Fandom: Star Ocean: The Second Story/Second Evolution
Pairing/Characters: Berle, Claude, Nicolus, Indalecio, Cyril, Decus, Shigeo, Marsilio
Word Count: 1061
Spoilers: major (mostly mid-game, some late game)
Summary: Berle is the shield of the Ten Wise Men
Notes/Warnings: mention of wounds/injury, in-canon party defeat. also, I use some Second Story and some Second Evolution terminology
(also kinda late but it does say you can do earlier challenges)
"Point defence system engaging," declared Berle Metatron.
He had teleported in directly in front of the Quadratic Sphere, between the ball of pure high energy and the intruders who had managed to slaughter their way past several entire units of security forces and even defeated Shin, the director of Eluria Tower. There was a world of difference between the planetary division and one of the Ten Wise Men themselves, however. Several lights blinked on the panel of his chestplate and a wireframe lattice of blue light projected from the heavy armour that covered most of his body. As he stepped forwards, swinging around a longsword with a similar energy field covering it but in an angry pulsating red, several after-images followed him at a rate that made it look as though he himself were dancing in-between the images, fading in and out of the tangible world. There was some reality to this, as the meta-field programmed into his cybernetic armour warped space around him, allowing him to partially slip into several other dimensions that the high-level symbological techniques had opened. While some of the runes obscured his position, others were closed dimensions that served as barriers between him and his attackers. As Berle was literally one with his armour, all of its plating integrated into his cybernetic limbs except the helmet that protected his only organic parts, his reputation as a living perfect impenetrable defense was justified. As an attacker he was no sloucher either. His sword strokes were quick and precise as he first battered the intruder's sword out of the way with his shield, then followed up with a swing of his own, leaving a trail of crimson light as he trailed energy from a hostile dimension that burned through the enemy's defences.
The processors that augmented his mind analysed the enemy's attack patterns as he concentrated his primary attention on the battle. This was a threat at least worth recording the existence of, even though they were currently in no position to threaten the Ten Wise Men. Their power levels had been advancing rapidly, as they often did among lesser species such as humans, known for their lack of innate power but high levels of potential, resourcefulness and ability to improvise. At the current rate of the project, it was unlikely that any of the inhabitants would survive the planet's destruction, never mind continue to pursue the Ten Wise Men. However, the intruders did not belong on the planet at all. The Nedian female and human male who seemed to be the party's leaders were of particular note: the humans lived too far away from this region of the galaxy to have discovered it on their own with their current level of technological development and, furthermore, were meant to have some kind of pact not to intrude upon planets that were not developed enough to comprehend the idea of space flight yet; as for the Nedian, there were several reasons why her presence on the planet raised some worrying questions for the entire project. Most importantly, if they could appear in a place they weren't supposed to once, they could do it again. If they were already at this power level and managed to survive, they would probably continue growing to a level when they were an actual threat.
Even as he fought, he relayed the data to the intelligence team. Observing the battle with his usual detached curiosity, Nicolus Camael did not react to the transfer as the was added to the central database that his mind was directly linked to, and in fact comprised most of.
Seconds passed within the fight while this was being processed, then suddenly, the human swordsman was on the floor, blood pouring from several gashes across his torso and arms that were blackening where the hostile energy had drained him. The Nedian woman rushed to heal him but her symbological reserves were running low, as were those of the attack symbologist whose powers apparently developed natively on this planet. The Tetragene woman who also shouldn't have been there tried to draw him away by repeatedly firing a laser rifle at him but the damage barely registered on his meter. No longer considering them a threat, not caring if they retreated or not, Berle obeyed Gabriel's command to withdraw now that their actual mission was complete.
Michael cackled in glee and gave a loud, screeching commentary on everything that happened as the Quadratic Sphere hit the planet, knocking it from orbit and redirecting it straight into Nede's barrier. The resulting energy surge was enough to short the barrier, catapulting the Sphere inside. The destruction of the planet was a side-effect of little concern to Gabriel, the millions of lives lost meaning nothing to him. The trajectory took them just outside the city of Fienal, where Michael's team were immediately ordered to begin the offensive to capture the city. The main tower would make a perfect base of operations, with the quadratic key mounted on the roof as an aerial to amplify all their symbological power. Berle ran to keep up with Jophiel and Zaphkiel as they charged the tower, Michael already shooting off like a comet far in the distance, roaring a challenge. Gabriel indicated for him to stop, then summoned the defence specialist to his side, where Lucifer and Camael were arranged in a ritual circle.
"I need to create a barrier around the entire region," explained Gabriel, "We can't fight the entire Defence Force at once if they all mobilise but we can keep them from getting in reinforcements any time soon. You form the barrier, my most powerful symbologists will augment it, I'll connect it up to the Sphere."
"Block off an entire city?" Berle frowned, looking back at the others from his team. Even though he rarely talked to them - he was never a good conversationalist, what with so much of his mind being taken up with battle subroutines - he didn't like being apart from them for long. Those who had been programmed to work with each other rarely worked well alone. He was supposed to be their shield and he couldn't stop worrying about them charging into battle without him. All three of them could be reckless idiots when the heat of battle took them. However, his role right now would make him everyone's shield.