Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Jenny's Revenge

A Virtual Mekton story


FRIDAY

The noise from the pizza parlor blasted out into the parking lot as two young women stepped out from the establishment.
They stopped for a moment for the trailing female to shake out and lock a folding blindsman cane.
Once that was accomplished they started across the parking lot.
"Thanks for going out with me tonight Jenny" the shorter one said once they cleared earshot of the Pizza Palace.
"Thanks my foot. You won that last match and the bet was a pizza - you suckered me Isa" Jenny said smiling at her friend. Shame you couldn't see everything otherwise, you would have had more fun Jenny thought.
The littler one smiled back "maybe" she admitted "but that didn't make it any less fun."
"What? Stomping me or the pizza?"
"That would be telling now wouldn't it?" Jenny rolled her eyes heavenward "Spare me the innocent blond girl look - I know you too well - you are the devils assistant in disguise!"
"Well now that you mention it I could tell you everything you need to know...for a moderate price."
"Imp." Jenny replied without malice. The two girls turned onto an empty side street heading away from the Parlor.

Both walked quietly for a few minutes with the only sounds being the occasional car and the tapping of Isa's cane.
Isa was a young, small girl just a shade over 150 cm with blond hair and milky gray eyes. Half blind since an accident many years ago, she was an oddity in the early twenty-first century world. In a day and age where corrective surgery and biotech advancements were happening almost on a regular basis, she still was not able to see clearly. Modern technology was at least able to assist, however, with a powerful image amplifier/transducer she carried in the same pack she pulled the cane out of.
Jenny broke the quiet first "Isa, do ever dream of seeing without needing that mask again?"
Isas reply was subdued "Every day, and eventually I will. There is so much being discovered every day, and I'm sure that eventually I'll be 'normal' just like everyone else." She brightened up a bit "still though even though my eyes are far from perfect, I still see some things clearer than most."
"Huh? I don't understand."
"Most folks don't know how to listen Jenny. You are so dependant on what you see that you hardly listen to what is around you and, in that way, you are as deaf as I am blind" Isa explained.
"I still don't understand...you sound just like my Aikido sensei - always talking in riddles." Jenny grumped.
"If you think about it, you just made my point."
"If I didn't know you better, you inscrutable Asian..." Jenny shot back half threateningly.
"Isn't that the same thing you said to Chiisai the other week?"
"No, I called him an overtraditional asian club - I don't see what you see in him."
"Very little" Isa deadpanned "I'm a bit blind remember?".
"Smart-aleck".
"Half-wit".
"Snob".
"Amazon - what's that behind us?"
Jenny looked back, saw a pair of headlights "Just another car."
"I don't think so Jenny, that sound's familiar" Isa's tone sounded worried.
The camouflage painted car accelerated as it approached them and as it sped by a pole poked out the passenger window, it slammed into Isa's cane, shattering it. Raucous laughter followed in the trail of the car as it moved onward into the city.
Dodging the light fragments of the cane the girls tumbled to the sidewalk. Jenny was first up and saw a blond head tuck back into the car before it screeched around a corner. "Bubba you stupid idiot!!!" she yelled "are you trying to kill somebody?!".
"Jenny? Jenny, where are you?" Isa's voice cut off the incipient tirade.
"Right here" Jenny said, touching Isa's right arm lightly to get her attention.
Isa relaxed as she got to her feet "Sorry, I got disoriented when we hit the pavement."
"Those, those blasted barbarians, ooooh when I get my hands on them.....those leeches. I'm gonna-"
"Do what?" Isa cut in "Look, they're bigger and richer than you and can get away with more because of that. They may not be bright, but they know enough to do this with out witnesses.
Just leave it be Jenny, we only got scraped by the pavement and I lost a cheap cane. Just leave it be." she repeated.
"I can't believe you're saying that Isa" Jenny gestured toward he corner forgetting Isa couldn't see that "they try to hurt us and you're saying 'let them get away with it' - that's crazy!"
"What would you gain? Trouble, nothing more." Isa said firmly "There is a time and place for everything, and this is not it"
" I won't accept that, I have my dignity and pride, besides I'm not afraid of those idiots" Jenny snapped back heatedly.
"That may be, I'm tired Jenny. Would you please guide me home?"
"Sure, but -"
"Jenny, please just drop it."
They walked home in silence after that.

SATURDAY

The fencing Salle was emptying out of students when the instructor waved Jenny over "What's wrong lass? You are way off tempo and practically standing still on the mat, not to mention how stiff you are."
Jenny fiddled with her saber, not looking at the instructor "Nothing."
O'Niel crossed his arms "and just what is this 'nothing' that is putting you so off? Out with it, or d'ye want it to fester?"
"Nothing I want to talk about right now, I just need to think a bit."
"Well I can't force it out of ye, but not so much thinking on the mat and more reflexes, on the other hand it doesn't help none to avoid problems as well. If you want to talk about it, well you know how to find me." He put his hand on he shoulder and turned her toward the door "Go home and get it thought out, your family's a'waitin for ye and dinner." Jenny smiled at her instructor and left.

At home, Jenny went through the evening in a fog. During dinner she kept quiet, listening to her parents talk about their day. Afterward she retreated to her room, pleading a hard fencing practice. As she lay on her bed trying to come up with some way to pay the barbarian twins back for almost running them down. Can't challenge them on a futball field - no co-ed matches, they don't fence (with swords), so the Salle is out, the only place I see them is occasionally at The Arena, B but those idiots have their own pods at the Leech school. How can I pry them out of there? She drifted off to sleep with that question.

SUNDAY

"Hi Mrs. Grey, is Jaired up yet?"
"Not yet Jenny, why don't you come in while I correct that. He stayed up late working on some 'secret project'...again. "
"That boy spends too much time on the computer for his own good."
"True, but he takes after his father, have a seat while I dynamite him out of bed."
"Thanks, Mrs. Grey." Jenny took a seat and thumbed on the viewer to the All Anime Channel.
Upstairs there was a bit of commotion while Mrs. grey woke Jaired up. She came back downstairs "He'll be down in a few minutes, have you eaten breakfast yet?"
"No ma'am, but thanks for the offer..I was planning on hauling him out for some sunshine, fresh air and fresh fruit." Mrs. Greys right eyebrow shot up questioningly "Oh. Well then, enjoy your trip out." With that she went into the kitchen for a moment and came out with her breakfast, sat down on the couch next to Jenny and they both watched the viewer while Jaired went through his morning rituals.
Eventually Jaired came downstairs looking a bit like the walking dead, not quite awake "Mom, just what is so dang important - oh hi Jenny" he managed a blurry grin "what are you doing here?"
"Well, I've heard rumors that you will catch fire if you get caught in open sunlight, so Chiisai and I made a bet - I think you won't, but he's pretty convinced."
"He did, did he?" he started heading toward the kitchen "and what, exactly, was this bet?" Before Jenny could answer Mrs. Grey cut in "Why don't the two of you head out to the farmers market on the southern platform? I hear they have some of the best fresh fruit over there."
Jenny fell flat on her face,arms and legs sticking out in the air, unnoticed after hearing that.
"Mom, that's over on the other side of school."
"I know, if you want to eat, you'll do it there. I've already started cleaning the kitchen - that's what you get for oversleeping again."
Jenny picked herself up trying not to look entirely goggle eyed at Jaireds mom during their exchange. "uh, yeah, why don't we head over there - I'm hungry and you're buying." She grabbed his arm and they headed toward the door.
"I am?" he asked a bit archly.
"Sure you are, how do you think it would look, a simple waif like me forced to spend my last credit to feed a strapping young man like you?" she batted her blue eyes at him while doing her best plaintive look.
He sighed to himself, the things I get myself into.
Later, both were sitting at a park bench,munching on fruit boxes they'd bought. "I need a favor Jaired".
Why is it I'm NOT suprised? he asked himself. Out loud "What?"
"Wellll, I don't want to go into details, but if you could get me access to the major announcement boards at the schools and academy, I'd be ever so grateful" she leaned a little closer to him.
A large sweatdrop appeared, and he started blushing "err, ahh, ano" he started stuttering. She cupped his chin in her hands "Please?" That was a bit much for Jaired and his nose started bleeding just a little bit. He pulled himself away from Jenny and grabbed a napkin 'Uh, sure. Um, when?" "Tonight if possible, I just want to leave a message without a signature - it's harmless, really."
Bells started going off in Jaireds head, but he really wasn't paying any attention to anything but the redhead across from him. "If that's it, why didn't you ask while we were at my apartment?"
"Honestly, you haven't been out for awhile - look, you are already sunburned and we haven't been out for more than an hour!"
"True, but I've got so much to do to finish my latest project."
"And just what is this latest 'project'?" she asked sweetly.
He didn't rise to the bait "Ain't gonna tell, but it will certainly pay off!!"
"Jaired you are weird at times, you know that? C'mon I'll buy us an ice cream."
They parted company after the ice cream shop, Jaired kept grouching about his secret project and Jenny finally let him go back home. He promised to email her the access codes for the message boards, and warned her that they would change by morning.
Jenny spent the remainder of the afternoon drafting the message she planned to post, once that was done she went back home. When she got up to her room she checked her email and, true to his word, Jaired had sent her the access codes for all three schools message boards. Rubbing her hands gleefully she went to work posting her message. Being careful to follow Jaireds written instructions, she wiped any trace of her student ID from the access log. She drifted off to sleep still smiling.

MONDAY

Jenny met up with Isa at her house, and they started off to school. Jenny thought a bit strange that a girl with Isa's resources didn't just get a ride to Kurosawa, Isa never bothered to explain that she just liked to walk. Without looking at Jenny, Isa asked "Feel any better over what happened Friday?" Jenny looked sideways at her friend "You know, I ought to be asking you that question. But, yes, I do feel a bit better. How about you?" "Annoyed mostly. Most don't realize it, but finding a walking cane you feel comfortable with isn't as easy as picking out a stick and whacking things with it." she sighed "On the other hand, I always have a spare" a quick grin "but maybe I'll invest in one of those reinforced steel bars, build some muscles like what you have neh?" "Always being the clown Little Isa, aren't you?" Isa snorted "When you have had a history like my life, you tend to grow a broader perspective a little faster than most, and a sense of humor is part of that."
"Now THAT, my young friend, I can understand - remember, I grew up in post-apartheid South Africa.
Us white folk were outnumbered by a population that has a memory for grudges that predates known history. You grow up quickly or you might not grow up at all. Sheeeesh, this turned into a gloomy discussion real fast." Jenny changed the subject "What did you do for the rest of the weekend?" Isa was more than willing to accept the new topic "Well, after picking up this new toy" she waggled the cane "I spent Saturday chasing Chiisai and a couple of others around in The Arena - had fun, but the headaches from the amplifier kept me in for Sunday. You?" "Spent Saturday with Jaired. He burned within an hour of getting outside" Jenny laughed "he really needs to get outdoors more often." Isa's voice was a bit dry "Perhaps after this he won't see daylight for few more years - I think you've scared him into the shadows permanently. Just what the world needs another sunburnt mad genius" Dropping her cane to run along a wall Isa started shambling like a Hollywood hunchback muttering "yessss massster, Fetch a cybernetic brain from the computer storerooms, right away masster, very good massster" Jenny started laughing at the bad impersonation "Come on, we'll be late" "Drama critic" Isa grumped "No appreciation for fine talent." " I most certainly have an appreciation for talent. That is why I, being the kind and caring person I am, am going to keep you OUT of three-D. And that is final young lady" Jenny finished out mock-severely.
"Yes mom" Isa shot back mockingly.
They split up at the schoolyard, each heading to their respective classes. Jenny went over to check the bulletin board to check the clock and headed to her first class.

AT THE REUBEN LEECHMAN ACADEMY

The math teacher was so frustrated he was about to quit. The barbarian twins (AKA Gabriel and Rober Boyd) could barely count without taking off their shoes, much less pass the required Math 101.
if the twins couldn't pass, well, job prospects were OK. Even if they didn't pay as well. Right now the twins were snoozing over their math books. The teacher decided he had had enough and beaned Rober with an eraser. Rober snapped awake and fell out of his desk. "Rober, nice of you to volunteer to clean up the classroom today." the teacher aimed the other eraser of Gabriel, once he was awake "you too, Gabriel and this time, you might want to consider staying awake. If you don't pay attention you lose out on opportunities. For example, the last question - which you missed, by the way was ' who does not want to clean the classroom?'. You two were the only ones to NOT raise their hands. How about a nice round for the fine young men wanting to help out eh?"
Before the math teacher could continue the message buzzer sounded and the announcement screen came to life.
At the top of the screen the words "link to Kurosawa high school established"
"Link to Intron high school established"
"Link to R.L. academy established"
"Message follows:"
"Hello all, this is really meant for the barbarian thugs...er twins. Since you were real brave terrorizing two young girls on the street, how about facing just one of them at The Arena on Friday at 20:00? Of course, since you aresoooo scared of someone who can fight back, I'll even dare you to physically show up there to take what is yours.
Naturally, since you are spineless,scared little girly-men, we'll understand if you decide to not accept.
If you do happen to purchase the gumption to show, ask for arena 11. SK"

"Message ends"

The teacher, and the rest of the class turned and looked at the two open-mouthed young men.

AT INTRON HIGH

Jaired wondered if he was good enough to change his identity. 'It's harmless - really' kept playing through his head. Sure it was. Harmless IF she wiped the access record, IF she didn't use her student login. If, if, if.
He buried his head in his hands and thought about which nation to move to.

AT KUROSAWA HIGH

Isa chuckled to herself. Time and place indeed. Poor boys. She snickered when she thought of the fact that Rottens pet Gojiros being humbled publicly. The fact that it would humiliate the son of her best enemy had nothing to do with it, of course. Now she'd have to talk to her uncle about setting up some safeguards for Jennys parents and their jobs. She shook her head. It didn't feel right keeping secrets like this from friends.
Jenny was bubbling with happiness. The message posted and erased without a hitch. Now all she had to do was win. It was going to be an expensive week practicing, but it would be fun.

WEDNESDAY
R.L. academy

"I don't care if you want to remote the match! I can't have two of my best friends get put down like that. How typical of the lower classes to put out a challenge like that, no sense of class at all. Nope, the two of you will HAVE to show up there on Friday."
"Um, Ron,..." Bubba started.
"My mind is made up, you will have to squash this faceless challenger. Remember, good breeding will always overcome lessors." He smacked his fist into his palm.
"Uh, Ron..." Buster tried this time " What are going to use for VMs? It's not like we know what we are up against."
Ronald stuck a finger into the air "I have...a plan!" he turned toward the door "Follow me gentleman. We need to have a chat with our resident computer geek. And I want to find out just who would make that challenge."
Downstairs Brain was puttering about "his" lab. His because almost nobody ever came down there.
His, because nobody knew what to do with the stuff in it. Most Importantly, His because nobody bothered him there. Most of the time. Today was not most of the time.
"Ronald, what a suprise to see you here. What do you want."
Ronald was just OOZING charm "Why, Mr. Wilson, I am here to assist two of our august companions.
The twins here have been challenged to a match. Some sort of pesky message about some incident where these two fine, upstanding" Brain rolled his eyes at that one "members of our academy were out having a little fun."
"Yeah, we wuz just having fun" Buster interjected.
"Hush Buster, I'm talking"
"Yes boss"
"As I was saying. These two have been challenged in such a way that to refuse is impossible.
In order to do crush this upstart, wee need two things. Three really. I need to know who did this.
What type of VM is he or she using, and I need VMs constructed to take that one out."
"Easy enough, I suppose" Brain scratched his head "When is this match?"
"Friday."
"Friday?? I'm not sure about that...we have that government test on Thursday."
"Come, come young Brain, surely you have you ever worried about a mere test?"
"But Ron-" Rotten put his arm across Brains shoulders and smiled tightly "Let me put this to you a bit differently then. These two" he waved his free arm at the twins "are part of my...staff. Now, if they look bad, I look bad. If I look bad then I get unhappy. When I get unhappy, I tend to look to my staff to help me...fix what makes me unhappy. Am I being clear enough for you?"
"Sure Ron. Friday. Right. No problem." Rotten ignored Brains glum tone "Just make sure everything is set up. Come on guys, let's go have some fun. Brain here has work to do." Brain looked over at his computer terminal and briefly wondered if it would be worth the trouble and effort to zero Rottens bank account.

THURSDAY
The Academy (morning)

"Well, here they are," Brain announced "two VMs that not only match these twos reputations, but also match their skills." Or lack thereof, he thought.
"What are they" Ronald asked "new or recycled?"
"A bit if both actually, I used the basic structure for the old Black Knight series, and added a few bits and pieces. Bubba's VM is a massively upgraded Black Knight - AP sword, a e-shield/ shield combo and I added a 360 banshee howl - be careful with that one Bubba, it won't care if your brother is in the attack sphere. Buster got the reworked skeleton, but it really doesn't have much in common with the original. This has four arms - two end in claws the other two have a knife and energy knife. Buster has a better combo attack, Bubba gets a better defense"
Rotten frowned, "No ranged weapons?"
Brain shrugged "Not much more I could do with the time you gave me. First off, They were told not to use the cartridges in the microwave - that literally toasted their original VMs. Second they aren't the most......accurate of shots - they do better close in. Third, as I said, there wasn't any more time to do anything else. Of course if you like I could give then the old M-Valkyries?
"Er, no...those were such....common VMs in their time, completely unsuitable."
"Well, there you have it then. I'd suggest some practice time before the match. Now I'd like to get back to my studies".
"You heard the man, gentlemen....get your disks and try them out on each other" Rotten snapped "and this time do NOT put them in the microwave - give them back to me".
The twins claimed their new disks.....

The Arena (early evening)

Maki was bored, with finals happening tomorrow, there wasn't much business today. A few adults were running a lackluster match with some Australian friends, but they were using older stock VMs in the Level 120 arena...and not doing too well at that. There were also some folks at the stand up games, but that was normal. Hai, another boring night at work with nothing to do.
"Evening Maki"
She jumped, startled out of here boredom "OH!, Oh, hi Jenny what came I do for you?"
"Slot me for the temple scenario would you - need to practice and that arena gives me the best workout." Jenny smiled as she handed over her cartridge to be scanned "And, as usual I need the reflex chambers."
Maki returned the smile "No problem we aren't that busy, use the first one." she slotted the disk and started the scan "What are you doing here tonight, I thought you would be working on studying for final exam?"
"Normally I would, but I have just GOT to get rid of some of this stress or I'll never remember anything"
Maki snorted "Be glad you don't have to face the educational system I did. Japan is very hard on young student" the disk popped out "here you go, the scenario will start automatically when you select"
"Thanks" Jenny called back as she started over to the chambers "I'm going to need it" especially tomorrow, she added to herself. The reflex chamber closed up with a pop and hiss.

FRIDAY

The Arena

Maki was most definitely not bored. In fact she was wishing she was bored again. A Friday, a payday and the day when finals were over. Most definitely a busy night. She and Jaired had been working non-stop since they came on shift and the fact that a reflex chamber and two pods were reserved didn't help the customer backlog. At least there was a much anticipated challenge match this night. Normally challenge matches were no real big thing (although that really depended on who was participating) but this one was rumored to have drawn out some of the reclusive rich elite, and that made this an Event.
Jenny had been there for an hour already watching the crowds and wondering if the challenge was a good idea. Not that it matters at this point - I got myself in this far, I will have to see it through she sighed to herself. At least the match will be impressive - a two on one. I can take them - they are simply rich thugs....Now, where is Isa? She went looking.
Isa was standing in a quiet corner talking on her cell phone "Now you are sure you have the right person for this? After all, I do not want the waste collection contract to fall through, we used a lot of capitol on the recycling center and losing that would really affect third quarter profits. You are sure? OK I'll leave it to you then, but I'd like to get the press involved afterwards, having them there to early could spook them." She smelled a familiar scent "I have to go now, call me if things don't go as planned" Isa put away her cell phone "Sorry Jenny, I didn't mean for business to catch up with me tonight. Are you about ready?" "No, but lets get it over with anyways - I want to be buttoned up before they arrive. Do me a favor would you..here is the reservation chip and the Knights disk, could you log me into the front desk?" "Sure, I can do that, anything else?" "Ya, wish me luck!" "You don't need that against those two do you?"
They set out in separate directions...

Out front

Parking on a day like this day is always chaotic. Everyone arrives early trying to get a good spot and finds that everyone is already there. Fortunately when one has money you can afford to use a chauffeur to find a spot and go home afterwards thought Rotten as they pulled up to the entrance. As they stepped out of the car Rotten ducked back in and gave the driver parking instructions. Coming back out the roar of The Arena washed over him and his companions. "Well, we have a lively crowd tonight my friends" he remarked as they headed up the steps "Remember - don't embarrass me here, what I told the geek the other day also applies to you two as well. You aren't the only ones that can fill the job I've given you ...understand?" The twins nodded assent and opened the door.
Inside the noise was intensified as they walked in. Looking at the crowd Rotten pointed at the main counter "I guess you two need to check in, here are your disks...Buster...Bubba" The two took their disks "Don't worry about nothin' Ronald, We'll crush whoever challenged us" Buster said peevishly "I still would have liked to use the pods back at the campus - these don't have any of brain's mods on them and that is gonna hurt us." "Yeah, Ronnie" Rotten winced at that "These pods ain't nuthin like what we use back there, it might be better to try to reschedule the match so we can use them"
Rotten put his arms around the twins and started guiding then to the front desk "We have been over this HOW many times? That is simply not possible, you two screwed up and got seen messing around, you were challenged to actually show up for the match and here you are. Now get logged in and finish this quickly. Go." so saying he gently pushed them ahead towards the desk "I'll be watching from the snack bar and brain will be recording the match from the school, show this upstart that the Academy is better than they are."
Buster looked at Bubba and shrugged, both headed for the counter.
Jaired saw the two approach and started the setup for the arena. Buster got there first "Um, yeah, I got a challenge for arena 11" "Me too" followed Bubba. Jaired looked at them "OK guys gimme your disks" They handed them over and he took them for scanning "you two have your schemes for these VMs set yet?" They nodded "Ok, the match is set for fifteen minutes from now, Buster you have pod 7, Bubba pod 12 good luck" Jaired hated giving them the customary wish, but that was part of the job, it didn't mean he had to mean it.
Inside the reflex chamber Jenny was stretching out. The chamber was large enough that she couldn't touch the sides with her six foot staff. The floor had been locked so she wouldn't slide around and the positional scanners were dark, indicating inactivity.
The speakers crackled and she heard Jaireds voice "Jenny, they're here. The match will start in ten minutes, you have your suit on yet?"
She smiled nervously "It's on, just let me know the two minute mark so I can load up."
"Can do, Good Luck."
"Thanks, by the way when do you get off?"
"Depends - how good are you?"
"JAIRED!!!!" He winced as the volume in his earbug nearly blew his ear off
"Just kidding, Just kidding - seriously I'm finished at midnight, why?"
"Isa and Chiisai and I are going out for pizza, you want to come along?"
"I think so, but isn't that a bit late?"
"A little, but she insisted that I ask..."
"I'll get back to you on that, gotta get back to work now, bye" The speaker clicked as he shut off the circuit. "Hey Maki, I'm taking a break - this earbug is sounding bad"
"OK, but don't take to long" And I'm NOT suprised that it's malfunctioning with what I heard she smirked.

At the snack bar

Isa's nose wrinkled at the smell of overdone cologne grew stronger. Just my luck, she thought glumly, a thousand people here tonight and he has to find me.
"Well, if it isn't the lucky little blind girl" Rotten sneered as he approached.
"Ah, I see that the waste contract you lost is still with you Ronald, you still reek as ever. I will have to talk to collections and have you disposed of." she shot back.
Stung Rotten retorted "You wish, little girl. You still don't have any business sense as it is, so why worry. A person with your....difficulties has no place in the rarified world of high finance. Why don't you find something more suitable to your capabilities - like selling pencils?"
"I've been selling pencils - outselling you in fact. Besides by this time next year my profits will be at least 3 percent more than yours, thanks to that contract you lost."
"Nonsense, that was a losing contract to begin with - you won't make anything out of it."
"Wrong again, yes in direct costs it doesn't look good...but I invested in the recycling plant last year and I'll be able to sell the recyclable items back at an almost pure profit" she smiled sweetly "So it looks like your short-sighted gains gets you nothing in the long run. Now if you don't mind...I'd like to get my food" with a modest bow she left a fuming individual behind.

At the front desk

"Maki could you announce the match in five please?" The manager called over
"Yes dad, anything else?"
"No, not for you. Jaired, is the announcement programmed for the center holo?"
"Got it, voice and visuals are set. Match views are pre-programmed and monitors are standing by."
"Good lad, Maki...?" Maki hit the general announcement and a tone pealed across the arcade "Attention the Challenge Match will start in five minutes, participants please man your pods. Thank you." She looked over at Jaired "We're all set."
"Great, shall we start the checklist? I'll handle arena generation if you'll take the VM crosscheck and control check ok?"
"Suits me, I still have trouble with the interface" Both of them were relieved at the front desk and they headed into the computer room. Jaired got there after Maki, she tossed him a heads-up set and they both plugged in and went to work.

Reflex Chamber

"Two minutes Jenny, chamber will go hot in one"
"Ready." she replied. She started a last minute check of her gray and black suit.
The suit allows the scanners to track her movements in real time by tracking reflective dots at the joints. Satisfied that the reflectors weren't dirty she checked her staff dots. With that done she waited.

The Pods.

"Either of you have specialized controls for these things?" asked the attendant.
"Naw, we don't need anything like that" they boasted in unison.
"Ok then, these will go hot in two minutes. Board your pods."
Complying with the instructions the attendant checked that they were belted in and sealed the pods.

Computer section

"They're ready" came the attendants voice over the channel
"Thanks Mark, now get clear we have it from here"
"Clear"
Maki looked up "Ready for VM upload"
The manager looked at Jaired "Initialize the field and synchronize the pods with the reflex chamber. Maki start the upload."

In the pods and in the chamber the words "Insert Disk" appeared. Jenny carefully moved across the active floor and finished inserting the cartridge, the Twins slotted theirs as well. In all three locations the screens muted and moments later panels started lighting up as the control systems manifested "Control check, please" appeared. The twins yawned and settled comfortably in the pods seats, Jennys message quickly went away as she went through a standard range-of-motion check as the positional scanners came on-line and she slid on her control visor

"Pods are functional, chamber is active - all scanners operational" Jaired reported
"Compilation in progress, controls active."

In sequence pod 7 and pod 12 then the reflex chamber's 'clear' commands came through.
"They're ready." Maki called out
"Activate the center holo then, now let's watch the fight" the manager smiled.

Center Holo

The screens flickered for a moment then the virtual world came into focus.
Mist swirled for a few moments then the jungle beyond became visible, the viewpoint shifted slightly and an old ruined multi-story temple came into view. The jungle streamed past as the camera moved in toward the ancient structure. Fallen columns barely visible through the overgrowth framed a cracked doorless entrance. Through the dark entranceway the temple interior faded into view. Light streamed down from gaps in the ceiling highlighting the remains inside.
The center was dominated by a large stage a story high, with steps on all four sides leading to its top. Three of the walls had large alcoves, some with statues so old that they might not even be human in origin, others had large urns in various states of repair. Three alcoves were dark with faint glimmers.
The back wall was dominated by a massive relief of a dragon with partial words Inscribed. The flowing viewpoint moved over the center platform and slid toward The relief and as it approached a large circular pit moved into view.

Suddenly the view jerks right toward one of the empty alcoves and a pair of glowing blue eyes are the first thing visible, then the rest of a rotating figure begins to form. A standard humanoid structure starts to assemble. Following the basic structure, armor plates form covering the body in a sleek blue and silver shell, the right hand reaches out and a staff-like weapon with a serrated sword blade on each end appears in an explosion of light. Following that the point of view moves to the armored face and a roman horsehair crest manifests on the helm. Having finished creating itself, the Silent Knight strides forth to do battle.
Next the view shifts into another alcove occupied by a pile of old bones.
Sinister chanting can be heard in the background, and the bone pile starts to twitch. Suddenly a rib jerks free of the pile and is followed by a tibia then a femur, after that there is a veritable explosion of bones as the whole pile takes to the air. The chanting gets louder and more sibilant and the bones start to come together into a figure...with four arms, when the skull lands on the neck green flames shoot from the eye sockets and a maniacal chittering laugh can be heard as it too moves forward.
In the third alcove lay a dust and debris covered sarcophagus. Similar chanting can be heard here, the alien rhythms carrying a different emphasis. A muffled thump can be heard over the voices and the dust jumps from the lid. Another thump, more pronounced and some of the debris falls from the edge. A third thump, this time the lid moves slightly and mailed fingers are seen peeking out from the edge of the opening. The fingers get a grip on the edge of the lid and tug it opens further. The camera view moves in a little closer to view the occupant. All that can be seen are red eyes. With what Is seen to be a massive effort the lid is shoved aside revealing a black armored warrior. The revealed figure sits up, a slash of light showing only part of it. Slowly the dust covered warrior clambers out of its tomb, it reaches in and draws out a massive sword and shield, with a howl of promised vengeance it strides toward the opening.

Computer Center

"VM Compilation complete, the arena is active" Maki called out.
" I'll bet five that Jenny mops them" Jaired called over to her.
"You're on - but I'll take a quart of Haagen Daz ice cream instead" Maki retorted.
"Deal. Hey, check the crowd!"
On the security monitors the center section was packed. There were so many watching the match that they were almost crushing those towards the middle.
"Jaired, put this on in the snack bar and over by the coin-ops. Maki, how is the network holding?"
"Fine so far, most are simply watching this one - think it might be because of those rich guys from the Reuban Academey." Come to think of it, if they weren't such prigs I might be tempted to be out there myself with one of them, she thought. But I have standards...
The computer team went back to work.

In the Temple.

Jenny came out first, and quickly released her two WarBits and had them cloak. Next she tied in their sensors to hers and got a good look at the surrounding arena. As she had expected the main fighting area would be up on the center altar area, the sides were a bit too restrictive for the slash and parry swordwork her weapon called for. Crouching slightly she set her sight at the edge of the platform and mimed a jump. The Silent Knight responded with a hundred fifty meter gravitic assisted leap to the top. With a complete aerial view to all of the stars she began waiting patiently for her opposition
Busters skeleton came shambling out of its alcove chittering/laughing to itself as it approached on of the staircases it caught sight of its partner "Yo, Bubba you see her?" "Naw, but since we can't fight to well down here I bet she's up top" to prove his point he tried an experimental swing with his greatsword - it clanged on the stonework before he could finish his backswing "See? S'all right though we'll catch the redhead up on top an-" "Redhead? How you know the guy we're fighting's a redhead?" "Ronnie caught up with me just before we went live, told me that blind girl's been hangin' round and who is always with her? The redhead. An if'n it's the redhead she's gonna be using that spooky Knight-thingy of hers."
"Well, she's only a girl and there is two of us, c'mon bro, I want to finish this so we can catch up with some of those babes out there. You take those stairs, I'll take these - meet ya up top."

Computer Center

"With that attitude, he isn't going anywhere with the ladies here tonight" Maki commented "He's probably forgotten that only his opponents cannot hear him."
Watching the security screen Jaired looked over at her "No kidding - you can hear the catcalls in here."

Snack bar

"Oh Ronald, you can't even hire quality friends anymore can you?" Isa laughed
All Rotten could do was snarl at his friends blundering.

Inside

The twins VMs ascended the stairs in unison, when they got to the top they spotted the Knight waiting patiently in a guard position. "I see that you two actually decided to show, oooohhh I think I might be scared now. Then again maybe you little boys should log off now before a mere girl cuts you to itty-bitty pieces.."
"A street trash girl like you couldn't scare us wench!" Buster snapped "Why don't you go back to the slums where you belong"
"Yeah, and maybe you won't get your precious little feelings hurt before you go either" Bubba added.
"Well, since the two of you feel that way let's get it ONNN!" Jenny mimed another jump and as she glided toward the skeleton she brought her weapon overhead and struck down. Buster saw it coming and dodged out of the way. Bubba started moving toward her as she jumped. Jennys VM landed with a bone jarring thud and the weapon splintered a small piece of the floor 'Missed' Jenny gritted. As she rose up she swung back and around - more to clear a space to manuver that to actually inflict damage. The twins moved away from her as she turned. The trio started circling each other, Jenny feinted towards Bubba, who hopped backwards and charged towards Bubba. Bubba moved in for a shield bash but wound up blocking both of jennys strikes. Each hit off broke off a few chunks from the shield in a shocking flash - but nothing got through. Bubba countered with a clumsy side strike that Jenny easily avoided as she flowed back out of his reach. Behind her Buster moved in for an easy shot at her back. Rearing its skull head back and letting loose an insane laugh, the knives the lower hands were holding bit deep into the rear armor.
Jenny snarled as a damage report scrolled across her visual display, her armor had been cut down thirty percent with that move. She responded with a reversed leg sweep that connected with the skeletons knees. Busters VM went down in a clatter, in his pod he was bounced around as his world went topsy turvey while he spun down to the ground.
Jenny backflipped away from Bubbas counter-attack and reset herself into a guard position. Buster got back on his feet an turned toward her "Bubba, let's rush her" "OK 1...2........GO!" both went at her, she reset her stance and whispered "Defiance, left target." As they moved in the, Black Knight was nailed center mass by the energized rings that flew from her torso weapon. The skeleton was still closing, so Jenny opted to dodge as her attack options were already used. Buster flew by in a swirl of flailing arms.
"You two are so clumsy, I'm not sure you should be allowed to play outside of a crib" she taunted "it's no wonder you guys are called the Gojiro twins - except the monster had a better excuse for klutzing around".
"@#$%&!" Bubba swore, that energy cannon shot got lucky and hit a chink in his armor. At the moment damage reports were telling him that he was going to be a lot slower because of powerplant damage. He moved back into the fray.

Snack bar

Rotten could be heard ranting a kilometer away as the twins damage was posted, Isa was simply smiling, she was watching the match with her imager. She knew she would pay for this in the morning when the headaches caught up with her, but this was to good to not watch "You go girl" she murmured. She was so intent on watching the fight onscreen that she jumped as something covered her screen. "Guess who?" a voice demanded. "Er, let's see. Jenny is in a match, Jaired is working, so is Maki, Auzzie is on vacation back home. I would guess...nobody important????" "Thanks a LOT you minx, I'll remember that!" Chiisai growled mock threatiningly. "Be sure that you do...you know better than to play that sort of game with me Chiisai. What's up?" "I was going to ask you that...rumor had it that it was Jenny that challenged to Godzilla twins for a match, I see it's true." "Sure is, and those knuckleheads have already made fools of themselves with the public at large" She nodded toward a fuming Ronald. "So what have I missed?" Chiisai asked. "Not much, thay've been dancing around for a bit, that skeleton took a cheap shot at her back, but she's mainly been checking out their capabilities". Chiisai took a seat "What caused her to hand out the challenge in the first place?" Isa began to relate what happened a week ago...

Inside

Jenny was busy. With the Dark Knight on her left and slightly behind and the skelton in front and to the right, all she could really do is constantly parry or she'd risk an internal hit. The skeleton was her primary worry as it had the fastest weapons. The Dark Knight was moving slower after she hit it in their attempted charge, so it was less of a worry. Deciding enough was enough she planted one end her weapon and vaulted over the skeleton and moved as far as her systems would allow. As the skeleton turned Jenny recalled her WarBits. The two drones moved in, and as they did so her view of the arena at large shrank. The twins started to close again, Jenny worked quickly, issuing verbal instructions to the remotes. As they closed to melee range again, Jenny acivated the Bits and jumped.
From the perspective of the would be attackers, their target suddenly split into three. "Which one is she?" screamed Buster. "I don't know" Bubba hollered back. "Pick one, I'll take another and we'll flush her out quickly enough". "Got it, I'll get this one on the right" A targeting cursor highlighted one of the possible targets. "OK, take her down".
Heh, they fell for them. Won't last long though Jenny thought. What to do, what to do?. Taking a quick glance around she spotted the pit. Aha! An Idea. She grinned and watched the twins chase her remotes paying her no attention at all. She stepped back off the edge and glided to the floor, out of sight. Hidden by the edge of the platform, she switched her point of view to the remotes. Good thing too, I'm getting a bit tired she sighed. The first remote was dancing away from the Dark Knight. Bubba quickly got tired of the chase and stopped. He let loose a very unearthly howl that warped everything in a hundred meter radius - including the lightly shielded drone. It popped and fizzled and the shadow image and drone faded from the mainframe existance "This one ain't her" he called out. "Good fer you, me I can't get a good hit over here with this on so I can't tell." Buster growled back. "Hurry up then, I'll watch your back in case you get lucky." Bubba relaxed for a moment, These pods were bruising him with all of the violent movements they have been pushing through.
Jenny was out of sight, but not idle. She revised the remaing Bits instructions to lead Buster over to the edge. Watching the results, she was pleased ' these two lummoxes are easier to lead around than ever' she giggled. 'And everyone thought I was insane to ask for silent running on this machine' she snuck around to where the Bit was to lead Buster. On cue, the leg of his VM was visible. She jumped and grabbed. Buster had time to squawk as it registered that he had ben grabbed. Jenny planted her virtual feet against the edge and jumped again using her grav thrusters at max - holding a leg. She flipped over backwards and pulled Buster with her. She let go in mid-air and he fell again. His legs have GOT to be real weak now she thought. Buster was mad, this was the third time he had been planted and he had only hit her twice early on. Damage reports were flashing critical leg damage and one arm was now non-functional thanks to a real bad landing. Picking himself up he found her waiting "Miss me?" she asked sweetly "Not this time you little @@@@!" he pressed a button on the left control stick and activated a preprogrammed attack.
The skeleton approached her slowly, menace in its glowing eyes. The lower right arm was dangling uselessly by its side. The upper arms started reaching for her and the lower arms started to rotate faster and faster. Jenny backed up 'uh oh..what is he trying to do?' It soon became obvious, the upper arms were trying to grab her so that the lower arms could cut through her like an undead buzzsaw. 'This is too easy' out loud "OK little girly-man, you've had you fun now it's time for you to go home" she pulled her weapon into its guard position and waited for him to close.
This clip would later be used in a local advertising piece: The lower arms were rotating so quickly that they became a computer generated blur, its opponant stepped into the attact and counter-swung. At the moment before the weapons impacted the staff/sword blazed white as a star and proceeded to let the arms hit--and slice themselves off.
The skeleton backs off confused as to what just happened, the silver and blue figure presses forward and removes the skeletons legs. The swords brilliance fades away and returns the weapon to normal. "Well Buster, it's over for you." As the weapon comes down on the neck Busters scream of panic was heard throughout the Arena. His displays shut down. Now all he could do was watch the remainder of the fight and not be able to do anything about it.

The weapon staus bar indicated that the nova charge had been used and that she had four more units - with ten minutes until full charge was recovered. Before the skeleton could de-rezz she grabbed the skull and jumped back up to the platform, her Bit returned to the rooftop area to provide a full view again. "Miss me Bubba? Well, I brought you a present to make up...hope you like it" Jenny tossed the inert skull at his feet. "I hope your brother brought a spare set of shorts, I think he wet himself when he screamed."
"You'll pay for that, nobody talks about my brother like that!!" he cried
"Oh, sure. You going to try and run me down again in that car of yours?" She asked
"We were just having fun - you're the one who took it so personal" he sputtered.

Snack Bar

"BUBBA YOU FOOL!!!!" Rotten screamed. He looked around, grabbed a glass and threw it at the holo.
Chiisai looked over at Isa "Could you excuse me for a moment? I need to..."
"Sure Chiisai, don't take long. I think she is going to finish him soon" Isa said distractedly.
She never noticed him leave.

Inside

Bubba was really pressing his attacks, Jenny was whittling away his shield and finally managed to sever its mounting. As his shield fell away Jenny taunted him again "I'll be generous - you can punch out now and I'll save you the humiliation of losing completely."
"NEVER!! Not after what you did to my brother!"
"Have it your way, but I'm getting tired and I'm going to end this."
Bubba howled again, stripping away more armor from the Silent Knight. Jenny riposeted and took out the Dark Knights throat, and knocked that weapon out of the fight.
The computer decided that the Dark Knight was staggered by the hit and he momentarily lost control of his VM. Jenny followed up by removing one leg and an arm.
Bubba somehow managed to stay upright, but when he swung, he missed and fell flat on his face. Jenny strolled up behind him "Too bad you didn't take my offer, now you get what you asked for." she placed one of her feet in his back and clipped his arm off at the shoulder then proceeded to remove his leg "You know, this reminds me of an old british movie I heard about. Going to have to find out its name". Once Bubba had been dismembered she stood back and evaluated her work. She dropped her weapon and picked up the remaining torso and head and jumped down by the pit "Now you will be a sacrifice to Justice you sniviling little worm" She turned toward the relief and raised him over her head "Remember this next time we meet - mess with me or my friends and I will find a way to make you pay-publicly" she snarled. She threw him over the edge. He screamed for a long time as he fell out of sight.

Outside

The crownd was going wild. Two to one odds, money and power on one side, pluck on the other and the expected underdog wins spectacularly.
As Jenny emerged from the reflex chamber she saw the twins moving out the front door.
She was quickly distracted as her friends surrounded her with congratulations. Jaired handed her a towel "Twins have bugged out already." he screamed in her ear, even so he was barely audible over the crowd "Great Job!!!" he repeated and moved off back to work.
She moved forward to meet the crowd

Outside the Arena

"How could the two of you lose like that?" Rotten was already berating them.
"A single girl, with a CP disadvantage and cheap equipment beat the two of you - IN PUBLIC - and made it look easy at that. And you" he turned on Bubba "had the stupidity to admit that you tried a drive by on two pedestrians."

Inside the Arena

Jenny finally managed to push past the crowds and get to the restrooms to clean up.
She met Isa at the door. "Quite a match you put on out there, satisfied?" " I will be once I get to a shower. Those reflex suits are great, but lord do you work up a sweat in one of them."
Isa smiled "I know, you can be smelled a kilometer and a half away...you still up for a victory celebration?"
"Give me bit to clean up and I will be"
"OK, by the way have you seen Chiisai, he went to the bathroom just after you finished Buster and hasn't been seen since."
"No but I'll look in here, I wouldn't put it past that boy."
"Thanks, meet you up front".

Outside

Rotten was livid, first his bodyguards lose a match, then they prove their stupidity, and now his car was missing its tires. He looked up at the twins "Get this fixed now or..."
They hurried to find a repair service, as they moved away they could hear him "YOU WON'T GET AWAY WITH THIS"

Miles away...

Some old guys were out fishing
"Excuse me?" one man asked.
"Huh?" his friend replied.
"Thought I heard you say something about getting away or something."
"Nope weren't me, I'm just fishing here"
"Oh, never mind"
They went back to fishing

Outside the Arena

"Hold up guys.." Chiisai panted
"Where have you been?" Isa demanded "I thought you were going to the bathroom or something.
"Maybe you shouldn't ask about the 'or something' Isa" Jaired joked "or you may find out things you don't want to know.'
"Jaired......"
"Just kidding, just kidding"
"C'mon guys I'm hungry, are you all going to argue all night or are we going to ge something to eat - I, for one, am starved" Jenny asked plaintively.
The group walked safely into the night.



EPILOGE

At Intron High grounds.

Isa was merryly humming. Actually, se had kept humming almost the entire day, and Jenny's nerves were starting to itch. She begt, "Isa, please!..." Isa stopped humming. "What?" She stared at Jenny, without giving signal of understanding what she was talking of. A second later, she realized of the humming and dlushed slightly.
"Oh, sorry... I think I was starting to get a little repetitive?"
"A little is too little. I take you're happy about something?" Isa blushed a bit more, then smirked widely.
"My, yessss... I was thinking about what I told you about 'time and place'". Now was time for Jenny to blush and smirk, but Isa couldn't be sure.
"Do uou think I took the lesson right, Sensei?" Laughing, Isa tried her best Master Po voice. "You are a fast learner, althoug the Master is still the Master, Grasshopper".
"Who calls me?" That was Chiisai's voice. Surprised, Isa wondered herself why had she just failed to recognize the tell-tale sound of his noisy bike, untill she realized that there was NO noise. She put her googles on, just to be sure.
Yes he was, and on his unmisstakable Velo Glide bike. "Hi, Kojiro!" The kid stopped his bike, on a rather exhibicionistic way, and dismounted. "How's that your bike's making no noise today? I failed to recognize you!"
"Good evening, Isami, Jenny... yes, Isa, I'm a cheater, right?" He handed a newspaper to Jenny, "Jenny, would you be so kind as to read this to Isa?", pointing to an article. While Jenny browsed the newspaper, he kept talking to Isami. "I managed to fix it! I found a pair of 3.7mm bolts and a pressure plate to jury-rig a fastener for the chain."
"I see..." said Isa, sounding not very convinced.
Jenny finally found the notice and started unconmtrolably laughing. When she recovered her composture, she readed aloud:

"THE GEOISLAND TIMES - MANURE TRUCK DUMPS CARGO ON THE STREET.
"Yesterday, a truck loaded with manure for the hydroponic farms unloaded its load in the middle of the street. The truck was stopped at a red light and, for causes yet unknown, dumped its entire cargo over the car behind it, which was totally covered by the load. The driver of the truck, property of Shinzato Corp, declared that the only way the truck could dump its load without him touching the button was that the occupants of the car, a hummer driven by two students of the RL Academy, had been playing manipulating the controls on the back of the truck. "... at this point, Jenny crouched in laughs again.
"Yes, he said that the only way of dumping the load was to do it from theback of the truck, if he touched not the button. He said so, right?", said Kojiro.
Jenny stared at Isa. She was posing such an inocent, angelical, never-broke-a-dish look, that two small red horns were about to actually grow from her temples. Jenny finally spoke: "Time and place, right?"
Isa said nothing. Then she smirked again. "I've heard that the police arrested them... they're free again by now, of course, but they'll probably have to pay for the wasted manure", said her, his voice as if giving it no importance to the matter.
Rolling on the floor laughing, Jenny finally managed to say, "Oh, Sensei, you taught me all I know, but evidently didn't taught me all YOU knows! I'm but a humble beginner!"
"Yes, Isami, that manure is totally wasted after being over -and into- his car, I believe", said Kojiro. "Oh, Jenny, I heard about how your combat ended. I won five eurobucks to Braddock with it!" he turned again to Isa. "By the way, Isa, next time those pig dogs, or any other pig dog for that matter, tries to attack you, you won't be keeping it silent!" His voice was vehement. "You should have told someone!" .
"Well I did."
"I don't mean that truck driver of your corp. I mean your family, your cousin, your friends! You know you've got people who cares for you."
Isa smiled broadly at him. "Yes, like Jenny. Like Bernie." And like you, she thought. "I've heard they' ain't going to clean the car, but to buy a new one", she said, just to change matter.
"Yes they are, or rather their dad is. A brand new all-terrain Nissan Revenger, with all the options. They got it parked before their home yesterday night! You can say 'Fast Delivery'! Did you know, this particular model of Nissan's got a spetial safety for the airbag? Just to ensure it doesn't blow up when passing over, for example, a catch-water conduit..."
"Ah...", said Jenny, not really very interested, but Isa was actually paying atention. Kojiro followed, "Yes, like the one they have at the entrance of the RLA campus. A safety held in place by a pair of 3.7mm bolts and a pressure plate...".
He looked towards his bike. Isa started laughing.

At RLA Grounds.

Herr Wermacht, Calculus theacher on the RLA, was even more pale than usual, his back and hands against the wall, his eyes (and his usually brillantined-down hair) wild. The lot of his class was alternating their own wild eyes betwen the large hole on the exterior wall of the classroom and the Nissan Revenger car stopped partially over the theacher's dais, its front end barely inches away from the belly of Wermacht. When he managed to recover his breath (his eyes were still rolling, though), his voice was (almost) as sharp as always:
"Gabriel Boyd, Rober Boyd, don't bother attending the next tests. "
"That means we are....", was Buster idiot enough to ask.

At the VRcade.

"Who just shouthed 'FLUSHED!', Maki? He damaged my ears inside the pod", asked Jaired.

Story writen by Kencyr

Epiloge by LITTLE LOCUS

Back to Virtual Mekton narrative works index
Back to the VM site main page