There were four armed soldiers surrounding the target, one for each of the four cardinal directions. A few feet away, six monitor cyborgs stood at attention, three each for the two doors. All ten of them were equipped with assault rifles, each capable of killing a human in a single shot and then tearing apart the corpse with twenty more shots in rapid succession. Judging from the make and model of the rifles, it was doubtful that something as common as Kevlar would be able to stand up to them.
Fortunately for Kunimitsu, she was anything but “common.”
Quietly assessing the situation at hand, the ninja reached into her pack strapped behind her back and pulled out the first of her many homemade instruments that she brought with her for this mission. While she didn’t have any Kevlar underneath her purple bodysuit, Kunimitsu wasn’t too terribly threatened by the possibility of being shot at. As a former Manji ninja, the red-haired kunoichi was trained to deal with multiple enemies in a single setting, even when those enemies were armed with projectile weapons much like these soon-to-be enemies were. As long as she remained focused, Kunimitsu could disarm all ten of them with ease.
The real problem would occur once the ten of them were disarmed. When they were all armed with the same weapon, they were more or less the same foe with the same strengths and weaknesses. Once Kunimitsu removed those weapons, she would reset the situation and create unforeseen variables. What if one of the enemies carried a second pistol on him, or one of the monitor cyborgs had a hidden ability that Kunimitsu didn’t anticipate? Most ninjas didn’t concern themselves with things like this, but Kunimitsu learned a long time ago that no opponent should be underestimated.
As she thought about that, Kunimitsu noticed that one of her long pigtails was slightly dropping over the grate of the air duct that she was currently occupying. Slowly pulling it back up, the ninja took the opportunity to pull down her kitsune mask over her face and hold the instrument she removed from her backpack in front of her. Kunimitsu didn’t doubt that she could disarm the enemy forces without being riddled with holes, but the sound of gunfire would draw unwanted attention. Disarming ten men would be a task for any ninja, but disarming one hundred men?
Or worse, Kunimitsu thought grimly as she placed the first instrument in front of her: a electromagnetic device specifically tuned to the monitor cyborg’s frequency, causing a forced shutdown that would subdue six of the ten enemies (at least in theory). What if instead of one hundred men, I have to wind up facing their leader, who’s worse than a thousand men?
Before being expelled from the Manji clan, Kunimitsu fancied herself a master thief. The Manji clan’s basest modus operandi was to steal from the rich and give to the poor, and Kunimitsu was one of the absolute best when it came to stealing. Whether it was an armored car with gold bricks or the vault of a massive corporation, Kunimitsu could secure the funds with little trouble. It wasn’t until she started stealing from individuals that Kunimitsu learned to appreciate the resolve of one man’s worth when it came to valued possessions.
With this current mission, Kunimitsu was infilitrating the expansive mobile base of the dreaded crime syndicate Shadaloo, who was lead by the villainous Bison. As a former agent of the Mishima Zaibatsu, Kunimitsu was fully aware of the demons that lurked within the souls of men like him, particularly when it came to the Mishima clan. Bison, from what her current employer explained, carried an unholy supernatural power said to rival that of the Mishimas, which was reason enough for the kunoichi to avoid a direct confrontation with Bison as much as possible.
That is why Kunimitsu pulled out a second instrument from her backpack: a pair of gas pellets that would fill the room and knock out the four armed men surrounding the target without so much as a sound. Once her kitsune mask was fully fastened, Kunimitsu dropped the two pellets down between the grates of the air duct and watched them fall to the ground, keeping her other hand around the button that would activate the electromagnetic scrambler.
To Kunimitsu’s good fortune, she timed her button press at the precise moment the gas pellets hit the ground and unleashed their noxious content. By doing so, she was able to synchronize the disabling of the monitor cyborgs with the moment that the armed guards surrounding the target fell to the ground unconscious. If one of those happened a moment sooner or later, then it would have given a moment for one of them to raise an alarm. Kunimitsu wasn’t going to leave that to chance.
Once all movement below her ceased, Kunimitsu kicked the grate out of its hinges and jumped to the floor below, where her prize lay in front of her waiting to be claimed. Her employer told her very little about this “Pandora” device that seemed to be all the rage on the black market. While the main item was still situated in the Antarctic being studied by scientists, black market dealers were spreading rumors about fragments of the box being just as viable as the box itself, and those who could find a Pandora fragment held the keys to untold riches.
Kuni looked at the glowing fragment that lay beyond the force field surrounding it. The fragment was gray in color, with a neon blue etched around it in an incomplete design. Being that the fragment was about as big as Kunimitsu’s foot, the kunoichi surmised that it would have fetched an even bigger price tag on the black market than what her employer was willing to pay her. …don’t think like that, she told herself as she turned away from the fragment and walked over to the control panel a few feet away. I was given a contract, and I intend to honor it.
Upon entering the first passcode that she was given in her briefing, Kunimitsu activated the air ducts and sucked out the noxious gas that was polluting the room and avoiding the possibility of the gas setting off an alarm if it were in the room for too long. Once that was done, Kunimitsu entered the second passcode: one that would disable the force field surrounding the fragment and allow her to take it like she had so many other items before it.
Her plan of escape relied heavily on timing: within the next ten minutes, another Shadaloo soldier would enter the room to relieve one of the men of their posts. Kunimitsu would use that opportunity to subdue him and then take her clothing (Kunimitsu’s briefing assured that the next person on shift was a woman who also had long red hair), and then hide among the Shadaloo ranks until the mobile base landed an hour later, at which point she would quickly make tracks to the rendezvous point and complete the mission.
But when she entered the passcode given to her, nothing happened. The force field remained as unbreakable as ever, threatening to vaporize anything that tried to get past it. Kunimitsu silently cursed under her breath as she wondered why her passcode wasn’t working. It was entirely possible that the information her employer gave her was outdated, and the passcode for the force field was changed regularly while the passcode for something as simple as the air ducts was left as it had been when the intel was still up to date.
Well, I’m definitely not going to abort the mission just because the intel is out of date, Kunimitsu told herself as she stepped away from the passcode and reached into her backpack to pull out another one of her homemade devices: a password generator that would connect into the hard drive and create a password for her to use rather than seek out the current one. An organization as advanced as Shadaloo would likely have safeguards for computers trying to hack into the database, but Kunimitsu’s device wasn’t made for hacking into computers like this one. It was made to give data to the computer rather than take it away: it was a “charity” that few could appreciate.
Once the device was plugged into the port next to the control panel, Kunimitsu breathed a sigh of relief when the screen on her device indicated that it had successfully entered the mainframe and was in the process of generating a code. Being it was made from parts of other devices, it didn’t have the blinding speed that those who belonged to more organized syndicates would carry with them. Kunimitsu’s devices required patience…and being she had waited over 20 years for the day she would one day pay back that certain someone for her humiliation, patience was something Kunimitsu had in abundance.
Realizing that she now had a moment’s peace, Kunimitsu took off her mask and exhaled deeply. Things were so much simpler back then, when she was merely an exile from the Manji clan and was allowed to do her own freelance work on a more public scale. Under the employ of Kazuya’s Mishima Zaibatsu, Kunimitsu was given luxuries that the Manji clan denied her time and time again. With the Zaibatsu’s protection, Kunimitsu could be a thief by day and an elite socialite by night.
But once Kazuya lost power and Kunimitsu was soundly defeated by the Manji clan’s leader, she was forced to go into hiding, and she could no longer enjoy the luxuries that her hiring fees would allow her. In the 20+ years since then, her trusted grandfather had passed away and Kunimitsu was left alone. Before her current employer offered her this mission, Kunimitsu wasn’t making much more than what she was making when she was in the Manji clan. Perhaps she was even worse off now, because at least the Manji clan would provide her shelter, equipment, and food.
Some day, Kunimitsu would reclaim her pride, but for now…
It was the faintest of whispers, almost like the wind, but Kunimitsu heard it as clearly as if someone were talking directly at her. Not only that, but there was a stifling air of violent intent that wasn’t there a moment ago. Quickly fastening her kitsune mask, Kunimitsu reached for her hip and pulled out her ceremonial kunai that had one her so many battles in the past. There were much deadlier weapons around her, like the assault rifles, but Kunimitsu’s mission was a covert one: no one must be made aware of her presense, and those who were needed to be addressed.
“There is no need to hide your beauty, my dear,” the whispering voice cooed in Kunimitsu’s ear, and she could feel someone breathing down on her. With a quick swipe of her kunai, the kunoichi spun around to attack her stalker, but only swiped the empty air. Nevertheless, she was able to see the faint shadow of someone flying above her, and Kunimitsu responded accordingly by flipping backwards just as the shadow fell down above her for a swipe of his own. Her opponent was revealed, and that was enough to reset the situation and take away his element of surprise.
The intruder was good-looking enough, with long brown hair tied in a braid and a purple snake tattoo going up his tall, chiseled body. Judging from the way he was able to sneak up on her, he was probably a fellow ninja, though his purple-and-yellow leggings with a red sash around his waist made Kunimitsu wonder if he realized that being a ninja also meant not calling attention to himself. Of course, if this man was who Kunimitsu thought he was, he was so good at his job that his colors made no difference to him.
“I take it you must be Vega,” Kunimitsu said bluntly.
“It pleases me greatly that an exquisite female like yourself knows who I am,” Vega replied with a cruel grin in his handsome face before hiding that face with his trademark protective mask. “As a nobleman and a true defender of beauty, it reaffirms my prestige that a gorgeous woman that I’ve never met before already knows my identity. It speaks volumes about my reputation as a gentleman.”
“Nothing I’ve heard about you is favorable, especially when it comes to women,” Kunimitsu replied bluntly as she lifted her kuni and entered her fighting stance. “Let’s make this simple: I want that fragment, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to leave this ship with it in my possession. You can either step away and forget you ever saw me, or I can put this kunai in your chest and you’ll forget you saw me when synapses stop going off in your brain.”
The enemy ninja chuckled at this threat, before erupting into a mad cackle. Kunimitsu was given a briefing on Vega, but his reputation was well-known to the kunoichi even before this mission. Vega was one of the Four Lords of Shadaloo (the fourth being Sagat, who currently distanced himself from the organization due to a conflict of interests) and the chief assassin of the organization. Out of Bison’s generals, Vega was the one who Bison trusted the most, being one of the precious few that could match Bison’s ruthlessness.
But whereas Kunimitsu took lives when there was no other alternative, Vega took lives because he got high off of it. Even above his well-publicized narcissism, Vega was a murderous sadist who enjoyed prolonging the suffering of his victims before ending their existence, especially if his target was a woman. “Kyahahaha…oh dear me, OH DEAR ME,” Vega repeated as he lunged for Kunimitsu with his claw ready to strike. “I will very much enjoy drinking your natural wine! A woman with a tongue like yours is a rare treat indeed!”
Vega’s speed and quickness was potent, and if Kunimitsu was only a fraction slower, she would have been run through. Even with her trained reflexes, Vega’s claw still scraped by the horn of her left shoulder pad, breaking the golden horn off as landed on his hands and sprung back to his feet. So sooner had he lifted his head, Vega quickly weaved to the left to avoid a throwing star and watched it plant itself into the metal wall of the room. “You carry shuriken…interesting,” Vega hummed as he took to the air and vaulted off the same metal wall, lunging towards Kunimitsu with his claw ready for attack. “Let me see what other secrets you hold!”
Rather than let Vega does as he pleased from above, Kunimitsu instead took off from the ground below and jumped into the air to meet Vega head-on. With her kunai in front of her, the kunoichi intercepted Vega’s claw and wrapped her free hand around Vega’s rope. Taking control of her enemy, Kunimitsu turned Vega around in mid-air and made it so that when they return to the floor, it was Vega who crashed down onto his back with Kunimitsu’s knees buried into his body and her hand still around his throat.
A pained gurgle came from Vega’s throat before he lifted his powerful legs and launched Kunimitsu off of him. Taking a quick gasp for air, the crazed ninja flipped back to his feet and dashed forward with his feet rapidly pattering against the floor. Kunimitsu readied her kunai for another stab, but while Vega might have been insane, he was definitely not stupid. Rather than go for another thrust, Vega instead performed a leaping backflip, striking Kunimitsu in the chin with his heels and launching her into the air as he landed gracefully.
With Kunimitsu still plummeting to the ground, Vega thrust his claw forward and finally drew the first blood he so desperately craved. Though it wasn’t a complete impalement, the claw did shred through Kunimitsu’s purple bodysuit, partially exposed her toned abdomen made possible through years of refinement and staining them with her blood…and then an instant later, she vanished completely. Vega was no stranger to opponents who could teleport themselves at will, but even his eyes widened in astonishment when even the blood that he drew vanished along with the woman.
He wouldn’t have to wait long for Kunimitsu to reappear, as the blood he drew suddenly dripped down on top of his head. Feeling the warm liquid drip on his head, Vega shuddered in delight as he looked up to see Kunimitsu plummeting down with her kunai raised for the kill much like Vega did with his claw moments before. With a shrill chirp, Vega quickly jumped away to avoid Kunimitsu’s attack before pressing his feet against the nearest wall and again launching himself to his quarry with his claw pointed forward.
Too bad for him, Kunimitsu was waiting for him, delivering a jumping spin kick to the side of his head and sending him crashing down to the ground. Vega staggered to his feet to the sound of Kunimitsu’s feet rapidly beating against the ground as she dashed in for the finisher. Though his vision was impaired, Vega still had enough of his wits about him to slide forward and successfully trip Kunimitsu as she came towards him. As a result, it was Kunimitsu fell to the ground while Vega stood up and allowed his vision to clear.
Once it did, however, he finally noticed that in the previous exchange, Kunimitsu delivered a cut to Vega’s toned abdomen much like he did to her. “It…it hurts so good,” Vega said after taking a moment to savor the desperation that the kunoichi put into the wound, once again shuddering in delight. “You are truly magnificent, woman. Please, tell me your name so that I may remember this day for eternity!”
Kunimitsu’s response came in the form of yet a trio of throwing stars which Vega carefully evaded with swift weaves, jumping over the final shuriken where Kunimitsu was waiting for him in mid-air. Just as Kunimitsu lifted her hand for a downwards stab, Vega surprised her by wrapping his left arm around Kunimitsu’s slender waist and hurling her back down to the floor, watching her bounce off of the ground and eliciting a shout of pain from the woman before she vanished once again.
This time, Vega didn’t have droplets of blood to warn him of Kunimitsu’s next attack, and his ignorance was paid for with the kunoichi latching onto his right arm and rapidly running in a circle, taking Vega along for the ride until both of them were moving at an abnormally fast pace thanks to Kunimitsu putting her ki into her muscular thighs to increase her speed. After countless revolutions, Kunimitsu slid to a halt and successfully pulled Vega’s claw off of his hand while he stumbled in a disoriented haze.
“…it would be easy for me to kill you right now,” Kunimitsu stated coldly as she lifted her kunai and held in front of her as Vega clumsily stumbled towards her with a glazed look in his mad eyes. Instead of running him through, Kunimitsu instead stepped away as Vega took a wild swipe and turned back to her password generator still sitting at the control panel. Picking it up and noticing the green light indicating its completed task and the numbers it generated, Kunimitsu entered the numbers into the control panel and watched the force field around her target dissipate. “Lucky for you, killing you isn’t something I’m going to do unless I was hired to.”
Shoving Vega away as he stumbled blindly into her, Kunimitsu walked over to the exposed Pandora fragment. As she approached it, she thought about the vast sum of money she would be given once she delivered the fragment to her employer. With that kind of money, she would finally be able to lessen her workload and regain, at least partially, the prestige and luxury she enjoyed with Kazuya’s Zaibatsu. With that kind of money, she could finally afford the top-level equipment that she had to deny herself due to her seclusion.
With that kind of money, she could finally put aside her cash troubles and focus on the one thing that she desired more than anything else…