other times; the radiant heat flooding through the baked coal layer as the burning swarms moved across it gave him a fairly clear view of what he was working with. The movement of each stream of mites came on to meet him, though, growing as the five individual tendrils filled more of the room. Just as they were about too meet, however, ScorchMan opened up with his first attack, sending a blast of lighting through the room and directly towards the bore itself, where the swarms were pouring from.

The heads of the two swarms nearest ScorchMan were obliterated just as they reared up in his senses, leaving the remainder of the mite column to collapse back to the ground, while the blast of electricity seared onward to tear through several more chunks of mites near to the bore; three of the tendrils seemed to be severed at their source, destroying enough of the mite columns there to leave the snaking segments formerly attached to them bereft of connection. Masses of ember mites bubbled at the bore's plug, but those sections didn't seem to be stretching out into the room again right away – at least for now.

Unfortunately, ScorchMan had other problems, and he was now quite surrounded by the heated steams of tiny entities, many of which seemed to have focused on his presence as the threat they were here to address. Even the ones he'd cut off continued to shift and circle, turning back on themselves to angle towards ScorchMan now. Cutting them off at their entry point might stall the swarms, it seemed, but he'd still need to exterminate every segment that remained in the room, too, if he wanted them to give him any respite.

He managed to dodge and move amongst the writhing heat points, avoiding attempts by some of the mites to lunge at him en masse, but as he did, the two sections he'd destroyed the heads of continued to push forward from the bore, extending back outward and beginning to surround him as, beneath the trails, more of the floor became lava... that that was a game ScorchMan was particularly well suited to playing regardless.

His second attack, as he moved closer to the source of the heat, erupted in heat and fire around the bore itself, melting the rest of the plug even as it scorched more of the surging trailed of mites – fire they might be, but the navi might be relieved to see that too much fire was still bad for them. Two more of the tendrils were interrupted by the attack, leaving the remainder of their trails to turn back on ScorchMan with increased focus. Near him, the edge of the bore dropped away into a heat-blasted tunnel that went down, and from it, the spiralling streams of mites continued to rise. For now, only one line of them continued to feed out into the room, while the rest massed at the lip, preparing themselves to surge out again.

In the room with him, however, the remaining sections of mite swarm sought to purge the threat. ScorchMan dodged again as another swarm attempted to rush him, but barely got his guard up as another disconnected mass dashed itself against him; a near overwhelming storm of tiny heat pinpricks hailed across the surface of the shield before it recoiled with a blast that eliminated the attacking swarm entirely, and chewed a clean line through the middle of the one that was still connected to the bore. The longest swarm had been heading past him towards the tunnel, but now its 'head', cut off from the tail, as well as the new head that remained connected to the bore writhed and twisted, turning back to identify ScorchMan as the biggest problem. The severed section pulsed briefly, before the end nearest ScorchMan lifted up instead, acting as the new head of the segment, and attempted to swarm over him. This time a large volume of the tiny mites managed to wash over his form, scrambling across his exterior as micro-fine razors of heat that weren't at all like the friendly, welcoming fires he knew – as with the myriad he had fought before, this fire was searing hot, invasive and hostile towards his own system.

Out in the far room, Griffin could see Prose glance into the tunnel again and grit her teeth before looking back to the console. After another moment of tapping she darted to the entrance of the tunnel and called out.

“Just keep them away from you, and keep their attention on you! Kite if you have to! It won't be able to keep the mite swarm this aggressive for long, and if you destroy enough of them before that, it might pull back sooner!” She watched the fight for another couple of moments, anxiously bouncing on her toes as she took the measure of how ScorchMan was faring. If he was paying close attention, griffin might see her force herself to relax and step with more purpose back to the console and continue her work – sadly, for now, it seemed that the time for playful teasing was on hold.

-=Ember-Mite Pests=-

Mite.F.swrm A: [severed at bore – no segments visible]
Mite.F.swrm B [severed at bore – no segments visible]
Mite.F.swrm C [severed at bore – no segments visible]
Mite.F.swrm D: [severed at bore – no segments visible]
Mite.F.swrm E: [severed at bore – no segments visible]
Mite.F.swrm F: 30Hp [1 Segment] [Lava]

Severed Swarm A: 60Hp [2 segments][Middle of second room][Coal, Lava]
Severed Swarm B: 60Hp [2 segments][Middle of second room][Coal, Lava]
Severed Swarm C: 60Hp [2 segments][Close to the breach tunnel][Coal, Normal]
Severed Swarm D: 60Hp [2 segments][Close to the breach tunnel][Coal, Normal]
Severed Swarm F: 30Hp [1 segment][Next to ScorchMan][Lava]

Mite Tally: 11 Segments Destroyed

- Mite swarms move by extending, and grow by two segments each turn.
- Each segment can be destroy separately.
- Segments cut off from their source (the bore) will continue to move and attack but will not grow
- Swarms cut off at the source will not grow further for that turn.
- Swarms can turn the tiles they are on to lava, with enough exposure; this happens faster on coal.

-=Scorching Exterminator=-

ScorchMan.Exe: 90Hp [Lava][Close to the bore]

Prosopoppoeia.lapin: [Integrity Masked][Normal][In the first room]

-=Potential Collateral=-

Access Terminals (4): 40Hp each [left side of the first room]

Lava Tanks (6): 60Hp each [HeatBody][MetalBody][two lines of three, the length of the first room The right three seem empty, the left three are full of black rock, the middle one is already ruptured]

-=Battle Space=-

30% Lava
  • Non-Fire Elementals lose 5 HP/action standing, 10 HP/action submerged. Doubled for Wood Elementals, nullified for Fire Elementals.
  • Aqua attacks: Panel explodes, +100% Source Aqua Damage, change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Fire.
(Back of the far room, where the bore is, spreading)
10% Coal
  • Fire Elementals gain +20 Strengthen/turn, but must be allocated to Fire Element attacks only. Any Coal Strengthen vanishes after moving off of it.
  • Non-Fire Elementals get Burn (5 Fire/action for 1 turn or until cured) the turn after they come into contact with Coal Terrain.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Soil.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to to Lava.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Fire.
(Back end of the far room; the blackened area around the tunnel]
40% Normal
  • No effects.
(Near end of the far room and most of the near room)
20% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.
(Gantry work and lava tanks in the near room)

Area is two large chambers conjoined by a melted breach between them. The near room contains numerous lava storage tanks, with climbable gantry surrounding them, all empty or hardened (will count as coal if broken open). The far room is littered with ruined furniture and other structures, that have become an uneven landscape of small hills and obstructions, as they were covered in now-dried lava. At the back of the far room, the dark bore is still blocked by a molten magma plug, from which the swarms are emerging. At the back of the near room, a broad pool of magma remains, where SorchMan entered the area.

-=Battle Mode: Survival=-

- The swarms seem to keep coming in vast numbers.
- Endure the swarms until they stop coming without being overwhelmed.
- There may be ways to break the assault early.
Pain, white-hot razors a counterpoint to the furnace that was his chest. It should have debilitated, felt bad, and in certain, surface-level aspects it did indeed. And yet, in some way beyond conscious thought, it was the best thing ScorchMan had ever felt in his short life. He felt alive, and wasn't that a strange not-thought for a simulacrum to have? It seemed fitting that Griffin should chime in with a pithy, "ScorchMan! You are on fire!" Which, it must be said, he was - but not enough on fire. A throaty roar accompanied a rush of air and a yellow-orange flash of light from out the tunnel: the far room was now well-lit from afar, on account of the man-shaped bonfire that now stood in it, and the flaming helix cast from his outstretched hands. His nearest assailant was a squirming backlit mess against the glare, where the fire bore down upon it.

A rush of heat in his right arm: another Battlechip. "Keep 'em chasing you like Prose said, and keep up the pressure!" Griffin's call was husky with exertion (the Power Hour could not, would not stop). With a grunt, ScorchMan set himself to running, boots splashing through molten panels like he was born to it, mind racing with every step. He could keep his distance from the Mites, but every moment he wasn't actively burning them out was time the swarm could rebuild their numbers. The barrier could fend off another assault, perhaps two if they only grazed him, but if he didn't stay on his feet he'd end up surrounded.

Could, could, could - to Hades with it. ScorchMan locked his focus on the two nearest the tunnel, not wanting them to get any ideas about going for the other Navi. For that matter... "Alright up there, Prose?" he called up mid-stride, hoping the time he bought was worth something to her (luckily and unbeknownst to him, Griffin was too focused on the fight for the moment to be much of a distraction). The Mites were very close; he'd never used this chip, but knew the instant it loaded that Griffin meant for him to put his dukes up and throw a big flaming haymaker, straight down the (presumably) ugly beasts' gullets. There was no real means of sight, not when all the world was a crazed red-yellow-white flurry, but there was trust and ScorchMan knew what to do with that. His arm seemed to grow three times its size, burning brighter than the rest of him. When he threw his fist forward, the resulting fireburst carried the impression of his outstretched arm with it, searing the room bright white-yellow in its wake.

In the mouth of the breach tunnel ScorchMan stood - that is, he was pretty sure that's where he'd landed. "Got any more?!" he bellowed, both to the swarm and his Operator. On the latter front, he heard nothing but a muffled curse and a lot of clattering; Griffin had been busy planking, and lost his balance right onto his pile of chips. Nothing for it but plant his feet and try to build some power up, but the knowledge that his buster wouldn't cut it set ScorchMan's teeth in a snarling clench. Not enough heat, he needed more heat - more heat!

All at once, the flow of fire pouring from ScorchMan redoubled. The vents on his flanks let loose a torrent thick and bright enough to obscure his legs entirely, immolating the ground until it was forced to yield and melt. The living furnace revelled in the surging temperature, and delighted in stoking it hotter, higher, setting the razors in his chest to rights. Wings of purest, whitest flame shone from his central vents - let the Mites try to bite through these!

"LET ME AT "EM!" he exulted, and as he spoke he felt one of his oldest standbys slot into place. Feeling the HammerToss deploy from a gauntlet felt right, felt like coming home. "Come on, come on, come on-!" He wheeled the iron ball overhead on its tether, delighting in the physicality of the action. One foot planted down as his anchor, the other led him through the pivoting dance as the world seemed to rush around ScorchMan. The spiralling dance enraptured him: the beauty of physics in motion, the surge in his chest and the spiralling reds that painted his world in lieu of sight. The violence inherent in smashing bugs apart with a giant swinging flail was enough to make him laugh, all fire and glee and perhaps a little madness caught between his teeth, enough so he felt the need to bare them like a wild beast. He felt so very alive, and the thought that he felt so made ScorchMan laugh all the harder as he went, even as the tether snapped and it was all he could do to focus on the bore and bring his hammer to bear on it. The sound of the hammer hitting the half-molten wall was somehow beautiful in its ugliness, somewhere between an anvil through floorboards and a rock splashing into a pond. ScorchMan let out a whoop at the impact - it felt good to let it out, and who was going to judge him for it?

Still laughing, the walking inferno fought to keep his footing, dizzy as the HammerToss always made him (and what kind of Navi got dizzy?). The bore was his focal point, and even as the world still spun ScorchMan did his best to keep his chest, and the shining wings of his shield pointed into the room. Prose would have to forgive him his lapses, for he was enjoying himself too much to try to force perfection from a Navi so thoroughly, wonderfully imperfect.

-Turn Summary-
1. Conflagration: Severed Swarm F [50 Fire {A}, 30 HP Barrier]
2. Movement [circle along wall of far room back to breach tunnel, flanking Severed Swarm C & D]
3. FireArm1Damage: 20 x 3 hits + Fighter Range
Accuracy: B
Description: Unleashes a long lasting flamethrower with decent range.
Duration: Once
Element: Fire
Trader Rank: D
: Severed Swarm C & D [25 Fire x 3 hits {B}, Fighter Range
[b]4.[/b] Buster Charge
*SetLava [Large Lava terrain, fill the rest of the far room and the breach]
5. Stoke [30 Healing, 1-Hit Planar Shield, Charge Burner; 1TCD]
6. HammerToss1Damage: 40 + Break + Spin Attack / 80 + Break
Accuracy: Depends on number of targets. / C
Description: The user swings a track and field hammer around, then throws it at an enemy.
Duration: Once
Element: Null
Special: Spin Attack: Strikes at all enemies in an 8-panel circle around the user. Accuracy varies depending on the number of targets designated: 1-3 targets @ B Accuracy, 4-6 targets @ C Accuracy, 7-8 targets @ D Accuracy.
Trader Rank: D
: Severed Swarm A & B (both segments each), throw at Mite.F.swrm F [40 Null {C}, throw for 80 Null {C}]
With the slowly spreading lava encroaching on more of the room, and the mass of ember-mites continuing to swarm and seek for threats, ScorchMan found himself, nevertheless, revelling in the challenge of the moment. The nearest remaining swarm of mites launched itself at the navi just as burst into his own more potent conflagration of heat, and with an array of tiny hisses and snaps the collection of minuscule mites were charred out of existence before they could reach him.

The new pyre of light and heat that ScorchMan was certainly seemed to grab whatever fragments of the swarms' attention wasn't already on him as he tracked around the room away from the tunnel and sure enough the severed swarm segments followed him and seemed to abandon any other ideas of probing further into the other room for now. Making himself the target wasn't necessarily the safest of moves, even so, and as he darted and wove around the space two of the remaining swarm sections pulsed with light and lunged at him. Despite his best efforts to avoid further contact, the first group dashed itself against his burning barrier and as they skittered over it, unable to harm him for now, ScorchMan might notice nevertheless that they seemed to feast on the second-hand heat and sap a good portion of its integrity. A moment later, a second group landed across him from the other direction, swarming over his defence and draining it the rest of the way. ScorchMan himself was able to slip free, avoiding the two swarms unharmed, and the barrier had done its work. It had lasted long enough, at least, for him to retaliate with a trio of blazing strikes at the two mite masses; accuracy was less important than fervour and volume of fire spread across their entire masses, and by the third stroke the last of the two swarms had been incinerated.

To his senses, the fire navi could sense the rising heat from the bore itself – the plug was growing increasingly molten and the swarms of mites that snaked up the pit beneath writhed and massed near the entrance, gathering numbers in preparation to seek out into the room again. For now, only the single still-emergent swarm continued to pour out unabated, twisting and coiling further into the chamber. The good news was that its focus was entirely on ScorchMan now, and no longer on the far chamber where Prose worked swiftly with occasional backward glances. The bad news, of course, was that its focus was entirely on ScorchMan now.

A handful of moments after he called out, the voice of his companion came back to him, serious and without the playful flirtation she'd had earlier. At the back of his senses, she could still feel the energy-dense shape of her presence in the room behind him.

“I'm fine! Nothing's come through here. I think I've worked out why the place was abandoned. Could be useful, could be dangerous... We'll have to have a look, once the mites retreat.” On Griffin's screen, the tiny bunny-girl had gone between tapping at the keys on the console and taking brief glances in ScorchMan's direction. Now, however, she reached out and laid her hand against the console itself, before the faint red light that had infused it when she started it up seemed to draw back in from the machine to her fingertips again, leaving the terminal dark and dead, like it had been before. She stretched for a moment and rolled her shoulders, then skipped with light steps across to the connecting tunnel to watch ScorchMan's battle more closely.

There seemed to be some element of mutual agreement between ScorchMan and the ember swarms that the floor should indeed be lava; all lava, not just a little bit. ScorchMan made it so, to his own benefit, but the swarms seemed somewhat energised by the transition as well and those that remained seethed across the remaining space to surround him. They chased and lunged, trying to gain purchase across his body and find places to sear and slice. Most missed, or were slow wild enough for SocrchMan to evade, but one swarm managed to land across his back and coat him briefly. Thousands of tiny, razor-sharp nips of white-hot heat pin-pricked him for a moment or two before ScorchMan's best defence against the masses burst forth. The mites that swarmed him were cast away and their slicing heat replaced by his own soothing fire while fresh wings of white fire protected his form.

The largest of the remaining swarms, still flowing out of the bore, reared up in front of him, its mass burgeoning into a nearly all-consuming blaze, but as it slammed down at him, the many thousands of individual embers scattered, deflected harmlessly against his protecting shield.

In this moment of opportunity, ScorchMan took the initiative and brought out one of his old favourites, swinging the mighty weight around and crashing it through both of swarm masses surrounding him before slamming it down onto the melting bore plug with a crushing weight. The two swarms nearest him were scattered almost in their entirety, with just a single mass managing to scuttle away to one side, mostly intact. The main weight of the hammer, however, punched through the connection point where the last swarm trail exited the bore, severing the column, and sending a splash of lava flying up in every direction.

With a groan and the wet sucking sound of sludgy liquid, the remains of the stone plug blocking the bore gave way and collapsed inwards, sliding down the now revealed shaft. In his heat-sensitive senses, ScorchMan could see the mass of mites gathering and swelling at the lip, beneath where the plug had been, but just as the felt like they might start venturing up into the room again, they all pulsed with a sudden flare of light and heat, then began to slither and skitter quickly back down the walls of the bore pit in erratic, snaking columns. The remaining swarms took an extra bite or two at ScorchMan each, but were unable to get past his shielding fire, or drain it away, and they swiftly scattered into the magma and faded from his senses.

From the opposite tunnel, back into the room they'd entered from, ScorchMan heard Prose speak up, a short sigh of relief at the edge of her voice.

“Okay, that's done it... it's only got so much energy to spend on scare tactics, so it'll pull them all back to its lair now, probably. Are you alright?” ScorchMan could make out the shape of her small figure standing in the tunnel way, seemingly waiting at the edge of the lava for now.

-=Ember-Mite Pests=-
Mite.F.swrm A: [Severed - Massing at the lip of the bore]
Mite.F.swrm B [Severed - Massing at the lip of the bore]
Mite.F.swrm C [Severed - Massing at the lip of the bore]
Mite.F.swrm D: [Severed - Massing at the lip of the bore]
Mite.F.swrm E: [Severed - Massing at the lip of the bore]
Mite.F.swrm F: [Severed - Massing at the lip of the bore]

Severed Swarm A: 30Hp [1 segment][Near ScorchMan][Lava, Lava]
Severed Swarm F: 60Hp [2 segments][Near ScorchMan][Lava, Lava]

Mite Tally: 20 Segments Destroyed, Retreat Condition Met

-=Scorching Exterminator=-
ScorchMan.Exe: 100Hp [1-Hit Planar Shield (Fire)][Lava][Close to the bore]

Prosopoppoeia.lapin: [Integrity Masked][Normal][In the connecting tunnel]

-=Battle Space=-
55% Lava
  • Non-Fire Elementals lose 5 HP/action standing, 10 HP/action submerged. Doubled for Wood Elementals, nullified for Fire Elementals.
  • Aqua attacks: Panel explodes, +100% Source Aqua Damage, change terrain hit to Normal.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Fire.
(All of the far room, including where the bore is and the connecting tunnel)
5% Missing
  • Permanent bottomless hole.
  • Doubles dodge penalties for bad RP.
  • EJO if you fall in.
(The bore at the back of the far room has broken open, and leads down)
20% Normal
  • No effects.
(much of the near room; the lava spreads through the tunnel as well)
20% Metal
  • Cannot be Broken or Cracked except with Geddon/PanelShot, cannot be Burrowed into.
  • Elec attacks: +100% Source Damage.
  • 100 Damage Aqua attacks: Change terrain hit to Cracked.
  • 100 Damage Fire attacks: Change terrain hit to Furnace.
  • PanelShot: Imbue Elec + Break.
(Gantry work and lava tanks in the near room)

-=Battle Victory!=-
750z, 10BugFrags, HotBody1Effect: Adds +20 Fire and Nova3 to Charged Buster Attack
Accuracy: Buster Accuracy = C
Description: Blasts the surrounding area with a nova-like explosion from your Charged Buster attacks.
Duration: 6 Uses.
Element: Fire
Special: Overrides Buster. Disables Buster Shot.
Trader Rank: D
"YEAH-HAH!!" Always ready to play hype-man for his Navi, Griffin's yelling sparked up right as the HammerToss impacted. "You sure you can't see, bro, 'cause that was the sickest bulls-eye I've ever seen!"

"Heh! Hmm, let me check..." ScorchMan, still coming down off his adrenaline rush, made a show of slipping a hand up behind his visor and feeling around, "uhh, checking, checking...nope, still no eyes. Guess I didn't need 'em in the first place!" The wreath of white flame burned down along with the adrenaline; by the time ScorchMan waded his way through the tunnel towards Prose, he better resembled his milder countenance that had been her first impression, if with somewhat better humour. "Doing fine, thanks," he replied to her with a mostly on-target smile, stretching out his shoulders.

The PET chimed to indicate a transfer, which Griffin tabbed through one-handed while he did mountain-climbers. "Nice little haul there, ScorchMan, good work. Let me know if you want a top-up, I saw that last one ding you," he chimed in, puffing as he set the PET down and upped his pace. Turning his attention to the other side of his split-screen, he finished out his set and sat back on his knees. "So! You were looking busy in there, Prose, find anything good? In fact, why don't we have a look just the two of us? ScorchMan thinks he's too good for that sort of thing...looking, that is!"

"Ha ha," ScorchMan huffed out in the driest of deadpans - though, given his mouth was the only visible part of his face, the curled lip gave him away somewhat. "Hope the lava isn't an issue," he addressed the other Navi, unable to help feeling out the shape of the melted bore. The thought of diving down that molten pit sent a thrill of anticipation through him. Clearly, ScorchMan was still a bit keyed up in ways he'd never needed to express before. It came out in the almost childlike cast of his enthusiasm, and the eagerness with which he followed Prose for answers.
SocrchMan's senses tracked the path of the bore hole downwards in a mostly straight line; the heat readings showed the walls largely slick with molten rock, as the heat of the recent swarm assault converted the hardened walls, but the tunnel itself was more or less open to the air. Now that the swarms had pulled back, and the initial blast of extreme heat and retreated with them, the surface was starting, very gradually, to cool back towards just 'unbearably hot', but it would likely take many hours before it actually solidified again of its own accord.

A fire navi like him might be able to use the lava oozing down the walls of the sink hole to descend somewhat safely, net physics being what they were, though it wouldn't necessarily be the safest descent, and he'd have to deal with whatever was down below functionally blind, without much means of stopping as he got close. Certainly, it seemed like no-one would fault him for coming up with a safer way to descend if he could think of one, but just jumping straight in was an option too, for the recklessly excitable.

Across the room, Prose nodded and cautiously skipped out over the lave towards the patches that looked coolest; where her feet touched, a faint red emanation of light normalised the singular panels she landed on, though it did nothing for the rest of the room. There was a slight sheen to her fur and what could possibly be a dampening of her swimsuit as she drew close to ScorchMan a the edge of the bore – though such details were probably only notable to Griffin. The bunny-girl glanced to Scorch and then down the bore, then back in the direction of Griffin's viewpoint with a slight smirk and a wink.

“It's okay, you can look all you want. Look enough for two if it suites you!” there was the hint of a giggle, quickly gotten under control by a more serious answer. “So... we probably don't want to delay too long, now that it knows we're here, but here's what I learned... The facility was abandoned because they had a bit of a catastrophic incident in the heat recycling centres at the basement level of the structure. Some bright spark thought they could increase the energy output and grid-return of the plant by a few hundred percent if they tapped into the older network layer and drew additional heat from there on the sly.” Prose rolled her eyes and huffed slightly in oppressive heat. “The layers are separated for a reason. They ended up with a massive magma conflux that their systems were inundated and melted by... so the entire basement level of the structure is now a molten wasteland of destroyed tech, ruined building structure and a lot of lava.” For a few moments, she stretched, first with her arms up, then bending over to stretch out her legs and thighs, as though warming up for some activity.

“So, it's kinda the perfect spot for our Myriad to want to hole up and make a lair in, really. It probably feels like home to it. Might even be where it originally passed through from the lower net to here, after it escaped.... Though I'm still curious about what drove it here. It was...” She paused in her warm-ups, hands on her knees and peeking over the edge of the bore with her tail end coincidentally posed in an appreciable position. She looked down the hole with an air of curious innocence as she glanced towards Scorch, but as she peeked back over her shoulder to to griffin's view point, there was the edge of a smirk too. “It's come up through two net layers to be here, and there shouldn't have been any reason for it to come this high, normally...” her voice trailed into a murmur that was more thoughtful and a little harder to make out. “It could have just been running from her... but it wouldn't have had to come this far unless she spooked it real bad... and she wouldn't care about that... hmmm...” She shook her head and refocused, standing straight again. “Um, never mind that. Sorry just puzzling things out. The thing we've got to worry about, for now, is getting down there and containing the thing.”

Their guide contemplated the deep hole for an extra moment, then turned slightly to reach into the front of her chest band and retrieve a small crystal, before shaking her head and putting it back. A second search produced a similar tiny data mote. This one unfolded into a lightweight red chest harness that fitted itself around her torso and shoulders and formed a trailing set of cable leads from support points between her shoulder blades and closer to her hips. She twirled the end of the cables once then hoisted them up towards the ceiling, above the bore, where they seemed to anchor on. A couple of small tugs tested the system before she seemed satisfied that it would hold her weight for rappelling down.

“If you've got a quicker way down or want to go ahead a bit, don't mind me. If it's trying to recuperate, it probably won't attack right away, so if you get there quickly, or quietly, you might have a chance to explore a bit before we have to deal with hostility. Getting the lay of the area may help, but don't expect it to be too stable down there.” Prose, for her part, seemed to be getting ready for a controlled descent, but kept one eye on ScorchMan to see what he would choose to do as well. “You can always cuddle up and ride with me, if you want. Might be a bit snug though, the bore isn't too wide.” Her left eye flickered in another wink. “The trip would probably more pleasant if the shaft was a bit thicker, and not quite so long... but we'll manage!”
"Heh, sounds like a normal day in corpo-world." Griffin's snark aside, Navi and Operator were quiet for much of Prose's exposition, both alternating between thoughtful nods and rueful smirks at the thought of such a costly error of judgment. Around the moment Prose bent over to examine the bore, Griffin chimed in, "Hang on ScorchMan, I just need to take a look at something." With a bit of fiddling, Griffin found the PET window controls, and flipped the camera around momentarily to check the bore. This only took a second; still working the controls, he called, "Yep, okay, now let's see here..." the camera flipped back to the two Navis, and sank down to roughly waist-height, doing a slow orbit around the shapely lagomorph. "Daaaaang," he couldn't help but murmur, his eyes a little glazed over. After a moment of taking the liberties Prose so generously offered, he blinked several times, adjusted his shorts, and, voice just a little huskier than normal, coughed out, "...right, that'll do," and continued listening to Prose's findings with a thoughtful frown. Prose's strange choice of wording was not lost on the big man, no matter where his thoughts may have been in that moment, but now didn't seem like the time to clarify the matter.

Standing right beside Prose, ScorchMan was nodding along absently, his attention obviously somewhat impaired. The borehole called to him in a wordless language of heat and light. The buffeting air currents set a-flurry by the thermal anomaly beckoned like coaxing fingers, the glow of it singing in ScorchMan's mind an imperative siren song. Dazed, almost hypnotized, he spoke, "Griffin, can you send down a subchip?" As it turned out, he could, and as ScorchMan's venting flame brightened visibly to a steady yellow glow, he started towards the bore the moment Prose started in on her preparations. His hands came up in front of him, less like a blind man's reach and more like he meant to dive headfirst down the shaft. "I'll go on ahead, in case the landing zone needs clearing out!"

Theirs was a relationship of push and pull, one guiding the other into battle and giving direction. As ScorchMan made to blaze forward, Griffin was there to call out a laughing, "Whoa there, buddy!" It was enough to make the Navi rock back on his ankles, though he still fairly bounced with enthusiasm. Chuckling, Griffin slotted in a chip and elaborated, "Let's dial it back a notch, alright? Ease yourself in, and use this as a brake," he indicated the RageClaw as he slotted it in, tried-and-true utility chip that it was. "Now if I'm right, those walls are still wet enough you'll probably find yourself speeding up, even using the extra surface area as resistance. If you find you're going too fast..." he trailed off, a faraway look on his face indicative of a rogue train of thought; he bit his bottom lip, worrying it between his teeth for a moment. Shaking his head a bit, he straightened his face and continued, "eh, that is to say, the tunnel should be narrow enough that if you need, you can push off one side with your legs, and give yourself enough leverage to reach something solid with that claw there. If you start to lose control, hold on as tight as you can 'til Prose reaches you, and grab on. Make sense to you?"

ScorchMan's gauntlet unfurled into a wide array of hooks like a gardening rake. Feeling out the tines with his off-hand, then testing a few overhead stretches, he nodded once and crouched down to feel out the mouth of the tunnel with his boot. With his RageClaw held behind him, ScorchMan let gravity take hold of him, and surrendered to the thrill of the fall, testing the purchase of his brake by digging in a little deeper, then a little looser. When he felt confident, ScorchMan relaxed his grip until just the tips of the claws skated through the glowing slag, and committed to the plunge.

<(MiniEnergyPack x1 used, ScorchMan.EXE at 120/120 HP)>
<(RageClaw1 equipped, using as ablative brake)>
After some rough testing, ScorchMan began his descent down the shaft, his senses surrounding by molten rock of different temperatures. Some was cooling rapidly, while other channels remained liquid hot, likely left over from where the mite trails had swarmed earlier. With care, though, he was able to manage his downward slide with at least partial control.

Claw brake or not, though, it still made for a swift descent, and smaller breaks in the fissures wall, peeking out into other disused layers of the building structure, rushed by faster than any regular elevator might have allowed. The heat grew as he slid deeper, and he found himself having to dig his claw in deeper and deeper into the wall itself to arrest his speed at all; the dripping magma rapidly spread, becoming an oozing slurry that barely resembled a solid wall at all, and soon reached a point where ScorchMan had to plunge his arm into the magma around him to find solid substance to purchase on at all... and then there was nothing and his descent became a tumbling lava slide, supported only by the resistant flow of molten rock.

Light and heat had begun to swell from below, as he moved down and drew closer to is source, and it rushed to meet him as his pace increased. A moment later, the sense of enclosed space fell away and the shaft opened into a much more open area. ScorchMan himself descend the last forty or fifty feet down the pouring flow of magma, open air all around him, until it splashed down into a sea of liquid rock. Certainly not a friendly environment for anyone not already comfy with fire.

All around him, the space was seemingly vast; an eroded cavern, with streams of lava dripping and drizzling in from over head all across its ceiling, and dark points across the sea of lava marking solid masses of resilient stone or heat-proofed metals. Broken sections of machinery jutted up from the lava, partially melted or corroded, sometimes twisted and torn.. sometimes looking suspiciously like they'd been bitten off or chewed on by something. It made for an uneven hellscape of platforms and spires, interposed with columns of falling magma and what felt like a deep, constantly churning, bubbling, pulsing sea of heat beneath. A nearby ledge would probably let ScorchMan climb out if he wanted to, though as a fire navi there was no immediate need for him to do so. There was no sign of his quarry just yet – just the sounds of bubbling lava, shifting rock and metal, and... a sound like something sparking and frizzing, from somewhere in the chamber that was hard to pinpoint.

Up above, Prose continued to set up her own climbing gear, but glanced back over her shoulder to see if Griffin's view point was still following her, or if he'd stayed with ScorchMan on his forward descent. She gave the screen a playful side smirk as she continue dot set up the gear and make sure it was ready to go. Anyone paying attention might guess that it was well ready already, and the bunny girl was wasting time, but only if they were paying attention to such things.

“Hey, hope you don't mind me being a bit... playful! I just can't wait to tell mum that I got to meet her favourite fireman. Hey... don't suppose you're on friendly terms with Mr July, too? Is this too personal?” As she chatted, Prose had turned mostly to face the view, fiddling with a couple of extra cables and catches, then pulled on one as though to test it. It hoisted on a clip that seemed to have somehow gotten itself attached to her chest band and lifted the elasticated material up until it was very clearly not covering or supporting what it was meant to. The girl let out a feigned gasp of surprise, and quickly unhooked the caught clip, pulling her top back into place and taking an extra moment to adjust herelf.

“Oh gosh, these silly catches always end up in the wrong place! Oops!” Her giggle was of a playfully infectious cadence that gave the lie to any pretended accident, but she turned back away from him again, grinning and humming to herself as she finished up. A moment or two later she kicked out off the edge of the drop and began to slide down on the supporting pulleys at a quick, steady pace, though not quite as fast as ScorchMan had probably descended.

“On a more serious note... This thing is going to be desperate and fighty, once we lure it out. It's backed into a corner, and it's already hurt. It might be a bit rough on ScorchMan... and as much as I want to help, I'm not really... well, I'm not exactly a combat navigator. I'm going to try to separate the net layers again, from this conflux point, and I've got to contain the Myriad and... get it home again. I can defend myself, but most of the fight, if it comes to a fight, is going to have to be his.” She spoke in calmer, more serious tones again as the molten walls slid by rapidly. For all her flirting, she seemed to flip back and forth between the two moods fairly quickly.

A few moments later, Prose emerged into the open space below, carefully swinging out to avoid the flowing lava and landing on the solid piece of stone near where ScorchMan had landed. As she clipped off and collapsed the rappelling gear back into a data crystal, Griffin was able to get his own first look at the broad chamber. To his view, several of the damaged and mangled pieces of technology half melted in the lava still seemed to be sparking and partially operational, but there was no telling what any of them were meant to do. A heat haze filled the air and probably made it hard to breath for navis no attuned to the space, but for now there was no sign of the spider creature they were tracking; it had to be hiding somewhere in the vast space.
A rushing sound seemed to emanate from inside ScorchMan's head, separate from the pulse of magma but getting louder the more he picked up speed. Griffin spoke often of adrenaline, a byproduct of stress that could amplify physical ability. Could Navis be capable of the same? He could feel the tunnel about to open up, four-three-two-one, and tucked himself into a pencil dive just as he breached the cavern. Deep in the magma pool, he felt for any sign of the Myriad and its starburst maw. Nothing just yet, but nonetheless he was gentle in pushing off the bottom, the barest scissoring kicks propelling him to the surface, projecting as best he could 'Nothing to see here, just a rock that fell through the bore,' He couldn't hear Griffin, so he was either back with Prose or just keeping quiet. Either one worked for him just fine, he thought as he made his way to the stone ledge and carefully felt his way out of the magma.

Charred black stone, red coal-glow, bright carved slices of molten river: this was ScorchMan's world, his sphere of influence. Most purpose-built Navis had one, a realm of knowledge they embodied, understanding intrinsically as an aspect of self. His Operator was a career firefighter, and so it was that ScorchMan came into this world a personification of heat, a living understanding of thermal energy. As he took in the cavern, ScorchMan wondered if his eyes would ever have made much difference, when it came to this sort of thing. Wondered, perhaps for the first time since the Incident, if he was fine just as he was, if it was correct for him to feel whole and unbroken in this black-red-white world. In this world that seemed to have been made just for him, he felt as much, enough that it took conscious effort to keep his flames low and contained, and not flare himself high to feel the world all the brighter.

While ScorchMan had his brush with existential joy, somewhere upstream Griffin was undergoing a similar expansion of thought (and, it must be said, somewhat of body). A look over Prose's shoulder would confirm that Griffin's window was still hanging around, having let ScorchMan go on ahead. Upon being noticed, he cocked his chin towards the borehole ScorchMan had disappeared down and affected a wry grin. "Ah, they grow up so fast," he chuckled, settling in to enjoy the show, such as it was. In Griffin's mind, a thread was steadily unspooling, and he found himself happy to follow the thread as long as it continued. To that end, he found himself treating the conversation with Prose like any barroom encounter, just letting his interest show and seeing where it got him. To the observant, that considering glance Prose had first noticed had graduated into a look considerably more sure of itself. One might have called Griffin's expression bold, even challenging if they were looking for it.

To that end, the big man let himself be a little insouciant when Prose brought up his fellow firefighters. "Oh, you mean Evan, he of the sun-kissed summer fun? Tell me, was it the scrum shorts and rugby socks, or the surfer-boy edition? Well, seeing as we've got such big fans, I suppose I could beg an autograph off him to send along. Perhaps if I had an address for it to get to? Possibly one with a video-call option...?" He waggled his eyebrows, playing up the blatant cad and letting his glinting eyes do some of the talking, in particular for Prose's 'accidental' wardrobe malfunction. In that moment, it really didn't seem to matter that he was talking to a NetNavi; really, it seemed no different from any other time he'd had a girl flirt with him over video-call, letting the physical barrier serve as a tease in its own right. Chuckling at the Navi girl's cheek (and cheeks, plural), he keyed the follow command and sent his window sliding down the bore with her.

His smile continued on even through Prose's more sobering confessions; any good firefighter knew how to balance work and play. "ScorchMan is pretty new to busting, it must be said. Actually, he didn't even start until after his, uh, accident," he gestured vaguely at his face. "Still, he's got some serious grit, and I like to think we work pretty well together. Plus he gets into it enough I expect Big Ugly will hardly notice you're there, it'll be so busy wrestling ScorchMan. We'll keep you safe, don't worry." It had to be said that Griffin Reim had one hell of a smile. It worked just as well for 'don't worry, ma'am, everyone's gonna get out safe and sound' as it did for 'I have every intention of rocking your world, if you're game for it'. If Prose had a use for both, Griffin was all the happier to offer it up. For the time being, the cavern dropped into view as Prose's gear carried her safely to the same rock ScorchMan had landed. Griffin quieted down, and seeing ScorchMan keeping his fires banked, followed suit by dimming his window light to a soft glow. "Right here, buddy," he murmured to his own Navi, and got a tight grin and a nod back. They were counting down to go-time now.
In the lighter moments of their expedition, Prose's response to Griffin was a grin, that swiftly shifted into a wistful pout. “Definitely the beach-boy edition... but... damn it you're such a tease. I can't do that! I've got rules I have to follow, you know... and sharing any proof of my existence beyond being a happy little easter bunny is right off the table. So unfair! Sorry big guy, but what you see is what you get. Don't get me wrong, I'd love an hour or five under all that... If only you were digital too, huh?” Here she had brightened up back to her flirtation norm and given his viewscreen another wink, but it did seem to be the end of the playful teasing and 'accidental' flashing for now.

By the time they arrived alongside ScorchMan at the depths of the bore, she was all business again, taking note of the surroundings before turning her head to address the fire navi directly. Now she spoke quietly – not quite whispering but with definite quiet caution to her voice.

“Alright... I'm not seeing it yet, but it'll be here somewhere. If we're lucky, it thinks we're still up top. I'm going to check and see which of these machines re still working, and try to work out what they did to make this mess, then start patching it up. I'll be as quiet as I can. See if you can get eyes on wherever it's lairing in here. If it's not above the surface, it'll be close to it. Myriads were structural restoration programs, amongst other tasks, and they don't tend to bother going too deep into their own element spaces, just on instinct. See what you can find, I'd love to be able to take care of the poor thing without a fight, but I don't think we'll be that lucky. If it's actually trying to stay in hibernation until it's healed, that'd be great, but otherwise... try to take it by surprise if you can. If a fight starts, you're going to have your hands full – it'll be desperate and cornered.” Prose bit her lip, looking ScorchMan up and down, then turned her gaze around the molten lava chamber with its dripping streams of magma and melted rock. After another moment she seemed to reach a decision.

“Here... Don't tell anyone I did this.” Before he had a chance to ask what, the diminutive woman kissed her finger tips then jumped up to press them to his navi emblem for a moment. In ScorchMan's senses, the tiny beacon of energy that was his guide pulsed, and a strange, alien sense spread through his chest and out over his body. It was a kind of warmth, in a way, but very different from his own inner fires... it felt strangely consumptive and left him with a sense of wanting to draw in heat and make it his own. The unusual warmth remained alongside his other sensations without overbearing anything else or conflicting... just another layer fading into the background of his existence. From Griffin's view point, if he still had a view of the bunny-girl's back angle, two small pinpoints of red light glowed briefly between her shoulder blades as she did... whatever it was she was doing... though they faded away again by the time she landed back on the ground.

“That won't last long, but long enough. It'll take in whatever data sources you destroy or delete and use them to patch you up. It should help keep you on your feet if it gets messy.” She stood back and looked up at ScorchMan, then nodded once more. “Alright, go see what you can find. I'm going to head that way... looks like there are a few intact bits and pieces over there.” With a last nod, Prose moved to the edge of the rocky platform, then carefully gathered herself to make a leap across to another chunk of rock, beginning the process of navigating the hazardous chamber towards one of the larger pieces of remaining machinery. All around, the heat haze and choking air were stifling and the sounds of lava shifting and bubbling were the only real sounds. The not-quite stillness and not-quite silence gave a back-drop to the pre-fight tension in the air.