Neo League 351 - #363: Alma vs Tran

Description: Though one of many contests, this hotdog-strewn fight is a fight of firsts: the first time Tran has ever been visibly winning, the first time Alma has not interrupted Tran with Divine Intervention EX-- and the first time the two of them seem like they might actually start to get along... (Winner: Alma)

So much for taking the day off-- it's time to League Fight!
Alma Towazu, professional prettyboy and would-be champion of virtue, sits calmly on a bench reading the newspaper while Neo League officials and cameramen mutter frustratedly amongst themselves. Having resolved a conflict at his modelling agency, made a new friend, and written off a nice autograph today when really he had just planned on collapsing for a while -- something the ever hard-working youth rarely does -- but fate has struck again, forming a new groove for Alma to flow through, a new opportunity to strive forth with righteous passion and natural grace.
In other words, he's decided to pick a fight.
Not only was the notorious Doctor Tran spotted nearby, but he /still/ hasn't carted off those damn boxes out of Alma's apartment, even after Alma so graciously housed him there. This time, Alma's going to find him. This time, Alma will make him pay. For a U-Haul.
But also just pay in general.
Yet actually, the young fighting model really has an odd feeling about this. Not an unpleasant or foreboding one. Just a sensation that what he's doing is The Right Thing. He gets these from time to time. Maybe it's Psycho Power. Probably it's just Alma. But the handsome youth trusts his intuition, and has done something he has never done before-- just called Tran out. No polite personal message, no cultured request. Just a bunch of flyers hastily posted by the Neo League ordering Tran to get his butt down here and fight Alma in front of the mall.
People used to be watching, but few are anymore.
It's been a while.
But somehow, Alma is confident and unpreturbed. So he sits here on the bench, even refraining from leaving to go clothes shopping, and patient as a stone he awaits what he feels is the inevitable arrival of his opponent. The only question is...

Really, when you think about it, it's kind of miraculous. Alma has had Tran's junk for god knows how long at this point, and he still hasn't just dragged them out into an abandoned lot somewhere and burned them. Although, considering some of the things contained within Tran's boxes, that would probably be a rather enviromentally unfriendly thing to do. There are still other ways to get rid of junk, even if they're not nearly as gratifying as total incineration.
And for the record, Alma KIDNAPPED Dr. Tran, against his will, and dragged him to the very-nicely decorated, cozy little hellhole he calls a home. Suffering through that for long enough to be able to walk of his accord is plenty of payment enough, at least according to the doctor.

In any case, it's no strange thing for Tran to be late to one of his own fights. However, today is anomolous, insofar as Tran's never been THIS late, not to mention that he normally takes every chance he can get to try to punch Alma the hell out. This begs the question: where is Dr. Tran?
Thankfully, it's not too hard to figure out, as an omnious shadow looms large. A round shadow, trailing hot dogs and various condiments in its wake. Wait, what?
One or two of the remaining spectators catch on, and point upward at the sight of one Dr. Richard Tran, Real Doctor for Real, riding a hot dog cart that is itself doing what no hot dog cart should, which is to say flying through the air at speeds no hot dog cart has ever achieved before. Just in case the message isn't being made here, he screams out at the top of his lungs, "ALMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!" before crashing down either directly on top of Alma's bench, or perhaps a little ways before, instead running the bench down. It's hard to judge distance when you're blasting off the roof of the mall.

COMBATSYS: Tran has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Tran             0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Alma has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Alma             0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Tran

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Random Weapon from Tran with Divine Intervention.

[     \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Alma             0/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Tran

It is time.
Calmly, Alma folds up and sets down his newspaper and quietly rises to his feet, not even raising his gaze to from whence the sound of his name came as the Neo League fight coordinators, awed and astounded, turn their cameras up to the flying hot dog cart. It's amazing. It's incredible. It's breathtaking.
It explodes.
Alma's roar is infused with equal battle fury as he turns and thrusts out his hand and, completely without warning, emits a piercing lance of white fire that strikes the flying hot dog cart and tears it apart with a brutal blast of mental force, sending hot dogs and condiments all over the impromptu battlefield. Being a bishounen, nothing dirties Alma, although the remaining bystanders are not so lucky.
His face is as calm as ever.
But his eyes, how they burn.
"I knew you'd come," the young man intones quietly.
Despite the mess, the amount of bystanders seems to be growing.
"You're predictable as ever."
Or maybe because of the mess.
"I wonder, though..."
~ I don't know why I'm doing this, exactly, but-- ~
"...have you gotten any stronger?"
~ --something about this strange man's madness still intrigues me! ~

For just a brief moment, Tran feels like the world is holding still. In one second, in the space between seconds, he's falling down toward Alma, and all of hell's fury is behind him. As it turns out, all of hell's fury is kind of meaty, and a little zesty if you get the right toppings on there. And then...nothing. When Alma blows the cart away, his lance finds a target directly in the center of Tran's chest, seeming to pierce directly through him, suspending him in midair like a real lance.
And then the moment's over, and Tran falls straight downward, eyes just a little unfocused as he lands in a crouch, one palm slammed down against the ground. He's not hitting the ground, he's /attacking/ the ground, and despite the pain, he might be winning. If only that were his opponent.
Breathing heavily and deliberately, in and out, in and out, Tran rises to his feet, letting his arms hang limply to his sides. There's no pointing, today. Something's...different. Something's off. Maybe it's what Alma calls The Right Thing, not that Tran knows anything about that.
"You're one to talk." The doctor's face is impassive, a still mask concealing his true feelings; at least, to the non-psychics. Anger. Lots of anger. Envy. Depression. And way off in the corner, just a little bit of affection.
It's with a steady, deliberate motion that Tran removes his sunglasses, and it's also deliberate when he tosses them to the side. He's staring steadily at Alma, his inner fire burning impurely, but burning nonetheless, and burning hot. The pressure's building. One might say this boiler's about to explode.
"Are you sure you'd even be able to tell?" Despite his intent, there's a bitter edge to this, and Tran seems not to like it, looking away for an instant before rushing forward, not waiting for an answer. Instead of being quite so straightforward as usual, he ducks slightly and spins about, shoving his elbow upward with his other hand toward Alma's sternum.

COMBATSYS: Alma blocks Tran's Quick Punch.

[       \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////       ]
Alma             1/-------/=======|====---\-------\0             Tran

~ Tran... ~
Alma parries instinctively, thrusting out with his right forearm and knocking the Real Doctor For Real's elbow strike to the side, but though passion continues to burn in his eyes the young man is thoughtful.
"Of course I'd be able to tell."
Shifting his feet, Alma weaves and lunges to the attack; his heart is in it, but his tone is different even as he attacks, lashing out with a few leading jabs in an effort to feint his way past Tran's guard, stepping forward to half-thrust out with a knee strike.
"Your aura is very distinctive--"
The knee strike comes to naught as Alma simply steps down again, but the /other/ leg comes up fast and with a sudden burst of white light, becoming wreathed in white soulfire as he snaps out with a fierce kick at his opponent's abdomen.
"--and our matches are too engaging for me not to pay attention."
If the kick connects he'll automatically follow it up, and buoyed up into the air by the sheer force of his summoned spirit he'll continue to rise with a series of three more flame-imbued snap kicks.
"You just need... purpose!"

COMBATSYS: Tran reflects Rising Fury from Alma with Operation - Dr. Tran.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Alma             1/-------/=======|=====--\-------\0             Tran

It's all or nothing. Go for broke! Ducking and sidestepping Alma's blows in a whirl of coat, Tran waits until the moment is right. With a snap of his wrist, Tran summons up his own unique energy, a super-pressurizing his steamy chi into a dull, flat disc. It finds its way to Alma's initial soulkick, and then pushes that inner fire away, forcing it back in on itself while at the same time stopping the actual kick part cold.
Dashing away again, Tran releases his chi, and the disc disperses into nothing, leaving only a dripping hand as evidence it was there in the first place.
"And who the hell are you to say what I need? You've been nothing but trouble for me from the start, and you keep popping up when I least want you!" Of course, Alma's generally just stood back and let Tran come to him, but it's like expecting a moth to steer clear of a bug zapper. For reasons Tran himself doesn't comprehend, he just can't keep himself away from the young model, no matter how much he tries.

Alma kicks coat but not doctor, and finds himself repulsed by the Traninator's quick action, bouncing away from his opponent but tucking and quickly flipping into a crouch. Though he shakes his head a moment to clear it, both slightly shaken by the attack itself and just a bit surprised that Tran was able to react as such, Alma recovers with his usual startling resolve and immediately lunges to the attack again.
"Trouble? You're trouble walking, Tran!"
Eyes flashing, the tall model surges forward, brings his knee up, and then swings out with a fierce and mighty punch right at Tran's mouth. That'll shut him up!
"The only thing I'd cause trouble for is your poor life decisions! You should be thanking me for showing up in your life!"
~ He's profane, he's a bad influence, he's completely irrational, and he's done nothing but cause me trouble since day one. ~
Alma grins fiercely as he attacks.
~ No wonder I'm finding myself so fond of him. ~

COMBATSYS: Tran blocks Alma's Strong Punch.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////          ]
Alma             1/------=/=======|======-\-------\0             Tran

Backpedaling a step, Tran raises a fist and takes the punch right on the wrist. It stings, but it's probably a lot better than getting slugged in the face. Probably.
"At least it's my trouble! Before you came along, my life was great! I'd wake up, wander around, get drunk, get in a barfight, then pass out!" Different strokes, clearly.
Of course, this is Tran. He's more or less completely unwilling to just sit back and act defensive - especially with Alma right there, all happy and self-righteous and totally asking for that smile to get wiped off his face. So Tran goes for it, grabbing at Alma's collar to try to yank him downward to Tran's height, and plant the top of his head into the model's teeth.
"I'll thank you when I ask for your help in anything, god damn it, and that's never going to happen!"

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Strong Punch from Tran with Full Confession.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////                      ]
Alma             0/-------/-----==|=======\======-\1             Tran

Different strokes indeed, but although Alma is not feeling any particular rage at Tran he /is/ feeling the fury of battle, and continuous banter is now beyond him. This is the fight. Alma must respect the fight. Even if he doesn't respect Tran.
Though-- if he didn't respect Tran, he wouldn't care about his lifestyle.
~ I just wish he respected /himself/! ~
"You have a lot..."
Alma ducks.
The attempted grab swipes over his head, and with a spontaneous burst of that rapidly rising sense of intense immediacy that is ever Alma's partner in a fight the fighting model thrusts out a fist and punches the ground heavily, causing a twisting geyser of white, pink, and purple fire to explode vertically into the air and blow Tran right off his feet and into the air.
"...TO LEARN!"
About pain, apparently, if this is today's lesson.

Oh my shit that is some psycho power right there. No matter how many times Dr. Tran tries to prepare himself for it, it always rapes the crap out of him. The pillar of soulfire sends Tran tumbling upward, backward, and then downward into a heap, where he's slow to rise. That takes a lot out of a man, naturally. Scrambles his brain. Makes it hard to be coherent, especially when you're kind of crazy in the first place.
"How..." Tran starts weakly, but his voice starts to pick up power as he continues on a tangent to the current conversation. "How am I supposed to enjoy a fight with you if I keep thinking of flowers in the goddamn middle of it?!" He's more or less roaring with fury now, dangerous amounts of steam rippling down his arms, manifesting out of thin air, gathering and pressing in on itself in the very localized twin regions of Tran's hands.
If there's any pain that he's feeling, it's the completely infuriating helplessness that grows out of grasping peace and serenity for just an instant...and then losing it. Remembering the variety of times it's been there and then swiftly departed, ever since that first time so many months ago.
Charging forward low, Tran puts his entire body into swinging a literally explosive uppercut at Alma's chin, pent up chi given free reign to escape itself, blasting upward with enough force to send even big men airborne. And, assuming that force finds its target, Tran will be waiting below with the other hand, ready to leap up and slam Alma directly downward with the same bone-crushing power.

COMBATSYS: Alma interrupts Here Comes Dr. Tran from Tran with Divine Intervention.

[                    \\\\\\\\\\  < >  /                             ]
Alma             0/-------/-======|=======\-------\0             Tran

Alma gazes at his recovering opponent and listens to his plight. The handsome youth, though his gaze remains clear and bright with inner light and his spirit fuelled by the unceasing rhythm of the fight, seems to take his opponent's words quite seriously. As absurd as they are. Thinking of flowers? The Neo League correspondents look at each other in confusion; the audience is too busy picking up free hot dogs from out of the ruined cart.
"...don't you see yet?"
But Alma knows exactly what he means.
"This is who I am. That's what I'm offering you. The fullness of my self, my very being. I know it's strange and different, but /I'm/ different. But so are you... right?"
Even as Tran just snaps and charges at him, Alma's gaze remains steady, his body again relaxed after his intense eruption of Psycho Power.
"You're a man of conflict. It's a language we both can speak, in our own ways. And you-- you're sharing your self with your opponent too, in your own way, when you fight the way you do."
~ What am I saying? I never thought about it like this. ~
"If you only thought about yourself that way, as a man expressing himself through battle, in all your incorrigibility and belligerence... and found a focus that way... if you found that purpose, that pure passion, and interpreted it in your own light..."
Alma knows the uppercut will hurt.
" might have the will to defeat me."
But pain-- pain can be meaningful too.
He strikes with the light, thinking of flowers.
The combined force of their attacks causes the ground beneath them to erupt, sending dust, small rocks, and dirty hot dogs everywhere-- and the two of them stand, fists outstretched, still.
"That's real self-respect."
It is only through the supremecy of his composure that Alma is able to not let on how incredibly difficult it is to talk after getting uppercutted like that. He can barely see but for the stars.
Stars... how lovely.
"That's glory!"
How beautiful.

It seems like Tran's trying to say something, trying to respond to Alma through his own attack - however, like always, it's difficult to speak when pure psychic energy is pulsing through you, into you, overwhelming your senses and leaving you, well, invalid, if only temporarily. Dr. Tran's second punch never lands.
Instead, he stands there, frozen, staring off into space even after the small explosion that rocks the area. And then he sinks forward, built up chi fading away. He catches himself reflexively before he hits the ground, but it still looks like he's a hair's breadth away from collapsing entirely. Normally at this point, he's completely unconcious, but he's not done yet, no. Tran can't fight anymore, but he can't let it end quite like this, either.
"Damn you..." With a monumental effort, Tran shoves himself up onto his feet and turns away from Alma, coat billowing in a fashion that is perhaps more dramatic than it has ever billowed before. He looks downward, and states cleanly and clearly, as if he didn't just have the shit beaten out of him, "...for dragging that shit into me. Out of me? Hell."
Then there's only stillness from the doctor.

At least, for maybe fifteen, twenty seconds. The light sound of snoring gradually makes itself known, emanating from the man who's just fallen unconcious on his feet.

COMBATSYS: Tran takes no action.

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

COMBATSYS: Tran can no longer fight.

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

Alma stands, watching, actually visibly impressed.
For maybe fifteen, twenty seconds.
...Oh, for goodness sake.
The tall youth steps forward toward the dramatically posing and totally unconscious 'doctor' and reaches out, taking hold of the shorter man before he simply sways too far and falls over onto his face. But Alma too is finding himself still a bit woozy-- so he carefully lowers himself to his knees and brings his snoring opponent gently down with him, eventually bringing Tran's head to rest in his lap.
The fighting model looks down quietly, expression inscrutible.
~ You still don't understand at all, Tran. ~
It looks like another match is over.
~ But... I'm starting to feel like you /could/ understand... ~
Yet a new page has turned for Alma and Tran--
~ ...what glory is all about. ~
--and it may be the awesomest page of all.
Even awesomer than the 'your mom' jokes we page each other with.
Yeah, I know.
Pretty awesome.

COMBATSYS: Alma has ended the fight here.

Log created by Alma, and last modified on 15:32:08 04/22/2007.