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Shaka Hulu
Cube 6
The martial music ceased [6], and the CCP anthem took up. There were no words to this song. However, Brett had told him some 14-years ago when he was still in training and was only competing in mat wrestling, that this anthem was actually based on an old national Anthem that Brett had heard often when he was a child, played before fights and various other sports that used to be popular, like baseball.
He had seen Shaka fight seven times. All seven times that Shaka had fought on the undercard of one of his title defenses, Brett had made sure he viewed those fights every day. Since this fight had been made six-weeks ago, Bronson had viewed Shaka’s 7 undercard cube fights—none of the ring, cage or yard fights concerning Brett—for six hours a day during training.
‘I hope this is the last time I have to watch this guy fight.’
...
Footnotes
-6. An ancient recording from a movie of the age of his templates, all such songs selected from the soundtrack of Conan the Barbarian. Although Bronson had never been permitted to view a movie or video, other than fight videos for training, as he and his kind were meant to represent pre-modern warriors of the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age.
...
The voice of Kull MacCracken, the former Lightweight Champion, rolled like thunder through the cube:
“Fighters, mouths?”
Both men yawned and showed the roofs of their mouths, the view magnified on the octagonal video feeds which paneled the ceiling above the suspended cube.
“Hands?”
Both men clapped their hands.
“Jocks?”
Both men patted their groin.
“Feet?”
Both men jumped up into a plyo areal squat, and as they did so the cube magnetized and they landed with a crash like Thunder’s little brothers rumbling in some cube-shaped heaven.
Kull’s voice rumbled, “Shaka Hulu, are you ready?”
Shaka answered with his trademark screech, “Iklwa!” and the shagboys below screamed.
Kull’s voice rumbled again, “Bronson Caan, World Light-Heavyweight Champion, are you ready.”
“Yes, Sir,” he declared, and an electronic bell tolled as darkness enveloped the amphitheater and the only illuminated space was the suspended cube of magnatronic plexiton, the video angles on the octagonal screens above and a thousand screaming voices wafted up out of the darkness.
Shaka charged him, spun on his heel, and ran up the 18-foot horizontal face to Bronson’s right, hit the ceiling face at a sharp angle and did a superman stomp, aiming to shave Bronson’s shoulder from his body.
Bronson checked the lunging shin with his right palm and slapped the tucked supporting foot from behind the stomping knee and sent Shaka rolling into the corner. He was surprised that his hand was not broken. Of course, Shaka’s gear and the cube protected him from any gravity-based sudden stoppage of his acrobatic antics. The fanboys and fangirls loved this high-flying stuff. Brett always reminded him that it was, “faggot bullshit.”
This was all show, as the magnetized cube only attracted the feet very gently, repelled the head gear and had a neutral symbiosis with the jock. It was feeling like the hands were neutrally symbiotic, at least in the kinetic dimension.
Bronson went to the loose-fisted bare-knuckle guard Brett had always drilled him on, not for this contingency, which neither of them had ever imagined, but in case the CCP Board decided to go in for a retro-cube bareknuckle event.
Shaka shuffled forward, laid in a back-leg front kick that thudded into Bronson’s abdominal wall and drove him back against the airlock, from within which he could hear Brett screaming various barely audible and indistinct commands to do this to the “nigga” do that to the “nigga” and so on according to his inimitable style.
Shaka then sent a shin kick to the head which Bronson checked with his right forearm, which felt almost like it fractured.
A flesh of anger creased like lightening through his mind’s eye and as Shaka’s left leg came to rest, behind which Bronson knew instinctively that the African fighter would shoot for the body lock, Bronson let his hands go loosely, his right cracking into the chin of Shaka, whose eyes started, followed by a left shovel hook which raised that chin and caused the eyes to roll somewhat lazily, to be followed by a right elbow to that chin, a “magnatronic elbow” it would be christened after this bout, as Bronson pushed off the vertical panel of the airlock with his right foot and launched his entire body through the elbow stroke, hurdling past the fallen Shaka, and doing a forward roll and turn-in to face back at his rival in a crouch.
That crouch turned not to be unnecessary. For Shaka Hulu was out cold, a sight that brought a cold chill to Bronson’s spine and gut, until he saw that dark chest raise in a ragged breath and repeat the process.
The cold-sounding tolling of a great magnatronic bell, supposed to have been based on some ancient iron bell, then sounded the end of the fight. The two neutral airlocks then opened—these being next to the fighter airlocks, and two medical technicians sprinted from each, two to check Bronson, the andy his vitals and the herme his right arm.
He absently noted this attention as he looked morbidly, as if from within a fishbowl, at Shaka, who was being fitted with a resuscitation lock, the neck-brace crawling around into its support role like the feet and hands he wore and the respiratory cone being fitted to the distressed fighter’s mouth.
“Is, is he going to recover?” he heard himself say absently.
The sound inside the cube was now contained, no sound entering from outside and none escaping, in case the techs had to conduct verbal procedures or alert the CCP Board via their headsets. The andy [7] working on the RL [8] nodded to the herme securing the vital readings and spoke with some concern, “No anxiety at all, Bronson. You hit the erase button. This might be a coma case. We aren’t supposed to say anything, but the sound lock is on and you are the Champ. You will have to go through the Medical Board to check up on him. We’ll do our best.”
The herme confirmed and expanded, “We are now redacting his availability for bottom lottery. He’s in no condition for a date. So expect the shagboys to be pissed.”
“Roger that…thanks. I know you’ll do your best.”
Then the andy and the herme working on him, touched heads and took turns, the herme leading off, “Micro-fracture to the lower ulna. Lay off the elbows for two weeks.”
The andy taking his vitals said in a softer voice, “Bronze, you’re still registering resting heart rate. Amazing. Hold for cert-link.”
The medical technician then scanned Bronson’s retina with his cert-light, pulled the blue light back, twisted the light pen in his hand, and then applied the now red light to his left rib cage. The top four ribs were all burned with cert-link codes from his after-fight exams, ten each, and the short rib was being marked in red with his 41st post-fight examination confirmation. Each of these codes contained an uplink to his full header fitness readout, as well as post fight bone scan and combat results and would serve as a
Notes
-7. An andy or andies are asexual corporate humans, with feminine bone structure and anatomy, except that they have no mammary organs or uterus. They are stronger than females, being of superior acrobatic types modelled after female athletes. They serve in medical and psychological capacities predominantly.
...
database for the bookies and odds runners as well as the matchmakers of the CCP who subscribed to the uplink service.
The code burned slightly, and always gave him a warm, fuzzy and wanted feeling inside.
The cube was a sacred place and would not be used for post-fight interviews or anything other than medical certification and intervention.
Kull MacCracken was already waiting for him down by the princess throne. He could see, as the cube was drawn down slowly, the shagboy crying on his throne, as the officials informed him that Shaka Hulu would not be released for their planned after party. Likewise, it was obvious that the lotto winner among the shagboys had already been notified about his lucky drawing when the fight commenced, as three other shagboys were holding his soft pale hands and crying into them while he wailed like a very picture of mourning up at the ceiling and goons began separating the shagboys from each other to enforce social distancing.
Up went the wailing of the fanboys.
...
Notes
-8. RL = Respiratory Lock
...
Off remained the lights of the exec booths, which would normally be lit up after a major fight.
Up, up and up waxed the shrill girlish cries of glee below as Bronson was escorted by the medical techs into the airlock and the shaggirls below danced in ecstasy.
As the airlock was shut behind him and the techs took their own, the voice of his cornerman echoed in the airlock, “Son, there is enough pussy on the hook to last you a year down here. I still can’t get rid of this hard-on and I’m afraid my dick will fall off and my wrinkled-ass old hands is too gnarly ta permit self-love…”
He disliked cutting off his coach, but he knew where this was going, “Find the one that face mask of yours belongs to and she’s yours. Remember, I get one of each class. To put off suspicion, let all three know—I’ll take the dress and the sarong along with Cheryl.”
“Muvafucka, I likes em fat too—ain’ you da thirsty fiend!”
“Okay, Boss! Keep the bikni and the sarong and leave me with Cheryl and the dress!”
“Ma man!” crowed Brett Scott, “Mah man!!”
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