Angels Of War

A/N: Nothing in particular against the countries being devastated here. This was not beta-read. A brief primer on the verse is on my bio for those who are curious.

Recommended soundtrack, especially for the second battle: Two Steps From Hell - Kickdown.

Tokyo, 6 June, 2205

The Battle of Earth had begun.

General Sakai was leading the defenses from a bunker in the center of Tokyo. He monitored the situation outside the capital, where the Battle of Terra would apparently see its first infantry engagements.

Hundreds of Japanese Republican soldiers huddled in their defensive positions. An alert had sounded that drop pods had breached the anti-air defenses, and thus they prepared to fight the invaders. All of Earth had. The United Earth Directorate, formed in the aftermath of the nuclear war, was determined to fight off the invaders, or "colonials", as they put it. Interstellar colonies under one banner, and determined to unite mankind. All of it. The space battle had gone poorly, with the outdated, outnumbered terran fleet now space debris, some of which could be seen falling down like shooting stars. So now the battle would move to the ground.

The General had expected the so-called Marine Corps, of the Federal Alliance. But instead of the black armored soldiers, all the feed from his scout-snipers showed was a single person.

Slowly walking down the road, towards the battle lines, was a large, armored man, about eight feet tall. The armor appeared to be a modern hardsuit, but somehow made with the striking, colorful aesthetics of the samurai of old. It reflected light oddly, but it was clearly some sort of metal, in shades of red and black. His face was obscured by a classic demonic helmet. His only armament was an extremely large sword, like an ōdachi, but even bigger, and still sheathed. The General had a bad feeling about this.

[He does not strike me as a mere envoy. Something is off.]

The large man stopped roughly 150 meters away from the first line, gripped the handle of his sword tightly, and engaged a loudspeaker in his suit. He shouted out in perfect Japanese.

[Republic of Japan! You may address me as Shogun. I am anointed by His Majesty, The Emperor, to return the islands of Japan to their rightful rulers. General Sakai, of the illegitimate Republic, is to surrender Tokyo to me so that I can fulfill this duty. All those who likewise surrender shall be granted amnesty in the restored Empire of Japan. This offer will stand regardless of circumstances. But be aware; my attack shall begin in one minute past the end of this speech. Anyone resisting will be cut down where they stand.]

A long pause ensued, with both frontline and situation room not reacting immediately. Then slowly, some giggling started to bubble up. It soon erupted into full blown laughter, accompanied by jests and insults.

The only ones not laughing were Shogun, and the General. The former was unfazed. The latter was genuinely concerned, more than during the Chinese Invasions or the Revolution.

[He does not intend to attack all alone, does he? Something is VERY wrong here.]

The minute passed, and Shogun spoke again, ignoring the soldiers. [Very well. I shall respect your choice with an honorable death.] And to the shock of everyone, he began glowing. Everyone went quiet as a yellow light and sparks enveloped the man. This only lasted a few seconds before some kind of bright shockwave erupted. It didn't hurt anyone other than the brief blindness and deafness from the blast, but the pulse had knocked out most of the small drones providing overwatch, and disrupted communications briefly.

They all looked at Shogun, who now had, of all things, wings. They looked fake, holographic, like they were made of yellow light, instead of actual physical wings. But they weren't just for show, as he was now floating a few inches above the ground. They gave him a powerful, but not blinding, brightness and majesty. Shogun then brought out his giant sword, which began glowing blue, and slowly set into a fighting stance.

An anti-material round came from afar, straight for his head. But it collided with something, an invisible layer, and the round broke into pieces just inches away. The soldiers were now even more alarmed. Personal shielding technology shouldn't withstand that kind of caliber.

The time for words was over. Shogun, real name Yamato Tanska, Angel of the House of Yamato, began his attack. Still floating, he dashed towards the frontline, a giant blur that crossed 150 meters in the blink of an eye. He did a massive sweep with his blade that no one could follow, only deduce from his stance as he stopped behind a pair of soldiers. Who promptly split apart.

Hundreds of screams filled the air as everyone reacted in absolute shock. Everyone with a clear line of sight began firing. But Shogun was already moving again, ignoring all gunfire, and cutting down everyone he could see, clearing entire squads in seconds. He then focused on the machine gun emplacements, and those holding rocket launchers. Ignoring the former's gunfire, and sidestepping the latter's projectiles with ease, he took out all heavy weaponry. Then returned to the squads, who were firing wildly, and already maneuvering, trying to surround him.

It did not matter. Shogun was utterly immune to small arms, and had a mobility completely beyond them. To further prove that, he flew towards the rooftops, clearing out defenders. He came back down and continued mowing down squads, with the same effort one would kill an insect.

After a brief halt to assess his surroundings, a white line struck his shield, in the back, with a loud screech. The impact appeared to ripple across an unseen bubble in the air, but the barrier did not fall. He looked at the source, and saw a tank. The war machine had hit him with its main railgun. The tank fired again, and Shogun decided to show off, swinging the blade at the projectile. The Adamantium blade went through the hypersonic round with ease, stopping the attack. He then charged, nearly bisecting the tank horizontally, as if the armor was made of paper. When he stopped right behind it, it exploded.

Shogun looked around again, seeing the infantry falling and regrouping around more vehicle and rocket crews. He took flight again.

General Sakai could only watch in horror as a single man was cutting down his own, by the hundreds per minute.

Phantom Zone, Zenith Station, 2290

Violet was having a hard time keeping down the closest thing her synthetic mind could get to shock, shifting in her chair as she watched the footage. "Since when are you people this strong?"

Caitlyn Williams, in this context Captain Lux, herself another Angel, smirked. "This kind of footage isn't public. The High Lords muddle things a bit in their propaganda, to make analysis of our full powers more difficult." The 3D footage shown in the isolated briefing room was a collection of restricted military and media footage, condensed into a single video. "I figured it was about time you two learned the truth. The Templars are targeting you two now, so you must be prepared... If such a thing is even possible."

The third occupant of the room didn't deviate from her always provocative sitting positions, but was just as deep in serious thought as Violet. Revy gently played with the practice katana she always carried around as she spoke. "It is perfectly clear now how we lost so badly against Red Moon."

A few days ago, Violet and Revy had nearly died against an alien Angel, in an unforeseen engagement where they lost, badly. They had sensed a power level far beyond what they were used to, but fleeing was not in their vocabulary. They both tasted a bitter defeat and nearly died. "You're showing us Shogun because he is built much like Red Moon."

Lux nodded. "Yes, they are both Meteor-class. Built for physical power. I myself am a Burst-class, built for Bending. In both cases, we keep our full power hidden." She quipped. "For those times when we have to take on an entire army by ourselves."

"That's when you do that Release thing, right? The wings come out." Violet pointed at a still on the side of the main display, where Shogun displayed his wings.

Lux nodded. "They are not actual wings, but energy constructs. The emitters are small devices behind our lungs. You can consider those a weak spot, as they aren't as protected as our vital organs." She pointed at her chest. "You should also target the heart. It's our main power source. We won't die but we'll be incapacitated, and without the Engelsschild. The shield."

Revy frowned. "But in melee, the field is bypassed anyways, right? And can our weapons hurt you?"

"Your sword, and Violet's power fists, are strong enough. In theory. I wouldn't trust much else." Lux shook her head at the ongoing footage.

"And what can an army do?" Violet pointed at Revy with her thumb. "I mean, us two can't exactly take on that many people at once. Piecemeal, in a messy battlefield, sure, but not like this." She pointed at more footage of Shogun fighting in the open. "You cunts are just something else."

Lux ignored the profanity, being more than used to Violet's language. "Let's see, shall we?"

Tokyo, 6 June, 2205

General Sakai had been wracking his brain for the past hour. There had to be something, anything, that could stop Shogun. He'd lost thousands of men, and dozens of war machines. Tanks were useless. Artillery and drone strikes did no damage, even with direct hits. Attempts at air strikes resulted in Shogun simply flying towards them and sliced the gunships apart, like some kind of movie. Intense bombardment was never going to work, the monster was too fast. A creative platoon had lured Shogun into a building and detonated it, but he quickly forced his way out of the rubble, as if it had been mere Styrofoam falling on him.

At least the city had been evacuated, and he is avoiding the shelters.

He realized the only two good ways to defeat Shogun, orbital bombardment or a nuclear strike, had been conveniently neutralized. One by the space battle earlier in the day, and the other by the fact Earth had run out of nukes 25 years ago. Not that Japan even had a stockpile in the first place.

Regardless, he needed to make an attempt. Shogun was taking his time. He could've easily flown towards the center, but wanted to go through every one first. He was inflicting terror, provoking a response, and seeking a challenge. There was only one thing the General could think of, short of surrender or retreat. One last hail mary, before Shogun reached HQ. He was about to ask his staff about the preparations when another staff member caught his attention.

[General! Tokyo Tower is under attack!]

[What?! Shogun hasn't reached there yet. Show me.]

The young officer changed the main screen to show the interior of Tokyo Tower, turned into a communications and anti-air defense tower, now experiencing battle. The light garrison there was engaging a group of enemies. Their armor somewhat resembled the Shogun's, but less striking. These soldiers did use guns and fought normally, for the most part. Others used some form of melee weaponry. The General noticed a level of superhuman strength and agility, and how small arms had little effect. Some, but little. And they did not look like cyborgs. He had heard of this new type of super soldier.

[Nephilim. More colonial abominations. Send reinforcements, now!]

Phantom Zone, Zenith Station, 2290

Lux explained the situation, her arms neatly behind her back. "The Samurai of the Eternal Sun sneaked into the city with the help of pro-Empire rebels, and took Tokyo Tower. If Nephilim are already nearly invincible by a modern Marine's standards, then to under-equipped terran soldiers of the early 23rd century, they might as well have been demigods. What reinforcements made it to the tower didn't make a difference. The AIS would then use it to take full control of the city's airwaves, and launch mass comm disruptions."

Revy set her head slightly to the side. "Why is this relevant?"

Violet got to the conclusion first. "To keep the military from the coordination level they would need to take on Shogun. Which means..."

Revy finished the sentence. "That there is a way to deal with them."

Lux was pleased. "Correct. But also to broadcast most of this across the local military network. The Emperor wanted all of Japan's military command to witness it."

Tokyo, 6 June, 2205

The Shogun, by now completely covered in blood but with no actual damage on his armor, entered an open park, the Shinjuku Gyoen. Most of the plant life was withered, no doubt due to radioactive exposure in the past. He noted that after this fight, he would likely have a chance of seeing it fully restored.

His focus returning to the battle, he saw his next challenge. A line of six large battlesuits, each of them three meters tall. He recognized the model from his briefing. Amusingly, they were named the Shogun-class battlesuits. They were designed to fight other battlesuits, with their massive power spears, plasma cannons and missile launchers. He also noticed five figures near the suits, who immediately took cover behind them.

He would deal with the war machines first. Going into his evasion patterns, he avoided their ranged fire and closed in, as the stray shots damaged the buildings. One of the pilots answered his challenge, charging him. The Shogun suits were tall and bulky, but surprisingly agile, the pinnacle of battlesuit technology. A powerful propulsion system lets the suits perform short dashes, useful for close quarters combat.

He was curious to know what would happen if he and the machine clashed weapons.

Surprisingly, the clash was indecisive. They both stood their ground, while a shockwave blasted out at the point of contact. The battlesuit prepared to strike again. But Shogun had merely performed a probing strike. Now, he would actually swing hard. The parry overwhelmed the battlesuit and sent it back, with the spear heavily damaged. Shogun noticed the other pilots, who had been maneuvering, stopping. They were shocked.

Their hesitation doomed their comrade, as Shogun thrust forward, driving his sword where he knew the pilot was located. Indeed, after easily going through the armor plating, he felt the sword hitting something soft, and the battlesuit went limp.

Shogun quickly pulled out and prepared to engage another battlesuit when he sensed dark energy to his side. He braced as a warp blast hit him. And then another. And another. None of them actually did damage, and the blue flames merely dissipated over his shield, but he now realized it.

The five figures were Benders. Japan managed to train up some susceptibles into serviceable Furies. They had formed an arc, and were launching coordinated volleys of evocations. Against standard infantry, this team would be difficult to deal with. But to him, they barely qualified as a nuisance. He quickly launched himself at the Benders, ignoring their telekinetic and warp blasts as if mere insults. The battlesuits tried to assist, but Shogun moved too fast, cutting all the Benders down before they could do anything. The last one even tried to Flash-Step away, but Shogun moved so fast that only bought him a fraction of a second. Then he engaged the battlesuits again, and they fared no better. War machines and feeble attempts at harnessing dark energy were no match for him.

But as he cut down the last enemy, he realized too late there were planes strafing his position. And he was engulfed in massive explosions.

Phantom Zone, Zenith Station, 2290

Violet put her hands in her head. "Those must've been a few tons of explosives dropping right on top of him. You're not gonna tell me he just shrugs it off."

Lux made a half-grin and showed stills of Shogun emerging from the smoke, with only some damage on his armor. Violet sighed.

Revy leaned forward, observing the damage on his armor. "Well, now we have a baseline for how much your shields can take."

Violet estimated how much energy made it through, by using her own Vibranium armor, made of the same material as the Shogun's as a reference. "Yeah, we can forget using ranged weapons. Might as well strap ourselves down with mini-nukes and do a kamikaze charge."

Revy had a different idea. "I assume black nano or radiation aren't viable here?" Revy wasn't hopeful, given her and Violet's already high resistance.

Lux snorted. "There were attempts, but might as well be throwing stink bombs at us." She continued. "Regardless, General Sakai surrendered right after this. The Shogun personally greeted him and brought him before the Emperor, who arrived the following day. The rest of Japan followed immediately."

Violet snorted. "Heh. I always thought 'one guy solos Tokyo, Japan surrenders' was embezzled. But now I understand. Who the fuck can watch this and still want to fight?"

Lux followed up. "Yes, transhuman dread, but employed at a strategic level, not tactical. Sure, as the Marines began landing to secure the islands, some fighting took place from isolated holdouts, but from most peoples' perspective, Japan fell to a single man. It was a powerful image, and reduced the amount of work needed to 're-imperialize' Japan. Their spirits were broken."

Violet sighed. "Yeah, I guess. Hey, do you have more of this? Did some other country manage to fare better against an Angel?"

Lux began pulling up new files. "Well… I'm going to show you a Burst-class. You never know if you'll face one instead of Red Moon again. We are not as physically powerful as a Meteor, but we compensate by being the strongest Benders in the galaxy. As you have seen."

"From way too far away to see more than explosions." Violet was referring to the relief effort Lux had performed after Violet and Revy had been defeated. "What, you gonna finally show us your true power, Cap?"

Lux snorted. "No. Instead, you get to see Hawkeye, against the Americans, not long after Japan fell."

Norfolk, 25 June, 2205

Much of the eastern coast of the United States had been nuked years ago. Much of the rest of it was now in enemy hands. Norfolk was currently being contested, and Admiral Adams watched the battle unfold from his flagship. He could see the determined but poorly prepared remnants of the Army trying their best to fend off the Alliance "Marines". So far, it was a vicious battle, but his true concern wasn't the city proper.

He commanded what was left of the Navy, on this side of the continent. Three outdated carriers and a handful of escorts, repaired and retrofitted after the nuclear war. After space superiority was lost, no one complained about the expenditure of maintaining the "obsolete" maritime fleet anymore, since that was the closest thing the US had to a space fleet for now, for all the good that would do.

He had some ships fire missiles to support the Army. But this wasn't a determined supporting effort. No, this was bait. He was saving the firepower for the true target. Hawkeye.

Whenever US forces appeared to hold, even against the Nephilim, Hawkeye appeared and turned the tide of battle. A similar pattern had emerged all over the world. Latest UED intel pointed at 15 of these "Angels", maybe more.

Adams did not know how such abominations to the Lord (ironic, given their designation) could even exist, but his top concern was how to deal with them. Ground warfare had proven fruitless. It was time to think bigger. He had a small photo of Hawkeye on his deck, grainy, but showing a tall, blonde man, with a seemingly aloof, light-hearted expression, and a light jumpsuit. They contrasted with the fact thousands of American soldiers died at his hand. The Admiral no longer questioned why Hawkeye had no armor or weapons. He had no need for them.

Come on, you bastard. Show yourself.

As if on cue, sensors showed an abnormal energy signature heading their way. An incredibly fast line was dashing in the sky, and into the sea. It was visible even from miles away.


He screamed at his microphone. "Operation Skyfall is go! All units, ENGAGE ENGAGE ENGAGE!"

At once, as rehearsed, all ships began firing. Machine guns, railguns, rockets, flak cannons, even some salvaged point defense laser batteries. An insane cacophony of death, all towards a single person.

Immediately, the white line began evasive maneuvers, moving so fast and with such mobility that it left impossibly tight, kilometer long zigzag patterns in the air, as if the physics of flight were mere guidelines. As it moved, explosions followed it. The Admiral could see that there were little to no direct hits, despite all ships having the latest targeting software. The monster moved faster than fighter jets. Though all the shockwaves and flak had to be whittling down his defenses.

Hawkeye began his counterattack, doing a strafing run over the lead destroyer. Aiming his hands at the armaments, and then closing them, they were crushed by invisible forces. He then caused both the bridge and rear engine to implode on themselves. The destroyer's own shields did nothing to stop the evocations, nor did the armor. The Admiral knew what regular Benders could do, but this was a level of casual, cataclysmic power that defied logic, the ability to crush a warship with a mere thought. He knew beforehand he'd lose ships. He could only hope the sacrifice would be worth it.

The Admiral's radar confirmed his air forces, which had been hiding over the horizon, had now returned. Seventy F-75s, supported by fifty drones, who all knew exactly who to focus on. All ships slowed down their fire, to avoid hitting the planes. Hawkeye was quick to spot the fighter craft, and flew upwards, leaving the destroyer to sink, and the crew to their fate.

The battle turned into a dogfight, with missiles and machine gun fire visible in the sky. It was hard to judge what was happening at that altitude, even with a clear day. But the red-lining of the fighters, one by one, on the Admiral's screen, did not bode well. Nor did the screams over the radio.

"He's too fast. I can't-GAH!"

"No effect, I repeat, missile strikes have no effe-GAH!"

A staff officer then saw planes, imploded into small balls, fall down into the water. He could not contain his terror. "T-they are being slaughtered."

The Admiral sighed. "I know." He turned towards another officer. "Engage Phase 3." Everyone on the bridge froze for a moment. They all knew what it meant. The planes were being sacrificed. But this was a plan everyone had agreed on, including the pilots. Hawkeye had to die, if the United States were to be saved.

A trio of submarines surfaced, and quickly disgorged a series of large missiles. Lacking nuclear warheads, the Admiral made do with the next best thing. Hypersonic ballistic missiles, meant for space warfare or ground-to-low-orbit usage, each carrying the strongest possible non-nuclear warheads, designed to wipe out a whole city block, or turn a carrier into slag. All eighteen of them were launched.

In mere seconds, they had converged on the rough area where the aerial battle was taking place, in a grid pattern. They would never truly hit at point blank, but they were given a generous proximity detonation radius.

Rest in Hell, you piece of shit.

The sky lit up in a series of titanic explosions. The shockwaves rocked the ships and those on the bridge had to brace themselves. After several seconds, the ship was stable again. The crew looked out the window and could see fighter debris falling down. They all wondered about Hawkeye.

The sensors picked him up again. A tracker camera showed a trail of black smoke, with wings sticking out. He was in free fall, otherwise unmoving. He fell into the water with a loud splash."

Gotcha. The Admiral hailed the Columbia, the nearest submarine. "Columbia, this is Admiral Adams. Target submerged near your location, possibly disabled. Can you confirm? Over."

After a few seconds, there was a response. "Admiral. We have him on sensors. He's sinking, but otherwise not moving. Want us to make sure he's dead? Over."

"Please do."

After a short while, sensors showed underwater detonations. The Columbia's captain spoke again. "Admiral. We hit him with a few torps, proximity fuses. Don't have anything on screen anymore, over."

The Admiral let out the loudest sigh, and smiled. "We got the bastard." The bridge erupted into celebration, not a very loud one, given the grim sacrifice required for it. Still, the gambit worked, and Adams prepared to call High Command to give the good news.

Then the comms blared again. "Admiral, we are surfacing!" The tone was one of alarm.

Adams snapped back to reality. "Colombia, clarify 'surfacing'. Is something wrong?"

"Something is pushing us up. We can't control the sub!" By the sentence's end, the Admiral had already tuned out as he saw something he had never dreamed of. The submarine was indeed surfacing. But then it started to float in the air.

No. It can't be.

As the submarine continued to ascend, a bright light appeared underneath it. A camera managed to resolve the image: Hawkeye. The light was coming from all over him, like some aura, a sign of peak Bending exertion. He looked badly injured, with burns, and parts of flesh missing. His pretty blonde face was marred with burns and an expression of rage. But none of the injuries seemed to be actually incapacitating him. He looked more angry than anything. But everyone was more focused on the fact he was making an eight-thousand-ton submarine float in the air.

One of the fleet carriers was the nearest ship. Hawkeye, now about 100 meters in the air, began floating over to it, bringing the submarine with him. Automated machine guns fired at him, but his nigh-unbreakable shield had returned, and the 30mm rounds pinged harmlessly, while the point defense lasers did nothing as well.

The Admiral realized what he was going to do and screamed at the comms. All professionalism was lost, he was in a panic. "D-destroy the submarine, NOW!"

But it was too late. Waving his arms and screaming, Hawkeye launched the submarine at the carrier. The submarine returned to the clutches of gravity, and did a long arc a few times its length. The Admiral could hear the screams of those inside the vessel over the radio. Those on the carrier's flight deck began running, and the submarine crashed, in a meteoric impact that was heard miles away.

The impact ruined both hulls, but worse than that, it caused an immediate swivel on the carrier, and it quickly turned. The weight of the bridge caused enough torque to warp the hull, but this did not stop the rotation. The carrier was doomed, and the submarine would be leaking water shortly. If anyone inside even survived the impact, that is. The radio had gone silent.

Hawkeye panted heavily, but started to fly again, at the usual breakneck speeds. Rocket and cannon fire resumed, but with the same dubious efficacy as earlier.

The Admiral was sweating, trying to think of something, while his fleet fought for its life. But as he started to lose more ships, and as munitions were running low, he drew a blank.

He had lost his family in the nuclear war. But as a more peaceful Earth began rising from the ashes, he had some hope that his nation would still have a future. A better one. That had kept him going. It was not meant to be. Whatever the colonials found in the stars, it had given them the ultimate weapons of war.

A new age had begun, and after this failed attempt, that had exhausted much of the heavy ordinance the US still had, it was clear neither the country he once knew, nor the one he dreamed of, were in it.

May the cursed Alliance at least let the United States live in the history books.

His tone was one of resignation. "God help us all." They were his last words, as his bridge was quickly destroyed by a wave of force.

Phantom Zone, Zenith Station, 2290

Captain Lux closed the screen. "Well, before I say anything else, what did you glean from this?"

The two women before her had lost all composure by now. Both Violet and Revy were in the same pose: leaning, with their hands tightly pressing together right under their noses, and looks of concern mixed with disbelief.

They themselves had monstrous kill counts, and made the average human look like an insect. It was rare that they were impressed by someone else's fighting ability. But now they felt small.

The idea of how powerful the captain they've been teasing and messing with all these years is, and who mercifully elected to just ignore them, was now truly sinking in.

Revy spoke first. "Well, this was even worse."

Violet found her tongue, but kept the expression. "I have... questions."


Violet gathered some composure, and slowly raised fingers as she spoke. "First of, what the fuck are you people made of? Second, don't you get tired at some point? How did he have energy for all of that? And finally... Why do we even need big armies instead of just a few platoons of you guys? If you don't dominate current warfare, it's clearly not because you are weak. What keeps the High Lords from making more? Y'all are too expensive or something?"

Lux gathered some thoughts before answering. "Well... You know how Nephilim like you have some light S-Cell nanothreading and are already superhuman. Now, imagine that you are simply made of said nano, with only some actual human tissue. That is what we are. We are constructs far beyond even you two."

Violet thought to herself. Makes me and Revy look like high school science projects that got a B- in comparison.

"Second, we do have limits. Hawkeye was not only injured, but was drained of almost all energy. He had to withdraw and was out of action for a whole week." She pointed at her chest again. "Don't ask how this thing works. No one has figured it out yet. But it rivals some fusion reactors, and it will eventually rebuild itself if damaged."

Revy interjected. "You make it sound like it wasn't humans creating you, then. Which might answer the third question. And where the Nephilim truly originate from."

Lux nodded. "Correct. The full truth is beyond your clearance, but yes. We... Already existed when Terra Nova was founded. Just stored away, sleeping through the millennia. No, before you ask, none of us have any memories of our alien creators. And there are whole theories as to what we were meant for in the first place. But I'm sidetracking. The important part is, each one of us who dies, is a permanent loss. And one less source of Nephilim augmentation."

Violet had a realization. "... You are strategic resources. Irreplaceable ones. And when you show yourselves like this, you become targets. That's why you are rarely deployed, and need to get permission to Release. You get greedy, you risk getting killed."

Lux smiled. "Well done, Warrant. These two battles you've seen were wake up calls. Deploying Angels alone is always risky. And the same happens with the Templars. What Avatars they have left, are hoarded until they are most needed, and only when there are no large armies that could make a difference, like what happened in Trident."

Violet perked her head up. "Speaking of which, what is the current match up, in numbers? You guys have been hunting each other down for quite a while now, right?"

Lux looked down, pondering whether she should answer. "We believe there's five left. We have seven."

Revy spoke again. "So that's why we're here. You need ways to make the odds more favorable, five versus seven is too close. While we can't fight them directly... We are still strong enough to tip the scales." Lux nodded, and Revy turned to Violet. "Our job will be helping her in the next showdown." She pointed at the captain, who took over. "Yes, obviously we'll need to rehearse some tactics, but that's the plan. I know this is insanely dangerous, more than anything you've ever faced."

Lux clasped her hands. "I will reiterate: no one has ever killed an Angel, human or alien, without being one as well. I am asking the impossible from you. Which is why I am only asking. Can I count on you?"

Violet snorted. She never turned down a challenge, even if chances of success are slim. "Of course, Captain. Ride or die." She turned to Revy. "You?"

Revy sighed. She seemed hesitant, but resigned. "I suppose I can't let you get yourself killed before I get the chance of doing it myself, can I?"

"Good." Violet was already thinking about tactical considerations. "Either a Meteor or a Burst are well above our weight class in a straight up fight. But if they get grounded first, then..." The next few minutes were spent discussing maneuvers, weapons, and possible power ups.

They began planning on how to kill a god.

A/N: Maybe one day I'll get the inspiration to write the rematch against Red Moon (or the first battle). It's meant to be the final boss fight of the first arc. Also, if you've read Journey, you can check the dates. Here, Violet and Caitlyn are still in the same command structure, but weren't dating yet.

Thank you for reading.