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Axel vs. Liska: The Match (part 3)
Thu Sep 17, 2009 1:05pm

Liska crouched on the roof, taking careful aim with her shotgun. The small pop-can shaped explosive was perched precisely next to the rooftop access shot...that's all she needed. One shot and the explosion should end the battle in her favor, or at least disable Axel enough that she could think up a Plan C. Her muscles tensed in anticipation...Axel had to come up. The devastation down below had ceased quite some time ago...what could he--

The floor exploded upwards as a green plasma shot erupted through a few feet to the side. Liska yelped, rising from her crouch and running away from the blast. Another shot erupted upwards, this time missing her by scant inches. She danced around, darting and leaping as plasma shots shot upwards all around her, trying desperately to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Another sizzled past her so closely she could feel the heat, and a third...hit the C4...

Liska's internal processor was faster than a human brain, although her body was still limited to little details like physics. Thus, she had time to think "Oh....shit..." as the rushing wall of hellfire blasted her off the rooftop, but utterly unable to do anything about it. She was far enough away from the blast to escape mostly unharmed, but that was little consolation as she flailed her arms and legs futilely in midair, sailing towards the ground outside amidst a shower of debris. She somehow latched her hands onto a metal cord attached to an intact piece of something, then came to a bone-jarring halt as she struck the ground.

Amazed that she was even still conscious after that blast, it took her a second to realize her predicament. She was not on the ground, but hanging inside one of the grinders, her feet dangling scant inches above the whirling metal rollers below. Eyes wide, she looked up, noting that the cord she had grabbed--strung up like a clothesline across the top of the grinder's shaft, was the only thing keeping her from certain death. Knowing Axel would be upon her in moments, she struggled to pull herself up out of th--

The cord snapped, right in the middle.

Liska dropped downward another few inches, holding one half of the cord in each hand, her arms stretched over her head in a Y pattern, feet kicking against the rollers as she fought desperately to keep from being dragged through them.

Axel spotted the predicament from on high, instantly forgetting all about the match as his instincts kicked in. He could tolerate losing a match, he could not tolerate losing a comrade. He fired at the ground below his feet once and again, systematically dropping straight down to the second and then first floors. Racing to the edge of the building and crawling to the precipice leading to the grinder, he peeked in, hoping against hope that Liska had somehow survived. His elation upon seeing her alive was brief as he realized she was in a very bad situation.

"Axel! Help!" Liska cried out. Things had gone from bad to worse, and like Axel she no longer cared about winning. Her right hand slipped a centimeter, and she had to kick ever faster to avoid being dragged through the rollers. "I'm slipping!"

Axel pushed himself up and surveyed the area. The cords were too far out for him to reach without falling into the grinder himself, and his arms weren't long enough to reach Liska. His hand reflexively went to his Variable Saber, intending to use the whip to snag Liska from death's clutches, but tossed the weapon aside in frustration as the broken weapon predictably failed to activate.

"Liska, hold on! Just hold on!" Axel shouted down, then glance up over his shoulder as the coffee-cup referee mechaniloid floated down by his side.

"Finish it," the bot said in a soulless monotone.

"Call off the match!" Axel barked. "It's finished, call it off!"

"Unable to comply. Vital signs are good. No forfeit has been made," the mechaniloid replied. "Finish it."

Axel glanced down at Liska--she couldn't press her own forfeit button without releasing one of the two halves of the cord, and doing so would drop her right into the grinder. And that soulless coffee cup was incapable of rational thought, relying solely on programming. Axel glanced over his shoulder, glaring daggers at the hovering referee mechaniloid. He wrestled against the urge to yank the bot from the air and toss him into the grinder, just to hear him scream. But there were some things more important than pride.

"I forfeit," the Russian hissed through gritted teeth, pressing the 'white flag' button on his gladiator's armband. Turning his attention back to Liska, a sick hollow feeling quickly settled into his gut.

He was a second too late....

The two halves of the cord dangled free, and Liska's horrible shriek filled the air, drowning out the roar of the crowd and the ear-piercing whine of metal being torn to shreds. Her body jerked spasmodically as her legs fed between the wheels, sparks and fluids splattering about, he face contorted in unspeakable agony.

With a roar of inhuman rage, Axel reached up with one hand and grabbed the mechaniloid by the coffee-cup "handle", heaved him over his head, and spiked him downwards into the grinder right next to Liska. The force of the mechaniloid's downward plunge drove it deep between the rollers, forcing them to chew far more metal at one time than they could handle. A loud pop sounded from somewhere within the mechanism, and the rollers ground to a halt. With pure brute strength, the Russian tore the grinder's shaft apart with his bare hands, hurling sheets of metal to the side as he ripped his way down to Liska's level.

"Oh God...oh God..." Liska repeated over and over as Axel gently pulled her free from the roller. Her blood spattered features looked down in shock and utter horror. From the waist down, she simply didn't exist.

"MEDIC!" Axel bellowed.

  • Axel vs. Liska: The Match (part 2)Axel, Thu Sep 17 1:05pm
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