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Round Four

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  • Round Four

    Round Four

    "Please take a ticket and then feel free to seat yourself wherever you like. There are newspapers and magazines for your perusal." The woman at the receptionist desk was always the same cold professional.

    "You're joking right?" I asked. They never told me to take a ticket before.

    "Sir, do I look like I'm joking?" She was right. There was no doubt in my mind that even if she watched three Jim Carrey films stacked back to back while having her bare feet featherdusted, she would not even crack a grin. "Would you care for any refreshments sir? Anything from the snack bar?"

    "No thanks." The last thing I felt like doing was eating and drinking. Well, unless they needed an excuse to have their carpet shampooed.

    I was chosen for this position from among tens of thousands of applicants based on my acute mental conditioning with a side order of advanced physical fitness. I could checkmate an opponent at chess in under 30 seconds, correctly multiply multiple digit integers in my head, decifer the most wicked codes and riddles, and memorize a pagelong poem with little more than a glance.

    The secretary had a mole above her lip, a thin metal bracelet hanging loosely upon her left arm, and long wavy hair which I immediately deduced was to cover up her ears which stuck out a bit too much. I took a ticket from the machine and sat on the padded bench by the wall next to three other well primed lads, the only seating arrangement available in the room.

    I looked at my ticket and saw the number four written numerically.

    Another young chap in a suit came out of an office door and said, "Would the holder of ticket number one please come this way." One man stood up and was warmly greeted while being led into the office.

    Then came the part I hated the most for it was the first time I ever had to wait. To wait for this kind of appointment was excruciating.

    The rules were changed completely every time and the creativity of the conductors made one feel queasy. They didn't care. It was all about dodging the learning curve and ensuring no relevent, previous skills in either opponent which could unbalance things. So no contest could ever be repeated again or have ever been done before by mankind.

    The three of us left on the bench stared uneasily and self-consciously at the wall on the other side of the hallway. On it hung a big anchor which was salvaged from one of the ships of the sunken Spanish armada and retrieved by a difficult submarine and diver operation.

    Then came the sounds of the struggle from behind the office door. We had no idea what was happening and didn't even want to know for the contest would be different again for each of us. The sounds were ugly: yelling, thumping, objects being knocked about, follicles desperately hanging onto the shafts within, and then some sort of household appliance motor in operation.

    I noticed it was over in four minutes and thirty seven seconds as I was trained to observe every bit of available information, however unneeded.

    The gentleman in the suit and the one who had been invited in reappeared at the door again but this time they both looked like they had done their laundry after forgetting to take the clothes off first.

    Again the man in the suit offered his kind invitation, "And next could we possibly have guest number two in attendance please?" The next chap stood and was duly given a warm greeting.

    Same ugly deal all over again with a finish time of only 53 seconds total. When the two men came out, the man next to me on the bench said to the frazzled guest coming out, "Got arm barred did ya mate?" The only reply was a scowl for he was not permitted to answer; besides, we already knew the answer was no.

    "And ticket holder number three, may I meet with you now?"

    Again with a time of eight minutes and 24 seconds. I suppose more was on the line.

    When the man in the suit opened the door this time he was breathing heavily and had to lean against the door jam to stay standing. I pushed all thoughts out of my head when the Aussie was carried out the door on a stretcher by a couple of paramedics.

    "And may I meet with you now, attacker number four?" He gasped for air in the middle of the invitation.

    I approached the man in the suit and I was given a handshake and a warm smile.

    We entered the room which was in a circle shape. There were the usual various unrelated objects lying about with brightly colored geometric shapes and huge up close mugshots of people pulling faces pasted all over the encircling walls. I always felt like I was being admitted to a mental ward upon entering.

    It disgusted me to know this man was working for the Japanese. They selected a westerner both because he would more likely adapt better to the programs created by the European conductors as well as to insult western nations by pitting them against their own in these insane contests. They even termed it 'gaijin ape versus gaijin babboon'. I wondered what his compensation package contained.

    Then out came the referee as per usual. The man was a human grizzly bear, a true he-man of solid muscle and civilized ferociousness. He towered over us and his voice rumbled like an old 450 engine idling. Despite that, he was cleancut and professional looking in his black gym wear.

    "The rule for this contest is simple: you may not touch or verbally address the other contestant. If you break the contest rule or a federal law, a buzzer will ring and you must instantly freeze all actions or be disqualified. To win you must perform the exact action expected by the judges and must figure out that answer yourself. There will be no negotiation over the winning condition. A bell will signal the completion of the winning condition. Are there any questions from the defender? Are there any questions from the attacker? Alright then, move back to the starting areas indicated by the floor map and await my command to begin."

    I walked to the red zone on the floor indicating the attacker while my opponent dragged himself to the black defender's zone. The referee rumbled, "Are you ready?" So I nodded. "Are you ready?" My opponent got into a sprinter's stance. "Let's get it on!! C'mon!!" The ref swung his arm down to begin the ceremony and he jogged through a door leaving the floor to only us two.

    My adrenaline peaked. We couldn't do anything until we knew what to do. The judges were probably watching from behind opaqued, one-way windows up above. I looked around the room to memorize as many objects as I could. There was a knocked over refridgerator, a small wooden table, a Colonel Sanders caricature obviously lifted from a branch storefront, a blender with a plastic container beside it, some toy cars, a big squirt gun filled with a liquid and an unpotted palm tree, a victim of a previous contest.

    A piece of the wall swiveled around and out came something weird - a big, strong kangaroo obviously doped up on some sort of stimulant. In her belly pouch was a joey all tucked in and his little head looking back and forth confused all to hell just like we were.

    My opponent wasted no time in stalking the roo from behind while I inched up from infront in as casual a stance as I could fake. I figured the joey was part of the answer so getting it out of the pouch was a sure requirement. But then what? It was never so simple. And the roo was sure to put the boots to us if we got too close.

    The defender jumped the roo from behind and put it in a sleeper hold. I couldn't see what happened in the next instant except that the man was now infront of the roo which was doing something violent to him. I decided to watch the show while waiting for an opening to grab the joey. The roo racked the man across the belly with his hind feet. Mercifully the claws had been removed but the instinct remained in the animal. The man was already done for so in desperation he thrust his hand deep down the animal's throat causing it to choke.

    I sprang up and snatched the joey out of the pouch while two of them were locked in this odd pose. The defender still had his wits as we were trained to do, and he grabbed onto the baby roo's tail with his free hand just as I pulled it from the pouch. I had both of the joey's arms and pulled only fairly hard. Something inside me warned against going all-out because I risked coming away with only part of the item.

    Then the mother roo kicked the man good and hard in the abs which sucked his arm out of her throat and sent him sprawling. He lost his grip on the joey and hid it behind myself while the mother considered whether to retrieve her kid or avenge the defender for the henious arm down the throat trick. Hopefully whatever they doped her with would mix up her natural priorities.

    I thought fast and hard. My brain swirled with energy. What was the next step? I scanned the available objects again and then I remembered that in Australia, canned kangaroo meat is a common item sold in stores. The blender! Make a smoothie out of the joey and pour it into the plastic container and pop on the lid to win! So I sprinted to the blender and fit the baby roo's tail into it.

    "Buuu!!" The all-freeze buzzer went off at an ear crushing decimal. This is not the way contests are supposed to finish so I knew one of us had done something prohibited.

    In came the ref, his big form bobbing up and down with malignance and his head tilted forward in my direction. "Stop what you are doing right now, attacker!"

    On the other side of the room, the frenzied mother roo was still wreaking havoc upon the defender who was still on the ground trying to protect himself from the assault while sliding over to the table to most probably use as a weapon. The ref looked around and barked, "STOP!!" The defender froze and even the roo slowed just for an eyeblink before resuming kicking and stomping the man who was now in a fetal position. His suit was now more like something worn by the boozed up bums under the bridge.

    "Attacker, are you mad?" yelled the ref.

    "Ah no referee. I believed the object was to make canned kangaroo meat."

    "Do you know that cruelity to animals is against the law in this country?"

    "No I didn't. And I don't think that mother roo knows that assault and battery is either referee."

    "Anymore jackass stunts like this out of you and you're permanently barred from these contests and you will have to answer to a district judge. Do I make myself clear?" the ref was in a controlled rage.

    "Absolutely sir."

    "Then get on with it!!" the ref swung his arm down again to resume the contest and he ran out the door. The defender started to slither towards the table. Then the mother roo changed objectives. She wanted her kid back. The roo was coming. What to do... what to do...? Maybe there are ingredients in the fridge which we are supposed to blend into a drink to feed the joey with? But both the mother and the defender will make that impossible...

    My eyes racked with increasing futility across the objects in one last Custerlike attempt at survival. All within an instant I saw it just barely. Up on the wall. The transparent basketball hoop. I swung the baby roo up by his arms and he lofted at a low velocity over the hoop, bounced off the rim and then fell to the floor. Seeing the miss, both the mother roo and myself lunged for the little fellow and I just nabbed his tail and flung him up again before the mother jumped onto my back inflicting internal injuries that would last me for weeks afterwards.

    Just then the defender summoned his last reserves and made a jump for the flying joey. He was a wreck and in no condition for such a technical move and only managed to fall onto the mother roo forming a dogpile ontop of me.

    The joey scored.

    Even the ref gave me a big congratulatory thump across my hurt back. The defender was taken out on a stretcher while the sedated roos were caged and shipped out. The mother roo was in such a rage at seeing her baby used as a basketball that it took a combination of gas and muliple tranquilizer darts to put her down. Meanwhile the navy commanders were summoned.

    The toll was the biggest ever. Four naval fleets of a dozen or more ships each were rigged with explosives including Dutch, Australian, British, and finally one of the much despised Japanese fleets including the prized heavy battleship Yamato. The crew members evacuated to accompanying troop transports before the ships were scuttled.

    Apparently there was no fire control system on one of the British cruisers and the Japanese raised a stink. The rules of No Casualty Warfare (NCW which is moderated by the Swedes like this contest) state that every ship must be fully armed, provisioned, and equipped before being scuttled. The British were required to fork over the funds plus a hefty fine for the missing system and the money was burned according the odd but fair rules of the NCW.

    The odds on the ships of four nations meeting at the same time in the ocean north of Java was unlikely and costly. But these contests will continue and I will be called on again. I can only hope that radar technology advances at a snail's pace.

    They say this will be a long war. I will do my duty for America.
    Last edited by unscratchedfoot; March 3, 2005, 00:02.
    Here is an interesting scenario to check out. The Vietnam war is cool.

  • #2
    That's a great story there, scratch. Quite an innovative approach to fights. They *do* sometimes seem to be determined by two people trying to figure out what to do without knowing it.

    As far as No Casualty Warfare... What about the defender? Surely, he was a casualty?

    XBox Live: VovanSim (login required)
    Halo 3 Service Record (I fail at FPS...)
    Spore page


    • #3
      Yeah, it would probably be better termed nonlethal warfare. I was reluctant to post this story at first, but my friend said despite this topic of nonlethality being an old one, the story was still passable cause the contest itself was absurd enough to make up for it.

      This was my contribution to the subtle story fad that Jeremy started so vovan, why not you submit the next entry? And Paddy too perhaps. He can write a weird story about beer or something.
      Here is an interesting scenario to check out. The Vietnam war is cool.


      • #4
        sounds interesting indeed
        Gurka 17, People of the Valley
        I am of the Horde.


        • #6
          Jeremy, I don't use Star Trek for my ideas as you seem to be saying. The longest I've ever watched Star Trek for is 5 minutes cause that's how long it takes me to fall asleep.
          Thanks for the internet search all the same.
          Here is an interesting scenario to check out. The Vietnam war is cool.


          • #7
            Well, I think I'll see about writing something up, too. I recently quit a job, so I should have a little more free time now. Now just to find some inspiration...
            XBox Live: VovanSim
   (login required)
            Halo 3 Service Record (I fail at FPS...)
            Spore page


            • #8
              Originally posted by vovan
              Well, I think I'll see about writing something up, too. I recently quit a job, so I should have a little more free time now. Now just to find some inspiration...
              well matey, head on over to the PBEM forum... I am sure a game or two will get you thinking
              Gurka 17, People of the Valley
              I am of the Horde.


              • #9
                Hello everyone, remember me?

                I have been busy for a while, but I will try to post more often now.

                Interesting concept. I had no idea where you were going with it until the end, but even if I did, I would have stuck it anyways.

                Haha, swedes, that figures.
                If I only had a brain...


                • #10
                  Originally posted by unscratchedfoot
                  Jeremy, I don't use Star Trek for my ideas as you seem to be saying. The longest I've ever watched Star Trek for is 5 minutes cause that's how long it takes me to fall asleep.
                  Thanks for the internet search all the same.
                  I'm just now seeing this response.

                  Did my post anger you?

                  I was pointing out a classic Trek ep that also deals with war by proxy. Period. It was the first thing I thought of when I read your story. I sure didn't suggest you copped the idea from the show. Your story has nothing in common with that episode other than a general theme.
                  My Civ Stories:
                  Oil...and Sponges,Great Big Death Story of MRkorth, My Dinner With Xerxes, E.V.I.L., The Bijou - which I swear I will finish someday!, The Man Who Would Be King,, Will it Go ‘Round in Circles?, Man on the Street, Myron VS. the Volcano, Chairmen of the Border, The Turn of Time.