Hayley - Bad Company

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Description: Hayley Bretherton comes back to the bungalow where she's been staying to find an unexpected guest. This mysterious ninja is on the hunt for Jezebel but seems willing to test Hayley in her absence.

The Black Dragon has coils in many places. Some of those coils are only aligned with the rest of the body when situations make for good bedfellows. The former Lin Kuei shinobi known as Tremor is one of those coils. He is in Thailand for two reasons; the first is to locate power. To test the might of those that may challenge him to rise to a greater station. To some day see Kano's head on a pike and to see the Thunder God Raiden buried under a mountain of rubble. The second is to assess the strength of those that may stand against the Black Dragon Cult's machinations. And the main presence in Thailand that fits both of those descriptions is Shadaloo.

Thus the ninja has arrived, and thus he stakes out a position near a bungalow that has attracted his attention. Mostly because it was one that had a particular fallen starlet that Tremor recalls. One Jezebel Faiblesse. If she was tied with Shadaloo as thought, she might be a good place to begin testing.

Or at least he could get an autograph out of it.

He stalks at night, watching the bungalow, dressed as obviously as he always did, and yet keeping to the out of the obvious directions. The man may be bulky, half made of earth, with eyes a glowing embers, but he was still a ninja. He has time and patient as the earth itself is he in waiting for the moment.

The moment came when one small woman left with Jezebel on her back. He had a chance to act then, but rather he uses the moment offered to make his way into the bungalow while Hayley was tending to Jezebel. Inside, he began to root around for information. To dig and seek documents, data, whatever he might find to give him insight into the nature of these operatives. He has time, and will wait for one or more to return. But for now he takes what he can, and that includes sitting down in a chair and having a little rest from standing and skulking.

Hayley has had some difficulties lately. When she met Jezebel, she was full of excitement. Here was a childhood hero of hers; Jezebel Faiblesse was someone she'd idolized when she was younger. She'd watched Lightning Spangles' Showup Hoedown in between filming her father's show, Fight Hunter. She'd never been famous herself, being only a kid at the time and barely on the show personally, but Jezebel is everything she could be one day: an action girl, a starlet, and a hero for people to admire.

The reality of Jezebel has been much different. Hayley wrote it off at first to the stress of stardom. Jezebel was eccentric and quirky, but she seemed harmless enough. Her parents were wrong about her! They just bought in to too many rumors. At least, that's what Hayley thought until Jezebel came in beaten and broken, and Hayley met her "agent."

Jez wrote it off as wordplay and joking, but Hayley still has her doubts. Cracker Jack brings back bad memories of when her father would have "producers" visit and leave him broken furniture and bruises. Demonstrations for the show, her father would say. She was skeptical. She still is skeptical now.

So Hayley left to clear her head. She went to fight some local Muay Thai practioners and escape through sparring and training. If you're strong enough, your problems get smaller. She slides the key into the door and opens it up. Jezebel is still out of town in Metro City and has been for some time. Hayley is a bit glad to be alone for a little while. Or so she thought.

Laying in wait. And waiting. And waiting. Tremor took to meditation to pass the time, considering what power lay in the Shadaloo agents and former television stars. Johnny Cage was a noted kombatant, surely others must have a similar potency. So like stone he waits and bides his time while his targets remain blissfully unaware of the danger that awaits them in their own safehouse.

The door clicks, the earthclad shinobi's eyes snap open. The molten glow of his eyes narrows and intensifies as he steadies his breath and stands from his lotus posture. One of the more remarkable positions for a man with thighs like Tremor's.

The time is now and as the woman enters the bungalow on the outskirts of Bangkok, Tremor makes his move. He steps out from his hiding spot, voice rumbling like stones in a landslide. "Lightning Spangles herself. How funny to find you here, among the. . ."

Tremor looks at the woman, he slowly looks toward the door to see if there is anyone else with Hayley. He looks back to Hayley.

"You are not Lightning Spangles."

Hayley jumps when she's suddenly addressed. Caught entirely by surprised, she nearly crashes into the door frame before catching herself to avoid landing on her rear end.

"Um, no! Are you looking for her? Are you another of her show business friends?" she asks. "Err, I'm Hayley," she says with a bit of a nervous gulp. "And she's out of town on business. Is there something I can help you with--?"

Hayley keeps her distance for the moment. Naive? Yes. Friendly? Also yes. She's still a fighter though, and she has enough of those instincts to know how to leave herself too open to someone as big and intimidating as Tremor.

Hayley is not the only one caught by surprise in this instance. Tremor stands a stalwart monument to inertia, but he thinks quickly to figure out just what is going on here and who he is dealing with.

"You," he says, his finger lifting to point at the teenager. "You carried her from here. I wished to test the might of a Shadaloo operative. To see what sort of fight the possess." He waves around at the bungalow. "I will take some form of merchandise. An autograph if there is one. It will sell well once her death raises the price."

He steps toward Hayley and looks down at her. "Will you oppose me?" he growls through his face mask.

"S-shadoloo?" Hayley says, taken aback for a minute. She's heard the name, of course, but only in the sense that someone might have heard of an organization like that in the news or on the internet. Hayley swallows. "Y-yeah," Hayley says, taking a step back. "I took her to the doctor a while back--have you been spying on her?" Hayley tugs at collar of her t-shirt nervously. Shadoloo operative? Does Jezebel work for Shadoloo? The Australian's mind races. Surely not. Maybe she doesn't know that Cracker Jack does--?

"I don't know anything about Shadoloo," she finally admits. "Are you planning to try and kill Jezebel?" Hayley asks in what is perhaps the stupidest moment in her recent life.

Sometimes there are benefits to being in a criminal cult that deals with criminal agents the world over. And when information about who gets seen with what Shadaloo agents and you can be fairly well informed about such things. Tremor looks down at this teenager that questions him.

"If it comes to it," Tremor says. "A shame, I enjoyed her show."

The moment of agreeable admissions past, Tremor steps closer to Hayley, hand balling, "If I cannot test Lightning Spangles, I will test myself against her associate. If I intend to kill her, are you able to stop me?"

Hayley grits her teeth. Perhaps anger gets the best of her judgment. "Then why try and murder her? I mean, that seems a little extreme, right?"

But unfortunately, Tremor is not backing down. Hayley takes another step back, then slides her feet far apart and slips into a fighting stance. "I don't want to fight you for no reason, but I can't let you hurt Jezebel!"

COMBATSYS: Hayley has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Hayley           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Tremor has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Tremor           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hayley

Tremor raises his fists, eyes a glow over his facemask. "What life is this for her to lead?" he asks, "Tended to by a child, carried as a sack, a failure without strength to stand on their own? To kill her would be to show her favor."

Tremor starts to stalk in the small room, staring down his opponent. She was not his target, but she would do for now. But he would prove himself patient. This was not a fight of rage or power, it was almost amusement to toy here. To see what strength Jezebel's apparent partner had.

COMBATSYS: Tremor focuses on his next action.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Tremor           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley bites her lip. "She's just having a rough patch, mate," she says quietly. "She's on her way to a come back!" Hayley raises her arms up in front of her, spacing them slightly apart like a boxer. She circles in tandem with Tremor, trying to assess that fighting style. Rookie or not, she does have a good eye for stances.

"So..." Hayley says. "Are you --a ninja?" What was your first clue, Hayley?

COMBATSYS: Hayley focuses on her next action.

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Tremor           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0           Hayley

"And what come back can she make like this?" Tremor asks. He turns and sidesteps, pacing and figuring the situation. This should be simple.

He lashes forward. Step across, turn, knuckle twisting. A snap jab directed right for Hayley's chest. His heavy fist striking to take the wind from the girl's sails. "At one time," he answers after he's half through his heavy swing.

COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Tremor's Quick Punch.

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Tremor           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley draws her guard tighter and closer to herself when Tremor speaks again. "Well," Hayley says more quietly, "it's a slow comeback. One step at a time..." But then there's the punch. The smaller Aussie draws back and takes the punch with her forearm, but even then the blow slides her back several inches. She hops back and lands on her her heel, turning on it to shift into a spinning motion.

As she turns wind-like chi whips around her, gathering up in a small gust. She throws a hook out of the spin, the wind whipping out as a spinning, boomerang-like projectile of chi.

"Did you...quit being a ninja?"

COMBATSYS: Tremor just-defends Hayley's Emu Shoot!!

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Tremor           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0           Hayley

The wind buffets against Tremor. He stands strong as a mountain does to a summer's breeze. "That is your strength?" he asks, incredulous.

"Do not toy with me, child. I am not amused." He twists and snaps a foot out square for Hayley's center of mass again. He knows he's larger and stronger, he doesn't need to strike anything more than consistently and heavily.

"Show me your might!" he bellows out as a furious glow of molten light builds up in his exposed, pebbly chest.

COMBATSYS: Tremor successfully hits Hayley with Light Kick.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Tremor           0/-------/-------|======-\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley stands on one foot as she comes out of the spin. "I am being serious!" she says, more intently. She raises her fists again, adjusting her stance in preparation for the coming counter attack. Her eyes widen and she trembles, just a little, at the fact Tremor powers through her projectile like a mountain in a windstorm.

The kick comes, and Hayley adjusts her guard. She raises an arm to block, but not with enough speed. There's a heavy thump as Tremor's foot impacts with the Aussie's chest and knocks the wind out of her lungs. As the ninja steps forward the force launches her back, smashing her back first into a loveseat. It slides back and topples over, spilling her out onto the floor in a roll.

"Hurgh," Hayley makes a uncomfortable noises as she crawls up onto her knees and elbows. After several deep breaths she climbs back to her feet, one hand raised and the other still on her chest. "B-but don't think I'm done!"

Hayley spins again, this time powering forward toward Tremor, she rotates in with the wind whipping around her, shooting low toward his gut with a careful, guarded straight punch.

COMBATSYS: Tremor blocks Hayley's Devil Spin.

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////           ]
Tremor           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Hayley

Spinning, powering forward, leaping into action despite being kicked across a room. Hayley does indeed prove that she is not done. And for all that, and the boost of her wind based chi she is met by the cross guarded arms of Tremor. A solid wall of flesh and stone.

Small pebbles fall to the floor of the bungalow, punched off Tremor's forearms. His eyes glow and he looks down at the girl. "Too weak," he says, brushing the pebbles on his wrists. "Noble for wanting to protect Lightning Spangles, but nobility doesn't survive kombat. Your bravery is not but foolish."

He reaches out with both hands to grab onto the girl and simply hurl her bodily across the room. "You're worthless if you cannot recognize your faults."

COMBATSYS: Hayley just-defends Tremor's Quick Throw!

[  \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////////         ]
Tremor           0/-------/------=|======-\-------\0           Hayley

Hayley pushes against Tremor's forearms. Her knuckles turn white as she tries to break through his guard, but she fails to muster the strength to do so. She growls wordlessly at the accusation of weakness, but her actions speak in affirmation. The difference becomes even clearer when Tremor hoists her up and hurls her bodily across the room.

Hayley smashes onto the top of a table with a crash. She lands on it rump-first, but that seems to be her intent. The table collapses with a thump and a wobble, but then Hayley hops back to her feet unscathed. If anything, she just seems angrier than ever.

She breaks into a sprint by at Tremor, rushing forward with a surge of newfound power. When she gets up to speed she drops low, aiming to go under his guard. From there, Hayley leaps back up again, throwing her legs forward in a scissors dropkick to try and hook around the earthen ninja, flip around, then take him to the ground with with the pressure of her well-trained legs.

COMBATSYS: Tremor blocks Hayley's Crocodile Tear.

[    \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Tremor           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0           Hayley

A busted table, but a sturdy rump. Tremor is back to his fighting posture by the time Hayley rises. "Rage has you speechless?" he asks. Under his mask is a dark amusement at the tenacity of this small girl.

And then she flings himself at him yet again. She plants her feet against him hard enough to make the heavyweight ninja grunt and step back, forcing him to push himself away from the blow. He avoids the extent of the toss, not losing his base, but the kick feet were still felt, perhaps moreso than anything else she's managed to throw yet.

All the same, the ninja is unperturbed for more than a moment. "You insist on throwing yourself at me," he says. "Allow me to throw myself at you." He lunges forward, leaping up to the air before Hayley. He lands with a backhand, twisting to a quick series of blows. A sharp hook and a rotational backhand. Whirling weighty fists of titanic fury.

COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Tremor's Rock On.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Tremor           0/-------/----===|=======\=------\1           Hayley

Hayley flips back out of her dropkick, landing back on her feet once more. Her fists rise again in defense. Then Tremor launches, and that defense is put to the test. The backhand is met with an aggressive block, Hayley striking her forearm against Tremor's to try and deflect it.

Instead, overwhelming power makes her feel like her arm is going to be pulled out of socket. Hayley is dragged foward, leaving her wide open to sharp hook that catches her in the jaw and staggers her backward. She recovers just in time to cross-block the rotational backhand, bring up both arms to guard it even if means she gets knocked backward yet again.

"What gives somebody this strong such a bad attitude!" Hayley says, her tone unclear. Does she actually want an answer or is she simply angry? Whatever the case, she snaps up again, throwing a quick kick with the bottom of her foot at Tremor's stomach as she tries to force him back away from her.

COMBATSYS: Tremor fails to interrupt Light Kick from Hayley with Mountainous Pain.
-**- LUNATIC HIT!! -**-

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Tremor           0/-------/----===|=======\==-----\1           Hayley

All that blocking to still be battered around by a stronger opponent. Tremor knows the child is weaker, but she has the spirit of a warrior in her. She could be a kombatant, but for now she would simply be another victim.

"You offend me," he tells her. And when she comes at him with a kick, he twists to meet her head on. To strike her down with a mountainous fury and crash upon her like an avalanche. To end her pitiful attempts at fighting back with a single bonebreaking kombo.

And then reality intercedes. Hayley, being all in all a woman of simply average height against a man the size and bulk of Tremor have a few distinct differences in body ratio. So when Hayley lifts her foot to strike Tremor in the stomach, and Tremor moves to intercept like an angry rockslide, Hayley's foot finds itself planting right in a particularly soft spot.

Tremor immediately retreats, wheezing, hands on his knees. The grip he has making his knuckles sizzle and burn with a white hot intensity as his breath comes in ragged, angry gasps through his mouth piece. Perhaps Hayley has just found one surefire way to quickly discover how to make a man as strong as Tremor have a very bad attitude indeed.

"Err," Hayley says. Even in the face of mortal danger, she didn't quite intend to do /that/. No, she wants to fight fair even if it means a thrashing. Perhaps she hasn't yet realized the severity of the situation. "Sorry! I missed!" she says this earnestly. It probably doesn't help.

Hayley seems to realize this in a moment and transitions back into her fighting stance. She clenches her fists, then surges forward again. As she does, she tries to grab hold of Tremor, plant her hip against him, then judo throw the larger man over her shoulder. It's not perfect, no, but it shows some potential. It might be an effective move with more practice, but will it even make a dent in the experienced kombatant?

COMBATSYS: Tremor blocks Hayley's Medium Throw.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////////             ]
Tremor           0/-------/---====|=======\==-----\1           Hayley

Reeling from the terrible blow, Tremor is stunned for the moment and Haley can seize it. Up close, hip planted against him. She puts her weight into to try and hurl the heavyweight ninja. In an action movie, this should send the big man flying.

And should Haley train and study and work on her technique and prowess, some day she will be able to fling Tremor through the air. That day is not today. All she manages to do is hip check Tremor with her considerable hips.

"Do not apologize," he grunts out. "For your opponent will not, either." He shifts his weight, turns his hand to steady the girl, and then swings a heavy fist toward her head for getting within arms reach of the stony shinobi

COMBATSYS: Hayley blocks Tremor's Strong Punch.

[          \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Tremor           0/-------/---====|=======\=====--\1           Hayley

"Err," Hayley inwardly wonders how she wound up getting a lecture on how she shouldn't apologize to opponents from a man threatening to kill Jezebel if she gets in the way. Considering not too long ago Hayley was fighting a thunder god, this is not the strangest to happen to her in the past few months.

"Right," she says, narrowly avoiding another apology.

What she does not avoid is the heavy plot of his punch. She brings up her right forearm, stepping into the blow as she braces her arm with the other hand. Even so it's a bone-jarring, rattling hit that makes her arms feel like jelly.

Shaking her arms to get some of the feeling back, Hayley steps back, plants one foot, then does a complete turn into a taekwondo style turn kick aimed at Tremor's stomach once again.

COMBATSYS: Tremor just-defends Hayley's Heavy Kick!!

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////////                 ]
Tremor           0/-------/---====|=======\=====--\1           Hayley

Tremor too, wasn't long ago fighting the Thunder God. He did not fare so well that day, but the god would scream his last some day. For now Tremor has a small woman to beat on.

And this woman kept coming, and pushing, and getting very little for all of her efforts. The kick comes at him, he simply girds himself and slaps the foot down when it barely grazes the bulk of Tremor's presented belly.

"Useless," he mutters, "I am the earth beneath your feet, what makes you think you can kick me?" his question comes with annoyance that the woman's persisting in simply attempting to directly overpower him with forward assaults.

Tremor reels back, his elemental force drawing stone from air, and he swings it down toward Hayley's head.

COMBATSYS: Hayley endures Tremor's Rock Head!

[        \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////                       ]
Tremor           0/-------/--=====|>>>>>>>\>>>>>>>\2           Hayley

Hayley's foot impacts worthlessly against Tremor's stony defense. She pushes harder, trying to overcome. Even now, though, she looks worn out. Beaten and bruised. She may be guarding against him fairly well, but each earthshaking blow seems to be depleting her stamina even as she guards against it. Even so, she fights on with a fiery determination that far outweighs her skill level.

"Well," the words come between labored breaths. "Even the earth wears down over time against the wind and the rain." That sounded much better in her head, she thinks, but right as she does there's suddenly a rock forming above that same head. The smart thing to do would be to block again, to try her best to guard it. With her arms shaky, Hayley knows all too well she can't guard it.

And so instead she moves closer, leaning in. The stone smashes against her back with a heavy thump that nearly lays her flat. Instead the Aussie pushes up against it, rolling the rock off her shoulders as she pushes on forward with grit.

Hayley has watched him quite well, now, she's seen some of his moves and the power that he's bringing to bear. She's got a feel for how he uses his stance to leverage all that power into such earthshaking impacts. She thinks she's got it figured out, or at least something like it.

And so, Hayley spins forward, gathering momentum as she focuses chi. It whips around her like a whirlwind again as she gathers it, zeroing in on where she's struck before. Each spin gathers power, with Hayley coiling like a spring when she gets to the end. She digs in her heels and spreads her footing, crouching low before surging upward at full power with an uppercut!

COMBATSYS: Tremor interrupts Devil Rampage from Hayley with Klean Slate.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /                             ]
Tremor           0/-------/-======|>>>>>>>\-------\0           Hayley

Determination. The strength to push onward. The urge to bear on ceaseless against the tides. The unflinching, unyielding press has moved mountains and shaped destinies. It has built empires and laid them low. All to keep on moving forward.

Hayley pushes there today, she spins and spins and whirls and builds up the air around her into powerful attack. The torque of her spiral building force behind her fist.

And just as she's about to turn the tide and split the stone, Tremor's fist hooks down into Hayley's face. In a moment, the energy of her spin the only thing that troubles Tremor in the immediate. The force is great, stones from his wrist and forearm fly off to the sides, batter the walls and crack windows. But it does stop Hayley in her tracks.

"You play at fighting. Wasting your time with dancing!" he shouts out his frustration at her. Kombo-ing the hook with a sharp backhanded crack to Hayley's other cheek. "You are no fighter, you are a victim of poor teachers. Weaklings who have betrayed your growth. You can move wind, and you use your elemental pathetically."

He finishes his simple three hit lesson in pain with his fists high above his head. Shifting posture, he drops to a horse stance and brings his hands down like a sledgehammer onto Hayley's shoulder and back. "You are young, it is a shame that you have had your youth wasted by poor teachers. But I have little pity for you."

Hayley can feel the tension thicken. She knows that this blow will do it. For a brief moment, she grasps at victory, knowing in her heart that with the greatest technique in her arsenal she'll overcome a seemingly invincible opponent.


Hayley remembers watching a film with her father called "Brawl in Shanghai" with her father. In it a young janitor learns Hung Ga when one of his friends is terrorized by local Triads. Through hard work and struggle, he becames an up-and-coming martial arts master before finally facing off against the seemingly invincible villain. Against all odds, he overcomes after an overly long fifteen minute fight scene to save the day.


Tremor's fist smashes past Hayley's guard, cutting through her chi and smashing into her cheek. Spit flies from her mouth as she gasps for air in the shock of it all. Her fist grazes against Tremor's ribs with hardly the impact she expected.


Hayley sits on the floor in her pajamas as an adolescent, watching an episode of Lightning Spangles. After being terrorized by the villain, Lightning Spangles and her friends rally together with the power of friendship! With some dramatic pyrotechnics and a bit of taekwondo, Jezebel overcomes the bad guy and saves the town's water supply. Even at the time, Hayley knows it's a little hokey, but that doesn't stop her from liking it.


The backhand smashes into Hayley's other cheek, slinging her back the other way before she's even recovered from the first hit. Her body goes numb and her head spins. She wants to react, to guard, but nothing seems to move like it should.


Hayley stands across from her mother at the airport in Hong Kong. Her bags are packed and she's ready to go. Her mother gives her a weak smile.

"I promise I'll stay out of trouble. Don't worry, my training's going to pay off!" she calls to her mom, waving.

Hayley's mother, a Chinese woman who is still quite attractive even if she's aging, gives Hayley an uncertain smile. "Just try to stay out of trouble!" is what she calls back.


The axe handle smashes down atop Hayley's shoulders and back. It slams her heavily into the ground with enough force that the Aussie can hear the floorboards crack under the impact of her body against it. 'Am I going to die?' she asks herself fuzzily. Her eyes start to water. 'Why did I get myself into this?'

Hayley scraps her fingers across the floor, trying to find purchase.

COMBATSYS: Hayley takes no action.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Tremor           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Hayley can no longer fight.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Tremor           0/-------/-======|

COMBATSYS: Tremor has ended the fight here.

The girl is down. The victory rings hollow. Tremor, a man whose name is lost. Once a child taken by the Lin Kuei. Betrayed by his kidnapping clan. Betrayed by Quan Chi. Betrayed by Kano. Left to rot and to die by so many he simply found a way to survive and continue. And now a weak child struggles to move on the floor in front of him.

His heavy footfalls grow louder until he steps in front of the prone woman. He lowers himself down in a crouch before her. Only his breath moving in and out of his mask makes a sound.

She was alive, and she would live tonight. He wouldn't take her life. There was nothing to gain, no triumph in killing here. "You've been let down by those that taught you," he reaffirms.

His head tilts, he considers the girl for a moment longer. "You are not Shadaloo. No. This is not your world." He removes his mask, his scoured face a craggy mess of lines, like cracked and worn stone. "What is your name?" he asks.

Hayley slowly curls her fingers, balling them up into a fist. She doesn't manage to get her head fully off the ground. "H-Hayley. Hayley Bretherton," she says with some difficulty. She bites her lip. After a moment, she manages to turn enough to look at him. At his face and the wear.

"...yeah," she confirms. She doesn't add anything further just yet.

The name, the accent, a viewer of far too much bad television and film while imprisoned by the Special Forces. Tremor stares down at Hayley, his eyes glow like embers still. "Your father was in television," Tremor states. "I remember his show."

His head inclines, his fingers tap at his knees, small bits of earthen crush fall to the floor by Hayley's head. "He's taught you all he knew," he judges the fighting ability of the Bretherton family fairly harshly in a single sentiment, "If he isn't dead, I would be surprised."

"Yeah?" Hayley says, almost seeming hopeful for just a moment.

Her hopes, like her body, is dashed upon jagged rock. In another time and place, she would lash out angrily at him and refuse it. At the moment, she swallows, bites her tongue, and starts to say something. She looks for the words, but nothing comes to mind.

She stares at the ceiling for a long moment. What did he teach her? Didn't he leave her to own devices and encourage her to learn from each of the masters they visited? What did he teach her of his own techniques?


A younger Hayley practices punching. Stiff, focused punches from a wide stance. Her father is watching. Did he teach her those? --no, that was Sensei Yuu from the Gojuryu school.


Hayley recalls doing boxing drills. Striking a bag at rapid pace with heavy red gloves. Her dad watches. He taught her that. ... no, that was Mr. Davidson, the boxing coach in Melbourne.


Hayley goes through several different scenes in her head. She remembers them all perfectly, photographically. In none of them is her father teaching her those moves; he's just drilling her on what she learned from someone else.


Hayley's eyes go back into focus on Tremor. "If he's out there, I'll find him." Hayley clenches her feet. "I'll retrain myself from the beginning if I have to."

Tremor stands back up and reaffixes his mask. He makes one more survey of the bungalow thrashed by their simple kombat. "You chase ghosts," he tells her.

Stepping over her body he looks through the bungalow one more time before he steps back over Hayley for the door. "Do not expect this mercy a second time," he says, keeping his back to the young woman. And then he is out the door, stone building over him and then crumbling away to reveal nothing in the space he once stood. The shinobi gone, leaving a battered Bretherton to reconsider the choices she's made in her life. And where her road may yet lead.

Log created on 11:14:29 12/23/2017 by Hayley, and last modified on 21:57:55 12/23/2017.