Description: A formerly drab and sleazy fight club in Metro City plays host to one of the fighting world's more dubious stars. One clearly fixed fight leads to another where the stakes are both real and high, but the ratings only soar further as a strangely compelling rivalry is born! In the background of this exciting tableau, a more personal drama unfolds, and a life is irrevocably altered for better or worse... TURN ON, TUNE IN, DROP OUT.
The sprawl of Metro City holds a cornucopic array of citizens within its ever-growing boundary, from the wealthy urbanite businessman to the lowest, most downtrodden gutter trash. All must live somewhere - and the modern metropolis boasts an equally diverse array of locations. It's all too easy to wander from one extreme to the other, a hole in a fence or a shady subway tunnel linking diamond to rough with nary a seam in sight.
Saturday Night Fight has been only the most recent showcase of such diversity, and the boost to Metro's martial economy has been immediate. Underground fight clubs have seen record attendance levels over the last few days, even the heretofore uninitiated elite turning out in well-paying droves to spectate the dregs who didn't quite make the cut.
One such seedy bar, known locally as 'The Foxhole', lies just upon the outer reaches of the infamous Slums area. While it's neatly accessible to the middle classes, this is normally not reflected in the decor - the place is habitually filthy, bloodstains and vomit left to fester night after long, booze-drenched night.
...Which makes it all the stranger that today the place is brightly lit and garish, festooned with mirror balls and banners proudly advertising the day's events. In place of the usual clientele, scantily-dressed women lounge around with an air of seductive bloodlust, sipping whisky-on-the-rocks and licking their lips in anticipation for the battle soon to unfold within the central, fenced-off circle. Men in suits mingle nearby, alongside others stripped to the waist and glistening with hard muscle; presumably, one might think, these are the ill-famed fighters.
But shouldn't they be little more than thugs? And why, oh why, are there cameras?
In a back room behind the bar, international fighting superstar - and TV vixen - Tia 'Tia from Breakers' Langray has a team of stunning sixteen-year old blondes working on her hair and makeup as she goes through the motions of warming up, stretching her limbs and throwing testing strikes against the air. The poor girls are forced to dart frantically about, and one has a bloodied nose already. A prematurely-balding producer oversees it all, twisting his hands and stammering as he converses with the starlet.
"So the plan is, I dust my opponent, finish him off in front of the cameras, and then make my challenge to the so-called 'Emperor' of Muay Thai. Right?"
The gorgeous Thai boxer glances over her well-toned shoulder, flashing her teeth in a grin that's somehow equally sweet and challenging. The producer forces a wide smile and stammers out an, "A-A-Absolutely, Miss Langray!" To which she pumps a fist.
"Awesome! Nothing's gonna mess this up. Is my opponent all ready? Where is he?"
The producer claps his hands, prompting a figure to slink in from the shadows, all pulsing pectorals and olive-skinned Hispanic beauty. The man's hair hangs past his shoulders, the earring in his left ear flashing with a real diamond at the core. Tia spares him a glance and quirks an eyebrow questioningly. "Name?"
"I am Eduardo. You no recognize me, Miss Langray? We met on--"
"You're a real fighter, right? You know how to use that body?"
The producer's eyes are wide as saucers as he frantically gestures at the man.
"...si, Miss Langray. I am, how you say... *most talented*."
"Great, great! I look forward to breaking your nose and making you cry like a little girl. Pleased to meet you!" She smiles winningly, running a hand back through her hair and undoing half the hard work of the team of teenagers working around her. The producer groans, and Tia seems utterly not to notice. "Now get out there and wait!"
A few moments later, the crowd (ninety nine percent paid extras) goes wild for the benefit of the cameras as Eduardo steps out under the unnaturally bright lights. Somewhere in an alleyway outside, the real clientele of the bar are headbutting each other out of pure boredom - their pockets bulging with cash. It's all in day's work for Tia Langray, and now she's just seconds away from showing Metro City how amazing she is... and just minutes from issuing the challenge of a lifetime!
What could possibly go wrong?
On the subject of things that could go wrong, apparently days off can go wrong. It is a well known fact that business is all about making the most profit with the least investment. Gabriel believes this fervently and so the notion that people take days off and then can ruin your plans is really new to her. Additionally there was the small side note about her deciding almost all of her staffing can be handled by a single person employed as her lawyer, a single point of failure who only needed one sick day for her to realize the flaw in her grand schemes. This means anything requiring her lawyer was out, specifically activities that required being driven places. Oh sure she could take a taxi but they're really filthy and who wants to ride around in one of those anyway? So that leaves one Gabriel Kai with the only method of transport she finds appropriate, leisurely strolling.
Now there might come about conundrum to the casual observer as to how someone like Gabriel Kai could end up in this side of town casually walking. The answer, to anyone who has both been naive and in a city and decided as the crow flies you could easily get from point a to point b in a straight line. I would not recommend doing this in Chicago or metro for that matter.
And so what was going to be a trip from her posh upscale apartment on the top of some building in a much nicer side of town, Gabriel simply asked her smart phone how to get to the opera house the fastest on foot and so what was going to be a mere twenty minute or so walk (if you could pretend streets and pedestrians do not exist (Gabriel does her best to pretend this)) quickly becomes an hour and a half. Fast forward to now and there is a -VERY- annoyed looking Gabriel still picking her way through the crowds trying to get to the opera house. Luckily she has a box seat reserved hours in advance and fully planned to sit around it and wave a fan and her parasol (which still has a green painted smiley face on the top) and contemplate the meaning of life or something.
"What manner of disturbance is this," Gabriel asks herself and turns toward the alley behind the aforementioned seedy establishment where people are gathered.
And though clearly out of place, it only takes a moment of down her nose questioning to find out that an event is going on, there are camera crews and yes, people are looking for work.
"Perhaps this diversion was more fortuitous than I first imagined it would be," she murmurs to herself, making her way inside like she owns it.
One or two people might of given her odd looks and probably she's only being allowed in at all because she clearly has money. Today she is dressed in perfect going to lounge in an opera box seat hours before the show outfit. She has a long black pleated skirt with yellow tights, shiny black shoes and a button down polka dot white and black collared blouse. About her neck along with her goddess pendent she also has a red rose with her blond hair done up and once again her parasol (with the green smiley face on top, I really can't stress that enough.)
"Whats all this now?" Gabriel asks, marching straight toward what looks to be the organizers of this event.
There are very few places where Rocket won't wear her rollerblades. Generally speaking, it only happens when she's somewhere she doesn't want to draw attention to herself, or at home after a long day. In this case, it's the former. Having recently learned the news that her delinquent behaviour is getting her sent to a reform school in Japan, Rocket has chosen to do what any mature and responsible teenager would do - go to a local haunt and get a drink.
Of course, she's under age, but she's got a deal at the Fox Hole based on plausible deniability. She always sneaks in the emergency exit - the one-way lock's busted and the alarm hasn't worked for years - so the bouncer doesn't have to worry about carding her. And she has to take her skates off, so she's inconspicuous.
And so rather than the roller blades, she walks into the bar wearing a pair of black hi-tops, the LED lights in the soles flashing modestly in neon rainbow-coloured patterns with each step. She's completely missed the regular crowd out front of the bar, having come in from another alleyway. She'd be a little bit of a strange fit with them, but in here with the slightly-higher-class substitues, she's even more of an oddity, dressed in a backwards baseball cap, Public Enemy T-shirt and black shorts over a long-sleeved purple shirt and matching tights. Not to mention the kicks.
She stops and takes a long look around at the bar crowd. A slightly suspicious gleam hits her green eyes...
Then she shrugs, hefts her denim satchel and makes her way to the bar, looking for the usual bartender.
"Guess they renovated," is all she has to say about the Fox Hole's makeover.
If Metro's seeming elite are giving Kai Gabriel curious looks, it's likely attributable to their status as paid actors; for all that it's an art, these are mere extras. Few of them are capable of presenting so magnificent a front as that of the purifying maiden. She's an eye-catching young woman regardless, but for her to be wandering into this particular establishment at this appointed time...
"LADIES. AND. GENTLEMEEEEEEN!!"
The announcer's shrill voice parts the stifled air. He's a black man with a pompadour - not too wildly bizarre a sight in inner-city Metro - and struts around the caged-off area not so much like he owns it, but certainly like he owns the pair of purple pleather pants he's sporting. He probably doesn't own that bulge in the front, though.
"PLEASE WELCOME THE MAGNIFICENT MEXICAN, THE-GREATEST-CHAMPION-IN-TIJUANA, HE'S COME A LONG, LOOOONG WAY TO... BE... HERE! EDUAAAAARDO! RI-VERAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA--!!"
With the dying of the staccato-peppered shriek, the hired crowd goes wild once more, the spotlight hammering down from the newly-decorated heavens to catch every popping, oiled muscle in a searing white gleam. In the back room where Tia awaits, a pimple-faced lighting technician works away, cutting a spiral with his dark-defying tool to further accentuate the admittedly commanding presence of Eduardo Rivera. He flexes like one born to the ring, white teeth glinting at the apex and smoky green eyes lit by a tantalizing gleam that, in fairness, would probably have the ladies swooning even if they weren't being commanded to do so by The Man... which, lest we forget, they're not.
They're being commanded by Tia 'Tia from Breakers' Langray.
"W-W-W-Wait, you have to wait for your cue!"
"I don't have to wait for ANYONE!"
The door to that little back room *slams* open, half a hinge whipping off toward the emergency exit just as Rocket makes her surreptitious entrance. Through the newly-bare portal comes Tia, her denim jacket snapping out like wings to either side, crimson armbands rippling behind her as she neatly vaults the bar, hits the ground sprinting and cuts a triple spinning somersault to land inside the cage with Eduardo. The Spaniard - or Mexican, who even cares, right? - lazily turns to face her, a confident grin smeared on his lips as he smoothly raises his guard--
And immediately eats an elbow strike to the gut as Tia drives forward.
The bartender, having taken abrupt shelter to avoid this busty heat-seeking missile, stands up and stares wide-eyed at Rocket. He's wearing a tag that says 'Best Boy'.
"Um," he brilliantly states, picking up a champagne flute, "Beer, miss?"
MEANWHILE, IN THE FIGHT CAGE
"What's the matter?!" Barks the scantily-clad kickboxer, left leg sweeping beyond the right, twisting to a standing position to send her other elbow careering into perfect white teeth. There's the crunch of splintering enamel and a gout of blood that garners genuine shock from the workaday audience. The inimitable Miss Langray grins, continuing into a second firm spin to this time lash out with a scything roundhouse kick.
"Afraid to hit a girl, hombre?"
The Greatest Champion in Tijuana hits the ground a beat later, gibbering and dribbling a foul mixture of blood and saliva all over the newly-renovated fight pit floor.
Raising her arms in preparation for the whirling spotlight to descend upon her, Tia stands like the champion she clearly believes to be - and, as far as the television audience is concerned, clearly *is* - to soak up the praise and adoration of Metro City and the world. The announcer finally picks his jaw up off the floor.
"HERE! IS-YOUR-WINNEEEEEEERRRRRRR! THE BEAUTIFUL, THE BRAVE, THE BOLD... TIA! LANGRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!"
Suddenly there seem to be a lot more people in the room. In the back room, the pimple-faced tech has pressed play on the iPod provided by the network company, and a thousand pre-recorded audience members holler their appreciation into the speaker system.
"CAN NOBODY! STOP! THIS FIGHTING MA-CHIIINE?"
Not to be outdone, but who knew this was some sort of contest and besides who is contesting with whom? Well needless to say one fighter down and while these are extra's and there isn't a huge audience here, someone is fooled. No not someone on tv, not someone out on the street, someone near by, someone who isn't supposed to even be here today (That was a clerk's reference). Gabriel is fooled. She looks around and seems to think this place has some very interesting way of keeping a large number of people in such a small space and this must be some sort of up scale event. Unfortunately, it's already over. Or so it would seem.
This is the point where Gabriel's keen powers of perception come into play, those same keen powers that missed the fact that most of this is staged and instead decides to notice the distinct lack of proper security. Sure there are the bouncers and sure the lack of security should seem especially odd because there appears to be well off clientelle here (if you fall for that sort of thing) and nevermind people like Rocket. No instead Gabriel seems to notice how easy it would seemingly be to derail this entire event to her own sick and twisted ends. So walking past the bar, on her way to greatness or something, Gabriel casually utters,
"Martini on the rocks, stirred, not shaken." No doubt this will be met with a blank star, but Gabriel doesn't stick around to find out, she continues her forward progress. A sidelong glance is cast at Rocket while she whips her still painted parasol around which is opened and somehow still she hasn't noticed, also she doesn't seem to recognize Rocket. Instead she mistakes her for hired help and sets the parasol down next to the girl,
"Your manager really should consider a different uniform for the staff," She comments while twisting the handle of the parasol and pulling a long shard of glass out of it. The shard has no grip, nothing to soften the edge, so while tugging the weapon free she is instantly cutting her hand.
"Keep that safe." She says of the parasol and no doubt now Gabriel is starting to get looks. Though thanks to the whole staged nature of this event, perhaps not the looks she ought to be getting. No one, for instance, seems to be calling the police about the madwoman with a deadly weapon (of the type that only serves to confirm her maddness) now approaching the main event. Probably in the minds of these extras the thoughts are either 'I'm not paid for this,' or 'must be another last minute addition, whaaaatever; or some combination therein.
Eventually Gabriel does reach the little ring and finds her way inside with the sort of tenacity you expect to see of Jason Voorhees (Friday the 13th). Only when she arrives before Tia does Gabriel shove the shard into her belt, toss back her hair and gives Tia a condescending smile.
"What a fine venue this is, I do believe I can put those cameras to use, however something seems to be the matter, what could that be?" She places a finger to her bottom lip and contemplates, really making it easy to mistake her for a bad actor hired in a wrestling set, "Oh I know," She points that finger at Tia, "Someone -else- is in my spotlight." She falls into a fighting stance,
"Whatever shall I do."
The cyan-haired girl ducks aside as a loose screw from the door Tia just burst through flies past her ear. Pushing herself up and leaning forward against the bar on her elbow pads, Rocket eyes the 'bartender' with a hint of confusion.
"Hey, uhh... should I call you Boy or Best?" She squints a little at the name tag, then gives a dismiss handwave. "Whatever. I'll take anything if it's on the house," she says, snatching the champagne flute and taking a swig out of it before the man has a chance to protest.
Turning around to rest her elbows back against the bar while she nurses her newly acquired drink, Rocket lets her eyes wander over to the cage. The sight of the oiled-up Eduardo gets little more out of the girl than a dismissive 'pfffft.' She reaches up to brush a few strands of hair out of her face before re-engaging the Best Boy in conversation.
"So, what's up with all these hookers? Pete didn't get into pimping, did he?" she asks, not bothering to turn back to look at the 'bartender' as she carries on, "I guess that would explain where he got all the money to class up the place. Where is Pete, anyway? Taking a sick day or somethin'?"
When the actual fight starts - if it can even be called a fight - Rocket's whole demeanour changes, though. She props herself up a little straighter, trying to get a bit better view of the cage, then sets the champagne flute down, puts her hands back against the counter and lifts her ass straight up onto the bartop to watch.
And by the time she's repositioned her posterior, the fight's pretty much over. The enthusiasm with which she first greeted the prospective fight seems to leave her like air from a balloon, her body slumping a little into a sulk on the bartop from which she makes no effort to move.
"Man, that match was just shit. That's supposed to be a fight? My grandpa could've kicked that guy's ass. And he's like -"
Suddenly, the girl's eyes light up.
"Wait, that's Tia -"
And then suddenly a familiar umbrella is thrust into Rocket's hands, causing her to blink. She twirls the accessory in her hands, tilting her head a little to one side as she eyes it.
"Uhhh, hello? Obviously I don't work here. You should be talkin' to this guy, he's on staff -" She turns the umbrella, pointing the tip at the Best Boy and nearly smacking him in the nose as she does so. But Gabriel is already gone.
"Man, that bitch never notices anything," she remarks off-handedly to her conversational partner behind the bar.
There are moments in time where the Earth stands still, where mankind draws a collective intake of breath. Where legends are born and pretenders die. It may be hyperbole in the highest degree, but there's still one hell of an atmosphere in the Foxhole; an odd silence even falls beneath the artifical din, broken only by the casual catter of the underage sk8r and then by Gabriel's cold, confident order.
"I'm-- er..." The Best Boy promptly forgets his name and turns red as a beet, stuck between a Rocket and a hard place. His voice breaks, and he warbles, "i'M pEtE," to the absolute lack of regard from anyone. Nobody cares, Pete. Nobody cares.
He's releasing a heartfelt sigh of his own, attentions turning to the requested martini. Bashing a couple of glasses together in nervous uncertainty, he finally selects one at random, pops a bit of lemon and a bit of lime into it, dribbles in some vodka, some gin and a spritz of lemonade... and then shakes the contents. Glumly, he stares down at his now-dripping torso, and wonders where he went wrong in life.
The umbrella subsequently shoved in his face doesn't help. Pete starts to bawl.
MEANWHILE, IN THE LAND OF LEGENDS
Tia's hired admirers all turn in varied time - their perceptive abilities not wholly matching up to their willingness to follow a script - to focus on Kai Gabriel as she takes her unexpected place within the ring. Tia's been strutting about like a proud cock (shut up it's a bird) for the last couple of minutes, posturing with music video-worthy flexions of long, tan legs and now and then making sure her boobs bunch up juuuust right within the confines of her red swimsuit. It's all good footage, but she's just starting to wind down when the purifier is suddenly addressing her.
"Woah, woah!" Hisses the kickboxin' bombshell, leaning in toward her apparent New Challenger with brown eyes expressing a measure of anger and... is that concern? "Who are you, lady? You weren't at the soundcheck!"
She glances askance, finding the balding producer at the back of the now-keenly interested crowd. He shrugs helplessly, then motions for her to continue on with the show. He's sweating profusely, but this might just be a side-effect of the huge amount of money he's probably about to make. Gabriel's not even getting paid for this!
"Ahem!!" Clearing her throat brusquely, Tia whirls around to face the deadly maiden, alternately slapping at her elbows in a traditionally Muay Thai display of challenge. Above, the spotlights tilt back and forth, dancing a groggy jig between the two women, and the sound system is suddenly *thumping* with a bass-heavy beat. The lead sound tech, quite the opportunist and well due a promotion, has plugged his own iPod in.
"I dunno WHO you think YOU are, but I'm Tia Langray - the strongest woman in the world!!" Grinning ear-to-ear she slides back and takes her own stance, Converse Langrays pawing rhythmically at the floor and arms raised, fists flexing within their cloth wrapping. "Attack me if you dare; I will CRUSH you!"
Behind Gabriel, Eduardo Rivera rolls over and vomits profusely.
COMBATSYS: Tia has started a fight here.
Somewhere phones are ringing, texts, tweets and twerks. . okay maybe not that last one. A lawyer somewhere is typing a furiously worded letter which starts with 'Cease and Desist' The letter is long winded and full of legal jargon that amounts to a lawsuit of undisclosed amount set to give them receiver of said letter the notion that they could be sued for an amount no less than their pants off and that once their pants have been sued off they will start sueing the pants off of all friends, family, enemies or anyone said person might have ever come into contact with. Somewhere a little farther off the idea of the most ridiculous character short of a certain red witch comes to life, he who is cursed with lawsuit of pantsless proportions, spreading their curse to anyone who meets them. This is a tale for another day.
Meanwhile, in the cage, Gabriel is busy fixing her hair, tossing it re-tossing it and waiting for just the time that the bustful bombshell (that's you Tia) is prepared for purity. A little pre fight taunting can be effective at weakening an opponent and that is what Gabriel supposes is happening now,
"Sound check?" Gabriel asks, and gives a real look of superiority, "You will have to get YOUR sound checked when I am through with you." Followed by a smug smile that's really a sneer.
At this time though confused, the idea that Gabriel is some last minute addition is probably really starting to seem real for the cast and crew. That is until Gabriel starts walking up to Tia and does what usually happens in a fight, but not in a scripted event that she's probably supposed to lose; the famous and ever repeated 'cheap shot'. A throw should do just reach out and grab. .
Reach out and grab... Okay so it is at this time we should be reminded what Gabriel walked into. Tia isn't dressed in erm, much. A swimsuit with like a jacket over it at best, which leaves.. Well where do you grab. The element of surprise is lost and Gabriel is turning red faster than a lobster being boiled. For a moment she's totally frozen which makes her look like the bad actor again, then steeling herself she just goes for it. Gabriel grabs for Tia the only place she can, the umm collar of her jacket which is -really- close to like skin tight barely concealed 'assets'.
It is at this time that probably people are starting to think this is getting good. Off script and two women (always more fun to watch unless one of the 'men' are Alma) and one of them is reaching for the others. . ehem.
Gabriel blushes, bares it and tries to toss Tia over her outstretched ankle.
"Tha... That's diving punishment for.. for making me do that!" Gabriel exclaims furiously and tries to return to something resembling a fighting stance.
COMBATSYS: Gabriel has joined the fight here on the right meter side.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Tia 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Gabriel
COMBATSYS: Tia endures Gabriel's Quick Throw.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Tia 0/-------/-----==|-------\-------\0 Gabriel
Pleasanty pivoting her poorly painted parasol with her posterior perched atop her polished platform, Rocket perceives the purifier's portentous provocations passively before pronouncing politely to Pete:
"This shit is wack."
Somehow, his words from earlier seem to suddenly reach her, and she turns to look at the Best Boy. "Oh, right! Shit! That makes sense. You must be Pete Junior. That explains why your dad would put 'Best Boy' on your uniform." She gives a laugh - whether there's any condescension in it is a bit hard to tell - before setting her bag down on the bartop beside her and pulling out a chocolate chip granola bar wrapped in the packaging of some off-brand. She quickly peels open the wrapping and takes a bite before she turns her eyes back to the commotion in the cage.
"Sho, wait. If that'sh Tia Langray, doesh that mean thish fight'sh getting taped or shomethin'?" she asks before swallowing, setting the parasol on the bar so she can free her hand to chase the granola with another drink of champagne. "Man, things are definitely looking up for the Foxhole, Pete. Your dad must be proud."
Though she doesn't comment directly on the unfolding fight, she is watching it with a look of anticipation in her eyes.
=A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, IN THE RAVAGED WASTES OF RURAL THAILAND=
"Tia! Why you hesitate!"
The prune-like face of the village elder - and former Muay Thai champion - Phung Pho Prat, appears directly before his blushing tomboy of a pupil like a thunderclap from heaven, furious command etched into his deeply-wrinkled skin.
"I... I don't want to touch that!" Protests the young girl. "He's my brother!"
"PAH! Brother, sister, donkey, what it matter! You grab it and you hurt it!!"
"But it's... so soft...!"
"DO IT. DO IT NOW."
=HERE O' CLOCK, NOWDAY=
As Kai Gabriel leans in to that seductive proximity, Tia just barely shifts her footing, her cloth-wrapped left palm descending to alight upon the elbow of her opponent. It's a gentle touch, and coupled with the fiery intimacy in the boisterous kickboxer's gaze, perhaps more than a little disarming. Relaxing into the ebb and flow of battle as one born to it, Langray is simply prepared for the actions of her opponent. In the instant of the grip's tightening, she's leaning in closer, closer--
--and then she dives forward, a firm shoulder making harsh impact with the hard floor. It stings - actually, more than she was rightly expecting - but she quite literally rolls with it, coming up at the foot of the cage and immediately hopping forward to press one Converse against the cold steel. It rattles ominously.
"Divine punishment?" Echoes Tia, a grin flaring to life on her painted lips. "If there's a God out there looking down, he'd better watch his footing; because I'm on my way *up*!" It comes out in a feminine grunt, and she's suddenly propelling herself up the cage wall, running to the top then arching her powerful frame into a soaring overhead flip; twisting as she goes to come whipping ferociously back toward Kai.
"And I've been a VERY BAD GIRL! SYAAAAH!!"
That same Converse Langray is descending now, cutting a faint line of windy chi in its wake as the lawsuit-worthy warrior throws her all into a retort. Arms shifting backwards for balance, she squints slightly as she aims her epic somersaulting kick right. between. the. boobs. Turnabout is fair play, after all!
Lil' Pete's teary eyes find it hard to focus properly on the hip, chatty young woman before him - though a few swipes of his rather baggy shirt-sleeve do wonders for his predicament, if leaving him even redder in the face than he already was. That done, he continues to stare at Rocket for an uncomfortable moment or three before his anxiety-ridden brain puts the pieces together. "I... I..."
Clunk. Thunk. Bump. Like Tetris: Synapse Edition, you can almost see it happening.
"Y-Yes, ma'am," Wait, 'ma'am'? How old is this kid? "He's real proud. H-Having a big star like Miss Langray in the building is a real pleasure. Um." He pauses to gnaw on his lip, nerves reasserting themselves after this flurry of relative confidence. Risking a sidewards glance, he spots the producer angrily gesticulating. "Cameras. Yeah. Um. Look... don't go anywhere, okay? I'll try to get you a p-... autograph!!"
With that last panic, he's suddenly darting toward the unhinged door leading into the back room, moving so fast he leaves his failed martini spinning rapidly on the bartop.
COMBATSYS: Tia successfully hits Gabriel with Air Soul Spike.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////// ]
Tia 0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0 Gabriel
Two can flashback and indeed two do because for a moment there is a movie playing. It's an old movie, one that is very familiar, that girl who is not really comfortable in her own skin at the ol' swimming hole (posh private pool) with the other townie tomboys and girls (rich little kids) playing and splashing and excluding her (the cultish who isn't part of the in cult (scientology)).
"Gabby, flabby, afraid to wear a real swim suit?"
"Look at her, she's wearing a smock!"
"Did your parents buy that swimsuit from American Apparel"? (apparently the k-mart of the rich kids.)
----- Present day, present time ------
WHAM! Gabriel gets knocked right between the .. She just can't even think about what happened to her. The way she steps back and bounces in a way that physics programmers probably spent a few weeks programming.
"How can we make Gabriel's 'assets' bounce just right when she is struck?"
She turns redder, which is kind of impressive, a true artist could tell you the exact shade, but lets just leave it at RED.
"It's not God, it's the GODDESS!" Gabriel exclaims, flustered and angry,
"And yes you are naughty, how do you expect me to.. Do anything when you're not wearing any clothes?!" She points at Tai's outfit and continues to lecture, "First of all, I can't strike like, eighty percent of your body or I might touch something improper, second your style is so exhibitionist that I'm not sure if I can battle you at all without risking my own modesty or close my eyes, but. ."
The only thing that Gabriel seems to gain from this tirade is that while ranting she's keeping her attention on Tia. Meanwhile her head is practically steaming from the explosion of feelings she doesn't quite know how to explain.
Meanwhile the cage is actually getting attention now because there is something to see. If it's not Tia's showing off then.. okay lets face it, for now it's Tia's showing off. The extra's are surely thinking, 'Hey, maybe this isn't such a bad gig afterall.'
As the lights reflect off of Gabriel's glistening forehead, the shimmering skin clinging to her blonde hair around her neck and shoulders and how apparent it is that her blouse was not made for getting hot, the white in the polka-dots starts to show through and well, she's wearing an undershirt, but it's no less clingy, meanwhile her skirt is modest and all, but it was not designed to be viewed from this angle. The extra's no doubt are thinking, 'Even the crazy one isn't that bad to look at.' Or maybe not.
COMBATSYS: Gabriel focuses on her next action.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////////// ]
Tia 0/-------/---====|==-----\-------\0 Gabriel
==*== EIGHT MONTHS EARLIER, SIXTEENTH STREET, METRO CITY ==*==
A not-much-younger Rina O'Reilly is at a clandestine meeting with fellow members from her roller derby team. She sports the same shorts as in the modern scene (or the future!!! as it were) but without tights to go under them. The result is a rather... prodigious display of skin and curvature.
"Hey guys, check it out! I got these new shorts from American Apparel with my birthday money!"
"Uhh, aren't they a little... tight?"
"What? Are you calling me fat?"
"No, it's not that, they just..."
An awkward pause before a guy in a passing car rolls down his window and calls out.
"Hey, babe, you the first slut I seen on roller skates. How 'bout ten bucks?"
==*== PRESENT DAY, FOXHOLE BAR, METRO CITY ==*==
Now, this seems more like the kind of fight that Rocket likes to see. Not because of the potentially awkward grabbage and jiggle physics - although, if there were a history of her recently spectated fights available for someone to examine, they might come to an uneasy conclusion in that regard - but because unlike the previous combatant, this woman now stepping up to Tia Langray has a presence that brings an atmosphere of authenticity to the battle.
That, and she's got a glass shard. That's fucking hardcore.
So intently is she focused on the fight that she all but ignores Pete Junior (?) as he actually manages to start formulating coherent sentences behind her back. It's not until he's disappeared into the back room that she actually turns around to acknowledge his presence again.
"You don't have to call me ma'am, you know, I'm only eight - err - twenty one..." she trails off as she finds that the bar's been abandoned, shrugging her shoulders and taking another bite of her granola bar as she turns back to spectating.
"Hey, quit talkin' and kick her ass!"
There's a reasonably-sized pop from the small crowd of extras when Tia's blow lands, the back-and-forth pushing all the right buttons to succeed even without a script - though the kickboxer herself already started that train a-rollin' by devastating the poor D-list actor still flopping limply in one corner of the cage. He goes unnoticed by all but the most astute, and least sexually-motivated viewer, Gabriel stealing a deal of the ratings for her own nefarious purposes as she staggers backward.
Even without the clever lighting work, she's not half bad!
Apparently the irrepressible Langray has noticed too, as she pushes off her still-outstretched leg to reach a standing position once more, instantly flexing her back and folding her arms behind her head juuust so, projecting her rippling abdominals and playfully-bouncing chest forward either for the benefit of the crowd or for Kai Gabriel... or, perhaps, both. She's a sharing, caring sort.
"Goddess, huh?" She posits with a bit of a girlish giggle, cracking her neck and slapping at an elbow as she unfolds her arms. "I could get behind that. I'll look a lot better in a divine dress and holy high-heels than I would in a toga and a big white beard..." She's not inactive as she rambles, half-stepping around the purifying maiden, hazel eyes fixated on her with a fierce hunger. Picking her moment--
"How about it?!"
--to strike. With the curtly-yelled question on her lips, she blazes across the cage to a synthetic crowd-roar over the speakers, planting one foot a few feet from Gabriel and pivoting sharply into it, her shapely hip riding smoothly upward to allow for one eternally-long leg to sway toward the ceiling. At the apex, she snaps it backward at the knee, completing the curvaceously-flattering hook kick with the heel of her Converse driving firmly toward Gabriel's cheek. ...the one on her face!
"Kiss my *foot*, and call me *Queen*!"
In the event that it whiffs past, she's already moving to follow up, planting the kicking leg behind her and snapping the other immediately into a teep to the midsection. Despite the intent behind that first kick, it's really a one-two push, accentuated by the resonant rhythm of her words. She might hit with either, she might miss completely, but she's doing more than putting on a show - she's keeping the pulse of the fight burning in her veins. It's been a while since she had an actual challenge!
COMBATSYS: Gabriel interrupts Medium Kick from Tia with Divine Retribution.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////////// ]
Tia 0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0 Gabriel
One insult too many is apparently being told to kiss a foot and call someone queen. The outrage on Gabriel's face is only matched by the outrage she expresses when she actually gets kicked in the face, though not as hard as likely intended because when the foot comes in she's spinning, the sort of spinning you do when you're getting kicked in the face, but that's beside the point because when she comes back around Gabriel draws her shard of glass and makes a slash at Tia's midsection, erm,.. trying to avoid the ahh, cut of her umm swimsuit because.. making her less decent would be.
The thoughts of indecency is probably the only thing that keeps Gabriel from getting more angry, because instead the look of outrage is replaced by a wince and she takes her eyes off of Tia as the gears in her head start to turn. Just what kind of fight did she get into.
The sweat on her head makes a glitter in the air as she whips her head back and winces a bit more, "Could you put some clothes on please?" Gabriel asks in a smaller voice after her slice makes it's follow through motion. Shoving her shade back in her belt and trying to get some distance between her and Tia.
Rocket finishes off her champagne with one more swig from the flute.
"Kiss my foot and call me Queen? Man, that's a good one. I should use it next time I'm in a fight," Rocket muses aloud to herself, stuffing another bite of granola bar in her mouth and ruminating. "Eh... maybe not. Ripping off other peoples' shtuff ish kinda lame."
Rina's legs swing from the bartop, causing the soles of her shoes to light up in rainbow as her heels collide with the underside of the bar. When the 'bartender' still hasn't returned after a little bit, she glances toward the back door, then from side to side. No one seems to be looking, all eyes are on the cage - especially now that that glass shard just came out - so she leans back, scooting her butt further along the counter, till the martini massacre that was prepared for Gabriel is within arm's reach. She stretches her arm out, gloved hand clasping around the glass, then picks it up and quickly pours most of the contents into the empty champagne flute. So that when Best Boy Pete comes back, for all he'll know the rightful owner of the martini already drank it. The perfect crime, really.
She lifts the flute to her lips and sips at the contents. "Mmm...?!" she double-takes into her drink as the shard slashes at Tia, her eyes going a little wide.
"W-W-What is she doing? What kind of fight IS this?"
The balding producer stops wringing his hands and tears at the few remaining hairs in his head, likely explaining in the process how there came to be so few in the first instance. A couple of tufts waft away when he brings his hands up, framing the unfolding fight before him as he addresses the film crew through his wireless mic.
"Get me some close-ups; and pan across, we can edit it in more flesh later!"
BACK. IN. THE. RING.
Tia's second kick is chambered when Gabriel is lashing out, the Muay Thai prodigy's knee close to her chest - and woefully close to being able to deflect the incoming blade. Instead, she's so caught up in her own perceived rhythm, and the thrum of pumping bass through the Foxhole's speakers, that she follows straight through. Her abdomen is thus pulled taut, body straining force behind her wayward strike. There's a cruelly-audible ripping, the squelch of displaced blood bubbling into the ears...
And she stumbles, setting her leading leg down for needed stability. A wrapped hand slaps to the open wound, drawing a misty spray of blood, and she scowls fiercely, yelling out at her opponent, "You CUT me! What kind of PSYCHO are you?!"
Gabriel's backing off already, and the space buys the exhibitionist kickboxer time to regroup - an act that takes about two point five seconds, whereupon she's impulsively grinning, the fire back in her eyes with renewed fury. When did she last feel this ALIVE, she wonders in the back of her mind, and it's with this same empassioned excitement that she lunges forward like an eager wildcat. "Request," she states fiercely, reaching up to her chest, "Denied!"
What happens next is... unexpected. The lights go out.
Rocket is one of only two people in a position to hear the barrage of desperate, youthful cursing emitting from the back room during this tense moment. The music coming through the speakers goes off, and there's the sound of snapping material from within the cage. When the lights abruptly cut back in with a flicker--
"Let's get physical!"
--Tia has her meagre denim jacket up in the air, snapping it around between both hands to aim it like a net around the shoulders of Kai Gabriel. If she can maintain the unorthodox grapple for even an instant, she yanks the other woman close and thrusts her weight forward, aiming to snake her neck past Gabriel's, going momentarily cheek to cheek and chest to generous chest as she drives a knee up toward the lungs.
Meanwhile, Pete Junior stumbles back into the bar area, wiping the sweat from his brow before leaning heavily against the surface, back quivering. "I... I need a drink..."
COMBATSYS: Tia successfully hits Gabriel with Combo Grapple.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////// ]
Tia 0/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Gabriel
Really the slash wasn't on purpose, there are times when Gabriel is brought to ultra violence but this wasn't one of them, this was well.. a moment of losing her temper followed by reflex, that is to say she isn't about to say sorry, in fact her expression turns to one of sterness when it becomes apparent that Tia is neither going to surrender and put on more clothes, or at least put on more clothes. Then the lights go out.
The keen sensed can dodge attacks that are coming in the dark because they fight with more than just their eyes, those ready for such things also could perhaps duck, Gabriel is only just starting the act of duc- no wait, lets start again.
Gabriel is surprised as everyone else really, well everyone expect Tia apparently and a lightening technician who totally has it coming. The first reaction Gabriel gives is to make an audible gasp which can probably be heard, or maybe not, rather it's swallowed by the collective gasps. A lot of people gasp, and this helps to make it so Gabriel isn't able to rely on her sense of hearing to tell where Tia is. How about her sense of smell..? Well
**** Earlier ******
"Hum hum huuumm." *spray spray*
"Miss Kia, don't you think that is enough perfume?"
"Oh quiet, you're supposed to be a sales associate, I do not come here for your advice." * SpPPrRaAaYyY******
Back to the present.
Gabriel it seems, can't smell a thing right now. So having ticked off three of her senses and by now she's wasted too much time ticking off senses to react.
So here Gabriel finds herself in a very intimate hold with someone who is like partially naked (maybe not actually but to Gabriel she is) and bleeding on Gabriel's nice clothes.
"I really must protest, this is indecent and improper an- Blarg" Knee to the chest.
%t Stumbling back also, Gabriel coughs and lets gravity take toll, narrows her eyes and tries a simple leg sweep to take Tia off her feet.
"I will get clothes on you if I have to dress you myself!" she cries.
COMBATSYS: Tia blocks Gabriel's Heavy Kick.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////////////////// ]
Tia 1/-------/=======|=======\-------\0 Gabriel
"Oh man. This is awesome!"
Rocket's assessment of the unfolding fight as she wipes her mouth with the back of her arm may be a bit callous - after all, one of the women in the cage just cut the other like they were in a prison fight - but then again, she probably thinks that it's just supposed to be that way. If they're putting it on television, it's got to be scripted to some degree, right? That's what's probably going through her mind, right before the lights go out.
Which is enough to get Rocket's attention. She turns her head toward the back room at the sound of cursing, and she tilts her head a little, watching as Pete Junior makes his less-than-triumphant return. When he says that he needs a drink, she glances between him and the champagne flute full of martini in her hand. Which she totally just backwashed into.
"Here you go!" she chirps, offering the drink helpfully.
"Y-Y-Y-Yes! She's m-magnificent!"
The producer is getting entirely too excited by proceedings, failing in the process to notice that Pete Junior just made and barely averted a big balls-up. He mops at his brow, leaning toward the cage with an expression that borders on ecstatic, picturing the ratings and the morning tabloid headlines already. His jubilation is no less mirrored in Tia, whose momentum seems to be soaring as she releases her jacket to part with the staggered Gabriel, pausing to toss her a wink and blow a kiss.
Not the smartest move given the leg currently sweeping toward her own, but the sultry kickboxer is more ready than she appears; as she falls, one knee tucks in and her left arm cuts across her bloodied torso. She catches her own weight and half-rolls, half-spins back to her feet with a full-body flexion, landing with an eager smile and an upflung arm that screams the 'ta-da!' she's too breathless to phrase.
"I hope that was good for you," she murmurs, pausing only long enough to catch Kai's disapproving eye before, with a twitch of her nose, she vaults into a backflip. Her long, long legs roll almost lazily heavenward, betraying the speed she builds to whip backwards across the fight pit. "Because that's the last time you'll get to touch me!" As she lands upon her two feet once more, that previously raised arm unleashes a *click* of snapped fingers and soars downward in a rapid, smooth arc. There's the familiar prickle of chi in the air, building to a near-immediate crescendo as a blue-green disc of pure force is shot, spinning wildly, from that toned arm. "RAPID GALE!!" She intones, and then she's lost behind the disc's expansion.
Her tone is so close to conversational that it might be easy to miss the fact she's suddenly RIGHT BEHIND Kai Gabriel, the clanking of the cage betraying what the audience already knows - the self-proclaimed Strongest Woman in the World (tm, beeatch!) - has flung herself back across the ring to rebound directly into something that millions of less-than-discerning fight fans will recognize instantly...
...and that all the others absolutely loathe her for.
Tia Langray comes at Gabriel with her right foot absolutely flying, raining forth with a machine-gun flurry of roundhouse kicks aimed to bruise her opponent from pretty head to angrily-quivering toe, culminating her vision, two-pronged assault with one final, blistering kick to the head as she spins out of the furious combination.
At barside, or in this case barback, Pete Junior is the only person not rapt upon the motions within the ring. He stares blankly at Rocket, then reaches out with all the eager nerves of a boy desperate for a drink and being offered one by a cute girl to down the rather potent mixture of booze and saliva in one gulp.
"...thanks," he gasps out, pained, clearly not a drinker. But he's seen a few movies. "Um. C-Can I get your phone number?"
COMBATSYS: Tia blitzes into action and acts again!
COMBATSYS: Gabriel blocks Tia's Rapid Gale.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////// ]
Tia 1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Gabriel
COMBATSYS: Tia successfully hits Gabriel with Mirage Spear Kick.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////// ]
Tia 1/-----==/=======|=======\===----\1 Gabriel
Starting to regain herself, Gabriel is just registering wow, she is fast. You could almost admire her, though she should wear more clothes. Which is exactly what goes through her mind as she watches the acrobatic feats Tia puts on in not getting hurt too bad by the kick and then managing to get herself back into attacking position. Wait, is she flirting? A blush darkens Gabriel's face again as she considers a moment the implications. Of course they only just met and there would have to be a long period of getting to know one another and then there is the meeting of family, Gabriel's is dead of course, but maybe Tia has living ones and then the engagement. .
Oh wait it was a taunt. This dawns on Gabriel just in time to start trying to protect herself. First she crosses her arms up high and assumes, well this is probably going to be the end of it and when the burst of power breaks off her forearms and she lowers them it's just in time to see a foot. Nope, Tia demonstrates the art of the combination attack.
No doubt the crowd cheers and no doubt lots of people here are starting to really enjoy themselves, either this is a really good fake fight, or a pretty decent real fight (you bet the judge). However somewhere in there while getting kicked in the head Gabriel decides enough is enough and just screw it I'll cut you all.
Drawing fourth her shard again, Gabriel decides to get slashy again and flairs her chi all around her back (projecting like wings, it's actually quite a neat trick) which provides only speed to launch herself at Tia with, meanwhile she goes into a berserk slashy slashy spreee, the likes of which Taokaka could be proud of.
"IT IS RUDE TO PLAY WITH A HEART LIKE THAT, CRETIN!" exclaims Gabriel in defiant fury.
COMBATSYS: Tia dodges Gabriel's Avenging Angel.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////// ]
Tia 1/-----==/=======|===----\-------\0 Gabriel
Rocket smiles brightly, flashing teeth at the frequently-flustered fellow behind the bar. By lucky coincidence, now she doesn't even have to worry about explaining away the drink ending up in her glass, since - well - now it's gone, and only the 'bartender' himself is to blame.
==*== KOBAYASHI RESIDENCE, THE DAY AFTER THE LAST TIME ROCKET GAVE A GUY HER NUMBER ==*==
The phone rings. Kenta Kobayashi, an old Japanese man who happens to be Rina's grandfather, picks up.
"Um, hello. Can I speak to Rocket?"
The man begins to speak in rapid, fervent Japanese.
The Japanese continues unabated.
"Uh, sorry, must be the wrong number..."
Kenta lets out a grunt, before speaking in plain English.
==*==BACK TO THE FUTURE==*==
She swings sideways on the bartop, setting her bag down and fishing through it for a few seconds before coming up with an ink pen. Then she pauses for a moment, scrunching her brow.
"Wait, you're not asking so you can tell the cops or something, are you? You're just like, gonna let me know when you've got Tia's autograph or whatever?"
And so Rocket is being distracted from what is arguably probably the coolest part of the fight so far. But it's for a good cause - making friends with a bartender is bound to mean free drinks, right?
A celebrity wedding is never the furthest thing from Tia Langray's mind; for all the serious motivation she has beneath the pin-up facade, she's absolutely convicted in all that she does - and wow, think of the money she'd make by marrying her famous tush off to a prudish and wealthy young lady of similar fighting skill? The producer is probably thinking likeminded thoughts up to a point, but taking it way, way too far...
There's a better-than-average chance that this is supposed to be a family show. Kids these days are crying out for a bit of blood and sex in their lives, and the soul-crushing media is only too pleased to provide. Whatever the case, the ratings are soaring - aided all the more by Gabriel's impressive explosion of effort, the angel soaring no less herself to wreak vengeance on the vengeful. What an angle!
Tia is having none of it, though. Her feet planted and shuffling in that eternal rhythm once more, she stares her approaching opponent down with conviction and bravery. The blood continues to drip from her midsection, pat-pattering almost in time with the music. She feels it, she knows it hurts, but it just makes her all the more convinced that this is a fight she can win - she's not just taunting, after all...
She's saying what she firmly believes is going to happen. That's the difference between the truly fake and the misunderstood-- Tia Langray knows how to make money AND get the job done. It's about time she proved it, and she's given her chance.
"Do or die, huh?" She breathes, in the instant before Gabriel's upon her, that screaming shard slicing the very particles from the air. The first motion from the kickboxer is a simple sway, her headband scored with a bloodless gash as she just barely evades the attack's opening, and then the full fury strikes!
It's all she can do to keep up, emitting tight yells and hard grunts as she slips and slides, vaults and spins to pass by that avenging blade. The Thai girl is glimpsed in frantic stop-motion, appearing here and there about the cage between and beside the pulsing image of Kai Gabriel at her most deadly. It's impressive in every way.
As the storm comes to an end, the voice comes from somewhere past the eye, the Muay Thai prodigy having woven aside in a classic boxing-style evasion, rolling her shoulder all the way until she enters a tight spin that carries her just a couple of yards from Kai Gabriel. She's so close she could reach out and touch her.
"Speed kills, and I'm not *playing*! LIGHTNING--!"
A thrust of long, powerful legs away from being right up in her business, leading the way back up to her full height with a too-familiar, exaggerated right-armed uppercut. It's not hers, it can't be, but she makes it her own.
COMBATSYS: Tia successfully hits Gabriel with Rapid Change.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ////// ]
Tia 0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0 Gabriel
Raging heavenward, Tia plows her fist into the angel's midsection and then carries her back to whence she came, driving into a huge leap that carries them up into the collection of spotlights and mirror balls rotating above the fight pit. The Foxhole never looked so good! At the glorious apex, Tia spins out into a second, short-armed uppercut that catches Gabriel before she can fall, keeping her in the air just long enough-- to brace both hands together and strike out with a brutal axe-handled blow, the momentum of carries both Kai and her opponent back to unforgiving Earth.
Landing in a crouch, Tia releases a breath and runs a hand back through her hair, shedding the sliced headband and allowing her long, silky brown mane to flow freely down her well-toned back. "Oh no," she quips, smiling, "I hope I didn't break you."
Somehow, through this all the young totally-a-bartender has kept his attention on one girl instead of the other two. Flushing bright red from ear to fingertips, he looks Rocket straight in the eye and gives in completely to masculine instinct.
"Um, yeah, I'll call you as soon as I get it! You can come have a drink! My, um, old man definitely won't mind. Maybe Miss Langray will join us, even!"
Having a bad day? Meet a pretty girl? Lie through your teeth! Everything will be fine!
Break Gabriel?! BREAK GABRIEL. . Erhg, well no, but you did break her shard of glass and actually she's not doing so hot. When she lands and tries to get up again it's waaay too shaky, even if she could go on it would probably be a very short fight. Looking around in contempt and drawing a hand across her forehead, followed by a cloth and then dabbing it she finally says in a low voice,
"This venue isn't worth the trouble." And turns her back on Tia starting to stalk off. Her heart broken! like the shards of her well er glass shard that is on the cage floor. Another stinging rejection just like all of the other in her youth (nevermind she started this fight). At the edge of the cage she turns around just before exiting.
Turning to Tia, the wind blowing in her blow hair and her not a little ragged blouse, the sun at her back, the birds taking flight. . of course none of that is happening except she happened to stop walking just under the a/c outflow so there actually is a little bit of wind blowing her hair and mussed blouse that is kind of a little too affected by the sweat.
"You will not be so lucky next time, when.. I bring spare clothes for you to wear!" Gabriel points dramatically at Tia and then gives the cage door a little kick. It rattles. She glares. Someone on the other side apparently has to let her out.
Of course by now if the announcer isn't completely asleep there should be applause and it only takes a moment for Gabriel to realize the applause are going on all around her, like wow, is this place a stadium? (No it's the recording again). She looks around in wonder and then gives a deep and proper curtsey. Already her mood is apparently improving.
COMBATSYS: Gabriel takes no action.
COMBATSYS: Gabriel can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
It takes just a matter of seconds for Rina to procure a napkin from nearby and scribble her phone number down on it - scribble being a very specifically descriptive verb; her handwriting is atrocious. She then signs the napkin as 'Rocket' before sliding it across the bar, tucking her pen away before turning back to the fight. Just in time to see Gabriel picking herself unsteadily off of the floor.
"Son of a bitch, I missed something awesome, didn't I? And now it's fuckin' over. Goddammit."
She sighs dejectedly, sliding her backside off of the bartop and landing on her feet, which causes them to light up again.
"So, anyway, if you see your dad, tell him Rocket stopped by to say hi, I guess. Oh, and tell him I got shipped off to Japan 'cause my granddad had a fit. Except I probably went on my own. 'Cause I'm twenty one! Anyway!"
She flutters her fingers at 'Pete Junior' as she slings her bag over her shoulder and starts heading toward the emergency exit. She turns around just as she gets there to yell one more thing.
"Oh! And tell him to think about cutting back on the hookers!!"
Tia's not exactly known for being the humblest of opponents during a match, but once she's delivered her taunt, she doesn't entirely drop her guard in spite of her aggressively passive posturing; a wary and experienced eye would notice the twitch of ready muscles in those powerful legs, the firm relaxation in her shoulders and the fact that her gaze never once leaves Kai Gabriel. She's ready for a comeback, she's waiting for one last savage retort from her bloodthirsty foe...
When it doesn't come, she takes a step back, as if removing herself from the ring without actually doing so. All the caution seeps from her form, and she brings her palms together before her chin, bowing her head in a show of respect.
"I'll be waiting, crazy lady," she promises with no lack of what passes for affection between competitive fighters, "When I'm done with my next challenge, I might even come looking for you! You bit off more than you can chew today, but..." Suddenly she grins, straightening up with a toss of her head and sparing another swift wink, "Maybe I need to taste a little more. Ladies and gentlemen! GIVE HER A HAND!"
Raising her voice to be just audible beneath the music and the yells of the crowd - synthetic and otherwise - Tia extends an arm and tips a hand to her opponent, turning to take in the entirety of the Foxhole before flinging that arm up and gesturing for a microphone. One of the heretofore barely-mentioned camera crew move to provide, but not until the announcer has said his inimitable piece.
"HERE! IS-YOUR-WINNEEEEEERRR! PREVAILING AGAINST NOT ONE, BUT TWO, MIGHTYYY! FOES! DEFEATING THE MYSTERIOUS AAAAAAANGEEEEEEL OF... METRO! CITY! TIAAAAAAAAA--
When the din of the pompadour-sporting noise merchant's screech has finally died, Tia has her microphone and stands in the middle of the cage - which, in the interim, has been opened for Gabriel to make her doubtless graceful and dignified exit. She'll be pursued by a camera and possibly badgered by a junior presenter, oh and waylaid for long enough to receive a paycheck for her efforts tonight (television is a fair medium!)... but beyond all that, ALL OF IT, she's free to leave.
The music dies, the crowd is silenced, and Tia makes her closing statement, somewhat favouring her bloodied side throughout - it makes for good watching, and besides, being slashed by a sword-length glass shard hurts like holy hell.
"I'm grateful to all of my fans for watching tonight, and I want everybody to know that not only do I love you all; but all of the profits we've made here tonight, including my own pay, will be donated to the Metro City fund! That includes any merchandise we sell over the phones and on our website, so get dialling and clicking, beautiful people! NOW... there's someone else I need to address tonight. He's not here, but this goes out for his ears only--- mostly because he's only got the one eye to spare!"
Pausing to giggle, Tia shakes out her hair once more and prepares for a close-up, intensity flooding her expression for the evening's big announcement:
"Sagat! You've called yourself the Emperor of Muay Thai, you're a hotshot in and out of our home country, and more to the point... you created the MONSTER that is the Jaguar of Muay Thai, Adon! That man is to blame for the disappearance of my brother, and I WILL track him down and CRUSH him! But before I do that-- I, Tia Langray, the Strongest Woman in the World-- throw down my challenge to you, Sagat. Face me in the ring if you're not afraid, and I'll show you the difference between us..."
She draws breath, allowing time for any further adjustments to the final edit.
"They threw three people against you this weekend past, and that's a lot of people. Hey, you're a big guy. But I'm half your size and I took down two in no time at all. I'm faster, I'm fitter, I'm young, I'm beautiful, and I'm coming for you. By the time I'm done, you'll be heading home to be a family man! All hail the Empress!!"
Throwing her arm in the air, Tia arches her back and bends low as the spotlight spirals in one last time to hit her dead-on. Her shadow exploding in every direction, she's highlighted there for a photo finish before the lights - all of the lights - go out. A pyro detonates, and by the time normal service is resumed in the Foxhole...
Tia Langray is gone, leaving only a creeping mist behind. The Empress has spoken.
The extras follow Rocket's lead about five minutes later, leaving Pete Junior alone to consider his incredible good fortune... or, you know, not.
=TO BE CONTINUED...?=
Log created on 10:58:36 11/10/2014 by Tia, and last modified on 18:01:02 11/10/2014.