Chapter – XXII
Christina Ross had long since accepted that she would never really knew how she was going to fight her opponents.
So she decided to embrace it. To use it.
Christina had realized at an early age that her power also meant that nobody would ever know exactly how to fight her either. What she never told anybody was that she did have some control over what power would come up. She had the basic powers she inherited from her mother, and she knew they each came up about a third of the time. They were pretty useful and could take out most anyone who needed their asses kicked.
But all the stronger powers, the more unique powers, those were much more random. She could influence what kind of power would generally come up, and she always had an instinct about how the different powers worked. So even though she didn’t know exactly what the mist power would do when she got it, she knew in a general sense how to use it. It was a surprise, however, that even though she couldn’t see, she knew exactly what Cat was doing. The mist deadened both girls’ traditional senses, Christina knew what was happeneing in her mist in the same way that a spider knew what a fly caught in her web was doing.
So with her eyes closed, Christina could picture Cat’s movements almost exactly. She knew when Cat chuffed out a frustrated breath. She could practically see the massive beast that she had become warily scanning back and forth, looking for her. Then finally Christina felt a cruel smile split her face as she felt Cat melt back into her human form. She didn’t quite know what she was going to try, perhaps that her petite human form could move more stealthily than her shifted form.
Then Cat began to shrink further, and for once Christina was confused by the actions of her opponent.
Up in the observation room, the monitors had switched over to a broad spectrum imaging system. Sizemore Tech had commissioned a Tech Genius who specialized in optics to construct their cameras and monitors. The system somehow determined that Christina’s mist was diffusing the visible spectrum, but didn’t disturb longer or shorter wavelengths of light. Therefore the system switched to ultra-violet and and infrared light and after a brief delay translated them into a visible light image.
“Is Cat?” Robin started, her eyebrows climbing up her forehead “…Is Cat getting smaller?”
Peter had a look on his face that was hovereing somewhere between self-satisfication and pride. “I told you her ability was more flexilbe than simple shifting.”
As the group watched, Cat shrank until she was roughly two feet tall, her proportions changing, and joints rearanging. Though her body shrank, her arms and legs lengthened until she resembled a leggy, medium sized dog. Her nails lengthened until they were needle-like claws, and a line of spines sprouted from her back. Her head changed shape, becoming more bullet shapped while her canine teeth grew into a set of wicked fangs and her tongue forked like a snake’s.
Cat’s eyes grew as well, even larger than her human form, until they were roughly the same size as a jumbo egg. As they reached their full size they were a blood red and her pupils split into three horizontal slits for each eye. Her ears also grew until they resembled a bat’s and a whip-like barbed tail sprouted from her hindquarters.
“El Chupacabra…” Victoria said in hushed tones.
“Indeed. Although Cat prefers to call this form ‘Chip’” Peter confirmed. “She calls her… Well, I suppose ‘sasquatch’ is the most accurate description, form ‘Harry’.”
“Ha!” Robin barked out a laugh “That’s funny. Please tell me the rest of you guys get it.”
She looked into three blank stares from Erik, Danielle, and Victoria, while Peter simply rolled his eyes.
“It’s from a TV show, right?” Max asked tentatively.
“And a movie too.” Robin confirmed. “Pretty good, but not one of my favorites.”
“Okay, moving on before Robin gets on a roll with the obscure refrences, what’s the deal with this one?” Erik said “I mean, we know Harry is strong and tough. So why did she go for the little guy?”
“You saw that mist that Christina was producing. Harry had no hope of finding her in it. Chip, however, can hear like a bat and taste the air like a snake. He can also see, as Cat puts it, ‘colors we don’t have words for’. He tracks movement, and can see above and below visible light.”
“So she can find Christina, sneak up behind her, turn into Harry and whallop her? Cool!” Erik said.
“Maybe,” Peter said “although changing like that is taxing on her. Chip isn’t helpless though. His spines and claws have a paralyzing poison on them.”
“So she can see you, even if you can’t find her, and she can jump out of a shadow and paralyze you? That’s just mean.” Robin said, though her tone made it clear that she didn’t object to Christina suffering such a fate.
“Even so.” Peter said “But let’s see what she has in mind.”
Cat, in her Chupacabra form, had gone still, crouched down on all fours like some kind of hellish bloodhound. Her forked tongue was flicking through the air, but all she could taste was Christina’s sweat. Her radar dish like ears swivvled indipendently, trying to hone in on the sound of Christina’s cautious steps, but that damndable mist made them too muffled.
It was her eyes, those three pupled, glowing, blood-red eyes, finally found Christina. The mist was cool, but Christina’s body heat stood out like a sun in the early-morning fog. It didn’t let her see exactly where Christina was, but it let her narrow her search down. But it was in the ultra-violet part of the spectrum that Cat found Christina. The lights up in the ceiling didn’t give off much UV light, but they gave off some, and it cut through the mist like it wasn’t even there. It was almost like trying to make out the details of a darkened room in the middle of the night, but eventually Christina’s sillouette finally snapped into focus.
Cat-Chip took off after her quarry at a full gallop.
As she closed in on Christina, Cat was nearly soundless. Only the slight scratching of her claws was audible, and that was quickly swallowed by the mist. As she closed in, she saw that Christina’s back was turned to her and added an extra burst of speed. When she was in range, Cat launched herseself at Christina’s back, her poinsoned claws spread wide to take her opponent and end the match once and for all.
And when tatooed opponent dodged at the last second, Cat found herself sprawled in a dazed heap a couple yards past Christina.
Cat slowly got herself to her feet as Christina laughed.
“Bet you didn’t see that one coming, did ya, bitch?” Christina crowed “I knew right where you were. I’ll let you in on a little secret; It turns out I can feel everything that happens in my mist. It was a bit tough with you so low to the ground, but you were moving fast enough I could feel the wake.”
Cat-Chip let loose a burbling hiss in response, slowly gathering her lithe frame beneath her.
“But I’ll give you credit, you’re better than most of these tools. And that form’s actually kinda cool looking. Okay, sweetie, play-time’s over. I think I’ll end this now.”
Without another word Christina’s eyes began to rapidly shift once more.
With her heightened senses Cat-Chip could clearly follow them as they flashed between colors, and she saw swirling energy emitted by them like fireworks every time they changed. But rather than stop to admire the sight, or let Christina settle into another power set, Cat pounced again.
From her coiled stance, she covered the distance faster than the human eye could follow, her razor sharp claws gouging cuts through Christina’s uniform shirt and the skin of he abdomin. Blood immediately stained her uniform’s black under shirt, and a closer examination would have revealed Chip’s clear, stiky poison being absorbed into the gashes.
Christina’s face immediately registered shock, then outrage as the pain from the cuts filtered through the adrenaline haze. She was about to shriek her outrage when she noticed a weird pins and needles feeling starting to spread from the cuts on her stomach. From there it spread outward and she felt her knees getting week, her arms feeling heavy.
Amost before she knew it, Christina was melting to the ground, managing just enough motor control to keep from simply falling. She managed to land in such a way that her cold blue eyes were gazing at Cat, who started the disturbing process of melting back into her human form.
“Well aren’t you feeling real fucking proud of yourself now, bitch?’ Christina said, absolute surity in her voice. “Well guess what… I still got your ass.”
Before the now nearly human Cat could repond, or even move, she was picked up by an unseen force and violently thrown backwards through the slowly dissipating mist. A slightly muffled crack sounded in the indeterminate distance before Coach Helen’s voice filled the cell.
“The winner of this ranking match, by knock out, is Christina Ross.”