Ducecice's Run

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Disclaimer: I do not own Zone of the Enders.

Introductions:

Aurora/Aura

Age: 23

Gender: Female

Frame: Type C Ducecice, AIM (Artificial Intelligence Marie)

Home World: Earth

Extra Info: Barry's older sister, Cole's girlfriend, oldest sibling of 6, trained frame runner

Cole

Age: 24

Gender: Male

Frame: Type C Diyoun, BNON (Battle Now Or Never)

Colony Home: Earth

Extra Info: only child, Aura's beau, Barry and Jared's role model and friend, trained frame runner

Barry

Age: 21

Gender: Male

Frame: Type C JehutyD, no AI

Colony Home: Earth

Extra Info: Aura's little brother, Jared's best friend, trained frame runner

Jared

Age: 21

Gender: Male

Frame: Type C R3D3, no AI

Colony Home: Earth

Extra Info: Barry's best friend, youngest child of three, trained frame runner

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Chapter 1—Stadium Duels

Aura landed a burst slash on JehutyD, her little brother's frame. JehutyD, an exact duplicate of the legendary Jehuty, recovered with a series of smaller hits. Only two of the four hit before her shields went up as she moved backwards.

"Gotta be quicker, little man," she taunted.

"Watch your own back, Aura!" she took a direct hit from behind. Bringing Ducecice around to face her other opponent, she shot a green-lined dash shot at it. The frame, R3D3, took the hit directly in the stomach.

"That hurt," Jared mumbled as he moved upward for a better shot angle.

"Not so fast," Ducecice burst, then shot a huge greenish ball at the frame. The ball had barely left the frame before another attack hit her directly in the back. She used another burst slash and shoved JehutyD back some. Charging him, she hit it with a series of smaller slashes, then grabbed him, spun around and threw him into the fast approaching R3D3. The two collided and nearly hit the stadium walls, but R3D3 stopped them with a dash forward. They stood side by side on the ground, facing her. She flipped Ducecice once, the streamline green body moving elegantly, and flew in at them. R3D3 went right. JehutyD went left and she missed both.

Deciding her little brother posed a greater threat, Aura chased him, shooting dash shots as she went. Three of the eight hit him. An attack hit her from above. She moved into a slashing stance. JehutyD hit from the left, R3D3 had managed to get to her right. They both burst slashed at the same time.

"Had enough, Aura?" Barry asked, both he and R3D3 retreating in opposite directions and positioning for another team attack. She could hear the smile in his voice.

"A double slash burst is not nearly enough to take me out," she said. And just to prove it, she hit him with a gauntlet weapon.

"Another type C frame has entered the area," AIM said, the mechanical female voice startling Aura out of her intense concentration.

"Location and info," Aura said.

"It's Diyoun," Jared said. Turning Ducecice around to face the access way, Aura watched Diyoun glide through to the stadium. Aura studied the frame as she listened to both Jared and Barry switch off their current frequency. She flipped through the channels until she found the one they were on, still looking the new arrival over. Cole had upgraded it, probably from his latest mission. The build was bigger now; his defense was probably up some. It was funny how the orbital frame looked so much like Cole; broad shoulders and covered in muscle.

"What'd we get for it?" Jared asked. She thought about the frames and their runners, how they each ran a frame that looked like them.

"Ice cream," Cole said.

"Come on, man! Ice cream worked when we were kids!" Barry protested.

R3D3 was built for defense; JehutyD for offense. Together they made a ruthless team. Diyoun was pure attack and Ducecice was speed.

"It'll work now, too. Now get going," Cole said, his deep voice sending a warm wave through her body to her core. Aura leaned back in her seat and listened, smiling.

"You want a fight, you'll get it, but not with Aura," Jared moved into a fighting stance. Barry followed. Diyoun charged them. They moved in too. Diyoun burst slashed R3D3 from above, then JehutyD, who was above Diyoun, in almost one move.

"Go play with your dolls, boys," Cole said.

"We don't have any dolls!" Barry shouted. Cole chuckled. Aura gently, stealthily moved Ducecice back into the shadows that the powerful overhead lights created, switching the frequency back to what it had been on so she couldn't hear them anymore.

"Scan Diyoun, AIM,"

"Orbital Frame Diyoun is a type C frame with a trained, experienced runner. Since the last encounter with Diyoun, the frame's defense has been increased, speed decreased to compensate. The log also suggests the runner has more experience then before,"

"Good," she mumbled, watching R3D3 and JehutyD moved toward the exit ramp. Diyoun moved in a slow, stationary circle, stopping and staring right at her.

"Come out and play, Aura," Cole purred. She moved Ducecice from the shadows slowly, knowing the way the light and shadows changed on the surface would be creepy-looking, but that it wouldn't affect him at all. "There you are,"

"What do you mean, interfering with my duel?"

"They're not worth it,"

"And you are?"

"More so, yes,"

"Is that a challenge?"

"You bet,"

"Then prepare yourself," Ducecice flipped and charged. Diyoun moved forward with a dash. Their blades collided and they both hung suspended in mid air for a time both pushing in on the other. Diyoun moved first. He used the other blade and hit Ducecice directly in the stomach before she hit him in the head. She attempted a burst slash and succeeded, but he had moved backwards and it didn't make contact. He charged in and they exchanged multi hits. Diyoun tried a grab attack, but Ducecice moved backwards and shot a dash shot at him. He put his shield up and the missile collided with it. They stood each other off. Neither moved. Ducecice moved to the left and dashed. Diyoun followed to the right and they circled each other. Ducecice shot a dash shot. Diyoun went up and it missed. She shot a comet weapon at Diyoun. He dashed left, keeping one eye on the weapon and one on her as it came. Ducecice hit him from above with a sudden, hard hit.

"Too fast," he mumbled as he moved to counter her. He only managed a backing up maneuver. She used decoy, that's why she didn't seem to move, he realized. She charged in and shot another comet at him, then headed up, their frames barely missing a collision. He followed her.

They played chase for a while. Cole realized he was not going to catch her, so he broke off, shooting a gauntlet and using decoy. Ducecice maneuvered and dodged the gauntlet, but Aura realized her mistake too late. The gauntlet posed such a little threat next to Cole. He hammered in on her from below with several small slashes, then a burst slash.

"Damage index exceeding 75," AIM said.

"Joy," Aura mumbled under her breath. "AIM, lock onto him,"

"Lock on complete," Aura moved in on him. He moved backwards, but she was faster. She caught him with a slash. Two. Three. Four. Five. Ducecice flipped and brought both arm blades down hard on him. She hit with two horizontal slashes. One diagonal from the top left. One from the top right. Top left again. Top right again. One stab move, then four more regular slashes.

She used a burst slash to finish her move, backed up, burst and shot a huge green ball at her opponent. "AIM, how long was that?"

"Your modified attack took 10.5 seconds,"

"Good… now, where was I?" she focused back on Diyoun.

It had landed on the stadium floor, gracefully enough, but damaged.

Cole climbed from his cockpit.

Drifting down to join him, she climbed from the cockpit and landed on her feet in front of her frame and walked toward him as he stomped toward her.

"Look what you did, girl!" he swung a hand back to Diyoun's figure while keeping his eyes on her.

"What do I win?" she teased.

"Nada,"

"Nada?" she echoed, even as he grabbed her by the shoulders and roughly took her lips in his. It was a punishing kiss that she gave into, smiling and curling her arms around him as he did the same, lacing his hand in her hair, mingling his breath with hers. It was a passionate kiss that was made all the sweeter by the time they'd been apart.

He pulled back and stared at her. "I've missed you," he breathed, looking her over, his hand stroking her cheek.

"Maybe you shouldn't go away for so long?" she mumbled, brushing her lips over his.

"It was a mission, I didn't have a choice, you understand that,"

"This is going to take forever to repair," Jared yelled at them. Cole and Aura turned, arm in arm still, and watched Barry and Jared circle Diyoun, their steps in time with each other. Barry climbed up into Diyoun's cockpit and took a seat as Aura and Cole walked back to them, his arm wrapped around her waist, hers hanging off his shoulder.

"Where did you get these upgrades?" he asked. "Your attack was much better then before,"

Cole shrugged. "Atlantis wanted to say thanks,"

"Yeah, uh-huh. This is the last time you go on a mission without us. This is not fair," Barry said as he pushed buttons and brought up the chronicles of Cole's mission. Jared shook his head as he jumped back down from the left leg, clearly not pleased with the amount of damage dealt to the frame.

"How long till you two can have it up and running again?" Cole asked. Barry joined Jared on the ground in circling the frame to assess the damages.

"It's gonna cost ya," Barry tried—and failed—to hide his devilish smirk.

"Not this again…"

"Oh, yeah. Every time you do this much damage," Barry started.

"I didn't do the damage. Aura did!" he pointed a finger at her, keeping his arm around her.

"Hey!" she shoved his finger out of her face.

"You're the runner, Cole," Jared said. "You pay for it, man,"

"If he's even a man," Barry mumbled. Cole—who Barry did not anticipate to hear him—charged him for the comment, letting go of Aura so that she nearly fell. Barry dashed around the frame.

Jared tackled Cole when he passed, bringing them both to the ground.

"Oh, yeah, that was nice," Cole mumbled as he shoved Jared off. Barry pounced on Cole and dealt two half-I-mean-it and half-I'm-goofing-around punches to the face. Cole's fist made contact with Barry's jaw before he could land a third punch. Barry sailed through the air with the impact and landed flat on his back, stars circling his vision, blood in his mouth. Cole towered over him.

"You've lost your touch, little man," Barry swung his leg around and clipped Cole in the legs, brining him to his back too. The mini-punches and half-socks moved beyond count as they wrestled.

Aura shook her head…

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The dialogue feels animated, and maybe that's because my little brother and his friend dictated it to me and I used it, I donno, but I'm not really sure how to fix it either.