Description: It's round three of the Rising Star tournament, and the Southtown Mall is playing host for the strangest match yet. Robo-Girl Nena Washington is squaring off against the heir to the Mishima Zaibatsu, Kuma. Highs, lows, ultra violence and international war crimes are all jammed into this singular clash, but most importantly of all are the friends made along the way.
The Southtown mall is as busy as ever on this fine spring Saturday, cement paths packed with loose gaggles of chattering teens. The weather is warm, the hour is early, and much of the destruction has long since been cleared from this area. But, more important than any of that, today the mall has been chosen to host the latest match in the Rising Star tournament. A much anticipated clash between the totally normal girl Nena Washington and the far from normal bear Kuma Mishima.
A large crowd has already gathered around the lush green park where the fight is set to take place, protective barriers having been erected in a large circle around a patch of grass with a 30 foot chalk square painted in the center. All around the square bustle technicians and T-shirted officials, the great hive of them buzzing to adjust boom mics jutting out over the square or test the many cameras set around the edge.
However, beyond the milling workers, setup just within the ring of barricades, a truly unusual sight greets those who have shown up early. A heavy wooden desk has been carried in, its surface covered in large stretches of paper weighed down at the corners with mismatched bits of crystal. The corner of the desk hosts a giant, flat well that glistens with black ink, while off to the right of the desk an inflatable kiddy pool gently ripples and splashes.
Seated behind the desk, delicate spectacles perched atop his nose and massive form hunched forward as if to read, is a positively enormous brown bear. CEO of the Mishima corporation and entrant into the tournament, Kuma takes a long moment to deliberate over the pages before him. As he thinks he reaches over, clawed hands splashing through the pool and coming up with a flapping salmon caught in his razor-sharp claws, tossing the fish cleanly into his snapping jaws and munching it down.
"Groaarh." he grumbles thoughtfully, before finally wetting his paw in the ink and bringing it down upon one of the overlarge sheets of paper, desk quivering as he leaves a giant paw print of approval on some company wide policy.
A bear's work is never done.
Letting out a huge gusting sigh, Kuma lumbers up to his back paws and clumsily fishes the spectacles from his snout, dropping them atop the paperwork and shrugging his great hairy shoulders as he totters his way toward the designated fighting area. He's heard a lot about his next challenger. Apparently she even defeated a bear wrestler! Deep down inside, beneath the massive slabs of muscle and the razor sharp fangs, Kuma trembles a little at that fact. Bear wrestlers are crazy.
COMBATSYS: Kuma has started a fight here.
Meanwhile, across the patch of grass, sitting on a bench next an African-American man in a brown blazer, red scarf and sunglasses, conspicuously not-so-ordinary teenage girl Nena Washington fills out some paperwork of her own. The last of a stack of sheets of typed paper is expectorated from a portable wireless printer beside her as she finishes typing up a storm on her laptop, which she sets aside delicately before taking the stack and skimming rapidly through it before finally signing at the bottom of the last page in pen:
'Rafferty L. Stewart'
"Simon. Please offer these documents to my boyfriend Rafferty for submission at his discretion," the petite pale-skinned brunette entreats the man beside her as she hands them over before standing stiffly from the bench.
"You do realise that this is against the rules, Nena?" Simon says as he holds the papers up and flutters them indicatively.
Nena pauses, turning her head over her shoulder to study Simon's expression before looking back ahead.
"My apologies. I was not aware. In that case," she says as she extricates her left hand from its metal socket with her right and points the semi-hollow synthetic stump at the sheaf, "please disregard my previous request."
With a sudden blinding blue flash, the stack of homework is instantly reduced to a blackened, burning pile of tinder that begins immediately to flake away in the wind as Simon's lips draw tight with an involuntary shudder.
Someone's academic career just got the difficulty turned up a few levels.
While Simon quickly stuffs the smouldering homework into a garbage bin, Nena re-attaches her left hand into its socket and trots into the ring, taking up position across from Kuma. The ordinary schoolgirl looks completely unfazed by the fact that her opponent-to-be is an extraordinary bear.
"Greetings, Mr. Kuma Mishima. Please allow me to laud your multi-disciplinary approach to your role as Chief Executive Officer of the Mishima zaibatsu, and commitment to demonstrating a positive work-life balance by engaging in extracurricular activities such as exhibition combat. As a simulacrum of an ordinary teenage girl, I endeavour to do the same in an academic pursuits."
As she finishes speaking, a bell sounds to signal the start of the match, and the girl adopts a rather stiff fighting stance.
"However, it is time to dispense with greeting protocols. Activating combat protocols now."
With that, a faint glint of red lights behind the robo-teen's green irises, and she suddenly rockets forward, propelled by blue jets in the heels of her boots that singe the grass underfoot. As she does, she cocks back her left fist, then thrusts it forward in a steel-solid straight punch aimed brazenly at the bear's chest!
COMBATSYS: Nena brings her battle systems online.
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Kuma 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Nena
COMBATSYS: Kuma blocks Nena's Strong Punch.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////////]
Kuma 0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0 Nena
Having watched the little display of pyrotechnics from his corner of the square, Kuma has a slightly baffled look on his beary face when the petite young girl steps into the ring across from him. On one paw, it suddenly makes sense how she managed to defeat that bear wrestler. But on the other, his cousin is always telling him about the danger of forest fires...
A bit of the confusion drops away from Kuma's snout at Nena's generous greeting, great shoulders lifting as he draws himself up to his full, towering height. Roughly twelve feet of corporate schooled, martial trained bear gazes down at the schoolgirl with twinkling-eyed pride, maw yawning open to grunt back a growling "Raah, GRRRRRah, HRAUGH!"
Lifting one humungous paw to rest it against his chest, the big bear splays out his claws and waits, giving the much smaller fighter the first move.
Black eyes widening with surprise at Nena's sudden display of flight capabilities, Kuma swipes his left paw forward from his chest and bats the comparatively tiny fist away, metal knuckles striking rough padding with a loud 'HWHAP!'
Letting out a bellow that causes the boom mic above to peak out and quiver in its housing, Kuma wades forward a step and raises his right paw overhead, leaning forward and twisting into an enormous downward swipe with enough power behind it to swat Nena clean out of the air and pancake her into the grass, trapped beneath a spread claw nearly the size of her torso.
COMBATSYS: Nena blocks Kuma's Megaton Claw.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////// ]
Kuma 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Nena
On the basis of pure visual analysis, a clash of raw might between the five-foot-three schoolgirl and the towering ursa is a ludicrous mismatch, and as the enormous paw crashes down on Nena's sailor shirt, things look immediately dire. She's pushed down toward the ground, the thrusters under her heels incinerating the patch of grass beneath them as they strain against the added weight, before suddenly cutting off. The soles of the boots touch down with a heavy *THUNK* as they crush deep footprints into the dried-out soil under the force of Kuma's might.
Nena, however, remains standing - with the bear's claws lodged in the front of her top, small stains of red fluid appearing where the simulated flesh beneath is punctured.
"Activating translation algorithms. Please stand by," she says as she stands her ground stoically, even as her shirt becomes red and slick, the red light behind her eyes turning blue and flickering rapidly.
It seems that the bear is being provided an opening for a follow-up.
COMBATSYS: Nena calculates her next move.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////////// ]
Kuma 0/-------/------=|==-----\-------\0 Nena
The look on Kuma's surprisingly expressive face morphs from surprise, to intense focus, and finally to horrified regret as he forces the jetting girl down toward the earth, razor-sharp claws slipping out in the struggle and digging into the springy flesh beneath her top.
Great head dipping down to loom just over the petite brunette's own, he plants his free paw against the ground and almost delicately wiggles his claws free of her flesh, cloth tearing noisily as he pulls his blood-tipped paw away.
Ground quivering beneath his weight, he tramples a couple of steps back on three legs, glancing regretfully from his claws to Nena with big, wet eyes. The big lug couldn't look more regretful if he had heart-shaped captions floating around him saying 'I'm sorry.'
"Gruuuuuu." he groans mournfully, though, seeing as she isn't attacking, and her expression hasn't changed, he reluctantly plods forward on all fours to continue the match.
Transitioning from an ambling tromp to a charge, the hulking bear rampages forward and hurls himself upright into a stand, left paw sweeping up in a swiping uppercut meant to catch the surprisingly sturdy girl full in the torso, claws carefully retracted.
COMBATSYS: Kuma successfully hits Nena with Big Tree.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////////////////// ]
Kuma 0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0 Nena
It's an unsual sight when a brown bear's emotions and expressions are easier to read than those of a teenage girl, but that is the world within which all those present at the match and viewing from home now live in. Nena's lips remain pursed silently, glinting blue-green eyes locked on Kuma's face. She doesn't even flinch as the claws slip free of her skin, leaving yet another previously-pristine white sailor shirt ragged and ruined around the bosom.
"Your contrition is appreciated, but unnecessary, Mister Kuma. You were acting within the strictures of organized combat, and as an artificial human, I do not feel pain."
As the bear lumbers toward her, Nena stands her ground. Her torso pivots slightly as her right hand starts to hum. It quickly becomes evident that the schoolgirl's artificial intelligence has a severely underdeveloped sense of self-preservation as the paw swipes up - hammering her below the chest and actually managing to take her off of her feet. There's definitely a sense that the girl weighs more than she appears, especially to Kuma, but also to the audience - she flies several feet backward, flipping slowly end over end, before landing face down in the grass.
"Strctrl dmg mdrt," she informs the soil, before lifting her head up. "Compensating."
Pushing up stiffly but forcefully with one arm, she lands on her feet, instantly raising her right hand to point at Kuma as bits of grass stick in her hair and clothing.
Suddenly, her hand rockets free of its socket, launching open-handed toward Kuma as it crackles with electricity fed through the cable that anchors it to the wrist. Should the bear be struck, electrical energy will channel into him before the steel-skeletoned fingers latch into his fur, before the remarkably strong (and more significantly, pain-immune) hand would start to retract along the tow line back toward Nena, bringing the bear with it!
COMBATSYS: Kuma endures Nena's Ex Machina.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////////// ]
Kuma 0/-------/---====|======-\-------\0 Nena
"Hruh." Kuma grunts as he watches the hefty robo girl back flip through the air, flexing his paw testingly in a way that causes his claws to slip free and curl dangerously. Wincing a bit with her heavy impact, he angles his snout and focuses one dark eye down at the fallen girl, curious.
"Hrrrgh gaah GRAAUGH!?"
Tilting his head to one side, the mountain of fur and muscle flicks one round little ear, and waits the second and a half it takes Nena to regain her feet and obtain her target. Clearly expecting another charge, he lifts both paws and squats slightly, taking up a reasonably competent boxer's stance. Lips pulling back from his teeth he grunts out something similar to a growl, though the twinkle in his eyes makes it clear he is playing.
That is, right up until Nena's rocket hand zips in under his guard and thuds heavily into his gut, discharging a staggering pulse of electricity that fluffs his fur up on end.
It doesn't take a translator to figure out what that one means, Kuma's head flung back to announce his feelings to everyone in a two mile radius. Birds flee the surrounding parks in waves, sound guys and officials scramble away from the chalk square, and camera operators keep on operating cameras because they're a universally insane breed.
Staggering forward beneath the pressure of the hand, Kuma stumbles, snorts, then drops forward onto all fours. Rather than fighting the tug he follows it in, ground jumping beneath his paws as he tramples forward with greater and greater speed, attempting to plough head-first into the mighty girl and smash her off of her feet to be trampled under paw on his way over her.
COMBATSYS: Kuma successfully hits Nena with Frolicking Bear.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Kuma 0/-------/--=====|=======\==-----\1 Nena
The mighty bear is reeled in by the schoolgirl like a fisherman calmly reeling in a fish - but this is a bear's natural environment, and it's not a tuna, but an orca. The momentum of the reeling line only adds to the force of Kuma's impact as he barrels into the titanium teenager, plowing her off her feet and onto her back before trampling her beneath his dirty paws, sullying her uniform further. The artificial schoolgirl is left staring at the sky for a moment, before snapping her torso upright.
"Gaah GRR," the schoolgirl sounds out carefully as she twists and wrenches her torso back from the improper angle it's taken on, then pushes self up to her feet.
Nena's imitations of the sounds are quite the facsimile of Kuma's own noises - albeit a somewhat adorably feminine and non-bestial version.
"Rgh," she adds for whatever reason, seeming far more emotive and upset than usual - though her face doesn't particularly show it.
Facing Kuma, she calmly fires her booster jets, launching lightly skyward with a sudden burst of blue flame that leaves a patch of flaming grass where her feet were, swivelling her hips and aiming an outstretched leg toward Kuma before a burst of jet energy from her left hand, extended in the direction opposite, propels her toward the bear!
"Is she... speaking bear?!" Simon asks no one in particular from the sidelines.
COMBATSYS: Kuma blocks Nena's Diving Kick.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > //////////////////// ]
Kuma 0/-------/=======|=======\==-----\1 Nena
Slowing his pace as he approaches the chalk line beyond Nena's prone form, Kuma comes to an ambling halt and heaves out a long, hot breath right into the lens of a camera propped on the shoulder of a stoic operator. The audience at home is treated to a close up of a lulling tongue and dagger-like teeth before their view goes foggy and distorted, breath collecting against the glass and forcing a cut away to a new angle.
Great sides heaving to pull in breath, the big bear perks an ear at the high, cute approximation of grunts and growls coming from behind him. Remaining on all fours, he half turns, peering back over his hairy bulk to take in the girl as she gets back to her feet.
"HRAH, GRRRRaagh." comes his growling response, deep and gut-vibrating in the way of giant bears.
Turning fully to face her, Kuma lifts his head slightly, something about the noises intriguing the creature greatly. Not greatly enough to distract him from the fight, however, the great brute ducking his head as his adorable opponent comes streaking through the air toward him, bracing and turning one muscular slab of shoulder into the path of the kick.
Impacting with surprising force, Nena's boot manages to knock the bear off of all fours and down onto his rump with a shuttering THUD. There he sits, hefty torso swaying upright while he reaches his right paw out to try and hook his claws carefully around the robo girl's left calf. Free paw coming up to rub his nose against the ever-increasing stink of burning grass, he makes to drag the teen out of the air and swing her about, tossing her off toward his kiddy pool some few feet away.
"Gruuuugh Grr GRAH!"
COMBATSYS: Nena interrupts Power Toss from Kuma with Real Steel.
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > /////////////////// ]
Kuma 1/---====/=======|=======\===----\1 Nena
Even as Nena's foot is colliding against Kuma's hairy shoulder, she's responding to his guttural observations in his own tongue: "Hrrr GRAAAURGaag."
he fact that the robot girl appears to be communicating in bear-speak with the ursine CEO of the Mishima Zaibatsu appears to cause amusement for some onlookers, derision for others, and confusion for more. For Simon, though, the emotion that it instills can be read in the tight frown on his face and the deepening furrows of his brow.
That emotion is fear.
"Lord, have mercy," he mutters under his breath.
As Kuma latches onto her leg and starts to swing her around, Nena's left hand begins to crackle and hum with power, arcs of electricity dancing along her forearm and knuckles. The thrusters in her boots re-engage, the power of the rockets lifting the bear with her off of the turf and into the air as she forces her knee to bend upward, jerking Kuma along with her and lifting him up so that he's level with her. As she does, her whole torso starts to spin in what would normally be an anatomically impossible fashion, apparently independent of her lower half, though the precise mechanics are hidden by her loose-fitting school shirt. As she's whirling, her fist cocks back, and when she comes back around, it hammers into Kuma's head, releasing the gathered electrical power into the bear's fuzzy noggin with a merciless force that belies the mutual understanding that has been building between them, forcing him to release her. She clatters to the ground next to the kiddie pool moments later.
"This is an enlightening exchange, Kuma-Sama. I apologise that I lack the vocabulary to express the sentiment in your own dialect," she remarks as she props herself up from the ground with a sound of creaking metal.
Everything is going according to Kuma's plan until the rocket boots engage, paw dropping away from his snuffling snout and little bear eyes going wide. First his rump, then his feet leave the ground as the petite teen rockets upward, heaving his enormous bulk swinging and flailing off of the ground.
With his own weight forcing his claws deeper into the armored material of her boots, he is unable to tug them free as Nena curls her leg up, lifting him into range for a literal slobber-knocker of a roundhouse, thick bear saliva spraying across the arena as his head is clobbered to one side.
It is the electricity that does the most to free him, every heavy muscle throughout his enormous body flexing as the great shock jolts through his body. The spasm is so powerful that it drags his claws free of her boot with a metallic scrape, sending his bulk tumbling to the ground with a mighty 'WHHUMF!' The enormity of the impact sets cameras jumping and wobbling on their tripods and shakes a storm of leaves free of the nearby trees. But despite all that, the big bear himself needs little time to recover.
"Hrrrrgh GRRRR GRUGH..." he grumbles, fuzzy head shaking as he pushes himself free of the large dent he left in the earth. A second later and he has lumbered fully upright, rising up on his hind paws and looming over his surroundings with a low grumble. Head turning to one side, he focuses a single beady eye down at the teen, the look full of hurt and bearish grumpiness.
His intent made clear to at least one person, Kuma lumbers forward over the chalk line and out of the ring, paws thumping heavily over the grass as he approaches where Nena is currently getting back to her feet. Barely breaking stride, he stomps right up to her and swoops his great bulk down, attempting to club her up side the head with one massive paw and send her sprawling once more. If he can manage it, the brute will finish the lunging bow by clamping her left thigh between his powerful jaws, rising back up to his full height as thick neck muscles flex to fling her around left, then right, and finally up then down, maw yawning open to send her hurtling down toward the surface of the fish-filled pool.
COMBATSYS: Kuma successfully hits Nena with Combo Mauling.
- Power hit! -
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\ < > ///////////// ]
Kuma 1/-======/=======|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2 Nena
There's a heavy *THUNK* around the same time a the mighty 'WHHUMF!' with which Kuma hits the ground, the schoolgirl landing in a crouch inside the ring before her knees, ankles and thighs unbend to push her upright with a whirring sound. Once again, the bear's display of emotion brings no expression to the face of Nena, whose blue-lit green eyes observe him with a sense of emotional passivity.
"HrrGR," Nena emits a simple, short and faintly sweet-sounding simulated growl in response to the bear's words as she resumes her fighting stance.
The massive paw clobbers into Nena's head, causing it to twist around to an angle that would almost certainly mean bad news for any real, living vertebrate, owls excepted. The teenage Terminator topples over, landing with a *WHUMP* on the ground. The teeth clamp down on her thigh, flesh giving purchase for the bear's teeth while the artificial infrastructure beneath provides some resistance, and then she's flung - hurtling through the air toward the fish-filled pool.
"Threat to life detected. Disengag-"
A veritable geyser of water rises from the pool as Nena disappears into the surface with a splash, several traumatised fish visibly flapping their tails in the air before dunking down into the pool again.
A few seconds later, Nena sits up in the pool, her hair matted about her face and school uniform soaking wet. She brushes the soaked strands to the sides with her fingers, revealing that the flashing behind her irises has turned red once again. She proceeds to rise to her full height, her expression calm as two fish fall out of her skirt and one falls out of her shirt.
"Grgh GrRraUraGrr Graugrr hrrr grr gRr."
One would think that the girl has simply lost the plot, but she growls with the same lack of passion that she would speak the English language in.
Strangely, she seems to simply be standing there, perfectly still. It's not the first time that it's happened in a fight, but -
"Oh, no," Simon mutters with a horrified look in his eyes as he spots the red target-painting lights on Kuma's fur from Nena's eyes before bolting upright. "Everybody get away from the bear!!"
There's a blue glint in the sky, like Polaris appearing during the day - and then, suddenly, a blinding blue-white flash as a ten-by-ten foot column of energy descends through the air upon the hairy bear heir, a deadly laser from some unseen celestial object unleashed with surprising precision - perhaps ushering a new era of paranoia around the 'ordinary teenage girl.'
COMBATSYS: Nena successfully hits Kuma with #Age of Extinction#.
-* CRITICAL HIT! *-
[ \\ < > ////////////// ]
Kuma 2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|-------\-------\0 Nena
There is a moment in which Nena is lost beneath the waves and Kuma has a moment to catch his breath, shoulders heaving as he licks his fangs clean of Nena's blood. In that moment, at least half of the audience is wondering why they sent a teenage girl to fight a bear. Even if she is a totally not normal killer robot.
The answer comes when she emerges from the water, soaking outfit no doubt inspiring several art projects that we can't talk about, flopping fish friends inspiring a couple more that we wouldn't want to. Her red-eyed stare is met with a return look of confusion, softly growled bear speak causing Kuma's bearish brow to crease with concern.
"Groar," he begins, something oddly paternal in his grunting roar, "GROOOOAR GRRRah, RAAARGH GRAH RAAAAH!"
There is a pause, red lines painting themselves across his chest. Slowly his ears droop, paws lifting to clamp over them as he flops down to a heavy sit and hunkers forward to smash his snout into the earth.
The lance of brilliant blue death descends from the heavens like the finger of god, impacting the braced bear with earth-shaking force. It is only a flash, a singular moment of doom, but even still it leaves devastation in its wake. Where a once proud and electrically-fluffed bear sat, a red-skinned oni now squats, back, shoulders, and paws dripping ash where the fur was flash-burned away. Around the thoroughly scorched CEO is a perfect circle of scorched earth, grass and soil transformed into a thin crust of hardened ash. And beyond that there is fire, a perfect ring of burning grass releasing choking smoke into the air.
"Gruuuuuuh." Kuma groans pitifully, scorched skin crackling slightly as he removes his paws from his head. Fortunately his ears, face, and belly remain perfectly fuzzy, bits of his shaggy fur smoldering as he staggers up onto all four paws. Dark eyes full of pain, he pulls his lips back from gleaming white fangs and locks his gaze on Nena, a single line of smoke curling out of his exhaling nostrils.
What is left of the camera equipment topples over from the force of the bellow, Kuma surging forward and over the side of the small pool with the sort of primal rage only a bear can show. Water floods out in all directions as his great bulk joins hers, front paws rising overhead as he stretches up and up, looming at max height over her.
Both paws are brought thundering down with enough force to blast fish and water in all directions, potentially with a soaking robo girl trapped beneath them. Then, and only then will the huge brute step forward, crouch, then bring the full weight of 12 feet of bear crashing down where he hopes she is, hairless back first. If nothing else he might get to enjoy a nice long soak in the cool water, because after splash down the big guy isn't getting up.
COMBATSYS: Kuma can no longer fight. Is this the end of lovable Kuma?
[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\ <
COMBATSYS: Kuma successfully hits Nena with Bear Meteor EX.
[ \\\\\\\\ <
There's a moment of silence from Nena as the bear protests his fate, her lips sealed as the harsh blue glow to follow is reflected in her eyes.
When the pitiful, half-naked and half-baked bear rises back up, the red fades from Nena's eyes, and she simply opens her arms apart, standing her ground - or pool, as it were - as if she intends to catch the much larger creature when he descends on her.
For her efforts, she is all but flattened beneath the barely-not-bare bear, his sheer weight knocking her back down into the pool. For a moment, it seems as though she might be out of commission herself, and blood starts to seep through the pool from the bite mark on the synthetic schoolgirl's thigh.
Seconds later, she pops her head out of the water, sitting up beside the brown bear. She raises her hands to her head and straightens it before slicking her hair away from her face. The girl's body is covered in what look to be nasty bruises - apparently the outer flesh is not nearly as durable as what lies beneath.
She turns her head down to observe Kuma, before beginning to utter a quiet, calm series of animalistic noises:
"Hrauh grrhh hrghr grr. Grrr ghr hrgh. Grrhhhrhghghr gruahr. Grrrhhh hrrr grr. Grrrhhhh grrr hrrr. Gruaghr ghrrr Kuma. Hrrgrr."
With those words spoken (?), the teenage death machine rises from the pool and starts to walk away with a stilted, mechanical limp from the fallen bear.
Many of the crowd have scattered, but there's no applause - only a prevailing sense of uncertainty amongst the witnesses to the near-criminal measures deployed against the beloved bear. Simon's expression is unreadable as he stands near the ring's edge to await her approach, hands folded behind his back, his sunglasses pushed up on his nose like a mask for the soul.
Log created on 14:46:34 05/01/2021 by Kuma, and last modified on 23:10:07 05/02/2021.