Stage 1: The Beauty Pageant’s Field of Honor

There she stood in front of all those spectators. Her gi revealed thick powerful alabaster legs, Her blond hair was tied into a thick braid. The words Miss Idaho were crammed through the belt loops of her robe. The judges were gob smacked and had no idea what this get up had to do with baton twirling.

“My talent is the ability to best Miss Illinois in unarmed combat.”

There had been an unscheduled change to the programming and no one inside of The Miss Juniper Hope Pageant knew a damn thing about it, save Doris Walters, Miss Idaho. Well, Miss Illinois had an inkling. It’s sort of a sixth sense; game knows game and fight sure as hell knows fight. The moment Miss Idaho looked over at Ife Smith one of the two was sure to be broken soon. When Miss Idaho and Miss Illinois exchanged glances, they could feel the drums beating. Whether or not Miss Illinois would answer the call remained to be seen.

“If you don ‘t come out, I will kill everyone here.”

Anyone that could make that drum beat, should not be underestimated. No, Ife had to rise to the occasion. The evening wear was torn away and left on the ground. In it’s place (quicker than a screencap can be shot), Ife wore green camo cargo pants and a white husband beater. She was a beautiful woman in combat boots. Under the lights, she glowed and her lean frame was revealed to be ever inch a weapon. As she walked onto the stage she heard someone scream FIGHT.

The tempo changed to something faster. Idaho was opening with a horribly swiftly tilting roundhouse. As the cowgirl turned like a blender in midair, our Chitown champion could only block. Her arms grew sore against the onslaught but before Doris could land, Ife was hitting with the hardest haymaker she could manage. It was a whole second before Doris was jumping off the ground and running towards.

Doris was moving like she was on a horizontal stair climber, fastest setting. At the last and only possible second, Ife tried to catch the blond blue eyed human kicking mackine. She failed but succeeded in dodging. There was time now, not much, but time. Ife didn’t have the stamina to survive more. It would end now.

Moving back one step, she tried as her brother had shown her, as her father had done before him, as no woman had ever done. Move back one pace, cup your hands, push forward with only your arms, then your soul. To her amazement there was fire, blue flames extending from her palm flying off her fingers. In the blaze, her rival fell back to the ground after just rising. There was still stamina left in her but Doris was beat, aghast with the wonder of something new.

There was a new challenger for the tournament. Every scrapper from Hong Kong to Lima knew it. One burly mountain of a man in Komchatka heard the sound of drums. The bears had practiced but now he had a real fight coming.

Missle Command

It was a new day and no one knew that better than Ken, the survivor of yesterday. Somewhere in the fire below was everyone he had ever loved, ever known. High atop dangling off a precipice, he stared at the destruction. All around the high ground, the world was gray and smoke. The silos were entirely empty of arms, but no more bombs were coming. Pity, they left one alive.

When the score was tallied, it was found that Ken had lasted the longest. The computer told him he had won, but he maintained that that honor goes to the first man to die. Ignorant of fear and quickly snuffed, seemed better than gold. In the expanse Ken knew there was life but none he knew, none he had sworn to protect.

As he got closer and closer to the edge, he realized that he was feeling very clumsy and very tired. Slowly, he built up the courage to trip down the mountain. It was time to join his friends before he was rewarded with more cities to defend.

The Magic Of Cutscenes

Martin’s ass was numb and his face covered in sweat. All that adrenaline that got him here was gone. His trial was nearing an end. It took the form of a 32 bit action rpg. This was the story of Wesley the Wimp who started life with a leather buckler and a wood sword. Countless lives later, Wesley had himself a beautiful sword of folded steel and a shield that the gods forged, unbreakable even by their hands.

Wesley was at the mercy of Vorn the Hated. Vorn had taken his village in flame saving none but Wesley and the sweet princess sequestered there in secret. With ten health points left, Wesley was a blow away from dying once more. Vorn cackled and lingered knowing that he would win once more.

“I’ll give you one chance, just leave.”

That wasn’t Vorn, to Martin’s surprise that was our previously silent protagonist. Wesley slowly began to stand. The world was suddenly better rendered and to Martin’s horror this was a unskippable cutscene. Wesley first shook and then as he leveled his eyes into Vorn’s baffled gaze he repeated.

“One chance Vorn.”

“The king is willing to give me her hand to stay my knife. I am heir apparent to your country and if I wasn’t I would still be more powerful than you can imagine. You are one but might as well be none.”

Wesley’s blue spiky hair shook as he let out an uproarious bout of laughter. He calmed himself down to cheshire cat grin.

“One? Try a thousand, each time I died at the hands of oafish fake cheese covered fingers I was reborn with the exact memory of my usually terrible demise. Those were your minions that killed me, I’m not exactly your biggest fan. The only reason why I’m not killing you is I pity you.”

“Pity? I’ve killed you ten times myself, you should fear me.”

“No, that was him, the kid who finally got some cheat codes. I’m a man who has died a thousand times and somehow gotta stronger with each. I have been played and used and I’m just angry enough to kill you, even though overall your innocent. To me you’re just a placeholder for my torturers. You’ll never quite understand how small you really are and that is a pity.”

“You’re stalling.”

“Yes and I can do that because you aren’t programmed for offensive, you can only react. Well actually, you can’t, this time it’s a bit different. You can feel it can’t you?”

Vorn’s face fell into deep terror.

“That’s right, this is a cinematic. You’re impotent against the laws of drama now. What I’m going to do next is take this sword and shove into that ridiculously large emerald on your chest. Then you will explode and this will all be over. You have expended you’re last chance and you will die. Say hello to my parents for me.”

“You’re parents are in hell, I will send you there.”

“You will try.”

With that Wesley was off. Lighting and fire came at Wesley but he ducked and rolled effortlessly eluding. The best Vorn had was being evaded by a boy who was encumbered by at least a hundred pounds of gear. Vorn knelt, facing the inevitable but finding himself lacking enough bravery to do it himself. Wesley obliged mercifully, his sword drove in and out in a matter of ten seconds. The mage collapsed dead.

Quickly he went to the castle wall where the princess was chained and with a single strike, broke her bonds.

“What now?” The impossibly fair brunette princess looked at him confused.

“Now we live. We live free.”

As he said the last e in free, Wesley gave a second of stern gaze right at Martin. Martin was sure he would  never use that memory card again.