Neo League 826 - #826: Spider vs Rust

Description: The Spider, a fearsome man of a murky past famed for his ability to overturn an opponent's offense while calculating how to lay on vicious pressure to keep his enemies off balance, keeping them trapped in his web. Howard Rust, a schoolteacher at Pacific High and an up-and-coming fighter who just recently joined the professional fighting circuit at the advancing age of 38, whose toughness makes tetanus fear the thought of catching him. Both fight on the second floor of Gorin Heights past midnight, where the residents are trying to get some sleep. No one is sure why it is thought of as a good idea, but a good, hard fight hardly knows boundaries of location and courtesy. (WINNER: Spider)

At Gorin Heights Apartment, the Neo League opens with another exciting match! The Spider, who was a middle-ranked contender last season, has returned, angrier and darker, ready to claw his way up to the top of the tournament. And his opponent? Howard Rust, a local shop teacher! The Spider reasons that a highly trained Mossad operative like himself should easily handle this minor threat, but he's been surprised in the past. The Spider stands in the hallway, smoking a cigarette right next to a 'no smoking' sign. He wears a pair of mirrored aviator shades, hiding his eyes.

Here he is, his second Neo League fight. All that trouble in organizing his time so he can participate wherever in the world the League asks him to be without significant jeopardy to his day job, and they once again call for him to just go somewhere in Southtown. Not that he'd complain! Saves him on the travel costs. Fighting is actually really expensive on your wallet from medical bills and monthly insurance costs.
Except... it's a bit past midnight and he still has to work!! What horrible timing. And in an apartment building where people are trying to sleep?! Man, it's amazing how much Saturday Night Fight or the Neo League can get away with these things when you put it into perspective. Having already downed a whole pot of coffee in anticipation, the teacher's about as ready as he'll ever be.
Mr. Rust shows up from an elevator. He's got a couple inches and a couple dozen pounds on the Mossad operative... and far, far worse hair. Is he ever going to fool anyone that he's not about to go bald? No. A length of rusted pipe is stabbed through a toolbelt pocket by his left hip. His face is much easier to read. Even with the coffee, he's sleepy.
His shoulder makes a disturbing 'creak' noise as he rolls his arm about to psyche himself a bit, regarding the operative down the hallway smoking next to a 'no smoking sign.' He recognizes him because he's seen him fight from channel surfing. Smoking. He catches a whiff all the way from over there. Ugh.
"Yeah... I'm here," he says as he steps along towards some other corner of the hallway. A couple of officials nod their head and back away from the middle of the hallway.

COMBATSYS: Spider has started a fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  <
Spider           0/-------/-------|

COMBATSYS: Rust has joined the fight here.

[\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////////////]
Spider           0/-------/-------|-------\-------\0             Rust

The Spider sees Rust coming, a wry smirk twisting across his little mouth. He drops his cigarette, a high-tar Israeli brand, to the ground, stomping it out beneath the heel of his boot. "So...You're Howard Rust," he hisses softly, beginning to walk towards him. "I'm the Spider. Prepare to feel /pain/," he adds, before reaching out for the bigger man and attempting to grab him under his arm, before twisting about and slamming him headfirst through a door.

COMBATSYS: Spider successfully hits Rust with Hymn of Solomon.

[ \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////////////////   ]
Spider           0/-------/-------|=------\-------\0             Rust

"Yeah?" He responds as if unenthusiastically. His tone of voice is a blatant lie. This sort of thing is what he's been waiting for all his life. Far be it to let the time of night stop him from coming into this with all he's got, but... he's a working man.
The match starts officially at that exchange as Spider rushes in for the grab. Howard finds himself occupied, briefly, with trying to draw his faithful friend out of the toolbelt, but hey, before he knows it, Spider's got him held and is slamming him up against a door.
Is that all he's got?! An easy opportunity to test his own grip against Spider's is halted when someone yells angrily at the knock, distracting him enough with a start that such an opportunity just slips away, leaving him with a... actually, there isn't even a bruise on his forehead.
He settles with simply trying to shove Spider off his feet with the arm just grabbed and twisted so he can have some space to /make/ the draw. This is why he came in with Ol' Rusty ready to go last time. Leave it to the middle of the night to make him forget that reason.

COMBATSYS: Spider counters Quick Throw from Rust with Heart of a Maccabee.

[   \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Spider           0/-------/-----==|==-----\-------\0             Rust

As Rust attempts to grab the Spider's wirey arm, it wraps around the shop teacher's wrist and holds it in place while his knee shoots up, painfully slamming into his hand. He releases the hold and dances back several steps, keeping his guard up as he watches for Rust's next move. "Not fast enough," he notes.

Crack! Knee meets wrist, wrist meets knee, wrist also entertains knee's best friend, debilitating pain. And it's not very easy to actually apply much of it to the teacher, a man who has taken part in his fair share of tool spills, hammered thumbs, and even multiple story falls.
He winces as he draws his hand back and winces with an exaggerated grimace, shaking it out. Yeah, there's no foolin' around, this guy is pretty dangerous. He doesn't have Zach's outright sting - he's up against precision instead of raw power this go-around. Technique. Both have tested their maneuvers in the real world, in real fights. The Spider's had his refined in the deepest, darkest areas of political intrigue. Metaphorically speaking, their blade might be sharper.
The teacher exhales as his right hand grasps the makeshift hilt of his weapon and lowers his stance, as though he were some kind of street samurai. The two false starts don't discourage him too much in the least as he takes a few steps forward. Spider easily has the advantage of speed and agility over his (only slightly) younger opponent.
As the teacher approaches, he crouches and shoves his upper body up against Spider in an attempt to shove him off balance before he draws Ol' Rusty in a quick, clean draw in a stroke not entirely unlike the principles behind iaido.
Rather... it would be a clean draw if it didn't take the rest of the toolbelt off with it, making the thing a part of the swing itself. It'll go down as one of the more humorous Neo League blunders of the season.

COMBATSYS: Spider fails to counter Armed Combo from Rust with Star of Zion.

[         \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Spider           0/-------/---====|===----\-------\0             Rust

The Spider gets slashed with the pipe, glaring at Howard from behind his aviator shades. "I better not get tetanus," he growls, blood trickling down his arm to the floor. He backpedals rapidly after the hit, keeping his hands up, in an attempt to draw the shop teacher further into his web of intrigue. "C'mon over," he murmurs.

After some of those dramatic, well-timed plays versus Zach, the teacher inwardly grumbles at how Ol' Rusty continues to give him problems even now, after finally resolving to make the time to improve himself and play in the big leagues at last. Clean hit or not, that's the sort of thing that gets people laughing at you.
"Hope you got your shots," he gets out with rare clarity, as he usually spends fighting spending most of his mental faculties trying to keep up and work out a plan of action on the spot. He holds Ol' Rusty horizontal, one hand on the hilt of the moment, the other clasping the toolbelt still stuck to it.
At which point he puts his left foot forward and yanks the dangling belt off his weapon with such speed that some of the pockets fly open, tools otherwise securely fastened flying out all over the hallway and making noisy clatters against the walls and a door as it flies off towards the Spider.
It is akin to a disoriented sparrow gliding its way into the nest of a spider, the commentator will say in a replay.

COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Spider with Thrown Object.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////////////      ]
Spider           0/-------/-======|====---\-------\0             Rust

The Spider gets smacked in the face by the belt, the old toolbelt wrapping around his head like a facehugger from Alien. He quickly grabs the belt and tosses it at his feet, darting back in to close range. His left hand rattles before his right hand snaps out at Rust's eye, attempting to jam his thumb into it. Let's see how he likes this.

COMBATSYS: Rust fails to interrupt Quick Punch from Spider with Brick Stacker.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////////////////////        ]
Spider           0/-------/--=====|===----\-------\0             Rust

It seems like the pace of the fight is swinging back Howard's direction as Spider eats toolbelt to the face. He parts the pipe from his left hand and keeps his left, unarmed side facing forward, knees apart as he enters something of a defensive posture. Both are close combat fighters, after all, it is inevitable that /someone/ will need to approach.
The Spider's movements are quick and decisive. As he closes in, the teacher's free hand raises up. It's a clear defensive opening that is quickly taken advantage of as the thumb jams itself into his left eye, earning the operative a hiss and a backwards stumble as he clutches the side of his face with the hand that otherwise would've come down upon Spider's scalp had he been a fraction of a second slower.
Ol' Rusty is pointed backwards and away as the hand rubs at the recent eye gouge. No matter how thick you are, a shot to the eye is /always/ unpleasant.

The Spider grins at Howard as he makes contact, an unpleasant, predatory expression that's been born out of years of hostility and antipathy. As Rust goes backwards, the Spider keeps moving forwards. He slides his foot forward, attempting to crook it around Rust's ankle and then pull, bringing Rust's ankle into the Spider's grip. If he can get a good hold, he then drops down, sinking his elbow into Rust's knee.

COMBATSYS: Rust fails to interrupt Strong Throw from Spider with Cement Upper.
- Power fail! -

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////////              ]
Spider           0/-------/--=====|======-\-------\0             Rust

Spider takes back the offensive in short order as he crooks his foot around the ankle. The knee in question creaks loudly as it starts to bend against the pull. Based on all the little joint pops and creaks, to say this man suffers from arthritis might be an understatement. A good, key strike could be all Spider needs to finally start laying 'the hurt.'
The 30-something man (as opposed to the 40-something one over there) spins Ol' Rusty about his hand a few times during the beginning stages of the maneuver. The Cement Upper, the uppercut that gets him out of a bind, or when the enemy leaves that part of themselves open, begins the windup that will slowly become his international trademark as he continues to participate in these sorts of things.
He swings up as Spider pulls the leg up to his grip, taking the teacher off balance as he tries to swing and make the play. He almost does. Thanks to the imbalance, the pipe swings up just an inch or so past Spider's face. It might give his hair a good windblown look, but he otherwise avoids any significant harm as elbow satisfyingly goes into the knee, a cringe and a bit cheek as he falls onto his bum.
Can Spider keep the pressure up? Will Howard turn it around? His more immediate concern, however, falls onto the grounds of 'ARGH MY KNEE' as his free hand clutches it. He squeezes it too hard and just makes it that much worse.

The Spider looms over Howard Rust as he falls to the ground, frowning as he stands over him. "You're just not a true professional," the Spider explains, before swinging his foot out at Howard's face, aiming to bring the heel of his combat boot against Rust's nose with a vicious swipe. It's a precise, careful attack, meant to bring maximum pain with minimal effort.

COMBATSYS: Rust blocks Spider's Light Kick.

[           \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ///////////////               ]
Spider           0/-------/--=====|====---\-------\0             Rust

If you want to do 'maximal pain,' 'minimal effort' is not enough. If one doesn't put their all into a strike, good luck keeping this man down. The key word is more... 'keeping.' The guy is already down, with a damaged knee, an eye that hurts to blink, and maybe just the tiniest tinge of bruised pride.
At least the carpet makes that fall far softer. It's not much compensation. Even if his rear got on a bed of nails he'd probably exclusively focus on how much his knee just outright /hurts/. Spider looms and adds in his own snarky dialogue to the matter. 'He's just not a true professional.'
Professional what? He goes to work, he does as he's told (even when what he's asked to do is just some of the various faculty members slacking off because he's so good at what he does), he honestly puts effort into teaching his kids practical skills that are appreciated anywhere around the globe...
The heel of the combat boot comes down. His left hand rises from the assaulted knee and balls into a fist as heel meets knuckles, stopping the latter cold without much given in turn. His body becomes tense. Immovable. He's still catching his breath from that hit to his knee, but his eyes, droopy as they are underneath them all but say 'I'm a goddamn working man!' If... such can realistically be conveyed through sleep-deprived eyes held at bay by coffee. If he didn't have to spend all night grading projects meticulously he'd have disco napped.
Wait, he realizes, what am I doing just lying there? With that same hand, he tries to grab for the boot and yank the Spider across his fallen form, his shoulder reluctant to twist itself as much as he needs it to in order to put any serious 'oomph' behind it. It's a simple trip and hell, he doesn't care if he somehow gets kicked in the ribs in the attempt or what have you, after nearly overcoming Zach's overwhelming power, he's not nearly as intimidated.
...should he be?

COMBATSYS: Spider counters Medium Throw from Rust with Barak Zev.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  /////////                     ]
Spider           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\1             Rust

The Spider's foot retreats quickly, and Rust's grasping hand is met by the Spider's. He holds Rust by his fingertips, twisting his hand up and around into an awkward angle, leaving Rust helpless. "I hope you're used to losing fingers," he hisses with a smirk. He then brings his other hand down on Rust's hand with a penetrating chop, hopefully breaking something and making Rust unable to continue the fight, from a morale standpoint and a practical standpoint.

Okay... yeah, he should.
"Uh, actually..." He wheezes out as Spider asks him that question. But before he can give any sort of interesting counterpoint that, yeah, he's hurt his hands many times over the years. You know how much it took for him to actually get a broken arm outright? A six story fall. This isn't a time in which to swap interesting work stories.
His hand is met with a devastating chop that cracks up against crackly knuckles. It's loud. The whole hallway can hear it. One old lady opens up her door and screams at an official. It ends in her beating an official within an inch of his life with a cane. This isn't caught on camera, of course.
From a moral standpoint, that really /is/ it for his left hand as he recoils, choosing to roll away into a clumsy, pained kneel as he shakes out his left hand. That might have to make him change some of his lesson plans, he realizes in a brief panic. It is the sort of risk you take when you balance life as a prize fighter and then life as a schoolteacher at a prestigious international school.
From a practical standpoint, one hand down. From a morale standpoint, that puts the point home that even with all the blows Spider has landed on him that felt soft, he can hurt him. There is one issue that Spider might yet need to consider, however, if he's going to claim a decisive victory right at this moment.
Ol' Rusty is in his right hand. The man is, by all appearances (and actually is) right-handed. The pipe squeals from the grip he puts on it as he stands up, coughing once as he rolls his head around his shoulders once, spitting on the carpet as some of the blood from his bit cheek stains it. Gather himself, focus... his mind swims in pain a bit too much to successfully /think/ of much, but it helps him gather his breath.

COMBATSYS: Rust gains composure.

[            \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  ////////////                  ]
Spider           0/-------/-----==|=======\-------\0             Rust

The Spider smirks as Rust manages to fight on, despite nearly breaking fingers. Ari will give Howard one thing - he's tough. "You take a beating," the Spider notes. "But can you keep up with me?" He rushes in, attempting to grapple with him in close quarters, grabbing at his shoulders with his hands, before he slams his head forward, attempting to cram his forehead into Rust's nose.

COMBATSYS: Spider successfully hits Rust with Mark of the Anointed.

[             \\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\  < >  //////                        ]
Spider           0/-------/---====|=======\===----\1             Rust

The teacher breathes in and out as the question is asked. How can he really answer for it? Spider rushes in for the grab, the teacher tries to steady himself for the impact and decide on the spot as to how he's going to deal with this. A new complication comes to light.
Remember when those tools spilled out absolutely everywhere? A screwdriver ends up under his left foot as he steps forward to lean into it. Little things always keep finding ways under his feet. Sometimes it works to his advantage. He's not a small man even if he is just under six feet. When he tumbles towards someone, that tends to put him in a place to strike even as he falls into someone's blow. Here...
Spider just ends up not having to go /as/ far to catch him as his shoulders are taken, head flung towards his nose. The nose shatters in a spray of blood, making it entirely impossible for him to breathe through there. His lungs aren't entirely clear either, partially from inhaling that second hand smoke. It's deadly!
This leaves the man choking for breath even as his body is otherwise still in a place to give its all. Just as the man would fall back, he tries to steel himself for the counter assault. He can still do this, he may be deluded. He swings Ol' Rusty upwards once to try and push Spider back. Then again. And again. It's a rather repetitive series of strikes, each one made different only as the man tries to suck in enough breath for each and every strike. The last one, his right hand spins Ol' Rusty about with alarming dexterity before swinging it upward with one last Cement Upper. What the hell does it have to do with cement, anyway?
If not otherwise halted or overturned by Spider's efforts, the teacher falls forward on his knees and, soon enough, the rest of him follows - he'd attempt to catch himself with his left hand, but it being broken, well, that's in no position to support his weight, now is it?

COMBATSYS: Rust can no longer fight.

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

COMBATSYS: Rust successfully hits Spider with Rusty Nail.
- Power hit! -

[                        \\\\\\  <
Spider           1/-----==/=======|

The Spider gets slammed by the serrated pipe, over and over again. He gets cut, slashed, and stabbed, but at the end of it, he is still standing. He exhales sharply, bleeding all over the floor. "Let that be a lesson to you," he finally says, as Rust collapses to the ground. The Spider pushes his shades back up his nose, which have gone undisturbed for the entire fight, and stalks off, lighting up a fresh cigarette.

Howard continues to cough up a storm as he chokes and wheezes on the floor, bent over. He still feels he could stand, he feels he has enough to stand back up and just keep going. The coughing fit ends up going long enough that by the rules of the Neo League in identifying when an opponent is down, well, by those rules he is one hundred percent down.
As medical officials hurry to stand him up (because they don't want that old lady's wrath /either/), he overhears Spider's closing comment. 'Let that be a lesson to you,' he says. Argh, don't say the word 'lesson,' he has work today, he can't call in sick. Second fight, second loss. The guys at home will probably call him all about it when they see the rerun on PPV. He can only watch Spider walk off smugly with a lit cigarette as his eyes fight to see past a fuzzy vision and the rigors asked for of being up well past when he usually hits the sheets.
His paycheck may not look much bigger than last time. Why? Let's see, he spat and bled on a carpet that is much more expensive than it looks, and guess who gets to pay the noise ordinance violations the local residents are going to file complaints over? (It's in the fine print, fighters pay damages.) Maybe there was a massive time zone difference mixup over at HQ. /Something/ seems to have gone over wrong at management.
Hell of a day this one's going to be.

Log created on 08:21:55 02/04/2009 by Rust, and last modified on 12:47:11 02/04/2009.