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Foot Girl Cheryl
Cube 3
Bronson’s Social Conscience Rating generally stood between 975 and the perfect 1000. Of course, if he would turn his head, even once, and check his rating on the monitor, he’d lose 50 points just for that ego display. For a CCP straight hero, duty and grace were foundational. Heel’s like Brag Shag and crowd favorites like Shaka Hulu, they could play fast and loose with civics. In the end those guys were entertainers and fans cheered for them as much in hopes of earning post fight interaction as the desire to back the winner. In fact, bottom concessions, meaning social time with the loser of a cube fight, brought higher subscription and voyeur ratings, especially among shagboy fans, who tended to spend more currency then shaggirl fans. Bronson, though, his job was to fight and win with grace or lose with honor. He knew his role and stuck to it—that being his nature…well, he’d like to think it was his nature, not just his design.
Since he was the shaggirl favorite, and millions of lonely girls around the world in their safe spaces were even now yearning for his attention, and since Foot Girl Cheryl was essentially their avatar at the gearing station, he always made certain to differ to her along long obsolete and sometimes even strictly uncivil lines.
He smiled naturally as he made soft eye-contact with her and soothed, “You look so nice today, Cheryl. How are you?”
Cheryl blushed, knowing in truth that she was overweight and only slightly cute, in her pink scrubs, and she hesitated as she fumbled for the feet—his trademark grey feet in their slipper-shaped chargers kept in her heavy lead apron and stammered, “Hey, Cube—charged and ready to go,” and she stepped around Brett and began to fit his right foot, then realized what she had said, how she had addressed him, a tear began to crease her cheek behind her face filter.
Like Thomas the Hands Man, formerly the Glove Guy, her Social Conscience Rating [3] blinked above her right brow on the face filter band [his in blue hers in pink] and the fan rating was over the left brow. No CCP Func had ever called him by his fan name. This was strictly forbidden by CCP contract and, having blurted his fan name—which even fans did not dare utter or yell at live venues, but reserved for their home safe spaces—Cheryl knew that she was headed for redaction, that she was done, out of the CCP as soon as the goons got to her.
She couldn’t even keep her hands steady enough to foot him up. Her popularity soared on her band as her SCR floored and hit zero. Thomas was in tears behind his face filter, which was a little slow in altering it to a sneer. It would not show too much on the feed. But in person, the face filters were still pretty phony. Cheryl’s face filter was dead—she had been redacted, just a crying girl fumbling with her task after a misspoken admission to being one of his fans.
Footnote
-3. SCR = Social Conscience Rating
Funcs were supposed to be impartial, not fans.
‘I’m her personal hero. I can’t let her go on appreciated.’
That famously deep voice—he was told nothing like the voices of the two ancient actors he was templated after—intoned, “Brett, help the lady out.”
Slade’s voice was absent—that was bad.
Brett looked at him with that gaze that he had long known meant, “Is you stupit, snow nigga?”
Held up the three long fingers on his right hand and said, “Sure, Massa—you Numba One!”
He knew without looking that their SCR’s were falling and their fan arcs were soaring. But the only thing that mattered was Cheryl—her last day, heck her last minutes on the job, redacted and cast out. She’d be consigned to a shared medical space. Her life as she knew it was over, all because she cared about him.
Bobby the header was nervous.
Thomas was terrified.
Cheryl was shaking and near hysteria.
If they all melted down they’d be redacted—his whole Func crew lost because he had mishandled Cheryl and had not noticed how smitten she was with him.
Brett “the Fret” Scott was actually taking this seriously as he was footed and Bronson just took over, not something he had expected would ever happen.
“Scott, put Cheryl in your seat and keep her calm, just like you did for me between rounds in our first fight.”
He made eye contact with Cheryl, “Girl, it will be alright. Whatever happens you’re still my fangirl.”
She was shaking and crying, her soaring fan score contrasting sharply with her floored SCR, as old Brett Scott stood over her and held her hand and patted her back.
He made eye contact with Thomas and smiled, “Thomas, Buddy, the hands feel great!”
He then looked up to Bobby the Header, a creature he could not imagine being attracted to despite his extensive SCR education, made soft eye contact with the extremely nervous hermaphrodite and said, “Hey, Bobby, ready to head up.”
Bobby, came out of her-sir building psychological inversion and stepped over behind him, grabbed his shoulder as he-she pressed the Shockgear pad to the base of the back of his head and whispered, stammering in his ear, “Forgot the gear gab, Bronze…”
Another fan name had been triggered here. He hoped Bobby didn’t get redacted too. Thomas would just loose it and Brett would probably slap a goon and he’d be all alone with a new cornerman and Func crew.
As a trained fighter and necessary stoic, it never ceased to amaze Bronson Caan how easily most people crumbled when anything went the least bit sideways. Why, he had heard Bobby, and Brandy before he-she, recite the Shockwear gear-gab for the header for twelve years, through its every update. So he gave it his best:
Looking up at the fan reference stalk, so that he would be making eye contact with all the fans: hopeful shag-girls, frustrated shag-boys, admiring and understanding andys and herms and the Execs, the females that paid for his company and the males that bet on his fights, he paused with direct confidence, like he was looking across the cube at his rival. He then spoke levelly, as he had been trained to do in SCR Academy, “Shockwear gel-pad infotechnology interface, prevents countercoup concussion, back-of-head foul concerns, minimizes standard concussions, and gives you, our CCP premium subscribers at home, the ability to track my heart rate, energy reserve, system shock, respiratory distress and anxiety levels.”
He then smiled, a thin smile, a smile that made him shrink inside and want to be a heel.
The fan monitors then went blank and the video stalks zipped up into their ports.
Brett mumbled, “We done shit da fuggin’ bed yo.”
Thomas, Cheryl and Bobby all had terror writ across their faces, the face filters now dead, and Bronson just had to assert some confidence, “Everybody quiet. Slade has something to say.”
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