Trouble in Paradise - TIP - Week 1 - Flying Tigers vs Mt. Fuji Curios

Description: In a questionable gimmick match, two brutal men of battle are partnered with rival skaters for a fight in which somebody attempted to create a Roller Disco theme. Sagat participates because he's been promised a fight against Ryu, and when the wrong Ryu shows up, the fun doesn't last long. Disco (and everybody else) is dead.


"Sagat vee Ryu 2," Arnie Silver proclaims in hushed, reverent whispers as if setting the scene for an epic, "a mythical meeting a year in the making! David versus Goliath! Youth versus Experience! Tiger versus Dragon!"

Sagat fills every inch of the plush, leather chair sitting across from Arnie's desk, glaring daggers at the agent and his porcelain smile. Arnie and others like him serve an important function in the machinery of Shadaloo: figuring out how to sell assassins, criminals, and disgraced champions as contenders in legitimate fighting organizations.

As a rule, Sagat tends to avoid actually dealing with his ilk directly, because they tend to do things like make bombastic proclamations while drawing their arms out for a faux sense of enormouse scope, all to give the impression that whatever dumb event they're hawking is more relevant to him than it really is; Silver, however, swore up and down that the former Emperor would want to hear /his/ pitch directly.

"Before an audience of millions-- no, /billions/ of faithful fight fans--" Arnie continues as his arms fully extend and his hands begin to unfurl.

"I..." Sagat rumbles, the slightest bit hesitant as he tries not to think of the abruptness with which the elusive World Warrior was found and brought on board for a pay-per-view rematch. "... accept--"

"-- in a roller disco!"

"-- what?"

"Part of the theme!" Arnie brightly assures as Sagat grips his armrests hard enough to send cracks shooting through them. "The old, and the new, and the-- oh, and you'll have to have a partner! Some high schooler--"


"The theme!" Arnie repeats, tucking his hands behind his back and tilting his cheshire grin up at Sagat as he takes to looming over the desk. "Sure, you gotta jump through a hoop or two, but who cares? This is what it's all about, right, champ? You and Ryu-- the rematch of the millenium!"


Sagat stands on one side of Radio ZACK's roller discotheque, massive fists clenched at his sides as he glares across the reflective floor. The blue tape wrapped around his hands seems to have been dragged through a desert of red stardust, and instead of his usual Muay Thai shorts and nothing else, he's wearing tight, black, bell-bottomed pants, a shirt with about half of its buttons undone that looks like a Smurf threw up on it, and a white eyepatch adorned with a glittering red claw mark.

Also, an enormous afro and roller-skates with red and blue tiger paws stenciled onto them.

There are sturdy, transparent dividers set up around the rink, not unlike a hockey game; the audience/revelers are on the other side, along with several camerapeople. One more cameraperson is lazily doing laps around the rink to get some pre-fight establishing shots; Sagat's been trying to tune them all out, but the skate cam in particular has made it tricky.

At least the viewers will be getting plenty of glaring from the former Emperor, so that's something.

His whole body is taut, tense, ready; it's the moment of a lifetime, and he can almost /taste/ the upstart's blood as it splashes across his face; the circus of Vega-serving, teenager-punching, and impromptu skating lessons that his life has somehow become will finally have been worth it after today.

Being chosen to partner with Sagat - the former Emperor of Muay Thai - could only elicit one response from Rina "Rocket" O'Reilly.

"You're freaking -bleep!-ing me."

Of course she had jumped at the opportunity when the organizer had approached her. It would be the most epic team-up of the century.

At least, in Rina O'Reilly's mind, it would be.

The girl had only barely even managed to get the attention of those sending the invitations out in the first place, with most of her fighting history consisting of low-profile underground fighting circuit matches and a single loss in the Southtown Inter-High School Tournament. The novelty of a teenager on rollerblades, though, was enough to merit the invite.

As it had been put to her, the reason the lowly street kid from Metro (and more recently, student of Gedo High) was chosen to partner with Sagat was because no one else in the tournament was as qualified as she was. Technically, it wasn't a lie, but the real meaning of the statement had not been given to her. The truth of the matter was that, as badass as the former Emperor was, the regulations for fairness in team compositions deemed that Rocket was the only fighter inexperienced enough to be Sagat's partner.

She had, of course, taken this to mean that they thought that she was on par in ability with Sagat himself.

"About time somebody recognized it!"

And so, waiting in the wings to make her entrance, Rocket is entirely psyched. She's even allowed the wardrobe advisors to make a few adjustments to her attire to 'reinforce team cohesion,' despite the fact that, as she had told one advisor, "The tiger ears look totally stupid."

The ears in question are white and attached to the sides of the red baseball cap she's wearing in her usual 'nineties cool' backwards style. She doesn't have headphones on, for once - she doesn't need them, since she snuck a personal playlist into the DJ booth for the roller disco. Aside from the ballcap, she's wearing a white halter bikini top, a pair of snug red hotpants with white trim, and red socks with white stripes. Her skates are white with red wheels.

"Alright! Time's up, let's do this! My partner's waiting for me!" she yells as she starts to skate out from behind the curtain.

"Wait! One more adjustment!" one of the wardrobe assistants says, grabbing the girl's arm.

"Huh? What's wrong no- OW! What the -bleep!-?"

Rocket looks down to where a safety pin just jabbed her as the assistant finishes sticking a white striped tiger tail to the back of her shorts.

"Oh, /hell/ no!"

==*== 30 SECONDS LATER ==*==

o/~ Transmission! Third World War, third round! A decade of the weapon of sound above ground! o/~

The beginning of Rage Against the Machine's "Guerilla Radio" plays over the speakers as Rocket rolls out onto the rink, tiger tail and all. The glare on her face practically dares anyone to make fun of it as she adjusts her fingerless fighting gloves, coasting to a stop next to the mountain that is her partner. It's a few moments of brooding before she takes a deep breath and looks up - way up - to Sagat's face. She spots the afro and goes completely silent and wide-eyed for a moment.

And then she bursts into laughter. Her entire body quakes with it, arms wrapping around her stomach as she doubles over, apparently having a fit of it.

Normally when you are are participating in a major tournament, you tend to know about it more than the night before. And when that tournament happens to be a team-based tournament, you'd expect you'd actually know the person you were going to be fighting with.

This is not the case for Ryu Hayabusa.

The head of the Hayabusa clan was only intending to arrive on Zack Island so that he could sell some of his curios (along with the bizarre collection of other items that Zack has asked him to offer participants and other guests under the idea that they will "boost relationships."). On the boat ride over, somewhere before he was tricked into participating in a battle at sea by a shady promoter, one of the the coordinators for the Trouble in Paradise tournament quite easily confused Hayabusa with the many other fighters and following a conversation in Ryu throught he was being told to fill out information relating to his business, he'd somehow found himself enrolled in the actual tournament.

Making this worse is the fact that he'd attempted to cross out the section about his partner, having come here on his own, and one of the overly creative individuals in the tournament's department decided that this was clearly a creative way to represent to nickname of another know fighter currently vacationing on the island known as Scratch.

Thus far, Hayabusa has had no opportunity to locate his partner, unaware that he'd attempted to help her find a gift for her aunt just the night before, and given the strange scheduling for wardrobe, as well as his time running the Zack of All Trades shop, there won't be any opportunity for him to meet her until its time for the match to begin.

When it comes to wardrobe, especially stylish of-the-era looks, there are some advantages to being conventionally attractive, one of which is that even when the wardrobe department has convinced you that part of the contract you signed requires you to wear whatever they provide, what they provide is likely to be less gimmicky and more complimentary.

And so it is that Ryu makes his entrance, a blur of motion suddenly flying out from the staff entrance, up to the lighting rigs on the ceiling, from which he does a flip that takes him down to the roller rink itself, landing it a stylish crouched pose with his left hand on the floor to balance himself and his right arm extended out toward the side.

Unlike Sagat's garrish comedy suit, Hayabusa's hair has been left more or less alone, with his long ponytail draped over his shoulder. His jacket is a stylish black with a traditional asian dragon drawn on the back in gold. Beneath the jacket is a gold fabric shirt, its wide collar hanging out over the lapels of his jacket, and the buttons only starting near his waist so that it manages to show off his chest. Unlike the floppy bell bottoms, his black pants have been given a cut that seems to hug his lower body. The only part of the outfit that hasn't been designed to enhance his audience appeal is the rollerskates on his feet (a necessity of the gimmick), although even those mix black leather and golden wheels, with more golden dragons gliding along the sides. Of course, giving the look less of a read-to-dance vibe and more of a Yakuza-enforcer-out-for-blood vibe is the fact that the ancient Dragon Sword has been sheathed across his back, and the wardrobe department was outright refused when one of them suggested it could use more sequins.

...He is also not the Ansatsuken practioner. Someone may have forgotten to mention that to Sagat.

Flying by the seat of one's pants is sometimes admirable, and sometimes it bites you in the ass more than anything. It's hard to tell which is which when Scratch signed up for this tournament. COnsidering all things, she didn't even find a partner for sure yet, and in her haste, pretty much checked off the box agreeing to be thrown into whatever.

Either way, she was assured, after being told rather lately that her match was on and that she was actually requested by name. It was a confusing thing considering she doesn't even know who here would know her enough to ask her by name. But considering things, she decided she had to hurry. And she was also assured that the fighting locale would actually be something she would be well acclimated to.

It took some running to make it, and by the time she got there, she was stopped up...apparently because she had to pass through wardrobe. WHen she heard that, she knew there was going to be trouble. And despite her objections, she was dressed up against her will.

If she knew she'd be dressed up like this, she would've just jumped into a volcano or something. THe tye-dye body suit, the bell-bottom flares and layered sleeves, the silver belt and headband....god help her if this went viral.

And looking at the others across the way, rather than snark, she just gave a sympathetic look. "....I really want to kill whoever runs this thing too." She then looks around, scowling. "Where's my partner, anyway?"

And turning again, she spots....oh dear. "YOU?!" the shouts, pointing toward the curio shop owner, recognizing him despite the garish getup. "Oh, great, this day gets better and better...."

Sagat slooooooowly breathes in through his nose and out through his mouth when Rocket explodes into laughter, but the calming exercise doesn't do much for the little vein throbbing away near his temple; about half of it pokes out from under the afro.

"Be," he rumbles after a couple cycles of that, turning his head to actually look towards his partner, "qui--"

Whose goddamn idea were the tiger ears?

Growling permeates his next breath out and the glass gently clatters beneath his feet; the former Emperor's glare remains fixed on his partner for a good ten seconds as he turns the rest of the way towards her, sizes her up, and tries to remind himself that today is about something bigger than faux ears and tails:

Vengeance. Pride. Justice.

"Get up," he instructs in a neutral, nominally diplomatic tone. "/Compose/ yourself-- if you are to be my partner, then you /will/ behave like a warrior! Today of all days, you will stand and wield your strength with pride, little Rocket!"

At some point, diplomacy gives way to to snorting, eye-bulging, chest-beating fire as Sagat lets his partner in on the pre-fight hype that's been brewing within.

"For by day's end," he roars, turning towards the opposite end of the rink after a hammer-like blow to his chest, "You'll be standing triumphant beside the once and--"

He /did/ hear someone else skating out, didn't he? His narrowed eye sweeps across the rink, pausing on Hayabusa for just a second before moving on to-- Scratch.

"Where--" Sagat exhales before bellowing: "IS HE?!" Pushing off with tree-trunk legs, he rushes towards the opposing side, intent on doing a lap around it, as if Ryu is hiding under the glass. Hayabusa and Scratch are all but ignored as he continues, stubbornly, to scan the arena.

"WHERE. IS. RYU? BRING HIM TO ME, NOW!" he bellows. A lick of 'Eye of the Tiger' chirps from Sagat's pocket; he nearly rips the pocket off in the process of fetching his phone and checking it mid-rant. "/IMMEDIATELY/, OR SO HELP ME I WILL--"

'Sagat, baby!' the screen says. 'Hope I'm not too late, but we've got a little wrench! One of the producers just got a hold of me, and it turns out you're fighting some ninja who couldn't fill out the form correctly! We'll talk later; ciao!'

The whole arena shakes as Sagat erupts with wordless fury, and as he circles back around towards the side he started on, he chucks his phone at the offending ninja, then banks to a hard stop beside Rocket.

He's still screaming. Presumably, he'll have to stop to breathe at some point, but for now, he screams.

COMBATSYS: Sagat has started a fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sagat            0/-------/-------|

"I... I ca... need... air..." Rocket barely manages to breathe out in response to Sagat's instructions, holding up a single finger to signal that she needs a minute, thumping her chest with her other fist. Finally, she manages to stop and take in a deep breath, cupping her hands over her mouth and nose and closing her eyes, then straightening up fully as Sagat gives his speech. The Tiger's words have a rousing effect on the young girl - the giggling and grin have disappeared, and she clenches her hands into fists at her sides as she turns her green eyes across the rink with fierce determination to match Sagat's own fervour.

And then, Sagat goes a bit off the rails.

"Uhhh. Wait, Ryu is supposed to be here?"

Oh, crap. Rocket's eyes go wide, and she peers more closely at the opposition. Wait. The World Warrior isn't here. On the other hand, though, there is, surprisingly enough, a familiar face.


Rocket's exclamation is loud enough to be heard in spite of her partner's outburst as her eyes lock onto the other girl in the rink, and she snaps an accusatory finger toward Scratch. "I know you! You're that package snatcher!"

Perhaps destiny has arranged this battle after all.

"Leave her to me, Afroman! I'm gonna kick her ass at fighting, skating, /and/ disco!!"

As she makes her declaration, she drops into an open-handed fighting stance, bouncing on her wheels, cyan ponytail and fake tiger tail swinging behind her as she awaits the official start of the match.

COMBATSYS: Rocket has joined the fight here on the left meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Rocket           0/-------/-------|
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sagat            0/-------/-------|

There are times when one must learn to weather a storm. Not just a mild spurt of bad weather, but the sort of storm in the middle of the Pacific ocean, waves crashing down from the height of office builds. Some cannot even hold themselves together, others manage to struggle through it, but there are still some who would react as though they were in the eye of a hurricane, allowing all of the rage and fury flow around them while they remain in a spot of calm.

Ryu Hayabusa is the sort of man that has lived much of his life as the center of a hurricane. When Sagat's anger begins to form and boil over, it doesn't take much for Hayabusa to realize that while he is not the ultimate origin of the man's anger, he is most certainly the source of it at this moment.

And yet he remains completely calm in the moment. As the giant launches his phone at the ninja master at the peak of his fury, Ryu responds by only moving his right hand enough to catch the device, cushioning it with the bare minimum of movement to prevent it from breaking.

"My name is Ryu Hayabusa, and I will be your opponent today. I would hate for you to destroy your property in a moment where you have allowed your soul to become unbalanced." A few, almost lazy kicks of his feet carry him over toward the edge of the rink/arena and he hands it off to one of the hotel's staff. "Please hold on to this until Sagat-san requests it back. Thank you."

This is the man who was sent here to fight the Muay Thai God?

He drifts back to his partner and offers he a small bow. "It's good to see you again. If you still want the woodcarving for your aunt, I set it aside for you at the shop. However, for the time being, let us focus on the task at hand. I believe our opponents have been chosen for us."

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Rocket           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Sagat            0/-------/-------|

Scratch just....stares at Ryu. Not just because of who he is, considering she never realized he was even a fighter, much less the partner who apparently requested her. That's a big reason, but not the only one. The fact that he's just so....calm and composed is simply ridiculous to her. "How the hell are you so calm?!" she shouts, still pointing at Ryu.

And then she hears a shout from the smaller of the opponents. "What?" Then she looks past the weird outfit, and realizes who it is. "YOU!! The Mad Gear gopher!!" she shouts, pointing back at Rocket as things just become a shouting match at this point. "What the hell are you, you know what, forget it! I don't need a reason to kick your teeth in if you're here!" she shouts, nearly at her limit.

She turns back to Ryu. "I got her, you take...Tiger McRoar-y, She and I have past business," she says, mostly growling before narrowing her eyes back toward Rocket.

COMBATSYS: Scratch has joined the fight here on the right meter side.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Rocket           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Sagat            0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0          Scratch

"The secret to remaining calm is to master the storm within yourself. Control your fear, control your anger, control your pain." Hayabusa's response to Scratch is in a completely even tone. It would probably seem a lot more dramaticly appropriate if he wasn't wearing roller skates right now. "Remember, fear is only useful if you are able to use it to strengthen yourself, otherwise it will lead you to failure."

Once that's said, he's carefully dropped into his fighting stance, hands ready in front of him, his posture and positioning seem to be completely unconcerned that his feet are ready to move out from beneath him at any moment. He may not have as much experience on wheels as Rocket and Scratch, but for a man capable of the sort of feats that Ryu Hayabusa has mastered, a slightly unstable base on otherwise flat ground is not even remotely a challenge.

A ring girl, doing her best to smile despite the fact that she seems to be quaking on her wheels rolls out to the center of the arena for a moment to announce the match, her garish outfit showing off an incredible amount of skin. "King Zack and King Lee are excited to bring you an incredibly funky battle between the Flying Tigers and... the Genuine Mt. Fuji Curios!" With her introduction complete, she manages a few risque poses before skating back out of the rink. Once she's clear, the officials signal the start of the match with a pre-recorded clip of Zack. "Yeaaaah! Let's bring the noise!"

And then with all the haste that one would expect of a Master Ninja, Ryu moves in to close the distance between himself and Sagat. It's clear enough that the girls have some personal vendetta to clear up, and Hayabusa would hate to see his partner be forced to face down Sagat in his current state. While many people might actually be faster on the skates, for Ryu it seems to make absolutely no difference. He's cleared the space between him and Sagat in the blink of an eye, and then suddenly whips up into the air, spinning around to build up extra force as he drops an axe kick toward the top of Sagat's afro.

Tching, Scratch keeps her focus on Rocket, most of what Ryu tries to teach her brushed off like so much water off a duck's back. She's definitely not the kind to take zen advice to heart, after all. She's just too passionate and fly-by-night to really be one to stay calm.

Scowling, she sinks down into what's almost like a speed skating stance (thankfully with her own skates rather than period roller skates). So she tenses, and when the signal finally comes down, she dashes, making a fast break straight toward Rocket. "HERE I COME!!" she shouts at the top of her lungs.

As she gets close to Rocket, she drops down, one leg extended out, her other leg tucked in and her skate wheels rolling along the smooth dance floor. Her extended foot is aimed, wheels first, straight for Rocket's out feet. She knows if the girl is anything like her, she's gonna want to move why not cut her skates straight out from under her, first thing?

COMBATSYS: Sagat interrupts Strong Kick from Ryu Hayabusa with Power Throw.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Rocket           0/-------/-------|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Rocket blocks Scratch's Acid Soul Slide.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Rocket           0/-------/-----==|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Scratch

Sagat basically paces circles around Rocket as Hayabusa and Scratch hash things out. He doesn't really respond to Rocket's offer to handle Scratch, but the fact that he snarls and snaps his head towards her shortly after the declaration - and doesn't yell 'no' so loud that the floor cracks, or something - probably means that he understands and agrees with her strategy, and will support her plan to the best of his ability.

Or that he's too busy putting Ryu's stupid, band-wearing head on Hayabusa's body to care; one of those things.

He does, at least, stop roaring sometime before the actual introductions are made, though his angry snorting is still plainly audible. After the announcements, he twists out of his current loop to face the opposing team, then shoots himself forward like a glaring howitzer shell, blowing back the mounded curls piled atop his head. Hayabusa's flying kick doesn't stop his charge, but he does slow as the ninja's heel smashes into the top of his head and drives his massive body down a few inches.

Part of the reason that he's slowing, however, is to make absolutely sure that he hits the mark as he claws above himself to snatch the ninja's ankle; the dull pain radiating through his skull isn't doing him any favors, but he's much more concerned with Ryu("Ryu"?) than a headache right now.

"RRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAUGH!" he thunders as he pulls Ryu's entire body back like a bat, then swings for the fences. Or-- more accurately, the fighter-proofed barrier surrounding the arena.

The sound of funky rap-metal thumps and grinds throughout the room as the fight kicks off to a fast start. Rocket's scowl deepens, her eyes flashing at Scratch's verbal retort. This here is clearly defamation of character!

"You funky boss! I'm not a gopher! I'm a mother<bleep!>ing TIGER!"

No, the use of 'funky boss' was not censorship for the television audience. Apparently somebody listens to too much Beastie Boys. Scratch's low sliding kick does take Rocket's skates out from under her as intended, but the red-and-white clad skater is ready for the aftermath. She hits the ground in a controlled shoulder roll, planting her gloved hands on the dance floor and sweeping one of her legs in a spinning kick, pivoting on the axis of her arm as she aims her wheels at the other skater's head, trying to connect before she can get back out of reach. "Eat this, hippie <bleep!>!"

COMBATSYS: Scratch dodges Rocket's Heavy Kick.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Rocket           0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Scratch

In the face of Sagat's rage, Hayabusa finds that he's immediately sent flying. There's nothing for him to do but be prepared for the pain that's about to follow. He hits the glass hard, and if it weren't for the fact that it was rated to withstand serious battles he would have gone right through it, and likely ended covered in glass. Instead it merely spiderwebs around his impact point, crackling on the verge of buckling. It's even bowed out slightly on the audience side.

The force of the impact is actually enough to leave him partially imbeded for a few moments before he falls away, somehow managing to land in a graceful crouch despite the fact that he's left some of the gold dragon from his jacket in the glass. His sword, of course, seems completely unharmed; an ancient weapon passed down for generations and capable of power beyond mortal imagination, even it's sheath seems to hold up to the blow relatively well.

It's quite clear at this point that he's going to need to find a different strategy in this fight. In this state, he's beginning to think that the the one-eyed man may be even more of a challenge than his recent battle against Sol Badguy... and the mercenary had survived being impaled multiple times.

Rising back up to his feet, Hayabusa begins to build up some speed as he takes the perimeter of the rink, his eyes perfectly locked on Sagat. If it weren't for the fact that it was a fight, and clearly one in which Sagat wished to brutalize Hayabusa, it might not be hard for some of the audience to take the view that the intensity in those eyes was a romantic one of the hardened ninja. It would be challenging for any fans to create a romantic scenario between these two.

Although some would probably still try.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa focuses on his next action.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Rocket           0/-------/----===|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////// ]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Scratch

As the sliding kick hits, Scratch pushes up to her feet and tries to get her wheels under her again before her momentum completely slows. As she winds around, she sees that Rocket managed to roll out from her fall, not taking as big a spill as she had hoped. Gritting her teeth, she starts moving again. "Funky what? Are you from the 70s or something?!" she shouts...the irony swallowed as she tries to get moving.

The attempted spinning kick is lept over as Rocket pivots, using the chance to get away before Rocket legs come around again to possibly clip her legs. "HEY, I didn't choose this crap!" she shouts as she whips around behind Sagat, the fight between the two skaters seeming to weave between the two heavy hitters of their teams.

As she comes back around, she slows, just enough to flip forward onto her hands, the momentum bringing her legs up over her head. The handspring sends her forward enough to arc her heavy skated feet downward toward Rocket, trying to crush her like a sledgehammer.

COMBATSYS: Rocket blocks Scratch's Light Kick.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Rocket           0/-------/=======|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Scratch

After releasing Hayabusa, Sagat breaks away to start a fresh lap around the rink, glass shuddering underfoot each time he drives a foot into it and pushes off to pick up speed. The roaring, at least, stops for a while, but there's plenty of bestial grunting and snarling to replace it.

As he hits the halfway point in his circuit, he spots Hayabusa across the glass, working on a lap of his own with his eyes glued to the Tiger.

This, he quickly determines, won't do at /all/; if other-Ryu won't do him the courtesy of making another run at him while he builds up speed, he'll have to go to the ninja. Sagat's circuit becomes a meteoric charge after he pushes off of a section of the barrier to propel himself towards Ryu. Along the way, he bunches his body up low and tucks an arm back so that when he's close enough, he can spring into an explosive elbow/forearm strike meant to knock the ninja for a loop, if not swipe his face clean off.

When her kick swings clear of Scratch's legs, Rocket ends up spinning in a full circle. It's more breakdancing than disco dancing, but it's still dancing, so that counts for something, right? Her wheels touch the floor, the momentum of her kick carrying them in a crescent before she can get them under herself.

Just in time, too - Rocket barely has time to throw her arms up and brace for the downward smashing attack from Scratch, the other girl's skates impacting solidly with Rocket's forearms.

"Ow! <Bleep!> that, the Seventies were lame! Besides, look who's talking, Tie-Dye Tina!"

Skating back away from Scratch as she speaks, the reverse rollerblading style completely natural to her, Rocket clenches a fist.

"I'll punch you back to the Seventies, <bleep!> <bleep!>"

And then she comes skating in, doing a little spin as she gets near Scratch. The motion ends with her arm in a diagonal motion typical of the stereotypical disco dance, except instead of pointing at the sky, it comes up as a clenched backfist.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa blocks Sagat's Medium Punch.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Rocket           0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Scratch blocks Rocket's Medium Punch.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Rocket           1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|>------\-------\0          Scratch

The important part of any battle is to remain centered and focused. If you allow yourself to become overwhelmed, you will lose. If you allow yourself to react without thought, you will lose. His opponent may be a man built like a monster with almost two feet of extra height on him, but Ryu Hayabusa has slayed fiends.

As Sagat comes charging in, Hayabusa maintains himself, carefully considering the situation, his opponent, and makes a decision: He requires extra reach and extra power. In a maneuver that seems to take place within the blink of an eye, Ryu's draws forthe the Dragon Sword from its sheath and whips it up in front of him, intercepting the giant muay thai monster's elbow with the flat of his blade. It's clear that it was no simple blow by the way that Hayabusa's arms fall back suddenly, just barely warding off the assault as he finds his back pressed up against the wall.

Despite now having almost no room to maneuver, Ryu acts quickly, suddenly drawing his sword off to the side, then sweeping it in an up in a motion that carries it right up Sagat's midsection. Rather than cleaving, it imparts all the force the ninja can manage into Sagat, aiming to blast him up toward the ceiling, beyond the lighting rigs where it's near impossible to see. And in a flash the ninja is gone, only Sagat having the opportunity to notice him as he suddenly appears next to the giant, wrapping both arms around his midsection as he twist them both to face head down toward the dance floor and sets them spinning, the rotation hopefully leaving Sagat too disoriented to properly react to the death dive.

The spring forward manages to strike at Rocket's guard again, mostly forcing Scratch to slide away and back before she loses her footing. Scowling, she's forced to bring her own arms up, knocked back as the reeling backfist snaps upward and lifts the Metro City native away. She feels the numbness tingle up her arms, but she tries to ignore it as she starts moving again.

"I DIDN'T CHOOSE THIS!" she screams back at Rocket, tossing her headband down as she pivots around the floor again. While Rocket's style of skating is clearly more breakdance-like, Scratch's is like a speed skater, cutting around and building momentum before she strikes. Circling the floor, she passes in behind Hayabusa as he grabs at Sagat, reaching for Rocket once she's in range and trying hook at the other skater's arm. With the speed she's built up, the idea is to pull her along before pivoting and whipping her down to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Sagat barely endures Ryu Hayabusa's Izuna Drop.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Rocket           1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Sagat            0/-------/---====|>------\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Scratch successfully hits Rocket with Rewind Whip.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Rocket           1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Sagat            0/-------/---====|>>>----\-------\0          Scratch

Cracks spread across a couple of tiles as Sagat's head and shoulders are drilled into the margin between them. Heavy as he is, the initial sword stroke didn't /quite/ send him into the rigging, but the extra weight did him no favors at all once it was time to go down.

Reinforced glass buckles beneath the Thai titan's body as it folds up in the newly made crater. His lower half slumps further and further over his head and shoulders for a couple of beats as he collects his wits, but once he's together again, he swiftly rolls the rest of the way out of being a 7'5" Slinky(tm). Hunched on all fours, he tracks Hayabusa through a hatefully narrowed eye for a second before bursting not just up to his full height, but into the air. Threads begin popping and rips begin appearing along his too-tight bell-bottoms as he draws his right knee up into a soaring counter-attack, and for the first time in a while, he roars actual words:


Rocket may be pretty fast on wheels, but right now, Scratch is even faster. The bikini-and-ballcap clad skater tries to do another spin to elude Scratch's grasp, but her tie-dye-topped manages to hook her by the arm nonetheless.

"Hey! This isn't partner skate ti-oh <bleep!>!" she yells as she gets dragged to the floor. This time, she slams into the rink hard on her scarcely-protected chest and face. "Oh, you <bleep! ble-bleep! bleeeeep!>! That's it!"

Rocket hauls herself into a crouch on her skates before using her hands to shove off and gain momentum, putting distance between herself and Scratch. As she does, her hands begin to glow blue, and she pivots as she sails in a semi-circle, skirting the edge of the arena.

"Suck on this! ROCKET SHOT!"

As she calls out the name of her attack, she leaps up into the air, slamming her wrists together. A ball of flaming blue chi flies from her open palms with a flash of energy that sends Rocket herself flying backward against the glass bordering the fighting area.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa dodges Sagat's Tiger Crush.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Rocket           1/-----==/=======|=====--\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////////  ]
Sagat            0/-------/-----==|>>>----\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Scratch wards against Rocket's Rocket Shot.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Rocket           1/----===/=======|=====--\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////    ]
Sagat            0/-------/-----==|>>>>---\-------\0          Scratch

With the giant continuing to barrel in on him despite the powerful hit, Hayabusa makes the decision that his best bet here it to keep his opponent as far off his game as possible. The ninja leaps up into the air, making a twisting flip as he exceeds the absurd height that Sagat manages to reach, avoiding the powerful knee by mere centimeters.

When the shinobi reaches the ground again, he once more lands as if the skates weren't even there, completely failing to roll forward or backward from his position. Strangely enough, he somehow managed to slide his sword back into its sheath during all of that. It might seem to most that it would make more sense to keep the blade out to maintain some sort of advantage from fighting against an unarmed opponent, but the greater advantage at the moment seems to be keeping Sagat off balance, if at all possible.

With the skates on his feet, it's entirely accurately to describe what comes next as Hayabusa gliding across the floor, low to the ground, attempting to be far more difficult to hit as he tries to duck under Sagat's guard before launching into an flying uppercut against Sagat's jaw, and once he reaches his peak, he swings back down again with a reverse somersault kick.

Dragging Rocket with her as she speeds on, Scratch unceremoniously dumps her rival away and continues on, trying to keep up her momentum and not stop moving. She knows her advantage and her strength in her constant pace, and she's not about to cede that, not against the "Mad Gear Gopher" as she dubbed the other skater. "What are you going to do about it, huh?!" she shouts to Rocket, trying to keep wheeling her way around the floor. She has to keep a mind not to get in the way of Ryu or Sagat though, forced to slow down when she realizes Sagat is chambering up something big. It's that moment that stalls her enough that she can't quite race away from Rocket's big energy ball. "****!" she curses in a way that's sure to be bleeped, crossing her forearms and leaping back with her knees up as well. The force slams into her shrunken profile, sent flying by it, but absorbing most of it.

Thankfully, she manages to use the momentum taken to keep moving, though it brought her dangerously close to the path of that Tiger Crush. "Jesus!" she shouts, feeling her heart pumping as she races back toward Rocket. "Watch where the hell you shoot those things!" Racing toward the other cyan-haired skater, she takes the long way around, leaping onto the glass wall and actually managing to ride along it gingerly enough to guide her without cracking the wall. From there, she'd push off and toward Rocket, flipping and slashing out with a backflip kick, one leg swiping up, with her other leg held back and chambered before getting snapped out, both with her wheels glowing a faint green.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa successfully hit Sagat with Shoryu Senku Kyaku.
- Power hit! -

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Rocket           1/----===/=======|======-\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Sagat            0/-------/---====|>>>----\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Scratch successfully hits Rocket with Method Slicer EX.

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Rocket           1/-======/=======|======-\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Sagat            0/-------/---====|>>>>>--\-------\0          Scratch


"SHORYUKEN!" a young man cries as over thirty years of work are shattered in an instant.


Sagat is on the verge of taking another swipe at Hayabusa before the ninja goes low, and isn't able to pull his arms into place at the time; before he can register a growl of discontent, the ninja's knuckles crash into his jaw, grinding his teeth together and causing his eyes to roll back into his skull.

By the time Hayabusa flips into that somersault, Sagat isn't really /at/ the roller rink anymore; he's continent and a lifetime away, eye bulging and lips curled back in an agonized rictus. The notes of pain accompanying each strike are tinged with something deeper than the physical pain and disorientation of having his jaw cracked and brain rattled around his skull: sorrow for the one loss he'll never quite be able to leave behind.

There's still a hell of a lot of physical pain there, though: Hayabusa's blow crushes him down to a knee, and although his first instinct is to push himself upright, he wobbles back down and has to catch himself with a fist immediately afterwards.

That's about when the rap/metal-backed disco hell that he's been plunged into booms back into the fore of his senses and he sees the blurry ninja - just one despite current appearances, he's ninety percent sure - descending before him. The hand that he isn't using to balance himself wanders across his partly bared chest for a glassy-eyed moment before tensing against it when his fire its and accompanying glare return.

Pushing off of the tiles with his braced hand, the Broken Tiger keeps his body low and compact as he surges towards Hayabusa. One fist rests near his hip like a nocked arrow, and it's only when he's within a few feet of his nimble target that he launches that arm - and the rest of his body - upwards, allowing his fist and fury to guide him in a soaring, reciprocal arc.

"TIGER BLOW!" erupts from the former Emperor as he unfurls into violence.

The combination of relentless aggression and speed from Scratch is rapidly starting to take its toll on Rina. The latter makes more defensive use of her skating style, trying to control distance, which is certainly advantageous against slower fighters suffering rhe effects of foot-based friction, but against someone as fast as Scratch, it's difficult to keep out of harm's way - which is demonstrated when Rocket's attempt to slide aside from Scratch's double kick ends with her taking both sets of chi-powered wheels to the gut and chest, knocking her on her ass.


Rocket pushes herself up, rubbing her stomach with one hand and her backside with the other as she tries to coast around to the other side of Sagat, putting the mountain of muscle between herself and Scratch. Then, ducking down low, she comes swooping back past Sagat.

"I'm gonna take you down, <bleep!>!"

Rushing at full speed, she attempts to grab Scratch around the waist and use her momentum to body-check her into the wall around the side of the rink.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa counters Tiger Blow from Sagat with Mekkyaku - Ranryu EX.
- Power hit! -

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rocket           1/-======/=======|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////////     ]
Sagat            0/-------/-======|>>>>>--\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Rocket successfully hits Scratch with Medium Throw.
- Power hit! -

[                 \\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rocket           1/=======/=======|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Sagat            0/-------/-======|=======\-------\1          Scratch

Rage can be a powerful tool.

There are many men in this world that fight through the strength of anger, letting their fury shroud them from pain, flow through them as strength. There are warriors that froth at the mouth, blind to all but the opponent in front of them and the need deep within them to destroy any who would insult them, any who would strike them, any who would dare to stand against their clear strength.

This strength is an illusion.

A true master of the fighting arts never acts without thought or purpose. They look at the battlefield around them, they watch their opponent's every move, they remain centered no matter what the storm may bring. Ryu Hayabusa is such a man. He has taken countless lives, fought countless battles, and yet he does not care for personal strength. He seeks to master the storm that rages within all men to prevent himself from ever losing control. He fights not for himself, but because the blood that flows through his veins carries with it a lineage of power and burden. He fights to protect the world from other domains; powerful realms full of fiends of unknowable strength.

And so it is that in the face of Sagat's blind rage, despite all the strength and haste that is recklessly thrust into an effort to smite him, Ryu Hayabusa remains the calm at the eye of the storm. He pulls in the power of the winds that surround him, absorbs the frenzy, and controls it as it fills him with new power.

As Sagat charges him, the ninja moves with speed an precision, sliding low beneath the muay thai monster's fist, he kicks his opponent's legs out from beneath him. As the giant begins to fall foward, the retalliation continues, with the shinobi launching up from the ground, slamming and uppercut into Sagat's chest that keeps him locked in the air. In the blink of an eye he charges forward with his shoulder, all of the force that his body can muster, far beyond what one would expect from a man his size, even with his athletic build, and Sagat goes flying into the glass wall.

It cracks.

It crackles.

For a moment it seems as though it will withstand being hit with all the weight of Sagat's body... but then the metal paritions buckle and the sheet is dislodged, falling backward as the audience scampers away in screams. The glass shatters around the titan.

Back in the center of the rink, Hayabusa draws his hand in front of his face, two fingers extended upward. "Nin."

Scratch wasn't going to keep up this pace forever and she knew that well enough. But she wanted to grind Rocket down enough so that when she was finally forced to a slower rhythm that she would've already done enough damage. And she seemed to be doing well enough on that line. But all it takes is one hit sometimes, and when Rocket charges across the floor toward her and body-checks her straight into the wall, she finally manages to catch the tye-dyed wheeler before she can race away.

Pinned down, Scratch cries out as her spine smashes into the glass wall, sending lightning all across her body. "GYAAHHHH!!!" Panting as she's finally brought to a stop, she gasps and glowers toward Rocket. "You....I'm not about to some Mad Gear flunkie loser," she groans, before trying to slam her head straight into Rocket's face.

COMBATSYS: Rocket blocks Scratch's Medium Punch.

[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Rocket           2/<<<<<<</<<<<<<<|===----\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Sagat            0/-------/-======|=======\=------\1          Scratch

It would be fair to say that Sagat has had better days. It would also be fair to say that he's had worse ones; unfortunately, today is rather unfortunately reminding him of /the/ worst. As Ryu's fist threatens to cave his sternum and drives him into the air - /again/ - he finds himself struggling to breathe, fight, or think of anything beyond the fire spreading through his chest. He can almost hear the crowd's cheers dopplering into a deafening roar worthy of a stadium as he rises, then /flies/, all under the ninja's deceptive power.

After crashing against the glass, he coughs up a fine spray of blood, then slowly shifts his left leg towards the listing edge of the partition; before he gets anywhere close to sliding down to his skates, the plane gives way and he finds himself falling just a little bit further.

A clipped cry of pain rises from the behemoth as glass and twisted metal shred his back, his sides, and most of his nightmare of a shirt to bits; it fades into low, persistent growls and snarls as he rolls back and forth in the jagged debris in search of some balance. By the time he /does/ manage to get to his knees, he's bristling with metal and glass and painted with a hundred little rivers of blood, some of which spray into the crowd as it disperses. The wig hangs off of his skull like a jauntily worn beret, and there is a cameraman nudging in about five feet from Sagat's face who is not going to miss a goddamn minute of it.


"I'm not saying that I'm /proud/ of what happened," a glowering Sagat mutters, sitting with his arms folded in front of a tiki-themed backdrop, "but I /am/ saying that the blame lies /squarely/ on whomever organized this farce of a tournament."


Planting a skate on the trash-strewn ground, Sagat grabs the cameraman by the throat and squeezes as he slowly pushes himself the rest of the way up to his feet and the camera captures the perfect shot of dashed hope, frustration, and embarrassment in the Broken Tiger's bared teeth and wild eye.

And then it gets a servicable shot of Sagat getting smaller and smaller when the cameraman is hurled at Hayabusa.


The O'Reilly girl is panting as she struggles to keep the other skater pinned against the wall. When Scratch aims her head at Rocket's own face, the cap-wearing teen wrenches a palm up from the other girl's side to intercept it. Despite the deadening of the impact, though, Scratch's head does still cause Rina's hand to smack against her own forehead. Reeling from the blow, Rocket slides back across the floor, separating from Scratch.

"Hey, <bleep!> you! Just because my dad worked for them doesn't mean I have anything to do with those <bleep!>holes!"

Of course, the truth of the matter is that Rocket /had/, indirectly, been running packages for the Gear, but the anger in her eyes makes the offense taken obvious.

"I'm better than that, and I'm better than you! I'll show you!"

Rocket ducks as the cameraman goes flying overhead, energy starting to build up rapidly in her palms. She takes in deep, steady breaths as the power continues to grow. Compared to the explosive force of the Tiger of Muay Thai and the ninja battling in the same ring, it may not be much, but to the cheering crowd, it's definitely something.


As she brings both of her hands together, this time a larger, more intense beam of burning blue chi flies across the rink toward Scratch.

If it misses, it could mean bad things for the glass wall behind the other skater.

COMBATSYS: Sagat successfully hits Ryu Hayabusa with Large Thrown Object.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rocket           1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1     Ryu Hayabusa
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Sagat            1/-------/=======|=======\=------\1          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Scratch blocks Rocket's Super Rocket Shot.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rocket           1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1     Ryu Hayabusa
[                   \\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Sagat            1/-------/=======|=======\===----\1          Scratch

There are a great many problems with being innately heroic. One of those problems is that you cannot allow innocents to be injured because of your actions, and despite being part of the entire reality show crew, the cameraman that is now flying for Hayabusa technically counts as an innocent. As such it's at this moment that he springs into action.

His initial effort is to catch the cameraman and carefully absorb the force in mid-air, where neither party is especially hurt. What instead happens seems more approrpiate to a hockey match (especially with the glass wall) where Hayabusa leaps in behind the cameraman and apparently misjudges the force with which he'd been thrown. Rather than a soft landing, he suddenly finds himself sandwiched against the wall. Thankfully it does manage to absorb most of the blow for the camera man (who has just been saved from potential paralysis, instead only having one fractured leg).

Struggling back to his feet, Hayabusa turns to the man. "If you're able, please get out of here. It's clear I cannot protect both of us from the raging storm within his soul."

At this point his only real option is to attempt to try to maintain some measure of spacing. One hand goes up to the hilt of his blade as the other slips inside his jacket and pulls out a kunai. He locks eyes on the giant man, and in a motion that seems like an overly dramatic pitch, he whips through the air in a sideways windmill and launches the ninja weapon at Sagat, using the same motion to draw his blade.

While her headbutt was caught, Scratch can still feel the attack hit SOMETHING behind that hand. And the hard being spared to guard means one less hand keeping her still on the boards, managing to find a way to squirm free enough to get away from the wall. Of course, she's not speeding away rather suddenly despite getting free, not having the pep from earlier. That, and seeing a cameraman flying over her head is enough to give anyone pause at this point. Sharing a ring with a force of nature is just...something.

But Rocket gets her ire again as she processes things. "Oh, and making deliveries for Mad Gear, that's not having anything to do wi-" She stops stock still though, as Rocket starts to build up energy again. She saw this before, and she doesn't have the space to take a leap, so instead, she drops down, arms crossed again. The larger ball ends up flying, and Scratch just ends up pushed along with it as it flies. Her smaller profile keeps her from absorbing most of it, but the slam against the wall as she's rolled like a runaway shopping cart still hurts. "NNGhh..."

"You think that's supposed to impress me?" she shouts, before pushing off the wall and aiming straight at Rocket. With that head of steam, she leaps and turns onto her side, legs extended and spinning outward, skates glowing with the same green as before as she tries to tackle her rival like a wild weedwhacker.

COMBATSYS: Sagat endures Ryu Hayabusa's Thrown Weapon.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rocket           1/-------/<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1     Ryu Hayabusa
[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Sagat            1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Scratch successfully hits Rocket with Bio Slash.
- Power hit! -

[                            \\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Rocket           1/--<<<<</<<<<<<<|=======\-------\1     Ryu Hayabusa
[                      \\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Sagat            1/------=/=======|==-----\-------\0          Scratch

There's too much crap covering the ground beside the arena for skating; Sagat has to hobble on his skates for a few wobbly steps to make it back to the tiles, bleeding and roaring and crunching glass beneath his feet the whole way. Upon reaching what's left of the barrier, he throws a leg over it to climb back into the fight; his afro gets snagged on a piece of metal jutting from the edges of the hole as he straddles the partition.

Before he can manage to get his other leg over, the kunai strikes him right in the pec, causing his eye to bulge and the persistent roaring to grow louder for a few seconds. The mountain of Muay Thai sways back the way he came for a moment, but with a swift shake of his head, he seizes the edge of the divider and stabilizes himself.

"WHO DO YOU THINK I AM?!" he bellows as he then hauls himself the rest of the way over the barricade. As soon as his skates touch the tiles, he pushes off into another charge, this time aimed at shooting him towards Hayabusa's landing point at high speeds; at some point, he rips the kunai free and chucks it away, causing it to skip across a couple of tiles and leave spiderweb cracks with each landing.

Rather than offer any guidance on the matter, he switches tacks entirely as he pulls his left leg back: "GIRL!" he roars, sparing a quick glance around for Rocket. "TODAY WILL /NOT/ BE IN VAIN, DO YOU HEAR ME?!"

Whether he's trying to encourage her or handing out demands is hard to say at this point; either way, he punctuates the exclaimation by twisting his hips into a kick meant to intersect with the descending ninja's gut.

Rocket is breathing heavily after her outburst of chi energy. The battle is rapidly taking its toll. She still has enough energy to scowl at Scratch as she props herself against a spot of the glass wall that's still intact. "Hey! A job is a job! I only - ugh!" She's cut off when her rival comes careening in again. With an adrenalin-fuelled surge of effort, Rocket pushes off of the wall, trying to get clear of the energy-laced skates as they fly at her. Even with the burst of speed, though, she's still not fast enough. An attempt to duck only results in her getting kicked right in the face and sent smashing into the glass wall with a reverberating impact.

"Son... of a... <bleep!>..."

The girl looks on the verge of collapse, sinking against the wall as Sagat's words reach her. She turns her eyes up to the Muay Thai mountain. "I..." Her eyes roll back toward Scratch. Forcing them to stay focused, she shoves off from the wall and starts rolling forward. Blue trails of chi begin to spark from her skates and hands as she glides toward the other skater girl. Putting everything she has left into one final attack, she tries to grab Scratch and, with a spinning motion, bodyslam her to the floor. Should she manage, she would then throw herself into the air, gathering the last of her reserves of energy into firing a fiery blue chi-blast from above at the girl and flying higher above the rink with the backlash. By that point, the lights would already be out, but her descending form would still be a hazard as it falls toward Scratch.

COMBATSYS: Rocket can no longer fight.

[                     \\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Sagat            1/------=/=======|=======\-------\1     Ryu Hayabusa
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |==-----\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa interrupts Medium Kick from Sagat with Art of the Piercing Void EX.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Sagat            1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
                                  >  ////////////////////          ]
                                  |==-----\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Rocket successfully hits Scratch with Blast Off.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Sagat            1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
                                  >  ///////////                   ]
                                  |=======\-------\1          Scratch

Never allow your opponent to intimidate you. It is very possible that you may be fighting a more powerful, more skilled enemy in battle. They may tower over you, be covered in muscle, fill the air with screams that shake the very Earth itself. No matter how fast they are, no matter how badly they have hurt you, to allow them to take control of your mind, to overcome your willpower, that is when you are defeated.

Ryu Hayabusa will never allow himself to be defeated. Not at the final level. There is no opponent that he will allow to break his resolve in the face of overwhelming odds. He will stand against any foe until his body is too broken to continue fighting, but he will not surrender himself.

The crowd that had gathered for the fight has begun to cower. Some find themselves too overwhelmed through the show of power from a man overcome by his own inner demons to even move. Ryu Hayabusa simply begins to focus himself. He does not move from his position as he summons once more his inner strength, dragging forth what remains of his chi. As Sagat begins to charge, his sword is sheathed. As the ground shakes, his hands are cupped, the space between them slowly beginning to warp as a speck of pure darkness forms between them, reality itself seeming to be pulled and stretched and torn.

And he holds it until the moment Sagat strikes, waits until there is no more opportunity to avoid it. The orb is thrust forward into Sagat's chest as his foot connects with the ninja's side, knocking him off balance... but removing all of the follow-through as the fallen Emperor of Muay Thai is sent flying back with the orb buried in his chest. It pulls at him on the lowest level, seeming intend on shredding his body.

The very heart of nothingness.

Landing from the wild spin, Scratch is forced to spin about in place to avoid slowing down TOO fast. That much centrifugal force is not safe to arrest all at once, after all. STill, with all that motion, it's hard for her to see when Rocket gets up and sparks straight toward her. Eyes widen, and though she tries to dart off in a hasty dive, she's grabbed and slammed down. Coughing out as she's plowed down to the dance floor, she arches and tries to look up, but before she can do anything, the giant blast, of the sort she had to absorb before, flies straight down at her, and unlike before, she can't really guard or block it, and the full force slams into her from above.

The smoke takes some time to clear, but at the end, Scratch is still moving, getting up, albeit with her tye-dye bodysuit nearly blown apart, and her form shaky and teetering. "Uhg...what the f-..." she groant, staggering to the wall. It's at that point that she sees Ryu do....well, it seems like some kind of compressed ball of energy, not unlike the one Rocket kept flinging at her. Eyes go wide, as she watches the curio shop owner shove it straight into Sagat's chest and....well.

It's a sight of a mountaintop she's far, far away from, one that forces her to back off and....consider things. After all, if Sagat STILL can move after that, then she's got some serious problems....

COMBATSYS: Scratch focuses on her next action.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Sagat            1/---====/=======|======-\-------\0     Ryu Hayabusa
                                  >  ///////////                   ]
                                  |=======\-------\1          Scratch

Sagat flies backwards for about half a dozen feet, and then sharply, suddenly, as if the lights shining up from the ground were chains looped around his body, he falls.


So hard that the tiles he lands on shatter, dropping him into the nest of wires and hot glass beneath the surface. A searing geyser of sparks leaps from the newly made hole as the Broken Tiger's body crushes all of the lights in his path, and keen observers might notice a fair few drops of blood mingled in amongst the sparks; the other lights shining up through the floor cascade to black, section by section. The sucking void at his chest doesn't linger long past his landing, but he's too busy burning, bleeding, and /seething/ to notice.

Seconds tick by as Rocket falls unconscious and Scratch drops back to think; Sagat spends them staring up at nothing as the disco ball tirelessly spins. He probably /should/ have backed out as soon as the stipulations were announced; how likely was it, really, that so many months of suffering would culminate in a neon-lit fever dream?

Right when his eye begins to roll back into his skull, however, the beast within the dethroned Emperor stirs once more.

Even if this sword-toting prankster isn't Ryu, even if there's nothing to be gained by winning... could he really live with the knowledge that he let his opponents stand tall while he was still conscious?

The day may have lost its real meaning, but it needn't be /entirely/ worthless.

The rigging beneath Sagat groans and creaks as he drags himself up to his knees, and then one of his massive, glittering hands shoots up to grip the edge of the hole. Rather than haul himself up and out, however, his fingers tense against the glass, causing a fresh trickle of blood to drop from his palm. Light begins to flicker through at least some of what's left of the floor again, courtesy of the amber pearl of chi he's clutching to his scarred and bloodied chest with his other hand. With each strained breath, chi thrums and pulsates across his weary muscles until his upper body is practically aflame.

"Tiger..." he then exhales; the gathered energy races backwards towards its origin point, lending a brief but ominous glow to the canyon carved across his chest before vanishing into his body.


/Now/ he hauls himself out of the hole, cutting a jagged line through the floor like a surface to air missile intent on delivering its payload - his right knee, curved just so for maximum violence - to its target: the center of Hayabusa's chest.

COMBATSYS: Sagat knocks away Ryu Hayabusa with Tiger Destruction.

[                          \\\\  < >                                ]
Sagat            0/-------/-------|=======\=====--\1     Ryu Hayabusa
                                  >  ///////////                   ]
                                  |=======\-------\1          Scratch

After contact is made, Sagat and Hayabusa keep on flying, stopping just short of a section of barricades; at that point, Sagat drops into a crouch on the rink, bunching his entire frame into a small package before exploding into a soaring uppercut.

The former Emperor crouches /again/ after that landing, pulling his right fist back to its familiar place beside his hip and tracking the falling ninja with a predatory gleam in his maddened eye. The chi that briefly lit the arena floor rushes from his body in a great wave that courses along his shoulder, down his bent arm, and finally, to the end of his fest; a million little red-orange sparkles swirl around his hand as spiritual fire and glitter meet.

Before Hayabusa can land, Sagat lets his fist lead him into the air and towards the ninja's body one last time, flying ever higher until the chi finally fades and he's pulled back to the ground somewhere in the crowd section.

After coming down in a weary crouch, the dethroned, debris-studded Emperor slowly but surely wills himself back up to his full height, teeth bared in a permanent scowl.

Even remaining calm is not perfect. There are times when a monsterous opponent truly is filled with more power and speed that you can handle with the peak of your ability. There are times, even, when fate and chance intersect and refuse to allow victory.

As Ryu Hayabusa's body is utterly ravaged by the built up fury that seems to power Sagat through any injury, he knows that there is nothing else he can do. This is the limit of his body' strength. His clothes are torn, body battered, bruised, bleeding. He can still focus enough to know that fighting it will accomplish nothing. He stores within him every last ounce of drive and willpower. He has let down his partner, but he can still give the young girl a fighting chance... if only he can disable the monster.

The floor where Hayabusa now lays is shattered beyond repair, covered in his bloody and the tatters of his outfit. Far off on the other side of the warzone that was once a skating rink, he can still see some of the wheels from the skates. The sleeve of his jacket is hanging over the bent form of one of the metal supports along the former glass wall that now hangs empty.

Through sheer determination, the ninja pushes back to his feet. There is no grunts of pain, somehow his breathing is still even. The fact that his body moves at all is a miracle. His movements are slow and uncomfortable as he slowly pulls in a deep breath, focusing on his center one last time.

And then with every last ounce of speed he can muster, he charges Sagat one last time, launching upward into a somersault kick that should still have enough force to send his opponent into the air. He lands on the otherside of the flip and in an instant summons forth the remaining energy from his core, cupping his hands for a moment to ignite the spark and then thrusting them forward as a massive column of swirling blue and black chi that seems intent on burying Sagat in the wall behind him.

Then, with the last ounce of strength spent, the ninja falls to the ground.

COMBATSYS: Ryu Hayabusa can no longer fight.

[                          \\\\  < >  ///////////                   ]
Sagat            0/-------/-------|=======\-------\1          Scratch

Well, this is...not good.

Sure, Scratch managed to finally drive her rival unconscious, something she bothered to check on after marvelling at the display between Ryu and Sagat. The problem being that, as she hung back, she watched as Sagat just....well, she's not sure she can find the words. The attack is terrifying enough that Scratch simply locks up a bit. "H-holy...." Sure, she's seen fights on TV in passing, and Sagat is a name known to near everyone in the world, but seeing it up close and personal like this is bothe awe inspiring and utterly intimidating.

It takes Scratch a quick smack to her own face to knock her out of her awe as she realizes that Ryu is on his last legs. "...what? Sh-" She cuts herself off, sparing her the wrath of the production staff before she finally pushes off the wall. Swallowing as she looks over toward Sagat, she tenses up. She has to do this, she has to....and Ryu charges?

So does she. Following behind Ryu, she waits for the results of his attack, before pouncing as well, in a near literal sense. The intent? Leap up high enough to vault atop Sagat's head, high enough to do a near handstand. If she can manage to keep her nerves and catch Sagat off guard enough, she'd flair out her legs and spin before falling out of her handstand, the intent to twist Sagat through the air with her, hands glowing in a faint green aura that, while paling certainly to Ryu and Sagat's, would still hopefully leave a mark on the Emperor himself as he's twisted. IF she can swallow down that intimidation long enough to succeed.

COMBATSYS: Sagat blocks Ryu Hayabusa's Gessen Goryu Ha.

[                             \  < >  ///////////                   ]
Sagat            0/-------/------=|-------\-------\0          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Sagat interrupts Graffiti Soul from Scratch with Tiger Uppercut.

                                  >                                ]
                                  |=======\===----\1          Scratch

COMBATSYS: Sagat can no longer fight.

                                  >                                ]
                                  |=======\===----\1          Scratch

That Sagat is even standing at this point is an act of defiance, a last-ditch 'fuck you' to Arnie, Ryu, other-Ryu, other-Ryu's partner, the tournament's proprietors, and really, at this point, disco and roller skates as concepts.

Rocket, at least, did the best that she could; as frustrating as it is to be teetering on the edge of defeat at this point, his partner's fall is near the bottom of the list of things he's angry at today.

He manages to catch Hayabusa's somersault kick by jerking his forearm in the way of it like a zombie, but after that, his arm just drops to his side as if it's made of lead, leaving him defenseless when Scratch comes in to plant herself atop his head.

As she twists - and, jarringly, he does too - he bends his knees and tries to dig in for some semblance of purchase; the skates, however, make this impossible. Instead, he just sort of rolls forward, joints twisting painfully against one another as he's gradually pulled off of the ground; all the while, the Broken Tiger roars his displeasure at being moved, and as his skates begin to lift off of the ground, he takes a couple of swipes at the girl that just barely miss her flailing limbs.

Finally, a few feet up, he thrusts both legs straight down, driving the pair of them back to the arena floor, and Sagat nearly to his knees; the corkscrew action continues, but when the next time Scratch and Sagat leave the ground, the former Emperor forces his body to lengthen into one last defiant act and his fist surges towards whichever part of Scratch he can actually make contact with at this point.


Unfortunately, he goes up as Hayabusa comes down, so the ninja's black and blue pillar of power ends up exploding underfoot, launching Sagat far higher, and far faster than he might have otherwise managed with his own diminished strength.

"-AAAAAAUGH!" he screams as scintillating chi consumes the lower half of his body and drives the last dregs of fight from it. He's unconscious throughout the rest of his rise and eventual, devastating fall, even when one of the walls intercepts his falling arc and his massive body comes to rest embedded in it instead of laid out on the ground.


"That's right," Arnie Silver chipperly says, balancing a phone against his ear with a shoulder as he packs up his office at warp speeds. "Moving onwards and upwards! A new address means new opportunities for all of my old clients! Just think of how much prettier your competition'll be when I'm booking it with a koi pond underfoot! It'll-- what? No, come on, of /course/ I'm not leaving because of-- listen, he'll cool down eventually, and then we'll hug it out, and then it's back to the gravy train, baby!"

Silver's eyes graze over a picture of his wife and kid as he makes his assurances; a beat later, he amends, "Just in case, though, let's, uh. Let's go ahead and keep my new offices a secret from ol' Sagat for a little while, huh?"

As she turns and twists, Scratch realizes that, indeed, she's lifting Sagat. She really is lifting him! It gives her a little boost of confidence that pushes her to continue turning and try to twist down with her grip still upon his head.

Unfortunately, that's when the true power of the emperor shows, and she ends up not quite sure what's happening as her grip is broken, and his fist finding her gut. The epic Tiger Uppercut sends her flying, eyes blank as she pitches, end over end, clear over the glass walls, crashing down painfully off the dance floor and into a set of tables that crash underneath her weight.

It takes awhile after everyone in the rink has stopped moving for anyone to risk doing more than peeking from the cover of some overturned benches and tables. The fight announcer, has been hiding behind the DJ's table for quite awhile now. In fact, since she announced the team names and got out of the way. She was pretty certain that she was told that this tournament would be a fun, light-hearted affair with people thrilled to be enjoying the exotic location. She's pretty certain she just saw a bunch of people try to outright kill each other.

Eventually she works up the nerve to move down to the broken rink, the skates still on her feet rolling awkwardly over the crackling surface... what remains of it anyway. She looks around, doing her best to locate all of the unconscious fighters. She's got to figure out which team won, after all.

Then there's a deep grunts from the fallen Emperor and the announcer lets out a squeaking shout, fleeing to the safety of solid ground as she shouts, "FLYING TIGERS WIN!"

Log created on 15:37:57 02/01/2015 by Ryu Hayabusa, and last modified on 12:00:20 02/04/2015.