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Mutants & Masterminds: Future Imperfect - (Fiction): Fight Night [Completed]

Adrian Moss

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He came out of the back room; a converted chemical closet made into an impromptu dressing room, and instantly heard the shouts and screams beginning. The women’s screams were even more frightening in their intensity than those of the men. They wanted blood. They wanted to see bones broken and men beaten to the ground. Over it all, he began to hear a chant. It was ‘Kid’ ‘Kid’. It was his handle, The Kid. They called him that because of his youthful good looks and perfect body.

Adrian was tripped down to the waist. He had on his old blue jeans, his belt, and little else. His feet were bare, as were his knuckles. This was bare-knuckle mixed marital arts, but The Kid was known as primarily a boxer. It put the odds against him, which was the way he liked it. He always bet whatever little money he had on himself, because he knew how little of the purse would come his way. He was always being robbed. He took that frustration out in the ring.

His opponent for the final fight of the night was a MMA reject called Beast Kruger. The guy took steroids and looked like an abuser. His brown hair was spiky and his eyes were that of a caged beast. This man was an animal. Adrian didn’t mind. He was the wall that the angry horde of beasts broke themselves upon. He has shattered more than a few teeth. He was ready – and he was a Mutant.

They met in the middle of the concrete floor, Kruger salivating at the thought of bloodying another human being. The ref spoke out the rules which would barely be enforced. The only one that mattered was that when a person fell unconscious, or tapped out, the fight was over. Everything else the fans thought were for wimps. When a man went down, they wanted to see you kick and pummel him.

“Kid, I’m going to shatter your face,” Kruger jeered, trying to psyche Adrian out. Adrian said nothing, his silence being one of his weapons to intimidate.

Kruger was angry. He launched a pre-emptive punch to Adrian’s temple. The Kid caught it on his glove, knocking it aside. The ref jumped in and separated them.

Kruger was shouting, “I’m going to get you! I’m going to get you.”

The Kid backed to his corner and waited for the bell. The voices got quieter and a hush took over the room. Bookies remained a slight murmur as people put in their last bets.

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The bell rang and the Beast Kruger came charging on. Adrian only got a few steps away from his corner when the Thing was on him. A kick to the ribs was followed up by a flurry of punches to the head. The guy kept coming and coming. Adrian ducked his head down and pulled his arms up to shield his face and body. He took the kicks in his side, or thighs, while his arms soaked up the punches.

The Beast was pushing Adrian around to his right. The kicks were like hammer blows. The kicks were wrecking balls. Adrian was like an impenetrable mountain. The blows were felt, but it was a distant pushing, not the thunder stokes that the crowd saw. The Beast’s kicks were coming less frequently. He sure was strong, but not strong enough.

Five minutes of pushing Adrian around the squared ring, The Beast Kruger was covered in a sheen of sweat, his breath was labored, and his hands were blooded. The man was wearing down and only his anger remained. He tried to knock Adrian down with a kick to the knee, but The Kid dodged out of the way. Adrian still had air in his lungs and his body barely showed the wear of the fight. Sweat matted his hair a bit and he had streaks of Kruger’s blood on him.

Several more kicks followed, but the man was getting desperate. How could this opponent take so much punishment and still be standing, The Beast thought. How?

The kicks had fallen into a pattern and the third one was caught under Adrian’s left arm while the right one came down on the knee. The knee bent but the ligaments held. Still, Kruger was limping now. The Kid went over to the offensive and his supporters (the people betting on him) began screaming. This was the Kid’s style. He took a pounding until it was the time to no longer take a pounding then the fists came out.

Kruger’s blocks weren’t sufficient. Adrian was all but fresh, while The Beast was staggering, fighting for air. The Kid’s punches were driving the air out of those lungs as those knuckles pummeled the sides and ribs. Punch, punch, punch and on they came. Kruger had given up all pretense of hitting back. His last few efforts had been so feeble that The Kid hadn’t bothered blocking them.

Kruger stumbled and fell; a fist to the jaw. Adrian was on top of him fist sledge hammering the head and jaw. The Beast stirred once more in defense, but his arms were bludgeoned aside. The Beast was still and Adrian jumped away. It was always his fear that he would kill someone in one of these fights. It didn’t stop him from coming back, because of all things; this was the quickest and most invisible way to make money.

The ref separated the two men, which was mostly unnecessary as The Kid had always backed up. The crowded was either cheering or booing.

“Kill the bum!” some roared. They wanted their champion’s blood. They wanted his life. They had shouted his praise when he beat and crippled other, lesser opponents. Now he had failed and they wanted his head in payment for such treachery. It sickened The Kid. It sickened him on humanity. Adrian made no move to attack Kruger. Instead he went back to his corner and paced. Two security goons came out and dragged Kruger off the concrete. No one had someone in their corner, and for a paramedic, you had to make the call yourself.

The ref came out and motioned The Kid to the center of the ring. He came forth and the ref took his hand and raised it up. The Kid stood there in his pristine glory, made all that much impressive by the streaks of Kruger’s blood on him. From a distance it looked like he had a few minor cuts. Bruises were noticeably absent, but few cared. He was their Adonis Champion … their new champion now. The ref announced his coronation and there was more cheering. Men waved money at him, showing their successes with the bookies. Odds would certainly be longer now, or so the smart money said.

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The Kid was back in the closet when she came in. She had the awkward name of Adriana and she had two bodyguards. She was wearing a slight, but ankle length red, glittery dress that left little to the imagination. Adrian could see the lines around her eyes – crow’s feet – and those thin lines around her mouth. They betrayed her age, though her plastic surgeon should be applauded. Her hair was long and dark, her eyes a brilliant emerald green, her lips were full and moist. All in all, she was a voluptuous package. Adrian knew that this was the velvet glove.

“Hello Kid,” she began. “You made me a lot of money tonight. Kruger had a large following that you allowed me to fleece.”

“Kruger,” Adrian said with wariness.

“He’s finished. We don’t need two champions, and I can always use a sure thing like you. Kruger was flamboyant, but the crowd really loves your bronzed body,” she said, reaching out and running a finger between his pectorals, “and that pretty face.”

She licked her finger and made a purring noise.

“I’m the new champion now?”

She gave a predatory grin,

“You were the Champion when you stepped into the ring. I’m never wrong about these things. That’s why I run the show here. I run the top circuit and that’s why I bring in the big money.”

“What if I don’t want to be champions?”

The grin never left her face.

“Your sister … she’s very vulnerable. Pity if she was no longer around for you to support.”

Adrian stood up. The two guards reached inside their coats. Adrian stared at the three of them for a long moment. He could take them, the ones in here, but what about Rebecca? Did she already have guards on her? He looked at Adriana and nodded.

“What’s my take then? I only want to do this for a year or two then you can find yourself another Champ. I’ll take the fall like a good boy.”

She gave a deep, throaty, melodic laugh.

“Oh no, my good boy, your take will be twenty percent, because I want you dressing the part of my Champion … and you have a sister to support. And, you will be working for me for as long as I want you to. Maybe I’ll sell you with the franchise when I chose to get out.”

“Why in the hell would I agree to that?”

“Because you are a Mutant darling. Because you don’t want to take that long ride across the desert (to Las Vegas). You will find it hard to make much money in the MIC, I can guarantee you. Betray me and I’ll turn you in. Is that simple enough for you?”

Adrian’s shoulders slumped. She appealed to his deep-rooted fear and she was right. He might be able to get by in the MIC, but what about Rebecca? No, he couldn’t do it.

That was the iron-fist in that velvet glove. It was time for the glove again.

“It doesn’t have to be so bad, Adrian. I want you to move in with me. My house is quite large and we’ll have a room for your sister too. It could be,” she ran a finger under his chin, “surprisingly pleasant.”

Adrian could certainly sleep with worse looking woman, but why couldn’t he looks past the blackness of her soul?

“Let me go get my sister then. I’ll do what you want.”

“Good boy. I’ll send two of my boys with you … to see that you don’t get lost, and remember, I don’t make threats, I make promises.”

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Their motel was in the worst part of town. Adrian had to walk five blocks just to take the bus to ‘work’. This time he was taken home in a black Expedition with two body-builders/gun’s for hire. They activated the anti-Theft system before coming up. Adrian was dejected and thinking of ways to break this news to his sister. The walk up the stairs was depressing.

Adrian put the key in the lock and opened the door. There was always that fear that some crazed neighbor, drugged out of their mind, had broken in looking for loot to steal. He had gotten his sister a small TV so she wouldn’t go out of her mind while she waited for him. They had been planning to move out anyway, as the money got better. Now … they would certainly be moving up as well as out.

Rebecca was half way off the bed when Adrian stepped into the room. She was half way to the closet were they kept the gun. A smile splashed across her face then died a quick death.

‘What?’ she mouthed.

“I’ll explain. Let’s pack up.”

There wasn’t much to pack up. The sheets belonged to the hotel and they kept their backpacks packed in case they needed to run in the middle of the night. This was caused by valuable and expensive lessons from the past.

“I’ve had this offer to move in with my … manager. You … can … will come along too. I’ll be getting more money now and it will be steady work.”

“Steady work? Adrian, we can’t have steady work. That’s what you tell me all the time.”

“I know that,” he said, eyes begging her to understand, “This time is different.”

They will kill you if I don’t go with them.

Rebecca looked at the two goons and the way they leered at her. They weren’t afraid of her brother, the way they really should have. Then it hit her.

“Don’t do this for me!” she pleaded.

Adrian hesitated. One of the goons took a step into the room and said, “Shut up bitch. The Lady is giving you two brats a place in the world. Open your mouth again and I’ll put something in it.”

Rebecca blanched then turned red in anger.

Adrian saw what he saw and heard what he heard. Something inside of him snapped. She would never be safe on this road. She would never be safe in their clutches. Now they had to die.

The first goon had made a huge mistake. He had moved within reach of The Kid. The mutant lashed out and grabbed the goon by the face. Wire-tight muscles contracted then expanded. The goons head sped toward the wall. The impact of the back of his head was resounding, the plaster cracked and his face bled against Adrian’s palm. The man was staggered.

“Get away from him, Freak!” yelled the second goon pulling his gun out.

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Adrian glared at him as he smashed the first goon into the wall again. The response was an immediate gunshot. The young Adonis’ shirt blossomed out, but there was no accompanying blood. The mutant staggered back and there was as sickening sensation in the pit of the remaining goon’s stomach. The first goon slid down the wall out for the count. Adrian took as step forward and the goon took careful aim and fired again. Another footstep toward him and the goon started panicking.

The shots came faster, until the seventh one was spent. By then Adrian was upon him. The Kid pushed the gun down and punched him once in the chest. He punched him again, harder and something broke. The goon collapsed. Adrian let go of his gun hand and the man fell to the ground. Rebecca came up from behind the bed.

“Let’s get their wallets,” she called out to her brother. Adrian nodded. They would need money to get out of town now. He dragged the second goon out of the hallway and into his room. He took the man’s wallet, shifted through it and got out the cash. Rebecca did the same. She held up the money in a fan. It wasn’t too much. It wouldn’t’ get them far.

Down on the street, the two kids looked around.

“Where are we going?” Rebecca asked.

“We can’t go far. There is San Diego, but she’ll be looking for that. I think we can get back to San Francisco.”

They made sour faces. Neither one of them liked the idea of doubling back so soon. SF was a begging town, were a Caucasian fighter who won earned too much attention from the local criminal element.

“San Jose?”

Rebecca frowned.

“Boring, and besides can we find any work there. It’s Computerville; too many geeks who want to figure out who we are.”

That was probably total bullshit on her part, but if she didn’t like San Jose …

“How about Las Vegas?” she said with a smile.

“Vegas? That’s were the MIC is. Why do we want to be walking toward that place?”

“Who would look for us there, Bro.? Besides, we are likely to be the only mutants in town. Who else would be crazy enough to stay there?”

How could he fight with that logic?

“Okay. We’ll go to the station and see how far our money takes us. Las Vegas it is.”

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