After 5 hard weeks of almost non-stop work on the Tarakan (with several data overload accidents), Alexei has finally achieved a production-ready state. Disregarding proper protocol, he sleeved into the untested morph with Sarena, Edward and Steven Williamson providing assistance and failsafe security in the event of catastrophic failure.
The Tarakan successfully awoke minutes after resleeving. During calibration, Alexei’s unfamiliarity with the power of the morph proved disastrous. He overdrove the muscle actuators and severely damaged his old Masked Steel along with the assembly bay’s wall while attempting to disengage from the test harness. At Alexei’s request, Sarena ejected the morph through the assembly bay loading airlock. After several minutes of clumsy and graceless maneuvering, Alexei completed diagnostic tests and returned, whereupon a discussion of the Tarakan’s attributes escalated into a no-holds-barred duel between Steven and Sarena. Alexei personally configured the simulspace and oversaw the duel, with Sarena sporting a Plasma Rifle/Particle Beam combo while Steven installed himself in an updated Tarakan equipped with railguns and shredders.
The duelists started at range aboard a battle-scarred floating arcology from Old Earth, and exchanged fire immediately. Neither successfully landed a hit. Sarena’s beam fire was ineffective as she closed the distance, any harm from its few points of contact negated by the Tarakan’s sturdy defenses. Feeling confident, Steven charged forward to meet his opponent, and Sarena began to engage in a deadly game of hide and seek, hiding behind cover between each attack. Though in his determination and confidence he landed several shots against the battlesuited Fury while she hid, Sarena’s reactive and ablative armour, in combination with her diamond-hardened fullerene armour, defeated the incoming projectiles.
In the skirmish that followed, Sarena gained decisive advantage by critically damaging several control circuits as she ran ahead of Steven’s fire, then abruptly dropped to one knee and slices into the Tarakan’s chest with her plasma beam at 90 meters. As Steven’s shots from both guns scattered the ground around Sarena, she steadied her plasma beam and in an instant, throughoutly baked through the Tarakan’s core systems and set the simulated prototype crashing down in a flaming heap. While a technical failure of the design, the match highlighted many inefficiencies in addition to demonstrating the morph’s ability to withstand concentrated plasma fire.
At the conclusion of the battle, Alexei consulted with Steven about his experience in the Tarakan. Steven rattled off a nearly endless list of gripes, which Alexei synthesized into a wide array of improvements. The engineer’s receptiveness lessened Steven’s foul mood, and even made him excited for the next iteration of the battle morph. A second revision of the Tarakan is now underway.