Description: Falconwing Laboratories had two test subjects. One scored far greater than anyone they ever had prior. Another... did not. Foisting off the latter to a competing brand, the top-class skater Rina "Rocket" O'Reilly gets to play with a potentially dangerous prototype. Her opponent... the aging ninja has-been, Howard Rust Jr., who may or may not stand to completely embarrass the rival company K6-RADICOOL as the two fight in the JET BOWL. A decades-long ceasefire stands to be broken, and a blood feud to start anew that could yet add urgency to the need to skate, lest one suffer more dire consequences... maybe. (WINNER: Rocket)
Doing real work is a drag, and Rina O'Reilly is one Rocket that hates drag, along with other limiting factors on forward momentum. So when courier runs for Metro Express dried up in the wake of recent events, along with much of Metro City's economy in general, Rocket decided to start looking for quick ways to make some cash without having to get a real job. As it turned out, a lot of companies were willing to give people money just for testing out their stuff! What better way to stick it to the Man than making the Man give her money to use the Man's products? And after she started drinking that new energy drink, she doesn't even have to sleep anymore, which means more time for skating.
Energy drinks are one thing, but when she found out that Falconwing Laboratories was looking for test subjects to try out their roller blades, she went straight to their offices to make her case. Though she faced initial rejection (she was told by security that they didn't take applicants at three A.M.), she persisted, and eventually she was given her chance to shine.
And shine she did; tens of thousands of hours on wheels on display as she demonstrated trick after high-speed trick on the prototype next-generation Falconwing skates. The researchers were impressed - though slightly annoyed that Rocket kept doing tricks when they mostly wanted to test the calibration for skating in straight lines - and once reports went up the company's chain, along with the news that the girl was known to be a competitive fighter and scheduled to compete in a skate park combat exhibition, Rocket was contacted with a new offer: an exhibition test of the Falconwing Comets, the company's latest experimental skate technology. All she had to do was sign a few waivers.
"Waivers? I love waivers!" she had said, before happily signing all forty pages, reading none.
==*== SOME DAYS LATER, PRESENT ==*==
"Ugh, these things are so ugly," Rocket mutters to herself as she sets aside her black kicks with neon rainbow LED soles into the relatively conservative sky blue prototype rollerblades with winged logos on either side. "But they're supposed to go fast, right?"
'They go fast' had ultimately been the exact phrasing used to sell Rocket on the idea where talk of 'RAYL-GN mass induction technology' and 'momentum boosts' and 'inertia' had failed. She takes a few moments to let the words roll around in her head, chewing on a candy bar from her satchel, before letting the words tumble out of her mind as she washes the snack down with a swig of energy drink. By the time she's laced the CometWings, she's perked up to the point of whistling as she skates off to the Jet Bowl, earphones blaring MC Hammer's '2 Legit 2 Quit' loud enough for anyone nearby to identify the lyrics.
So far, the prototype rollerblades seem serviceable enough, gliding along the concrete as Rocket breezes past the fight fans crowding around the makeshift arena, cyan ponytail braid trailing behind her as she descends into the bowl, circling like a hawk (or, perhaps a... falcon??).
Of course, when she was told how to 'activate' them, she was instructed not to do so until the fight had actually started. This idea, like so many others over the years, hadn't struck Rocket as a particularly bad one.
World Champion, Howard Rust, Junior.
These are words somewhat dreaded by the corporate world. His recent great (lucky) success casts a whole lot of profiling and marketing plans into complete chaos. Do they want brands to be associated with mid-to-late 40-something semi-retired (mostly) washed-up (definitely) sorts when his title is inevitably and justifiably stripped?
"Hey, I have a great idea," says one intern of Falconwing Laboratories.
"What is it?" Asks their nearest manager.
"You know that older guy who wears his hair like a girl?" He says. "The one in the test that..."
"Yes," the manager cringes, "what about him?"
"What if you convinced one of our competitors, saaay, um, K6-RADICOOL? To sign him up instead, you know, somehow," the intern says, "because..."
"No, that's a terrible idea," the manager waves the intern off, "let's never talk about this again."
One hour later, the manager takes credit for the idea he puts forth to his own higher-ups.
Some time later, the rival company picks up on this latest terrible idea that this man appears to inspire in everyone around him.
==*== SOME DAYS LATER, PRESENT, A FEW SECONDS LATER ==*==
The once famous, now a bit more infamous Howard Rust, Jr., is putting on skates with far more deftness of hand than exp-- well, no, he's always been deft of hands. Deft as usual. Maybe what's more attention-grabbing is that he's a 40-something man invading a physical space dominated by far, far younger sorts. A stylized hard hat has been refurbished into a helmet, with comically oversized knee and elbow padding. He has his hair done up in two braids with cute little ribbons at the end.
"I don't like this," says a young man in his teenage years of southeastern Asian descent as he presses up against what barrier exists between fighters and fans.
"Ahh, don't worry about it, Jao," says one Rust Jr. as he stands up straight, "it's fun! Back when I went out and about, my balance was impetuous! My grind was impregnable-- whoop!"
He rolls down the center of the bowl clumsily, drawing a length of pipe and just (barely) harmlessly passing by the circling Rocket in a far less keen display of self-assumed ability, having difficulty in balance not only for the drawn weapon but also the fully loaded toolbelt around his hips.
"FATHER!" Jao calls.
"I'm okay! I'm okay!" He calls, rolling back up almost convincingly - based on skating skills alone, he doesn't seem a match for the younger Rocket, but...
So far, the manager - also in the audience - taps his fingers together with a smile. A terrible first impression for the competition.
In but mere moments, it'll be time...
When Rust Junior slides toward her on his own skates, only a glimpse in the corner of her eye pulling her out of her world of nineties hip-hop, Rocket whips into a quick spin to avoid collision. Having pulled an about face to glare at her opponent-to-be as she rolls backward up the curve of the bowl with apparently complete comfort, Rocket calls out with a level of petulant annoyance dripping from her voice that only a teenager can typically muster, "Hey, old man! Quit crowdin' up the bowl, there's gonna be a fight up in this mother -"
Rocket is cut short by the sudden blast of a skater hip-hop track from speakers positioned around the bowl. Judging by the talk of bowls and smoking them, it's probably Cypress Hill, and the event coordinators are probably oblivious to the fact that the act of 'packing a fresh bowl' described by the lyrics has nothing to do with packing an audience around a rounded indentation in concrete to watch a fight.
"Ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the Battle in the Bowl, sponsored by Falconwing Laboratories, K6-RADICOOL, and Coca-Cola, and presented by Professional Fighting Worldwide and the Appalachia Regional Skate Park! Here are your contestants, Howard Rust Junior and Rina 'Rocket' O'Reilly!"
As the announcer starts to carry on about the 'cutting-edge inline technology' about to be put on display, the fact that the old guy in the skates is actually her opponent slowly dawns on Rocket, the effect visible on her face as her eyes slowly widen...
And then she bursts out laughing, the manic laughter of a girl who hasn't slept in two days and just heard a hilarious joke. She slowly drifts to a stop near the center of the bowl, hands on her kneepads as she tries to catch her breath and contain herself. A couple of ringside assistants look at each other, uncertain of whether they should be offering aid to the girl. Before they can, though, the fight bell rings, jolting Rocket out of her laughing fit so hard she almost falls over.
Looking momentarily unsteady enough on her skates to worry her sponsors for the match ("She did read the part about not operating the Comets while on drugs or drunk, right?" posits one Falconwing employee nervously to another), Rocket stretches her arms out to either side to regain her balance. "Alright, buddy. So, like, try not to hurt yourself on your superskates, otherwise I'll feel bad for having to beat you up," she instructs Rust, assuming that her elder has been similarly equipped as she crouches down and adjusts her mysterious skate devices, turning them on. Pushing herself upright, she decide to rev the wheels once to get a feel for the newl activated skates - and suddenly lurches forward at high speed toward Rust, arms outstretched to either side as she tries to arrest her own motion - incidentally, by most likely clotheslining Rust with the crook of her elbow should he not get out of the way!
COMBATSYS: Rocket has started a fight here.
COMBATSYS: Rocket powers up her prototype FalconWing Comet(tm) skates!
Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|
COMBATSYS: Rust has joined the fight here.
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0 Rust
COMBATSYS: Rocket successfully hits Rust with Strong Punch.
- Power hit! -
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Rust
This is not a man who seems to be possessed of great self-awareness of how ridiculous he looks, how ridiculous he dresses, how ridiculous he is, and how ridiculous the world has gotten in which circumstance allows him to be taken at least remotely seriously in this day and age. There is a certain purity in which he composes himself in wake of an almost tragic slip-up and the condescending calls and laughter of his opponent, as though on some level, above all, he's just...
...Well, it's probably more he's just that stupid.
"She's very good," says the young man who can now be positively identified in some form as a son to this crazy man, sounding ever more worried.
"Oh, don't you worry about a thing!" He calls out - to Jao, or his opponent? "I've been around the block," and yet he seems to forget to activate the skates...?
No, these are a different brand, but the subtleties may be lost in the present panic of the high-speed approach as Rocket clears the space between the two of them like... well... a rocket!
"D'fwwwwwooooaaaah!" The man corkscrews in pace as he's clotheslined, twirling down the bowl upright in a dizzying spin on his skates that would be mistaken for damage control across the curved concrete. The crowd gasps. Mostly. There's some laughs, and there's someone tapping their fingers together and going 'excellent' but we already know who that is.
The first sign of actual autonomy in remaining upright is when the drawn pipe is thrust against the ground as something of an anchor to slow his spin, though his focus continues to spin as he now sports a sizable bruise against his nose and out to the left.
It takes him a moment to crane his head around to even catch a glimpse of Rocket, at which point he starts to skate along - competently, if unimpressively - unable to catch up to her given her far greater speed in a direct chase. It does afford her some breathing room to figure out just how to work those wonderful toys...
He withdraws a handful of screwdrivers from his belt with the quick swipe of his free right hand, as though gauging where she might yet go, when she might yet strike, as though acting with a rare moment of careful consideration as his body crouches lower when it goes part-way up the bowl and back down.
COMBATSYS: Rust focuses on his next action.
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|==-----\-------\0 Rust
The impact of Rust's face snaps Rocket's arm back, and would perhaps have been enough to throw the girl herself into a spiral were it not for the immense momentum propelling her forward. She grits her teeth as she flies up the side of the bowl, taking a moment to come back to the present before turning around with a slightly less smooth motion than usual. For once in her life, Rocket thinks to herself: "Maybe I should be wearing a helmet."
However, as she crests the lip of the bowl and starts to descend again, pumping her feet lightly and rapidly accelerating, the thought is quickly drowned out by another that she finds much more compelling: "OHMYGODICANGOSOFAAAAST!"
It takes little time for the skater to get back in her comfort zone; already she's accelerating as rapidly as she can manage, zipping around the outer edge of the bowl with her body nearly horizontal. It may appear initially that the girl is building up speed for some sort of attack pattern, but by the sixth time she's rounded the bowl without once looking toward her opponent it becomes clear that the girl may have forgotten that she's supposed to be in a fight entirely.
Eventually, though - several orbits in but not many seconds later - Rocket becomes aware of Rust's presence once more.
The slight turn that she makes seems a bit erratic at first, sending her airborne over the lip where she flips in the air before realigning herself with the bowl. She flies back across the concrete at a new angle, tumbles skyward again, then hits the ground one more time - finally heading in the direction of Rust Junior. The dangerous intent is much more clear and present this time - this time aiming to grab the handyman with both arms and carry him up the side of the bowl and into the air with her own momentum, before letting him drop back to the concrete as she flips head over skates again in the air.
COMBATSYS: Rocket successfully hits Rust with Strong Throw.
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/------=|====---\-------\0 Rust
Within those six laps around the bowl on her part, it's comical to see that man encroach a near-standstill as though he were focusing intently on that one, single, good point when she refuses to stay anywhere near a single point with just how fast she rings around the bowl.
Jao cowers the moment she takes leave of the earth, as though he were afraid she were about to bowl him over. He is the sole minority reaction - there are gasps, oohs, and aahs.
On Junior's end, he seems satisfied with her angle and starts to rear back.
No, he doesn't even get much of a shot at anything involving 'rearing' or 'back.' Or 'side.' Or 'front.' Rocket slams into him in her grasp of the larger, heavier figure that all the air in his lungs decide to sell its real estate holdings for the next masses of oxygen to take up residence in (suckers!), carried up high...
When released, he has the biggest, goofiest smile on his face for being quasi-headbutted in route to simply being scooped up. For a split second, he might fool the world into thinking he knows how to take this upcoming landing, aligning his skates just...
...not right at all, and there is cringing from the stands as he tumbles and spills across the concrete towards the center in a fashion that ought to be far bloodier than it appears. (Some people made the right call about making extra sure he had the proper padding.)
"'m mmhmm!" He calls out from face-down, thrusting the pipe against the dead center with his left arm and managing the impressive upper body strength and flexibility for someone of his age and build to handstand himself back up, and show off his brand new bloody nose and bruised right eye for the world at large.
Unto itself, that's not a bad trick as he now 'stands' in that handstand with the only steady ground being a not-at-all completely steady pipe. The screwdrivers he was holding onto didn't yet escape his hold as his less-swollen eye follows Rocket's racing, and with the swipe of his hand...
The screwdrivers, if they don't get between the wheels, are sure likely to stick out in the path and see her trip up unless her reflexes can match her current speed.
He promptly flops back into a crouch when the handstand-enabling pipe gives out under his weight, very roughly against one of his knees.
COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Rocket with Tools For The Job.
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0 Rust
With Rust delivered back to the artificial earth, Rocket completes her aerial rotation, arms stretched back in a wing-like formation as she turns her focus to the bowl and where she's heading next. Confident that she has the match in hand, she shifts her attention to a point of personal curiousity. Zipping back down and up the slope, she plants a hand on the lip as she nears the barricade fence on the opposite end, near the youth to whom Rust was speaking earlier. Flipping up into a single handplant, she juts the thumb of her free hand back at Rust, oblivious to the momentary similarity of the fighters' poses as Rust balances on his pipe.
"So like, is he your dad?" the inverted teenager asks Jao as she holds the pose for a moment, "'CauseifsoI'mreallysorryaboutthis!"
Releasing the pose with the assistance of gravity, Rocket turns around and starts to roll back down into the bowl - only to find a pair of screwdrivers under her wheels.
"What the fuuuu-"
Head over heels, Rocket tumbles down into the concrete groove, losing control entirely and taking a couple of nasty scrapes in the process before ending up in an awkward face-to-concrete pose near the crouching tool man.
"Fsshhng hrrl," she swears at the concrete before pressing her hands against the ground. Rather than rocking backward to get to her feet, she shifts her weight forward, throwing her skates into the air, then stretching her legs in a split position.
Breakdancing while wearing turbo skates is exactly the kind of bad idea that Rocket specializes in. What effect could RAYL-GN technology have on the acceleration of two feet moving in a circular motion?
As it turns out, she spins real fast.
The blue glow around the wheels of Rocket's skates as they slice toward Rust isn't part of the technology; it's her own chi fire that trails through the air as she kicks out, whirling like a teenage tornado in her attempt to assault the ninja.
COMBATSYS: Rust fails to reflect Orbit Breaker from Rocket with Drywall Palm.
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Rocket [E] 1/-------/=======|======-\-------\0 Rust
Jao's response is wordless, but the way his eyes dart back and forth tell all. The level of panic he seems to have appears maybe a touch exaggerated... after all, he's in no imminent danger, is he?
Interestingly, the two - father and son - don't look much alike, at a glimpse. Matters of curiosity there probably take a backseat to matters of going fast, tumbling faster, and spinning even faster than that.
Over on the end of the aging handyman ninja, he staggers backwards to a stand accounting for a rough impact that even all that padding can't quite stop to his knee, as he idly slides under the blades of his skates to her destructive, fiery spin.
His right hand thrusts forward, an outstretched palm firm of form and strong of force, appearing - on the onset - a skilled defense as the blue chi fire washes cleanly off the palm with a singular exhale of 'ha!'
The wheels of his blades push ever backward to her approach, slowly moving up the incline as he is pushed out from the center of the bowl. Her assault is relentless, and his outstretched hand remains uncharred...
Then he looks over his shoulder as his legs by instinct start to bend to account for being pushed /up/ the incline, moved ever forward until he finds himself unable to stand straight against the curve while still holding position, and gravity takes care of the rest when he falls forward into the spinning legs.
He is juggled about within the blue flames of her chi, gaining speed until physics sees fit to fling him up against the opposite end of the bowl where he starts to slide back down to the center head-first.
He sits back up with his back turned to her, shaking out his head with a loud 'whrbrbrbrbr' from his mouth as he seems far too disoriented to actually see where she currently is...
Which makes two of them; as Rocket's skates finally drop to the concrete, the girl's body shifting to a bridge before ending upright, the girl has a briefly nauseated look on her face, sick from far more spinning than she bargained for. After a moment, though, the look passes, replaced by a wicked grin in spite of the scratches on her face when she sees that her opponent has taken the worst of the exchange.
A direct attack offers no room to build momentum; clearly, the best strategy is to skate in the opposite direction. In mere moments (thanks to her Falconwing Comets (tm)) she's taken to the air once more, twisting in the sky to prepare to return back to the concrete battle-bowl skates first before careening toward Rust with violent vitesse. Throwing herself toward the ninja's turned back, she aims to land on his shoulders and, with a quick swing of her body, use her legs around his head and neck to throw him across the bowl with all of her weight and speed.
It's probably a pretty mean thing to try and do to a middle-aged guy. They usually have enough neck problems as it is.
COMBATSYS: Rocket successfully hits Rust with Rocket Rana.
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Rocket [E] 1/-------/=======|=======\-------\1 Rust
This particular middle-aged male specimen likely has more problems from above the neck than anything. (Ha ha.)
"Oh," he says as he tries to crane his neck within the available range of motion he has when there is a smaller, younger girl on his shoulders, "there you are," he raises up his right hand, which might have been a try at starting to pull her off - she helps yank him off the ground instead with a bit of a flip, a twist, and a corkscrew across the bowl where his chin takes it up the hard angle of the outer rim with a sizable spray of bloody spittle for the shoes of one of the cameramen recording.
His free hand grips the edge as his legs curl inward, a pained wheeze as one of his knees press up against where Rocket collided with the setup of one of her earlier grapples.
"Right... yep," he says as he gathers himself best he can through a face so thoroughly rocked that just about any word that comes out of his mouth should be a muffled mess.
He points up towards the sky with his pipe for no discernible reason as he takes off again, building up a goodly amount of speed... okay, this is starting to approach proper, even good skating.
He pops up the other side, putting down more speed for another run that goes up higher - whoa, he's capable of that much air?! The sun casts an awesome shadow as he kicks his legs out...
And nudges a beehive that appears to have been present underneath one of the overhead lights. It rocks back and forth as he comes back down, and...
A cloud of bees buzz out, buzzing to one another in their indecipherable bee language.
<< The covenant has been violated, my sisters. >> Buzzes one drone.
<< The ceasefire of 1988 is void by the children of those who swore a honeyed oath. >>
<< Our blood feud begins anew. >>
A sinister series of tiny, almost unseen shadows descend upon the bowl. The crowd starts to take notice...
"SKATE OR DIIIIIEEEEE!" Jao yells in mortal terror.
Rust Jr. looks over his shoulder, veering a course away from Rocket. "Oh, that's not good..."
Bees flood the bowl with their tiny, annoying stingers. Everywhere. Really, that's as good a reason as any to skate, shouldn't it?!
COMBATSYS: Rocket instinctively blocks Rust's Small Thrown Object.
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Rocket [E] 1/------=/=======|=======\=------\1 Rust
A typical honey bee can fly at around fifteen miles an hour. A typical roller blader skates at about ten miles an hour. On the other hand, Rocket, with the combination of the bowl for momentum and her Falconwing Comets (tm), could easily outpace the bees in question - if she weren't barricaded into the battle-bowl until the bout is over. As the angry, buzzing mob descends from above, Rocket looks up, eyes going wide with fear, and cries out: "BEEEEEEEES!"
Throwing up her arms to shield herself, Rocket tries to skate up one side of the bowl to escape, only to realise that gravity will only give her so much leash before pulling her back and forcing her in the opposite direction. Swatting with gloved palms, she manages to fend the swarm from her face, but still ends up stung on her exposed legs in places as she dedicates her defense to her upper body. The tirade of expletives fired from the girl's mouth hardly bear repeating; luckily for the younger members of the audience, they're drowned out by the furious buzzing of the frenzied insects. Three words do break through the buzzing as she goes airborne amidst the winged terrors, palms held out in front of herself:
"SUPER ROCKET SHOT!"
A flickering beam-like burst of blue fire flies from Rocket's hands, but it's not directed at Rust - it's targeted through the bees to their hive above. And, incidentally, toward the speaker system from which the hive is suspended, which is swiftly silenced.
The unleashed energy sends Rocket herself flying hard backward like a descending Comet (tm) - straight toward Rust. The attack appears to be as unintentional as it is unconventional, but it could be nonetheless effective at that speed...!
COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits himself with Small Thrown Object.
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|=======\==-----\1 Rust
COMBATSYS: Rust dodges Rocket's Collision Course.
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|=======\==-----\1 Rust
This will go down as a truly dark day in history for all skaters, as the bloody war between them and bees will continue anew for a long time to come. The ramifications of this encounter will be buried under the corporate hype of just how much better this prototype is compared to the competition and its... not... very good representative.
Rocket puts forth a heroic effort to blaze the hive into a tiny series of blue, sweet, charred cinders as the flaming mass falls off the speakers and into the bowl.
It is chaos. What about that idiot ninja?
"Ouch, ouch, ouch!" He hisses and yells as the surviving bees on him all do their thing, seeing him flail about and otherwise move in such a chaotic way that Rocket just manages to blast past him while he crouches down to swat away something attacking his shins.
"W-Well, this is exciting, isn't it?" He calls out to Jao, his speech slurred in ways not accurately reflected by the typing of the dialogue in question. What is less ambiguous is that he is clearly not enjoying what he's seeing, peering upon the face of a man who is clearly punch drunk and probably running off the excitement and novelty of the situation.
Doing a fairly hard turn to break past another part of the remaining swarm, he reaches out with his right hand to try and grab Rocket atop her head on the next time they come within a collision course, as if to shove her downward for another boost of speed on his end to keep moving and otherwise have a good time(?) of it all.
COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Rocket with Brick Stacker.
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1 Rust
Somehow, Rocket's wheels find the concrete safely as she breezes backwards past Rust, inertia carrying her up over the bowl and into a double backflip that would be fairly impressive if the terrified screaming didn't suggest that there was no intent behind the maneuver at all. Of course, it's not the loss of control that's put the fear into Rocket - it's the bee still clinging to the back of her shirt. By the second aerial revolution, she's flung it free of her person, and, once she's regained her bearings, the terrified screaming ceases, replaced by a resounding 'WOOOOOO!' as she's invigorated by the realisation of the sick air she's getting. Joyfully she returns to the earth, only to be grabbed by the dome in passing by Rust and slammed face-first to the concrete. Right next to the flaming bee hive.
Mentally speaking, it takes Rocket several seconds to recover from the attack. Her body acts faster than her mind can, though, as the primal urge to avoid bees wills her back up onto her skates faster than her conscious being can think it. By the time that her nose has decided that it should probably be bleeding right now, she's back up to full speed, running the rim of the bowl as she retreats from the stinging swarm - which are mostly hovering around the same spot more so than directly chasing her. The truth is that her brain, not quite having caught up to the present, has become trapped in a loop wherein she sees the bees, thinks 'BEES!', flees by skating in a wide circle at top speed, sees the bees again, thinks 'BEES!'...
She's circled the bowl several times before she becomes aware that she just got faceplanted by an old guy. Suddenly, fear turns to wounded pride, which turns to vengefulness as she spots Rust again. Veering off, she heads toward the handyman, pumping her legs to build speed before pushing off from the concrete. "Heyoldguyeatthis!" she shouts, scrambling verbally to keep up with her own speed as she aims her wheels for Rust's head in a flying side kick.
COMBATSYS: Rocket successfully hits Rust with Heavy Kick.
- Power hit! -
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Rocket [E] 0/-------/---====|=======\====---\1 Rust
Using Rocket as a bit of a boost to keep himself moving, the weight of his injuries and tired muscles make the bowl seem ever smaller by the second. Any loss of speed, any hesitation, and there will be bees.
When Rocket calls out to him, his head turns to look her in the eye. A wink? One eye so swollen that he can't help but do that anyway? He raises his right hand, and clenches it tightly into a fist as she comes ever closer...
One could hear the bones crack, joints locking up as his right forearm is held vertically to ward off the oncoming flying kick. His father's famous defensive technique to harden himself up against virtually any assault - a window to an incredible talent that has made the leap across at least one generation so far. A reminder that, though well past his prime, there's still a fair bit of the man who... um, kind of had a middling career even in his prime.
With what remaining strength he has before surrendering himself to the posture, he, too, takes to the air with the grace of a brick thrown like an angry protestor...
A few enterprising bees slip through the pant legs of his shorts to do what they do best as he passes through the cloud, and where they go...
...Rather than give a descriptive account, it is best to leave it to one's imagination as his eyes suddenly bulge almost enough to leap out of his skull, his mouth grimacing and then widening into an almost inhuman contortion of jaw movements in vocalizing what his throat need not say for everyone to 'hear' what just happened, joints violently popping anew as both his hands - one still wielding the pipe - clench his backside.
The flying kick lands true against this pained face, twisting it violently to his right with such impact that it seems like it should break his neck. Being in the air, his unanchored body instead corkscrews chaotically into the bowl head-first.
Some of the concrete manages to fracture and shatter, eliciting (more) gasps from the crowd, along with a dramatic cloud of dust.
A shadowy figure rises, unsteady of stature and hand pointing towards their head, where the dented refurbished construction helmet-turned-biking helmet still rests proudly on his head.
"Alwaysh wehr a hilmmt," he slurs with a smile.
No one is relieved, because there are bees.
"FATHER, GET AWAY FROM THE BEES!" Screams Jao, who seems significantly more worried about this than anyone else who has cause to worry about the influx of angry bees.
"Beesh. Shoo! Bild ya a bittr behyfff," he slips about as he just waves the pipe around pretty much everywhere at thin air.
It seems rather indistinct the way he swishes and swings about, but he does have a vastly superior wingspan to Rocket thanks to this thing - he might be tough to approach that one last time.
The officials seem to want to call this off, but absolutely no one wants to go down to that bowl and grab him, because (a) he's still swinging, and (b) bees.
COMBATSYS: Rocket endures Rust's Random Strike.
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Rocket [E] 1/-------/=======|=======\=====--\1 Rust
It's almost a miracle that Rocket manages to land on her wheels after plowing through Rust feet first. She ends up in a rolling crouch on the concrete, skidding up the side of the bowl and grabbing the lip with both hands to arrest her movement momentarily, perching like a monkey with her heels on the concrete. Her position places her, either by fate or intent, close to the apparently panic-stricken Jao, whom she addresses in rapid fire fashion.
"Hey is he like allergic to bees or something 'cause I'm totally cool with calling it off if he needs to forfeit or whatever arms tired kay thanks!"
Probably before he can answer, Rocket is zooming back down into the bee-filled battle arena, upright again, just in time to catch the pipe full in the gut, whirling her around in the opposite direction. Somehow, the skates' technological enhancements interpret the sudden reversal of momentum as intentional, causing her to zip right back up the bowl and into the air as the inertial impact of the blow on the girl is amplified by RAYL-GN technology (tm).
Luckily for Falconwing Laboratories, pretty much everyone is more interested in the bees than any unfortunate mishaps in their product demonstration.
Launched skyward like her namesake, Rocket starts to revive as she nears the zenith of her journey. From this angle, she suddenly realises that she has a clear shot on the pipe-swinging ninja. A clear shot for a...
==*== IN RUST's VICINITY ==*==
<<We sense the energy rising once more. We must flee, lest destruction consume us once more.>>
<<God, doesn't she know that move spamming is rude?>>
<<I know, right? What a bzzzz->>
==*== HIGH ABOVE THE BOWL ==*==
"SUPER ROCKET SHOT!!"
As the bees have begun to flee the space around Rust Junior, Rocket has stretched out her arms, gathered crackling chi in her palms, and slammed them together, releasing a blazing blue bolt of energy toward the flailing figure of Rust - and flinging herself ever further skyward with the chaotic backlash of her own chi.
As she arrives at a new apex in altitude, Rocket takes a moment to note how small everything looks from up here before opening her mouth as she begins to descend back toward the concrete below.
COMBATSYS: Rust fails to slow Super Rocket Shot from Rocket with Hard Day's Work.
[ \\\\\\\\\ <
Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|
COMBATSYS: Rust can no longer fight.
[ \\\\\\\\\ <
Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|
Jao staggers onto his seat when Rocket takes that moment of rest near him - it seems awful silly to someone who hasn't directly threatened him, or anything of the sort.
He violently shakes his head and starts to back away before she takes off again. He doesn't seem any more relieved by this, as he is helped up by a well-meaning member of the audience. He seems ever more hesitant to approach and see what's going on down there...
As a growing shadow looms over the really-should-be-retiring ninja, in his daze he cranes his head backwards as his free hand flails a bit for balance. The scream of an alpha strike, the flames of blue that illuminate the sky as the air grows hazy from the heat...
"Oh, derr yarr~" He slurs as he sticks the pipe through the makeshift toolbelt pocket sheath, drawing handfuls upon handfuls of tools - how many screwdrivers does a man need to have?
He starts to fling them upward against the bolt of blue from the blue above. Not just one, not just two. His hands are rapid-fire, coordinated entirely by muscle memory that has yet to be eroded by age, concussions, or any other mitigating factor.
Well, there is one mitigating factor - dizziness. At least a few handfuls never make contact with the bolt. Some just go wide. Some might yet come a bit too close to the crowds for comfort when gravity takes over. A measuring tape screams just past Rocket's cheek.
At the end of the fireball's path, there is a dome-sized explosive impact followed by the silhouette of of a flailing middle-aged man.
The altered construction helmet flies off and hits the rim in a sad, worrying roll as the blue-tinged smoke in its wake starts to subside...
Burnt, bloodied, batttered, he seems to stand - only just so, however briefly it may be - one leg kicked up and managing to balance somehow on a single blade, teetering back and forth with his upper body bending backwards. His head is turned towards the remains of the hive that sits just under his head, were he to tip and fall - which is an inevitability.
In fact, he is just now underneath Rocket's projected landing trajectory...
The high-pitched sound Rocket makes as she descends in Icarian fashion has lost any sense of verbal cohesion by the time her shadow looms ominously over the barely-balancing handyninja. As much of an adrenalin junkie as the rollerblader may be, her green eyes have already squeezed tightly shut, blinding her to the impending impact with her opponent as she tucks herself into a ball.
"Totally worth it" might have been her last (at least conscious) thought, were it not for her fall being cushioned by the much larger middle-aged man. And luckily for Rust, having a hundred-and-some-odd pound teenage girl dropped on his head from high in the air is cushioned by the protective padding on the seat of her shorts!
Honestly, it's not that great of a situation for either party involved.
As she rolls away onto her kneepads, the sound of her dislodged earphones still blaring MC Hammer competing with the music from all but one of the speakers overhead are the only sounds for a moment. The bees (along with many of the audience) have fled the scene, leaving behind only the shattered and blackened husks of their hive and brethren. Rocket picks herself up slowly, eyes going wide. "I can hear... everything," the insomniac teen realises.
After a moment, the music cuts out, and the speaker crackles with the voice of the fight's announcer:
"Ladies and gentlemen, it looks like we have a winner! Falconwing Laboratories' fighter, Rina 'Rocket' O'Reilly!"
As many of the remaining audience members begin to cheer, Rocket throws her hands up in victory, beaming a thousand-watt grin behind the bruises and scrapes on her face.
In doing so, she leaves herself exposed for one final attack.
Distracted by the rush of victory, Rocket doesn't notice the buzzing behind her. A single bee, a last valiant soldier in the bee versus skater war, launches one final assault.
A piercing yelp fills the bowl as Rocket's hands slap reflexively toward the sudden stinging sensation at the back of her neck, so hard that she throws herself off-balance onto her side. As she kicks her legs, the Falconwing Comets (tm) detect the motion and activate their RAYL-GN momentum enhancement technology, putting her into a wild spin...
On the plus side, many of the onlookers mistake the display for high-speed breakdancing, and on that merit, it's pretty impressive!
COMBATSYS: Rocket grooves to the music.
[ \\\\\\\\\ <
Rocket [E] 0/-------/-------|
COMBATSYS: Rocket has ended the fight here.
The image that follows of a man in rival skates being driven to have his face in a (burnt) beehive is one for the books - Falconwing Laboratories will no doubt be pleased in the next boardroom talks.
K6-RADICOOL's own representatives sit with their faces buried in their hands. There was almost no winning when it comes to sponsoring that guy - their image would be ruined. Ruined! It seems a greater horror than whatever that aging ninja guy down there would be suffering.
Jao has already gone down there to poke at him a few times as the less able skater twitches and otherwise puts forth worrying signs of grievous injury. Few pay Rust Jr. or his seeming son any further mind to the sight of an unwitting celebratory breakdance.
In fact, a certain manager and his immediate higher up are both celebrating right now, off to the side, as the festivities start to cool down. For what they lack in agility to breakdance themselves, they make good on just laughing and thinking about the increasing stock prices.
"What a great idea I had to begin with, suggesting we push that guy to the competition!" The manager boasts. "Nobody's going to want to invest in K6-RADICOOL now!"
"What a great idea you had, indeed," says the immediate higher up, who is smoking not one but two cigars, "the RAYL-GN never looked better. It's all thanks to your keen insight and planning, my friend!"
A certain intern looks upon them wearily, frowning.
"Excuse me," he says.
"Shh, shh," the manager grins, "not now, kid. I'm celebrating my genius - everything that happened here today was all me!"
Suddenly, there are even more bees buzzing overhead. News must travel fast...
"Here, I'll need you to run all these back to the office," the manager all but thrusts a number of documents in the most demeaning manner possible, "I'll be out a while."
The multi-cigar smoking higher up wisely backs away. The intern just takes the papers and looks upon him - and the swarm - silently as the survivors all descend upon and chase the manager well out of view to the tune of 'ouch,' 'my face,' 'oh my god,' and of course, 'bees!'
The intern stares off into the distance, watching the bees have their way, and mentally shrugs. He supposes in that case, the manager could have all the blame they want there...
Log created on 16:31:05 04/30/2016 by Rust, and last modified on 20:16:48 05/02/2016.