|Home on the Range|
With talk about revolution and BIG CHANGES coming to Twisted in everyone's ear lately. Kotal Kahn has decided that it'd be a good idea to update all his personnel on some equipment and weapon training. This is particularly done because if all goes according to plan, he'll be losing a couple of people and he wants them capable of defending themselves if he's not going to be around.
Therefore, he has summoned as many members of TASK as he can gather to the courtyard where a few crates are set and regenerating target dummies have been place at the end of the long stretch of land. With him are already a few TASK officers, Erron Black and Ferra/Torr.
Rayne steps out of the TASK tower. Weapons practice? Target practice? This is much better than the last training session that Kotal dragged her into! This is her 'thing': Many people often forget that her favored fighting style is to stay at range and pelt with arrows... it's just she rarely has that opportunity with the amount of swarms that she ends up having to fight. As such, she has a bounce in her step and is whistling as she walks over to this makeshift training area.
Minu steps into the courtyard practically on Rayne's heels. The little elf carrying a wicker basket of lime jello cups. She is amazingly in a pair of some what blousy pants, its clear they are a borrowed pair of TASK uniform pants, hemmed up to fit her legs but belted to keep them up around her waist. A slightly large tee shirt, also borrowed it would seem and tucked in the the pants and her usual bun has been replaced by a long braid down her back. She pushes her glasses up onto her nose as she makes her way over to Kotal.
Serenity also exits the building, but doesn't appear to be either enthusiastic about the prospect of training or to be specially dressed for it. Ren flows along with slow ripples while looking to Rayne and Minu for cues. (As for clothing, it looks like purple and green zebra stripes today.)
Quite a large turn out today! At least in relative terms due to the somewhat minimal personnel TASK has. At least this weapon testing has attracted more people than Kotal's other practice, which sent everyone quite literally running for the hills. For a war god, he seems remarkably bad at preparing people for war. Or rather, he's good at it, but people just tend to flee from any and all his practices.
Maybe he just needed to get a little more experience under his belt, since most everyone seems excited about the practice, and hey! Even Serenity is here! That talks volumes about this practice's success.
"Welcome everyone!" Kotal greets everyone with stretched arms as if he was addressing a large crowd. "Today we will be testing some ranged weapons and explosives!"
Naturally, a lot of of the officers start cheering as do Ferra and Torr.
Rayne frowns as Minu shows up in a borrowed uniform. "We've got to have some way of getting Minu a properly tailored uniform." She looks up towards Kotal before turning back to the general area of the troops with a shrug. "Ren! Surprised you came. Not really sure we have any equipment you can actually use, to be honest."
Minu shoots Rayne a little sideways look. Hey she was out of her usual dress and in pants, that was a start right? "Well now that Sil said she could help with tailoring things for me, we should be able to get some to fit. I don't usually fight in this form anyway, since I am usually air support, to little and unskilled to be useful on the ground."
Serenity raises a pair of fins from the water to wave the 'wing' to Rayne and the others. "Hello," Ren rasps. "I'm not sure, either, but thought that it couldn't hurt to at least come for observing." Flowing to a stop beside Minu, Ren shifts posture to a height midway between hers and Rayne's. Ren glances down at Minu's outfit as it's mentioned. "Perhaps, too, loose clothing can distract the opposition?" Ren offers.
Kotal exhales a bit as Rayne immediately opens up with a complaint about Minu's attire. "One thing at a time, please." Says the exasperated War God as he surveys the arrivals. "We can find a uniform fitting for Minu in due time. First, we need to see what are her limits when it comes to more modern weaponry." Serenity's comment about loose clothing distracting the enemy just makes Kotal shake his head slightly. "I doubt fog demons or the other monstrosities we tend to fight will have any interest in Minu's body. At least not in that particular way."
He rubs his palms. "Moving on. As many of you know, it is quite possible TASK will be 'branching out' so to speak into different organizations. As such, in the event this were to occur and we see ourselves with less forces than the little we have already, I would like for all of you to carry some kind of weaponry since we will not be able to rely on each other as much as we did before."
"Now, I will be the first to admit that I am no expert in modern warfare. Nevertheless, I understand the advantage of being able to eliminate an enemy from far away, and unless you are built like Torr, you do not want to be caught in the thick of melee."
The massive giant of an ogre Torr takes that moment to grunt and flex his muscles.
"With that in mind, I have summoned the aid of Erron Black who will be instructing us on how to use these devices. Black." Kotal motions to his mercenary.
"Thanks, Kahn." The cowboy tips his hat and addresses everyone in his thick southern drawl that is fitting for a western type like him. "Alright, y'all. This here's a fragmentation anti-personnel grenade. I'm tryin' to make sure what I'm working with here. Who of y'all can tell me if you've seen this before." He holds said grenade up from the crate.
Rayne says, "Sorry, sorry, I'm just thinking aloud, that's all. No need to get worked up over it..." When Erron takes over, she looks at the grenade and tentatively nods. "I've never handled any type of grenade in person before, though. TASK is my first venture into anything remotely militaristic, though my father had a fair supply of various types. Didn't let me touch them when I lived with him. For good reason, I might add."
Minu rolls her eyes a little and wrinkles her nose. Sometimes it doesn't pay to step out of what is expected of one. Oh well she is about to step out further. When Black asks about the frag grenade the little elf pipes up "not been allowed to touch them" she shoots a look at Kotal "but the basics of the design were drawn out for me as well as explanation of blast radius and killing force. The basics of use were also taught and I have been practicing with a substitute medium."
Serenity frowns at Kotal's remark about going armed, looking from him to Torr to Black and then, as they speak up, to the less-experienced of the crew. "I'm sure that I have seen a grenade in a video a few times..." Ren adds uncertainly. "I think those might have been rather more dangerous, though, as the blast didn't seem to be confined to any particular radius."
"If you don't know you're doing with 'em, it's best that you don't." Erron responds to Rayne and gives her a gun shooting motion with his fingers. "But that's what I'm for, don't y'all worry your pretty little heads." As he comes around Minu and she goes into a lengthy technical spill about grenades, the cowboy gives her a blank stare and a blink. "Right. You lost me after 'not been allow to touched them'." Apparently, he didn't understand a thing of what Minu just said.
Then he comes about Serenity and blinks a few more times. It looks like this is the first time they are being formally introduced. "If you've seen this in a video you got the gist of it." Reasons the cowboy.
"Looks like y'all know the basics. I was worried for a moment there that I was working with medieval or bronze age folks." Being from Outworld, Erron definitely knows the type.
"Now, it's simple ya'll." Says Erron as he begins handing a grenade to each person. "All you gotta do is pull this here lever, throw the grenade and then duck behind something. That last step is important, lots of folk forget about the shrapnel in these things. If you ain't covering with something be prepared to eat a handful of metal shards."
"Oh, and one last thing. For the love of everything do not try to 'cook' the grenade. It -will- blow up on your face. For those you don't know, cooking means holding the grenade on your hand to time the explosion. Do. Not. Do it. Comprende?"
As he gets to Serenity, Erron pauses and gives her a look. "Can you extend your wings past your water field to hold this thing? It can't get wet or it'll stop working."
Rayne nods to each of Erron's points. She's seen various movies and documentaries over the years, and knows fairly well from those just how dangerous a grenade can be. Frag, HE, fusion, singularity, even a flashbang or EMP aren't pleasant to be around, as her father had told her. She lets the cowboy do the talking for now, though.
Minu gives the cowboy a look that less then pleasant. In fact she smirks rather unpleasantly when he tells Serenity that a grenade wont work if wet. "I understand you don't understand the tech of these things Mr. Black but I must insist you clarify what you mean by wet, seeing as the explosive charge is in a sealed container and can not be harmed by small amounts of water such as rain or such on them. There was a point on Terra where unwise persons chose to use hand grenades for fishing and did great destruction to certain reef systems."
Serenity offers Black a weak smile as he approaches, but looks a bit skeptical about his confidence. Ren does, however, seem to be listening quite intently as he explains the operation and safety tips. After this, Ren doesn't look particularly eager to reach out for the weapon. "Hhh..." Ren rasps uncertainly until Minu cuts in. "Yes... I can hold my fins out of the water," Ren replies. "I am also curious about the details of that, and how shock waves might be different in air- less dangerous, I think?" Ren motions a fin edge toward Minu. "Rather more in the forefront, though... I'm wondering about how to distinguish between real grenades and training doubles and whether the latter are any danger." Ren then admits, "Also... throwing and ballistics might be something of an issue for me."
"Oh, we got us a smarty pants over here?" Erron Black glances at Minu. "Fine, open the grenade inside water if you want. I won't help you pick up the pieces of your friend if makes it explode prematurely." He passes the grenades out and gives one to each TASK officer, one to Ferra, one to Torr, one to Rayne, one to Minu, and finally, yes, even Serenity gets one. "Well, a good way to finding out which one's a live grenade and which one ain't, is to open and chuck it." If it explodes its a real one, and if it doesn't, then it was fake.. or it was a dud.
Serenity's complaint about not being able to throw makes Erron adjust his hat a little. This might be harder than he thought. "Alright, try to open it first and see if you can even manage that. Don't worry if it goes off, the Kahn and I won't let you get hurt."
Then he turns at the rest of the group. "Okay y'all. Pull the lever and throw one by one. You first rainbow girl." He motions at Rayne.
Rayne nods to Erron and steps over to the range. "Fire in the hole!" she yells out before, as Erron informed her to do so, pulling, throwing, and ducking. There's no hesitation to see how well her throw was, there's just immediate ducking and covering of her ears. She definitely is treating this a lot more seriously than tag.
When Black speaks to her the elf narrows her golden eyes. Its rare that one sees the elf get miffed but if looks could kill, Black was a dead man. Oh, that poor fellow wouldn't likely see his pay for weeks and god help him if he requisitioned so much as a box of tissues. When he hands her that grenade she eyes him briefly then smiles oh so sweetly "thank you very much MR. Black." Minu turns her attention to the range and Rayne tossing her grenade. She tucks down aware of what the blast radius is and that the true distance shrapnel can travel is still more then double that. When the air clears the elf stands up and smiles at Rayne "way to go!"
Serenity doesn't seem terribly surprised when Black avoids distinguishing between live and blank, but his later assurance about protection does get a slight inward 'blink' of the eyes before Ren turns eyes toward Kotal to look for any sign of disagreement there. Ren doesn't voice the question, but does finally extend both pairs of fins from the water to accept and cradle the grenade Black offered.
Ren cautiously watches Rayne approach the barrier but still seems surprised when she actually throws. Unlike Minu, Ren doesn't so much duck as pancake, folding over and flaring the dorsal layer of fins skyward against the water to flatten against the disc of the field generator near the ground. The ventral layer fins somehow keep a hold of the grenade during all this, even if it does get a bit damp.
Serenity doesn't 'stand' until a couple seconds after Minu. After doing so... Ren promptly drops the grenade on the ground nearby. It pops out of the smooth grasp.
Erron too ducks behind the chest high wall as do the rest of the TASK officers, only Torr and Kotal stay out as Torr seems totally impervious to the shrapnel and Kotal catches them in mid air. "Well done, little missy." Says Erron from behind cover and stands up, dusting his outfit.
Oh, he noticed the look that Minu gave him, but he's not making any show that he's at all intimidated. If Minu thinks that she can yank Erron around just because she's Kotal's favorite she's got another thing coming! Or at least that's what's going on in Erron's mind.
As he stands, the cowboy notices Serenity dropping the grenade and sighs at her reluctance. "Oh, alright. I reckon I can find ya something else to throw." He picks the grenade up and sets back in the crate. "In the mean time. Owl lady, show us if you can throw more than jello." Looks like there's already a rivalry going on there!
Kotal regards Serenity calmly and speaks to her. "Fear not Serenity. I will ensure that no one comes to harm today."
Rayne tries but doesn't quite succeed in showing bravado after the compliment. "Yeah, well... It's not really that complicated. That's the most terrifying thing about grenades, really. And please. Don't call me 'little missy.'" She narrows her eyes slightly as she says that last bit. Serenity's reluctance gets a light sigh. Really, Rayne doesn't know how Ren keeps getting dragged into combat training. You'd think Kotal would understand when someone isn't suited for war. She then nods to Minu with a light smile of encouragement. "Let 'er rip, Minu."
Minu was small but she was smart and she made a habit of researching things she is interested in until she knew every tiny technical detail. When Urus first suggested she could be air support for the team and that grenades would offer her a way to help and stay out of direct action she not only took lessons from him but dug through TASKS files about what types of grenades that were available to her some day. So when Mr. Black makes technical errors or says things that are not purely correct one can't blame her for calling him on it. Yes, she might be Kotals assistant but she is also her own person and oh yes, if she wants to, she will pull that mans tail through a wringer and make him cry for his mama. Figuratively of course, she is TASKS leading bureaucrat after all. When its her turn to throw, she again offers up that candy sweet smile then tosses her grenade into the air before shifting to owl in a blink of the eye and catching it in her talons. The tiny owl flaps those small wings hard and makes a high tight spiral up, and up and up. She mentally calculates the drafts that catch with in the confines of the courtyard. She does the quick math on her rate of speed and the bounce her grenade will have, something Urus warned her would be different using the real thing or rocks as opposed to her jello cups. When she has reached approximately 40 feet up she dips her head and pulls the pin with her beak and then start counting. One, two, drop , three four, bounce...BOOM!
Serenity seems to take the accidental weapon release less in stride than the cowboy. Ren makes another and even less-dignified dive for the ground as the grenade escapes, evidently concerned that it might explode on impact despite the fact that it's not armed. Ren only gradually straightens after spotting Black walking over toward it instead of taking cover.
"Hh... Understood," a chastened Ren then replies to Kotal's reassurance. As Minu's turn comes up, Ren this time takes cover in a more smooth motion, flowing down in a slow billow of fins. Lying mostly parallel with the ground, Ren bends upward near the head to watch Minu transform and take off, only flattening out fully as she releases her grenade.
"That's just the way I talk to folks, no need to get defensive." Says Erron to Rayne as she starts to get uppity with him. Seriously, how does Kotal work with all these women? The cowboy gives the Aztec a look that implies just that to which the god only shakes his head and pretends he's not paying attention. Clearly, these women got the mighty Huitzilopotchli terrified, that's why they're able to get away with so much stuff.
"What in the hells.." Erron mutters as he sees Minu's shape shifting display and ducks behind cover when she finally throws her grenade. "Well, that's certainly a more unique take on grenade throwing. Good job." Hey, he's gotta give credit where credit is due, that was impressive.
Now he goes to Serenity and he picks a different grenade, this one white color. "Alright, ma'am. This here's a Flashbang. It operates in a similar fashion than the anti-personnel grenade but it'll just blind and deafen folks when you throw it. You reckon you can give this one a shot for us?"
Rayne blinks as Minu changes form, then ducks for cover as the grenade is dropped from the heights. When the smoke clears, she looks over to Serenity and nods. "Yeah, it can serve as a good distraction, helping you get out of a dangerous situation without actually hurting anyone."
The little owl had of course winged higher the moment she dropped her grenade. She watched as it hit then winged around behind the group before dropping down in a quick dive before pulling back and shifting so she lands with a little bounce on her dainty feet back a good ways from the group , the most of the other Task folks in front of her watching Black and Ren. She can hear the conversation though and she backs right up as far as she can get, no matter if its just a flash bang, she wants no part of that in case it goes wrong.
Serenity flows back to 'standing' shortly after the explosion, rippling over to take the grenade from Erron. Ren still cradles it in both pairs of fins, but this time pinches them tighter above and below the grenade to seal it in a pocket. "Yes, I'll try to keep a better grip on it this time. Perhaps a bit of ribbing or glued-on grit would make them easier to hold?" Ren glances back to Rayne as she offers further information and then to Minu to see her land. Ren offers them a weak smile before nodding to Erron. "I have been taking more notice of thrown objects of late, but... I do hope that Kotal will be looking out for any potential blinding or deafening going on here."
"Don't worry about finding ways of getting a good rip on it for now." Erron explains calmly, apparently being a better teacher at this than Kotal. It helps when he's not flipping out the entire time and threatening to hit people with his macuahuitl. "And like I said, don't worry if it doesn't work out. Just focus on doing your best effort and it'll be alright."
"Now, just like I said, pull the pin and throw it as hard as you possibly can."
"Understood," Ren acknowledges. Ren slips over to the low wall and 'stands' there for a few moments. Ren regards it nervously, leans out to see it from both sides, looks around to confirm the others' locations, and only then stops stalling to implement the plan- such as it is. Ren drops to a near-horizontal posture close to the ground, stretching out the leading edges of the fins past the face to hang the grenade over the edge. Serenity then scrapes the lever over the edge of the wall to shift it into the active position and gives the grenade a little 'underhand' toss, flipping the fin edge upward while extending it. Yes, there a real parabola there if one looks closely- albeit a very shallow one. Mostly the can just clanks to the ground and starts rolling. Ren very quickly retracts the fins and covers face and rhinophores with them, bunching up behind the wall before the concussion.
Honestly? That's much better than what Erron was expecting. "Sheyit!" Cursed the cowboy as he flipped over the concrete barrier and took cover behind. The underhand toss practical but not nearly enough to put the distance necessary to not get blinded and deafened. As the Flash bang explodes and performs its intended function a bunch of unlucky officers curl into a ball and hold their ears.
All in all though, it went pretty well, and Erron peeks from behind his cover. "Not bad at all, ma'am. That oughta save you from any tight spots you might find yourself in, Serenity."