Goldielocks and the Big Bad Bear
Fri May 22, 2009 7:03pm (XFF:

Zeo Grey made his way back to the ready room lounge for his block, already given a clean bill of health by the busy medical workers of the Iron Hand tournament. One of the other block's matches was playing on the television screen; most people seemed either glued to the fight or nervously preparing for their own. The contest held no significance to Zeo, though; he was only interested in relaxing after his fight with Grim. He did notice that some of the other fighters nonchalantly eyed him with closer attention as he sat down at the bar.

He was about to order a drink from the bartender when a glass slid down the table and gently bumped into his arm. He turned to find Vier sitting down the table from him, wearing a big grin on her face and a drink in her hand. "This is vhere we say congratulations, yah?"

Zeo picked up the drink and studied it for a second. "Tonic?"

Vier nodded. "I haff a knack for details." She took a sip of her own drink before placing it down. "You fought much differently zan usual, eh? It gave Grim quite a surprise."

Zeo's eyes flashed from his drink to the German reploid, his stare piercing her. "What's it to you, rookie?" He grumbled in a gruff tone. As far as he was concerned, no one in their line of work handed out anything for free. Everyone played some sort of angle.

"I juss thought it vhas good, is all." She turned away from Grey's gaze, looking down at her own drink. "Between you and Axel, it is exciting to see such skilled varriors using deir brains. It is... intimidating." She said softly, almost to herself. She then turned back to Zeo with a large smile. "It is also exhilarating."

Zeo was a bit taken aback by Vier's frankness. Due to the reputation he had built for himself at the Freelance Reploids, many of the newer mercenaries avoided him altogether. "You... certainly are a strange girl, aren't you?" he finally said with a wry smirk.

"Vier Zemo?" asked the attendant from the edge of the lounge. Vier's arm immediately shot up as she slid off the barstool. "Ah, you're next up. Please make your way to the arena."

"Maybe now I vill get ze chance to impress you.”


The harsh light of the stadium temporarily blinded Vier as she stepped out of the stadium. She could hear the announcer's voice boom over the roar of the crowd. "Annnnd in the blue corner, the little lady with a LOT of artillery, Vierrrrrrr ZEMOOOOO!" There was a smattering of applause and catcalls. As her vision returned, Vier raised her hand and waved to the crowd. Time to show them what she could do!

Vier quickly scanned her surroundings. The hard-light projectors and construction bots had created a mountainous terrain this time. There were rocks, trees, and a small stream running through the middle of the ring. The landscape looked rugged, but she could see that the obstacles were expertly placed it didn't block much of the action for the spectators. They probably wanted a more challenging terrain since I'm going up against a human... Vier mused. She had heard that organics could sometimes tell the difference between holomatter and the real thing, but to her artificial senses every rock, tree, and fish looked and felt as real as anything she'd find on the outside.

"Annnnnd in the red corner..." the announcer began, snapping Vier to attention. "The ferocious wild-man with nothing to lose, KOOOODIAAAAAK!"

The "wild-man" stared intently across the arena at Vier. The man wore only a white muscle t-shirt and a pair of jeans; it hardly seemed like the kind of outfit one would wear to a tournament filled with reploids, plasma weapons, and omnium katanas. Either the man was a fool or something else was at play here... "I notice you're a little lacking in weapons for someone rumored to carry 'a lot of artillery.'" He shouted across the stage.

It was true; Vier had left Luna and Zelda in her Armory. Her plain grey armor had no mounted weaponry either. But, thankfully, external weaponry wasn't the only type she relied on... "I figure, zere is no reason to risk killing a human. I might not be labeled a Maverick due to ze tournament waivers, but I do not kill if I do not haff to do so."

"Treating me with kid gloves?" asked Kodiak, sounding amused. "Your funeral." the man warned.


Before the announcer’s voice had even faded, Vier’s pulse cannons were up and firing. The human showed surprising speed by dodging the blasts and disappearing into the thick brush. "Scheisse!*" she swore as she lost sight of Kodiak. She would have had an advantage in an open arena with her ranged weaponry, but the man was pulling her into a close-range fight.

Tsk. Maybe I should lose this clunky armor and follow him in there... Vier mused as she made her way across the stream and towards the woods. I could probably match his agility then, and he doesn't seem to be carrying any... weapons?! Vier's thought process was interrupted as a gigantic creature leapt out of the woods in front of her. It looked like a cross between a bear and a human, and was three times larger than either! The crowd watching the fight erupted in gasps and shouts; what was this thing, and how had it gotten into the coliseum?

The gigantic beast's speed was frightening. If it hadn't been for the fact that Vier was such a small target, the first set of jabs would been killing blows. Instead, the sharp claws left marks across her armor, even though they were just glancing blows. I need to put some distance between me and this thing, now!

Vier let off several close-ranged pulse shots as she scrambled backwards, but they only seemed to make the creature flinch. Eventually she ran out of space; the riverbed had a slight drop-off that caused Vier to pause and catch her footing. It was the opening her opponent needed - a large hairy fist slammed into Vier's chest, sending her flying across the arena. She felt the wind get knocked out of her as she went careening into the trees. C-Can't black out. If I black out, I'm dead!

Vier's mind raced as she pushed herself up. That thing had to be Kodiak... but how? Her hip section popped open and she palmed a flash grenade as the "were-bear" raced down towards her. Once it got close enough, Vier tossed the flashy explosive at her hairy pursuer. Kodiak barrled through the explosion, badly burned and half blind. Using the distraction, Vier disappeared into the woods. When she glanced back, she noticed that the creature’s wounds knitting back together at a tremendous rate.

Kodiak stalked into the forest, growling. Something about this situation seemed familiar to Vier... Suddenly, it hit her. The Freelance Reploids had been involved in a large mission hunting down "werewolves" for Cybergentica. These humans had the ability to transform themselves into hybrid animals that vastly enhanced their strength and instincts, while still allowing them to keep human intelligence. She hadn't been on the mission herself, however it had involved so many of the mercenaries that some of the drunks at Wade's bar had tried to impress her with the stories. She had always written off their descriptions of the beasts as exaggerations, though...

If their tales were true, then this creature would have exceptional hunting instincts. Being a reploid helped mask her scent a little, but her break wouldn't last forever. She dashed through the underbrush and through the thicker part of the trees. Using her artificial muscles, she pulled herself into a tree she felt would shield her from sight below ground and attempted to formulate a plan.

Alright, I know what I'm dealing with now. But how do I beat it? From what I remember, the things had an insane healing ability due to the nanites that controlled the genetic changes. Their powerful healing factor could even mend any damage Zelda could do. Nanites... tiny, microscopic machines that performed thousands of functions to upkeep the hybrid form... of course! she thought. If I can overload the nanites, I should be able to get Kodiak to revert back to his former self, or at least take out his enhancements! But my Pulse Canons don't pack enough of an electric punch... yet. she summoned the Armory on one of the larger branches. It groaned slightly under the weight, but Vier tore open one of the hatches and grabbed a few of her tools. She had a plan to fight back, and it would take concentration to make the necessary adjustments to her personal weapons systems.

It was that concentration that caused her to fail to notice the sudden roar of the crowd, or the fact that Kodiak had uprooted one of the nearby trees and used it to tear through several others. Suddenly Vier found herself tilting, and then freefalling towards the ground. Quickly she used her recall device to force the Armory back into subspace before the fall would damage it. Now I just have to figure out how to land myself! Vier prepared to hit the ground, but didn't get the chance as Kodiak's long furry arm lashed out and grabbed her armored boot. She couldn't help but yelp in pain as she felt his claws pierced her leg armor.

Kodiak threw Vier into a tree trunk, and then flung her to the ground in front of him. He raised his arm to deliver the disembowling blow. Vier managed to keep a death grip on her tools, and let off another quick burst of her Pulse Cannons right in the monster’s face. Once more Vier managed to wriggle away from certain death, this time leaving a Flash Grenade at Kodiak's feet. This time the powerful explosive seared away Kodiak's fur and skin, causing him to howl in pain. Vier scampered to the open area, to make her way to the other side of the field. She could hear some jeers from the crowd as she made her escape, but she forced herself to focus on making the adjustments to Pulse Canons as she ran.

Meanwhile, the extensive damage to Kodiak's nether regions healed itself quickly. New cells and fur grew in mere seconds. Kodiak hunched down and then used his newly reformed leg muscles to launch himself at the fleeing German reploid. Instantly he found himself near Vier once again, although the reploid seemed to be too focused on her arm to notice him. No more delays. Make it quick. He thought through the adrenaline-fueled haze, preparing to strike.

A burst of electrical energy surged through him like a tidal wave. Kodiak stared down at Vier in amazement, frozen for an instant. Then he crumpled to his knees and began coughing as he was forced back into his human form.

Vier clambered to her feet and summoned the Armory. "Vonce I knew you had nanites, it vhas only a matter of finding ze electrical frequency to disrupt their functions. Vithout zem you are a normal human.” She let out a little sigh before continuing. “It ruined my Pulse Canons." Closing the access hatch on the armory she managed a tired smile. "You put up a good fight, but now it is over, yes?"

Kodiak's head burned. He couldn't think straight, it was like every nerve ending was on fire. Kodiak roared and lunged for Vier as the Armory shimmered away. She leaned around the clumsy attack and brought the butt of her gund straight down on his head.

"Down, boy."

The were-bear fell to his knees and struggled to rise again, ignoring the blood running down his face. Vier’s expression tightened as she raised Zelda a second time.

Kodiak fell to the ground, unconscious. Vier cocked her head. Had he said something? A name perhaps?

A smattering of cheers erupted as Kodiak slumped to the ground. "Annnd the winner, by knock-out, is Viiiiieeeer ZEMOOOOOO! played up the Announcer, prompting applause from the rest of the audience. Vier, relieved the fight was over, slumped to the ground. She hadn't expected such a difficult challenge on her first round! And something told her it would only get more difficult from there on...


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