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Axel vs. Kryce
Fri May 8, 2009 1:53pm (XFF:

NRP: Cutting straight to the chase.

The stadium had over 30,000 in attendance, with every seat filled and numerous spectators packing the aisles dividing the concourses as well. And although the cacophonic din was already nearly deafening, the thunderous composite of cheering voices seemed to shake the very earth as the overhead doors on either side of the arena floor rolled open.

Axel and Kryce each stepped out onto the hard packed dirt and gravel, to simultaneous applause as the various spectators cheered for their chosen champion. Whether out of genuine admiration or the hopes that they would soon be collecting their winnings from a pre-fight bet was uncertain. But the cheers were motivating just the same, and Axel found his features spreading into a grin.

The overhead doors slammed down with a clang after the combatants reached their starting positions. One-hundred yards apart from each other and twenty-five yards from their exits, they stopped and waited. Axel's mind worked furiously, sizing up his opponent as he knew Kryce was doing the same to him. He could switch to his Stratos armor before the fight, but dismissed that as an option. Kryce was all about offense, and his arsenal would rip through the Stratos armor like tissue paper. Better to fight on the ground, Axel decided.

"We have a special treat for you tonight!" the announcer proclaimed over the loudspeaker. "Two heavy warriors, each an army in his own right, will fight to prove themselves in the arena! To the victor, the privilege of advancing to the next tier and a chance to claim the glorious championship title!"

Tumultous cheers.

"But there are no losers here at the Iron Hand tournament, for even the vanquished will recieve a complimentary copy of our home game!" The announcer held up a small boxed board game, and a spotlight from one of the ironwork rafters illuminated it with sniper-like precision. Axel snorted in amusement.

"And now, from the red door! Weighing in at three-thousand ninety-five pounds, a walking arsenal who is a veteran of countless battles and a mercenary who for a time served with the widely renowned Freelance Reploids... Ladies and Gentlemen, Kryce Dettregar!!"

The myriad voices did not quiet, but shifted in pitch and tempo as half of the cheers became boos. Yet they were nearly drowned out as the remaining cheers increased in volume and enthusiasm, with a steady 'Kryce! Kryce! Kryce! Kryce!' cheer filling the air like a monstrous heartbeat.

"And from the blue door... Weighing in at four-hundred and twenty pounds, a fierce warrior whose reputation precedes him. It is my privilege to present the current commanding officer of the Freelance Reploids, Axel "The Siberian Tiger" Cossack!"

The Siberian Tiger? Axel's features screwed up in a grimace behind his blast visor. While it was catchy, he didn't exactly want a nickname. He cocked his head slightly, shrugging it off. It was better than "Commie Bastard". As with Kryce's introduction, the spectators were divided among cheers and boos, with the volume never changing.

"Engage the forcefields, please," the announcer ordered, and the din was immediately deadened to about a third of its former volume as rippling walls of energy rose up from the arena wall. "And now...for the thousands in attendance...and the millions watching around the world...let's get ready to rumbllllllllllleeeeeeee!"

A brilliant flash emanated from the vitals display monitor hovering a few hundred feet over the arena center, and a loud bell rang. The battle was on.

Kryce, not willing to hold back in the slightest, immediately kicked his systems into overdrive. With distance on his side, Kryce chose to begin the fight with an all out barrage of as much firepower as his chassis could muster. Setting his legs in a determined stance, Kryce's chassis opened up and he unleashed his Heavy Metal Tsunami in Axel's direction.

Twin miniguns blaring a hail of gunfire, several salvos of small missile fire, and buster fire from Kryce's right arm were joined by a rather large missile rocketing out of the GraveFiller.

Axel charged forward, bringing his Stasis Shield up in front of him and engulfing himself with a burst of fire from his Heat Shield. He gave top priority to the missile fire, angling his Stasis Shield to the side just enough to fire a shot at the anti-vehicle missile, detonating it mid-flight. A poisonous cloud of gaseous metal trailed in Axel's wake as he charged through the barrage of minigun fire, the Heat Shield vaporizing the bullets headed towards his legs almost instananeously. He could feel the minimized impacts against his shin plates though, and pedaled his feet furiously to close the distance before the Heat Shield expired.

Axel was forced to halt his charge as the first salvo of light missiles arrived, putting his weight behind his shield to absorb the impact. Through the brilliance and haze of the exploding ordinance he was just able to make out another salvo on its way, as well as another anti-vehicle missile just leaving the GraveFiller. Axel gritted his teeth as the Heat Shield gave its "bzzt-bzzt" two-second warning. Low on options, he dropped to one knee and brought his Stasis Shield in close, using an immobile tortoise-shell approach against Kryce's ceaseless barrage.

The white flames around Axel dissipated with an anticlimactic puff, and it took all of his considerable strength to keep the shield held in line and level with the onslaught of weapons fire. Kryce just never seemed to run out of ammo! The second volley of light missiles threatened to knock Axel's guard aside, but it was the second anti-vehicle missile that finally penetrated the Russian's defenses. Strong though he was, physics still applied--the concussive blast sent Axel over backwards, pushing his Stasis Shield out of the way, and leaving him completely vulnerable to the hail of minigun and arm cannon fire.

Sharp thwack sounds flooded Axel's senses as bullets pounded into his combat armor, and the white-hot searing pain of plasma added its own unique flavor to the bouquet of munitions. Quickly rolling back to his feet, Axel brought the Stasis Shield up once more to deflect the barrage. And Kryce just kept shooting, the ground around the bipedal already littered with piles of spent shell casings.

The Russian did a quick spot of math in his head and figured that Kryce would run out of ammo long before the Stasis Shield's battery expired, limited though it was. He once again defended against a volley of mini-missiles by bracing the shield with both hands, then quickly decided against outlasting Kryce's assault as he saw a panel on the top of the GraveFiller pop open. A mortar launcher.

Axel fired a shot he'd been charging off to the side, letting the seeker round arc itself around to home in on Kryce--that tactic had served him well many times. Kryce, still in overdrive mode, was quick enough to react though. Briefly halting his barrage, Kryce hefted the GraveFiller and swung his arm about, intercepting and neatly blocking the plasma shot mid-flight. He then bright the GraveFiller back around, returned to his offensive stance, and prepared to unload another barrage on the Russian....but Axel had vanished.

Kryce gritted his teeth and whirled left, then right, trying to determine where Axel had gone to. How exactly does a six-foot Russian disappear in a wide-open space, anyway? The lack of logic confounded him.

Axel may not have been the stealthiest merc around, but he knew how to use an opponent's bulk to his advantage. While Kryce was busy blocking the plasma shot, Axel had been able to take advantage of a blind spot he had identified due to the size of Kryce's broad shoulders. Axel had quite literally run right past the behemoth arsenal.

"Psst, over here," Axel taunted, and Kryce whirled to face him. Or rather, to face the back of Axel's left forearm. The Russian pressed his arm flush with Kryce's chest and quickly flicked the toggle on his Stasis Shield--off, then on again. The shield blinked out of and back into existence, slicing a neat concave dent into Kryce's armor.

The GraveFiller came around hard and Axel dove away from it, catching a glancing blow to the ribs that sent him rolling a dozen feet away. He got to his feet, shrugging off the ache, and settling into a defensive stance behind his shield. Kryce looked down at his ruined armor--or rather, at the remnants of his body-weaponry, still lying in a heap by his feet. In one smooth motion, Axel's shield trick had robbed Kryce of his entire forward-facing arsenal.

This time, it was Axel who went on the offensive, forsaking his shield in favor of a dual-arm cannon assault that put Kryce back on his heels. The bipedal former-arsenal worked the GraveFiller expertly, fending off one attack after another, completely unable to go on the offensive lest he leave his now exposed chest completely open to attack. Kryce knew if he could just get Axel to flank him, he could fire the GraveFiller's mortar sideways and probably tip the scales yet again.

But it was Kryce's own armament that ultimately defeated him--his foot came down on a pile of spent shell casings, the round tubes eliminating his boot's traction and causing his foot to shoot out from underneath him. With lightning-quick reflexes, Kryce planted one hand against the ground to prevent from going completely prone, but that single act sealed his fate.

Axel charged in close with one bound, drawing his saber from his hip mid-stride, and plunged the weapon deep into Kryce's unprotected chest. The stun setting caused the plasma energy to disperse through Kryce's systems, flooding the neural net processors with a series of random ones and zeroes, triggering a forced shutdown.

The "Siberian Tiger" stepped back and brought his shield up just in case, but the results were clear. Kryce twitched spasmodically for a few seconds, dropping the GraveFiller to the dust with a dull thunk. His eyes rolled back, and he toppled over backwards, out cold.

The gong-like bell rang several times in rapid succession, heralding the Russian's victory to the crowd. The arena wall forcefield dispersed, and the Russian was awash in the cheers and admiration of the crowd, who had borne witness to his victory. Playing on the moment, Axel threw his hands up over his head and let loose a roar straight from his belly, which served only to send the crowd into further heights of enthusiastic ferocity.

"And the winner is...Axel "The Siberian Tiger" Cossack!"

The red and blue overhead doors opened, and Axel exited, still playing up the crowd.

NRP: I'm assuming we get repaired and rearmed between matches. Because that would suck balls if this is an endurance run deal.

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