Don't Underestimate The Power Of Morale


brian_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif lucille3_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title Don't Underestimate the Power of Morale
Synopsis Training to use the Arkham armor doesn't have to be all solemn work. Sometimes the best way is to have a little fun.
Date November 7, 2011

A Clearing Near the Cabin

Thank God we have a couple of days. And the trainees better be thanking whatever God they believe in that there’s significant snow on the ground. Cuz… it’s not pretty. Now that everyone knows who is going to be in the Arkham suits of armor, Elisabeth has marshaled all three of the suits and their intended victi… er, users… out in a clearing while wearing the underarmor portion of the body armor. The exoskeleton part will NOT be used inside. She learned her lesson the hard way.

“Okay, guys.” She herself is wearing the Horizon armor, which is a bit different than what they’re all going to be using. “These suits are not as heavy and they’re designed to be easy to get into the exoskeleton.” She walks around Huruma and gestures. “These clips — here, here, here, here, and here — are how the brace snaps into place. It’s all one piece, you’re literally going to hold it up like you’re putting on a pair of pants, snap into it, and then the arms. DO NOT MOVE once you are snapped in.”

It’s kind of like the Hogwarts broom-riding scene.

Huruma was already long prepared to be fighting, but the advent of learning she was going to be using some of the armor brought something new to the table. She has seen it in battle before, and despite herself she cannot contain an almost childish excitement at being able to climb into some. There's been a slinky little smile on her face since they were told to deck up in the underarmor; she's stopped trying to hide the good mood she's in since then.

It's pretty awesome, alright? Excuse her.

Once they are outside and lined up properly, Huruma's manner shifts to something a little more military, attentive as Liz shows her the ropes and instructs on how to don the suit. There will be a bit more wriggling than Elisabeth has ever had to do thanks to Huruma's— build— but putting a little more muscle into it will serve. She does exactly as instructed, clipping the armor's bracing into position and then going for the arms.

Brian Winters has showed up as asked, bringing only one of him to observe the training session. With the equipment on, the former agent is looking down with skepticism on the gear on them.

“How strong does this thing make you? How fast?”

Doing as instructed Brian brings up the suit as if it were a pair of pants. “If I could use all of them at once, I could learn quicker. Maybe, after everyone else is done?”

Going for the clipping, Brian watches Huruma a little bit as he mimics it, making sure he’s getting it right.

Not too far from where the group is assembled a young lioness cub is putting herself through the paces. If looking in her general direction you would see the young Ryans woman practicing her reflexes coupled with her ability. A group of trees not too far from Lucille is her target as she takes the time to line herself up and throw a series of knives at the trees. Aiming for one in particular every few volleys. The woman’s reaction time is sped by the adrenaline funneling through her body. Chest pumping hard as she unleashes a trio of knives that hit one after the other. The 3rd misses and wizzes off into the trees.

Mentally kicking herself and not having the heart to look over at her father her mouth tightens into a thin line as she runs off into the trees to retrieve her knife. Unable to resist the urge to look over at what her father and Huruma are getting into. A quick glance from golden glowing eyes flicks to her father learning how to work the new suit. She quirks an eyebrow before busying herself with finding her blade.

There is a part of Ryans’ mind, way in the back, that is whispering about how he was thankful for Winslow’s gift and the fact that he has been a lot more active in the past several years. It meant, he didn’t have to worry about that ‘dad bod’ he had developed over those years he was retired. He felt rather exposed in the under armor of the suit, since it seemed to cling to all parts. (HE KNOWS YOU’RE LOOKING HURUMA!)
This discomfort was a reason he liked trench coats.

“I look ri-dic-u-lous,” Ben comments blandly, drawing out that last word. He is not at all amused, while he tests the range of motion in his gloves. He watches material bunch and stretch again. He forces attention away from his suit and discomfort, listening to the instructions as they are given with an attentive furrow of his brows.

Why did he let them talk him into it again?

Elisabeth is more than a little amused. “Brian… it’s less about speed — they’re still heavy. It gives you lift, though. And yes, when we’re done here, ALL of your bodies can work with them.” She looks around the clearing toward where Lucille is practicing and calls, “Lu, heads up!” She takes a couple of steps back, her own armor already in place and ready to rock (except for a helmet — she is not wearing one), and takes two steps in Lucille’s direction before launching. The leap carries her roughly 50 feet, and she lands pretty much as if she’s just making a regular long jump, dropping one hand and one knee for balance and lifting her head to look behind her at the group.

It always makes her laugh to see people’s faces.

She walks back, though, and says to them, “That’s pretty much the outermost reaches of what it can do, if you put the whole burst of power into it. Smaller bursts are usually better — like any automatic weapon, put it on burst mode instead of full auto. That will let you do things like hop to car rooftops, leap while running, things like that. The armor itself can withstand … a pretty significant couple of hits. Armor-piercing rounds will get through… but not on the first hit. Could take up to three hits in a small grouping before it fractures the suit’s protections.”

The feeling of Lucille's frustrations, Brian's attentiveness, and Ryans' own moments of embarassment are things that pitter patter softly against Huruma's senses as she clicks things together and makes one final snip of metallic buckling.

And of course she looked— she looked at the others too, Ben, don't feel too weird.

"You do not look ridiculous." Huruma tests the flexibility of her arms once things have been put into place, pale eyes scanning the textures and surfaces of the armor itself. She shifts her weight on her feet, testing the bearing of the suit on her frame. Elisabeth's show of skill draws her gaze then, and lips purse appreciatively as the woman comes down yards from them. As Liz returns, Huruma barely resists moving— she was told not to, and she has been getting much better about, well, listening when told.. "What measures against blunt force? And the strength of the joints is the same?" Her smooth voice takes on a note of curiosity as she speaks.

“He does a little.” Winters smirks over at the older former agent about his alleged ridiculousness.Moving his right arm in a flexing motion almost in imitation he grins over at Ryans. “But hey, but you look less ridiculous then you would with your ass full of lead, right?”

Winters tries to bend his legs a little swinging his arms up and then stops. Watching Elizabeth fly through the air, Winters gives an appreciative bob of his head. “When does jumping practice start?”

At the call to look up Lucille does just that her gaze trained on the blonde woman in armor. Her mouth drops as she sees Elisabeth jump like way high into the air. Eyes widen as she reflectively ducks just as she spots her wayward weapon amongst the dirt and leaves. “Holy.. shit.”

An immediate thought crossed the woman’s mind. She's not sure that her father should be taking leaps of that magnitude. Fancy suit of armor or not. She grins despite the momentary thoughts of concern for her father. Actually it might be pretty badass to see. An eyebrow quirks in her fathers direction before she pivots to watch Liz. Wow she's found a new hero.

“You are biased.” Ryans states bluntly with a growl in his voice to Huruma. “He’s not,” he adds in a motion in Brian’s direction, “I’ll believe him, thank you.” While others are clipping easily into the armor, the old man, is having to take his time with it. “And thank you for your honesty, Brian.”
The mention of his daughter’s name has Ryans’ head snapping up looking for her. When you have trouble-making children, you have a hard time not checking to see if they are in trouble.

This allows him enough time to see Elisabeth’s jump. By time she lands, Ryans’ brows have lifted up in surprise and he has paused in clipping into his suit. “Impressive.” He turns his attention down to the suit he is currently putting on. Or… working at it. Old men and tech…
“Would an tactical vest,” he isn’t talking about Kevlar here, “hinder this… contraption any?” Ryans clearly, doesn’t think there is enough pockets.

Elisabeth can’t help the laughter at Ryans. She really can’t. Pockets. Well, if you can’t find something to laugh at in all this mess, what the hell are you doing out here?

“Jump training starts now,” she tells Brian with a grin. “The basic things you need to know before you start: 1) Start off at half your NORMAL speed, get the feel of walking before you jump. Some people I know have landed on their face the first time they did this. I’d rather you didn’t. 2) When you try the first jump, just know that you’re going to be entirely out of control, no matter how gentle you try it. The hydraulics are going to kick in, and you’re going to land hard. If you can land on your ass, you’ll be better off. And 3)… Have some fun with this. Because practice is the best teacher.” She shrugs at them. “That’s really all I can tell you.” Since none of them is a speedster, no one is going to wind up naked in the snow. This is a good thing.

“And no, Ryans… a tactical vest won’t slow it down any,” Elisabeth says on a snicker. “Keep your helmets on!” is called as an afterthought.

Huruma lets out a 'tch' of air at Brian, lips quirking along the line of her smile. Biased? Huruma? Never. She scoffs out loud in reply to Ryans, dark skin sufficient in masking any warmth along her cheekbones. It also takes some willpower not to try and move over there and finish the job of clipping Ben into the suit. Come on, it's not that hard!!

Elizabeth's lesson takes her attention back, however, and Huruma's limbs fall to her sides after she pops the helmet on, fingers idly inspecting the seams of the armor as she listens. Half speed. Take care in it. Right.

Once Liz has finished giving them some first-step instruction, it is not long before Huruma's hands flex and she takes some cat-like steps forward, foot coming down as soft as she can mimic a paw of padded leather. It is a strange weight, tight but evenly divided.

Finishing his own suit, Winters nods at Ryans. Testing his arms a little more before crouching in place. Testing the range of motion of his legs. “Need some help with the fastening Mr.Ryans?” The younger former agent asks as he takes one slow and intentional step forward. Clunk. He gives an impressed and appreciative smile before taking another. Clunk.

“Well. Best to start with a run before you walk..”

Bending in place, Brian jumps straight up. It wasn’t a lot of effort and his feet leave just a foot off the ground before he comes back down, his feet slamming around to compensate for the awkward landing. “Not so bad.” He bends again, this time jumping straight up again, but higher.

Coming down is not as easy as it was before as his weight slams back in the ground, his heavier than normal legs and feet are having trouble swinging around and compensating for this unexpected momentum. He doesn’t outright fall though. Though he does end up with his hands on the ground and his ass in the air in probably one of the only times this armor has been used to go into a Downward Dog. “Alright. Well. Be careful.” He is able to get through with strained effort.

"They're doing better than I did my first day in one of these suits," comes the popcorn-gallery commentary from one Richard Cardinal, currently leaning against a tree in a suit of black Horizon armor sans helmet, taking a bite of a stick of jerky. He chews, swallows, and adds, "Admittedly, they're a little more user-friendly than the Horizon suits, or at least I'm going to assume so for the sake of my own pride."

The fact that most of the people here weren't aware he was on the trip up to Alaska may make his sudden appearance more than a little surprising.

“I got it. I got it.”

Finally, the Ryans’ clan patriarch clips the last piece of armor into place, with a satisfied grunt. His new appearance is considered for a moment, knocking knuckles against the armor plating at the chest. There is a short nod of satisfaction, before picking up the helmet. His mouth goes flat as he considers it, looking within. Finally, he decides to just do it and pull the damnable thing on.

No one can see the irritation of having it on, but only Huruma can feel it. He moves his head around, testing the feel. At least, he managed to get it all on, he might be a little proud of that. He’ll spend the next to minutes testing his movement ability in the armor.

There is a little bit of hesitation in Ryans after watching the performance of the others. Fingers tap against his leg as he watches. Finally, he sighs. “Might has well get this over with.” He steps back a little, gives a little bounce on the balls of his feet and moves forward. Even though he isn’t running, his long legs, provide a bit of power as he moves into that first leap.

When the hydraulics engage, maybe it is partially the fact that Cardinal is suddenly there – what?! —, or maybe Ryans is just taken by complete surprise at the unnatural lift that sends him into the air. Unfortunately, the man might move with the grace of a predator on the ground, right now… he has none. So when he comes down, he manages to get a foot to hit the ground, but the momentum pitches the old guy forward. Inertia does the rest as he goes tumbling across the ground, till his back slams into a tree near the leader of Endgame. To add insult to injury, dislodged snow rains down around them both, burying the former agent a little. He then just kind of sits there.

Yeah… Real graceful there, Ryans.

Anyone nearby will hear a weird sound from the prone form as it slouches there leaning against the tree. Shoulders starts to shake; but, is it from the cold or…..? Fingers fumble with the helmet until he can pull it off, letting it fall to the side, still clutched in one hand.
That unusual sound?

Benjamin Ryans, the normally stony man, is laughing. Free from the confines of the helmet, it is a very real, very deep sound; not the small chuckles or huffs of amusement. Real, honest to goodness, laughter. “Hot Damn,” he whoops out around the laughter, thrusting his hand - with the helmet still clutched in it - into the air.

A sign of the end times? Maybe?

That Huruma does really well does not surprise the audiokinetic. The woman, Liz would swear, is part feline. Always seems to land on her feet. Brian’s pose of Downward Dog absolutely has her giggling. She can’t help it! It’s not the first time she’s seen that! “Hey, at least you’re not a speedster – Felix sheared his first set of armor into little bitty bits on the Naval Academy football field. The techs cried,” she informs them on a chuckle.

Ryans, however…. well, it starts with the voice behind her, which Elisabeth has literally been waiting days for. Because… well, she’s been running around here with Shadow Cleavage and shit, and it’s getting really old. But he speaks up right as Ryans gets moving, and she sees the moment that the team’s leader loses all control of his limbs and the armor.

Blue eyes flinch at the corners as Ryans practically cartwheels across the clearing. And then she winces again at the whump of snow dropping on top of both Ryans and Cardinal. There’s a long moment of silence. She wonders if Ryans is hurt. And then he’s… laughing.

Liz can literally do nothing but stare. She’s never seen this man do more than give a half of a smile at anything before. Her tone is very dry as she comments, “Well, love… you do know how to make an entrance, don’t you?”

Huruma pauses in her own steps to watch Brian take to the air; at first she seems more impressed that he picks it up, shoulders shaking in a small laugh when he flops forward onto his hands. She looks up after Ryans at that, as the other man tugs the helmet on and his irritation bleeds through in a more clear way. Cardinal's presence in one of the other suits does not even seem to phase her, a laugh on her lips. Deciding to watch Ryans try first, Huruma firms her stance and jerks her head up to follow his course when he vaults upwards. Wuh-oh. There's a small, almost sympathetic flinch when he goes somersaulting his way into a tree.

As the snow falls out of the branches, Huruma catches a snort and a laugh in her nose, the sound cut off partway— only to be let free once it appears Ben is distinctly more amused by it. She can even feel it on the inside, a spark of something— well— good.

That must mean it is her turn. Huruma pivots slightly and steps forward into something more like a skip than a jump. She doesn't put the full power of her legs in— she might go straight to the clouds that way. Instead of landing several feet from Ryans, Huruma hits a few low branches and skids past him. Close enough. "Gah!"

"…or maybe not," Cardinal comments, peering down at the man half-buried in the snow at the next tree over, both eyebrows going upwards, "At least it wasn't snowing when I was learning, though. You need a hand up there, Agent Ryans?" Pushing off the tree, he steps along over, offering one gauntleted hand to the man. Liz’s comment just gets a grin.

As Huruma goes skidding past, he calls after her, "The brakes are the hard part to get right!"

The young woman more off to the side had been distracted for a moment. Going on the defensive she had decided to take the moment to practice a pretty new facet to her ability. With her eyes closed and head tilted slightly to the side Lucille Ryans takes deep breaths until she is sitting in that place deep within herself. The sensation that follows is one that Lucille hasn’t really gotten used to yet. Beats.. Heartbeats thump in the woman’s head. People’s pulses. And while she cannot follow the pulses to their owner’s exact locations. If she concentrates hard enough she counts the number of different pulses she is feeling. Matching them to the number that is assembled in the clearing with her, except.. She misses one.

A wrinkle of her nose as her eyes open still glowing that golden color she counts the people, then the pulses ringing in her head and she squints as she shifts her focus to the low and steady hum of a pulse she almost missed. With her eyes open as a visual aid she allows the feeling of the it to draw her in. Eyelids flutter as she spots the person. Aunt Huruma. Makes sense she muses in her head that Huruma would be able to keep her resting rate down. It’s still a shocker though and another reason that Lucille hero worships her dad’s best friend.

The appearance of Cardinal makes Lucille jump a little. Shadows hearts might not beat like that. She notes the suit that Richard is wearing with a glint in her eye. It looks insanely cool. So does dad’s too totally. And.. well hello BrianAss. A smirk crosses the woman’s lips and she snickers behind her hand. It’s at this moment that Lucille is treated to some things she hasn’t ever really gotten to see from her father. Seeing him utterly fail at something and did he just fucking laugh?! Lucille’s eyebrows raise as her father’s words reach her and she bursts out laughing. Eyes fading to their natural blue-gray. Clutching her sides the dark-haired woman pants and then coughs from laughing so hard.

“Is he okay?” Winters eyes are centered between his legs right now, so while his head flops around some trying to evaluate the situation of what happened after Ryans’ racket he eventually gives up. “He’s okay?” The double check is asked before Winters bends his elbows a little and pushes
himself, going straight up in the air he lands right back down on his hands, letting out a frustrated noise. Trying again, Winters rights himself, looking over at the fallen Ben Ryans.

A light chuckle. Huruma clipping trees, Ryans laying in the snow, himself crab-walking. “We’re all going to die.” The cheery words punctuate his laughter, bringing one knee up high, and then the other. He starts practicing with more limited movements, high knees, strafing left and right. Careful to do so with his arms out to his side to test the movement of each step.

As the laughter continues on with Ryans Brian focuses on much smaller more manageable movements. He does look up at Huruma and Ryans for a second, he could learn this so much faster if he was doing it three times at once. Cardinal gets a glance, though his features remain stoney before he looks back down at his feet. Brian Winters does another straight vertical, this time landing with more success.

There is more chuckling at Huruma’s fail — maybe a little satisfaction too — at the fact he was not the only one. Look at them now.

“Yeah!” is finally called out from Ryans, “I’m perfect, Winters.” The helmet switches hands, so that Ryans can and wrap a hand around Cardinal’s wrist; using the offered leverage to get his feet under him again. Snow falls to the ground as he straightens, letting go so that he can brush at the stuff left clinging to his form. “Thank you, young man.” he offers, still sounding amused.

He hands the helmet to Cardinal, “Hold this a moment, ” he murmurs, before reaching down to scoop up some snow. As he packs it into a sphere, he gives Cardinal his attention for a moment. “Glad you could make it. Trip go all right?” The conversation is light, which should be a little worrisome; luckily, It doesn’t last long.

A flick of blue-eyes to look over Cardinal’s shoulder, to his daughter beyond, might be the only hint that the man in front of him will get of his true purpose. With a quick flick of his arm and wrist, Ryans sends a snowball in the direction of his daughter.

Yes, Lucille. He saw you there laughing.

Whether or not it hits its target, Ryans is satisfied; retrieving his helmet with another, “Thank you,” and pulling it back over his head. Back to practice.

“Probably,” Elisabeth observes in reply to Brian’s ‘we’re all gonna die’ assertion – rather cheerfully, too. “Pretty sure he’s fine, given the way he’s giggling like a lunatic over there,” she points out about Ryans and his burial in the snow mound, her own laughter lighting up her features.
The snowball lobbed in Lucille’s direction just makes her laugh more – it’s not something Elisabeth has exactly done often. And as she looks at the group out here in the snow, she just shakes her head and winks at Richard. Then she gets back to business.

“Good, Brian. Very good. Huruma, you would have had the landing if the launch had been a little tighter. The best analogy I can give you is to think about jumping off the dock into the lake. You can control your direction and direct your landing if you have control of your limbs when you leave the dock. If you just fling yourself off, you’re gonna land where you land and you’re going to have a lot of forward momentum that is out of control.”

Huruma pries herself from the skid of snow and leaf litter she has dragged along with her, lifting her head at the laughs from their different sources. Sometimes she would find offense, but in this case— she can forgive the mirth. She lets out a sound of her own, deep throated laughter that sits comfortably in the seat of her chest. Lifting back to her feet, Huruma treks back to where she had begun in a steady set of strides. Only once does she look back, breathing settled when she glances to Lucille. A few moments later there ia a snowball heading her way from her beloved pops, which gets a new bout of laughter.

Huruma idles near Brian with a half smile, wiping the forest grime off of her sides. “Do not worry so much.” She rocks on her heels, testing the ground again and taking into consideration the instructions from Liz. Her next attempt is more controlled; she leaves the ground as told, coming down in a harder than intended landing, folding into a crouch into the snow. Better, anyway. Give it a few more tries.

The other man's arm is gripped in return, and Cardinal fairly effortlessly hauls Ryans to his feet - the benefit of hydraulic assistance. The helmet's taken as it's handed over, and he banters casually, "Oh, not too bad. I had a stop off about forty years in the future, you know how it goes."

The helmet's surrendered, then, his lips twitching as the snowball goes flying, "Make sure you wear the damn helmet, as a note. Liz is terrible about it."

A craning of his neck, and he calls over to Elisabeth, "TERRIBLE."

At Huruma’s words his calisthenics pauses. Briefly wondering how deep her abilities can go, can she sense the emotions off of all of him? The others back east?He purses his lips at the thoughts before nodding at her. Don’t worry so much. With that command he takes a single step forward, bends his forward knee and bounds.

Brian Winter somersaults, flipping forward in the air before coming crashing back down onto his feet. And for a second, it looks perfect the way he soared through the air, the way he landed. But…


The momentum is just a bit too much and as he continues forward he struggles to compensate with feet below him. Ending up with a faceful of snow after a few scrambling steps.


As the snowball thrown from her father's direction speeds her way Lucille’s eyes widen as it lands with a baloop on her head. Snow falling gently down her face Ryans’ daughter breaks into another fit of giggles and it would surely be a shock for Ryans to see his girl so carefree. It lets Lu forget how much is at stake on this mission. For just a brief period, that's okay.

Hurrying to the ground she scoops up a handful of snow and makes a beeline towards her father. A dark grin crosses her lips as she tries to make eye contact with her father. She's coming for you, old man. “Ahhhh!” She screams as she throws her snowball towards her father. The throw is a little to enthusiastic though because the next moment Lucille is on the ground on her stomach. Yes laughing even harder.

Elisabeth hollers back, her tone both amused and affectionately exasperated at Cardinal, “I don’t have one anymore! Quitcher bitchin’!” Because she was too afraid of it being traced to bring it when they fetched the two suits from beneath the bridge where Spidey-Felix hid them. She’s well aware of Richard’s obsession with her helmet, however. Now doesn’t seem the time to argue that it muffles her ability – which frankly is all in her own head, as Conrad once informed her years ago, but still!

She applauds Huruma. “Excellent! That was terrific!” She’s clearly delighted at the graceful woman’s movements. And Brian’s…. well, he starts out well! “It’s a process. Definitely you’re getting it a little faster than the shadow guy,” she laughs. “Although to be fair, yours is about 15 pounds lighter than our gear!” Because her gear and Cardinal’s are both clearly the military-grade armor used in New York by the FRONTLINE soldiers.

Tilting her head, she ponders thoughtfully. A glint comes into her eyes, one that no one but the aforementioned shadow probably knows her well enough to fear but Huruma easily picks up on the impish wickedness. “Great idea, Ryans,” she tells the man with a decisive nod. “That’s a great way to work both the dodge capabilities and the fine motor dexterity of the armor.” She scoops up a handful of snow in her gauntlet and forms a snowball out of it. “Snowball fight!”

Cardinal won’t be able to see Ryans’ expression behind the visor of the helmet, but the head turns his direction in consideration. “I’ll have to try and convince you to tell –” He doesn’t finish that sentence as the return fire, hits him in the side of the helmet. There is probably something comical about the way the lump of snow slowly slides down the side of his visor.

His own gauntleted hand lifts to help speed up the process, before – without thinking and with an added, “Pardon me, Richard”—Ryans makes another leap. This time towards his daughter. Now that he had experienced the sensation he is able to adjust, landing better this time. With only a little shuffle of his feet and his arms out, to keep from going for another tumble.
He could get use to this.

Ryans crouches down, one knee on the ground, while offering a gloved hand to Lucille, “Here, Honey.” Let daddy help you up.

Huruma folds out of her crouch, eyes on the frame of armor at her legs. She's starting to get the idea. Her back is to Lucille trying to get back at her father and Elisabeth's impishness, but she does pick up on the latter's feeling before she turns her head to look. There's something of a sense of dread in the tension of Huruma's shoulders when Liz actually says it— last time she was participant in a snowball fight, Huruma may or may not have bullied a child.

"Oh, by all means," Richard sweeps a hand in invitation before Ryans leaps off to handle the snowball issue, turning back to regard Elisabeth with a wry smile, "Yeah, yeah, I get it. I was overconf— "

Then he pauses, a single brow lifting. His gaze drops to her hand and the snowball, then back up.

"You wouldn't dare."

As snowball fight is announced, Winters lets out a prolonged sigh of warm breath into the fresh snow surrounding his face. Pushing himself up, one hand comes to pat at his face, being sure to get all the slush off. Rolling over to his butt, Winters slowly is able to get back to his feet. As they start in on their snowball fight, Brian takes a few steps that are intended to be stealthy towards the treeline.

He’ll practice over here. Away from all that.

He does a few more vertical jumps, getting more success now from the attempts.

When her father leaps over to give her a hand and he lands not nearly as bad as he did before Lucille offers a wide grin to her father as she takes his hand and lets herself be pulled up and lets out an excited shout at the power her father has in the suit. “Wow old man you can pack a punch in that thing, if you don't topple over that is.” She snickers as she allows herself to pull her father in for a hug. Closing her eyes she squeezes though it's unlikely her father would feel that much pressure with his suit. No words to be spoken really. It's a thing. I’m sorry. Implied is as much a thing as Lucille is willing to do right now.

The moment her father lets her go though she's crouching as if tying her shoe. Though the motions she's making cannot be about a simple tying of the shoe..

Is that a snowball?

Oh wouldn’t I? That wicked, impish grin flickers over Elisabeth’s features. The snowball in her hand, which really could have been originally intended for anyone, flies full speed at one Richard Cardinal. And even as it leaves her hand, the woman is on the move in the snow, leaping sideways.

“Huruma, show me whatcha got!” she invites the other woman into the chase as she uses the suit to help her movements – and keep away from one vengeance-wielding shadow. Hey, snow tag is just as valid as snowball fighting for getting used to hydraulic-assisted movement!

Huruma's head tilts towards Elisabeth after she throws a snowball at Cardinal, and for a moment she looks a little mechanical herself, debating what to do as her face ticks after Liz. A moment of hesitation has her crouching to scoop and pack a snowball in her off-hand; her head swivels after where Liz has gone before giving chase. The burst from crouch to lunge is a bit fast, leaving a skid of snow in her wake, but once she finds her feet there is an improvement.

There are reasons that she scares people, and the thrill she takes in a chase is one of them.

The surprise will not register for Lucille, when she hugs her father, after the past couple of years, things like that catch Ryans off guard. However, the affection is returned with extra care. The loop of his arms may be a little loose, but that is because he doesn’t want to crush his eldest child, with the untested power of the suit.

Tender family moment done, Ryans takes a step back watching his daughter. She must think he was born yesterday, because as soon as he sees her move, he is leaping backwards away from her, coming down, rather shakily several feet away. He is getting it. See!

There's no attempt made to dodge the snowball hurled in Cardinal's direction, which means he's caught dead in the side of the head in an explosion of white powder that leaves him playfully staggering. "Oh, you— oh, I'm going to get you for that," he calls out, dropping down to a crouch…

…and melting away into darkness, tenebrosity spilling out over the snow and darting like a falcon's shadow in pursuit over the snow.

The observant may notice that where the shadow passes, there is considerably less snow than there was before it moved over that spot.

“Hey no fair!” The young badass shouts at her father with a snicker before she's tossing the snowball at him. Crouching fast to make another. Lucille let's loose with another and another there's pure joy etched across her face. Somebody snap a photo quick, this is one of those moments.

Her hands on her knees she still laughs as she dodges whatever might be thrown back to her. This moment was needed. The lioness’ breathing a little easier now.

Who would have thought that a snowball fight would break that ice?

Elisabeth bounds away from Huruma, impressed beyond belief at the other woman’s instinctive grasp of how one must move in the suits. It usually takes a bit more time. She glances behind her, having to change course fast to avoid the dark-skinned woman’s next leap. A quick glance toward the other two in suits to see how they’re faring, but she mostly at this point, just keeps Huruma moving steadily. We have one day to get them up to speed enough to not get dead.

Huruma is vastly aware of the time limit they have, and so any slip or slide or mis-step she makes in pursuit of Elisabeth is corrected then and there. She whizzes past a tree at a sharp enough turn to splinter the bark with a hand moved out to turn it. There's a laugh on her breath that huffs out of the suit as she makes a gazelle's bound after Liz. It's exhilarating, and it's this that makes getting used to moving less of a chore. Rather than play snowball dodgeball, the chase is what she wants. Liz gives it to her, at least until she catches her — and then it's her turn to scatter.

It may be a little more fun than intended, but it makes for fast learning.

The shadows crawl up one of the trees, twisting around limbs and snow-weighted leaves like some tenebrous python as Richard Cardinal positions himself just so

…so that when Huruma finally catches up with Liz, the trap is sprung, and all at once the shadows release all of the snow that they've transubstantiated on their way in pursuit of their lover.

It's a lot of snow that's suddenly falling over the pair. Much better than a snowball.

Her father will let her throw those snowballs, using it as an opportunity to get use to the suit. Dodging, weaving, making her chase after him to keep close enough to throw another at him. He may even toss a few back, even letting one or two of hers hit. Before long, he’ll notice that using it is becoming an afterthought. There is training going on under the fun.

There may be something to Harrison’s idea after all.

Though to be honest, at that moment, Ryans is just a father enjoying a moment with his daughter.

Huruma is, naturally, engrossed in the skillful chase that Liz gives, and their back and forth is a welcome test. She may be a little too engrossed— as she doesn't even think twice about why Cardinal’s shadow is in tow until her world becomes a brief avalanche of white. She stumbles into the snow beside Elisabeth, looking less like a joyful player and more like a cat whose owner has opened the door and lobbed it into a snowbank. There are a few moments before she does issue a laugh, air puffing from her teeth as she remains there a time. The feeling is just as important to remember, in times like this.

Keeping away from Huruma takes more focus than Elisabeth might have expected, given the other woman’s inexperience with the armor. Ryans’ jumps earn her praise as she bounds by him! “Nice!!” Brian’s work with his suit is noted as well as she jumps in random directions to make Huruma have to work harder to predict her movements. That, however, comes screeching to a halt when a retarded amount of snow descends on the blonde and her pursuer from above.

She was not expecting to be blasted with that much snow!! She looks sort of like an abominable snowman as she sprawls out in the snow in her armor, laughing breathlessly. “You’re a shit, Richard Cardinal! It’s down my freakin’ back!” Oh, and that’s COLD, cuz the inner lining melts it!

But it’s nice to have those few moments of laughter, of play. This business of saving the world from itself (and a twisted version of Richard Cardinal) is serious, and Liz is taking it as such. Sometimes laughter, however, is the best morale boost of all – remembering what you’re fighting for is way more motivating than what you’re fighting against.

“Maybe you should’ve worn your helmet…” Helmet…

Richard Cardinal is a shit.

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