Chapter – X
Max blinked a couple times before he was able to find the screen he, Peter, and Tom had hunkered down in front of to watch Erik’s fight that morning. Before heading over, he turned to Robin
“Thanks for helping me up here. My roommates are over there.” he said, gesturing to one of the many screens with students gathered around it. “I’m going to head over and watch the last fight with them. You’re welcome to join us if you want.”
“Thanks. I think I’ll take you up on that. I’ve got no clue where my roommies are.”
“Cool, let’s go before the fight gets started.” And with that the two made their way through the throngs of student spectators.
After asking for a few pardons, and more than a bit polite pushing, the pair made their way to where Max and Tom had left for what turned out to be their own match. They arrived at their destination in short order and Max greeted the back of his roommates’ heads with a cheerful “Hey guys! What did I miss?”
Tom jumped at the sound of Max’s voice and was out of the folding chair in a shot. He moved to embrace is roommate in an enthusiastic hug, but checked himself when as he remembered Max’s still form at the center of a crater in what used to be a combat cell. Instead he tentatively held out his hand.
“Hey Max. How are you doing? Are you sure you should be up and around?” Tom said as Max awkwardly shifted from bracing for a bear hug to shaking his roommate’s hand.
“Yeah, I’m fine. You rung my bell pretty good, but they patched me up.” Max answered.
“So this is the guy who whupped your ass Slick? He doesn’t look like much.” Robin said, looking down at the slightly shorter young man.
“That’s what she said. Wait, that is what she said. Dammit. Give me a minute here.” Tom attempted to counter.
“Right, you get right on that.” Robin said “Hey, Slick, aren’t you going to make introductions before the fight starts?”
“Right. Sure.” Given how talkative Robin had been so far, he was expecting her run roughshod over him and make her own introduction. She had caught him by surprise yet again. “Tom, my roommate, with whom you have already become acquainted, this is Robin. She walked me back up from the infirmary. Behind him is my suitemate, Peter.”
“Oh, I didn’t see you back there. Hey Pete!” Robin said.
“It’s Peter. And hello Robin. It’s good go see you again” Peter said.
“You two know each other?” Max said.
“Well, duh. The healers have to meet with Doctor Adams before move in day. They want to make sure we know about our additional duties in the infirmary.”
‘That makes sense.” Max said, before realizing that a person who not only was very much not Erik, but also very female. “Hi, I don’t think we’ve met yet.” Max said.
“Hi! Nope we haven’t met yet. I’m Catherine, Peter’s sister. But you can just call me Cat.” the smaller girl said. And now she mentioned it, she bore a striking resemblance to Peter.
“Nice to meet you Catherine, sorry, Cat.” Max replied, quickly correcting himself. “How are you in our year? Are you twins?”
“Nope, I’m the younger one, but let’s just say the parental units didn’t waste any time after Peter was born.” Cat said with a laugh. “It just worked out that we could be in the same class in school, so mom and dad just went with that.”
“Oh, that’s cool. So what’s your power?”
Max’s question was quickly answered with a quick jab to his shoulder, but not, however from Cat. “Hey dope, don’t you know that there’s three questions you never ask a woman?” Robin said. “’How old are you?’, ‘How much do you weigh?’, and ‘What’s your power?’”
Tom stifled a laugh into a snort that was almost worse, while Cat made no effort to hold back her laughter and offered her fist, which was readily bumped by Robin.
“Shifter, by the way.” She answered, with a smile still on her face.
“Hey! I’m your patient, you’re not supposed to be hitting me!” Max said, feigning pain as he rubbed his shoulder “Anyway I’d introduce you to Peter’s roommate, Erik, but I don’t see him anywhere. You guys know where he is?”
“You didn’t hear? He’s in the final.” Tom said.
Erik was feeling pretty good as he ambled through the open door that led into the cell for his final fight. Thinking back on it, his last fight had been a blast. Locklear had been smart, agile, and surprisingly strong. It was the most fun Erik had had fighting since that time he went camping and found a grizzly bear trying to steal his lunch. That reminded him that he was getting hungry after all this exercise, and started wondering how big the sandwiches in the campus center were.
As he entered the cell to find a pale-skinned, dark haired youth already there, sitting with his legs crossed in the far box.
“Hey!” he said with a big smile on his face. “I’m Erik, good to meet ya.”
“My name is Sean,” the seated young man said “but I wouldn’t be so quick to make that assumption if I were you.”
“What makes you say that?” Erik said, his brow wrinkling.
“Neither of us would have made it this far unless we were either fearsome opponents or spectacularly fortunate.” Sean said. “And I can promise you, I am not the latter.”
“Well, yeah. I figured you were tough. But that doesn’t mean we can’t be friendly after we’re done.”
“Perhaps, but as of now, you are standing between me and the top rank in this class. I do not intend any aspect of this fight to be friendly.”
Before any more could be said, Coach Alex’s voice sounded over the unseen speakers one final time.
“This is an official ranking match between Sean Kearney and Erik Danielsen. The match will commence when the buzzer sounds. Make any final preparations you need and fight well.”
The two combatants regarded each other from their separate boxes as they waited for the buzzer to mark the beginning of the fight. As he watched his opponent for some clue as to what his power or style could be, Erik felt the increasingly familiar sensation of calmness descend over him. Accompanying that feeling of calmness, he also felt the tingle of adrenaline as it began to trickle into his system. Under the harsh lights of the cell, Erik couldn’t be sure, but he thought he might have seen a flash in his opponent’s eyes, and a faint spark arching between his fingers.
Erik knew that the longer the fight went on, the more it would favor him. Probably, anyway. But if his opponent was preparing an attack as soon as the match started, he shouldn’t let him have his shot. His mind made up, Erik crouched down and put one hand on the ground, taking a stance vaguely akin to a sprinters’.
Bare moments after Erik’s hand touched the floor of the combat cell, the now-familiar buzzer sounded, marking the beginning of the fight.
Showing remarkable reflexes, the massive youth launched himself forward, exploding towards his opponent’s box. His powerful legs propelled him across the floor with more speed than any human his size had any right to, and he kept himself compact, as much as possible anyway, in case his opponent was able to use ranged attacks.
It didn’t matter.
He reached out to tackle his opponent, wrap up his waist while his shoulder delivered a blow powerful enough to break bones in any base-human physique. But at the last instant Sean contorted himself like a Kunk Fu movie master, and delivered a pair of sparking strikes that would put a cobra to shame, one to Erik’s right arm, the other to his left leg.
Erik stumbled as each limb suddenly went numb, and Sean spun, delivering a mule kick to Erik’s backside, adding more momentum to Erik’s now flailing charge. He fell heavily to the ground, his forehead scraping the concrete while his arm and leg flopped uselessly. His head swimming, Erik became aware of the fact that his stricken limbs simply would not listen to them.
A small satisfied smile on his face, Sean turned and walked up to the prone and groaning Erik.
“Relax. You should regain the use of your limbs in half an hour or so. Forfeit now and somebody will help you to the infirmary.” Sean said. After a moments contemplation he added “Or you could continue to struggle, putting off the inevitable, and I will take more limbs. Your choice.”
Rather than answering, Erik began to draw the arm and leg that still functioned underneath him, and tried to lever himself upright.
With a sigh of resignation, Sean walked up and quickly struck Erik’s leg, just below the hip. There was another flash of red and Erik’s right leg went limp.
“Your effort is noted and appreciated, and if it helps your ego any, you came closer to injuring me than any other opponent today.” Sean said. “There is no shame in falling to a superior opponent. Give up, so we can all get on with our day.”
“No.” Erik grunted, sweat beading on his forehead from the effort of trying to make his limbs cooperate. Once more he levered himself up on his one remaining arm.
This time Sean quickly, and more harshly, struck the remaining arm before hissing out. “My patience are wearing thin. Do. You. Yield?”
“Fuck. You.” Erik said with gritted teeth.
Frustration and exasperation making his movements harsh and jerky, Sean turned from his fallen opponent and addressed the professors he knew had to be watching.
“He’s down! I’ve won! Why won’t you just end this farce and give me the title I’ve earned!?”
“Because, you cocky little shit, he might be down, but I don’t think this fight is over with yet.” Coach Alex responded. With the microphone off, the combatants didn’t hear his remarks. They were for himself and the gathered professors.
“I don’t disagree that Kearney is an arrogant prick, but do you really think the fight can continue?” Helen asked.
“Danielsen is still conscious, and hasn’t forfeited. The fight isn’t over yet.” Alex replied. “But to answer your question… Yes.”
As Alex said this last, Erik’s left foot twitched, and his right hand slowly, inexorably, clenched into a fist. The fight was far from over.
Author’s Note: I just want to take a minute to congratulate Drew on the launch of SuperPowereds 3. I hope he’s enjoying the hell out of his day before getting back to work and writing us book 4.
Also, I’d like to note that in the latest chapter of “Corpies” Drew completely torpedoed my Sizemore story. After I got done begging for a quick edit and retcon (seriously Drew, I’ll give you the complete lowdown on my faculty. You can have them!) and shaking my fist in impotent rage at the computer screen, I decided to just press on and tell my story. I thought about scrapping my story and porting the characters over to a safer one, but ultimately, I’m just carrying on as if I’ve been Franklin Richards’d into a pocket universe.
I hope everybody bears with me.