*SLAMMERS

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ikenbon
Posts: 738
Joined: 23 Jan 2009, 00:21

*SLAMMERS

Post by ikenbon » 04 Aug 2017, 15:55

Vencer’s chest ballooned with a heavy breath, his arms trembled, veins visibly throbbing beneath his natural, snow-white pallette as he lowered the graviton brace back down to shoulder-length. With a forceful exhale, a strained grunt and a herculean heave the Icer thrust upward with his arms, the heavy padding of his shoulders, pecs and back displaying the chiseled lines that separated each muscle group as he pushed the block of gravity-enhanced weights overhead and held it there for an excruciating second.

The brace was a massive training machine that took up nearly an entire wall of Slammer’s garage. It towered four and half meters off the ground and contained a fusion battery necessary for crushing down gravitized sand to fill weights heavy enough for super-humans. The same sand that was used in modern weighted clothing and armor. A small display on the face of the machine showed that Vencer was benching over 6800 kilograms.

“Doing good, Boss. Few more reps. Come on! Push! Make it hurt!” The voice belonged to Krosa, a Saiyan native of New Hope and the only one one capable of spotting Vencer. He was a colossus of a man with biceps as thick as hay bales, a thick, copper-red beard that stretched nearly all the way down his gut and friendly eyes that twinkled under the halogen lights of the garage.

The Icer’s face scrunched, his eyes pinching closed as he lowered the massive brace down once more. His nostrils flared, taking in as much oxygen as his lungs would allow before the arms went up again and he exhaled through his mouth. Each rep the Icer completed came more and more slowly, his core temperature rising enough from the exercise that even he was beginning to produce beads of sweat that streaked down from the temples of his head. Three more extensions was all that Vencer could manage before his arms finally buckled and the massive Saiyan had to quickly reach out and grip the bar with him, assisting the Icer in placing it back on the rest.

“YEAH!” Krosa clapped Vencer’s shoulder and then stook out his hand, palm facing the Icer, which he weakly clapped with his own before Krosa pulled him up off of the bench to his feet. Vencer’s tail whipped out from behind him, lassoing a large plastic bottle and overturning it towards his mouth. A blast of cold, refreshing water hit the Icer’s face and wet his lips before a shake of the alien’s head sent a shower of snowflakes away from him, the droplets freezing before they had the chance to touch the ground.

The garage was 18x12 meters, most of which had been dedicated to training equipment, including the old Saiyan healing tank that the previous owners had abandoned. A small pocket was reserved for Vencer’s tools, equipment and his hypercycle, the frame of which was still sporting visible dents from where it had been crushed beneath a tree during his recent bout in the Bear Forest. A holoscreen had been set into the back wall and was currently set to the ASPEN (Ascended Sports Programming Entertainment Network) channel where a Ki-ball game was being broadcast from Zeon VII. Beyond the doors of the garage lay the lawn of Slammers and the arena where local and visiting fighters were trading rounds inside a bowl-shaped enclosure ringed with anti-energy fields to protect the spectators and keep stray blasts from hurtling into the city of New Hope. There were a few young boys out there now, who were being watched over by one of Slammers' referees, and the Icer let his senses grope their fledgling energy signatures while his heart rate slowed and body cooled. He could tell, almost immediately, that they were right on the cusp of becoming super-human, one standing just a hair closer over the line than the other. They would probably break that barrier by the end of the month if they continued training hard and didn’t injure one another.

“Bet you wish you were where they are again, right?” Krosa called out as he wiped off the bench with a towel and began to set the Graviton brace to a lower level for his set. “Do you remember how exciting it was tapping into that power for the first time? All your training finally paying off as you broke through that threshold... Getting your first taste of real power...” Obviously Krosa was sensing the bout himself and had a very typical Saiyan attitude towards it. “It just gets harder and harder to improve after you clear that first rung.”

“I was pretty young when it happened to me. I don’t remember that kind of anticipation. I just remember my Tyr’ran telling me that nothing would be the same afterward.” Vencer said after taking another long swig from his water-bottle. He approached the bench, helped Krosa get the brace off the rests and then held his hands out, waiting to catch the bar if the Saiyan needed a spot. They talked between sets but never during them.

“How did you tap into the power for the first time if you weren’t training for it?”

“Mekka would take me out into the tundra beyond the Duskwind Dome. While he met with the spiritual leaders living in the Kal’ron’du I slipped off to hunt L’zaroks--”

“The @#$% is a L’zarok?” Krosa interrupted.

“In common I guess the name means something like…” Vencer struggled for a translation, “Winter devils. They’re about as big as your jungle cats. Flesh like a shark underneath and thick fur on their back. No eyes, they sense using thermal location. Their mouths are on their stomach,” Vencer placed his hands near his navel and splayed his fingers apart like teeth, “They have small wings but they use them mostly for gliding.”

“That’s some really twisted stuff, Ven. What is a kid doing hunting those things?”

“They’re pretty harmless to Icers, well, almost harmless. We’d kill ‘em and shave ‘em for their pelts. Kinda like… what are those things called? The wooly dogs they have on farms?”

“You’re comparing a monster with stomach fangs to a lamb?”

“Yeah, a lamb.”

“Okay so you’re chasing Ng Yelo lambs and then…?”

“Well I broke through the ice and fell into some radiation caves and--”

“RADIATION CAVES?”

“Ng Yelo doesn’t have an atmosphere so, even though it’s really far away our star bakes the inside of the planet with radiation. There are pockets where the ice melts and the water carves out these huge networks of tunnels. I fell into one, broke my leg and a X’ira’rak found me because they can smell blood for over a--”

“And what in the @#$% is a--”

“It’s sort of like some of your Earth legends. A Yeti. But it has six arms and head sort of like a spider--”

“I am never, EVER going to Ng Yelo.”

“Anyway, the thing knocks me out and hangs me upside down in its lair but thankfully I had my Ty’ran’s saber with me and--”

The door to the garage suddenly opened, interrupting Vencer once again. Standing in the exposed frame was a tall, lithe man with ebon skin and well trimmed mustache and goatee. “That uh… that local band is getting ready to start their set and I think Camilla needed the night off for something. Told her she had to run it by you. You mind cutting your workout short and coming inside?” This was Masis, the “owner” of Slammers as far as the paperwork for New Hope was concerned.

“She already missed two of her shifts last week.” Vencer called back as he helped Krosa finish his last set.

“Yeah, I know, but she lost her apartment and she’s staying with Franklin, our cook. I think she just needs some time to get things back in order.”

“Alright, I’ll talk to her and meet you at the front.” The Icer answered.

“Right on, Boss.” Masis ducked back inside, leaving Vencer and Krosa to clean themselves up. They powered down the Graviton brace after Krosa had finished with the machine and then prepared their after-workout protein shakes, which was easily Krosa’s least favorite part about training with Vencer. The Icer had his own special cocktail recipe for the stuff and the taste of it was a mixture of cigarrette ashes, chunky cat puke and cow piss.

“Boss, where did you learn to make this thing? It’s horrible.”

“My friend Salnor showed me on the way home from Centari Primus. It’s super concentrated protein, Krosa. I don’t think it’s even legal on Earth.”

“I can see why.” Krosa grimaced while pinching his nose and downing a mouthful, nearly gagging. Vencer didn’t seem to mind the taste of it, or if he did he certainly didn’t show it. “You want to spar tonight?”

“You know I don’t like to spar, Krosa.”

“You’re the only Ascended in the city who doesn’t.”

“Risk of injury is too high and if you train to hold back guess what you’re going to do when the time for a real fight comes? The body isn’t much different than a computer. It does what you program it to.”

“I guess that’s why you’re The Boss.”

The Boss was a title that Vencer had assumed in his tenure as a Ascended fighter in New Hope. Vencer was highly regarded as one of the most powerful meta-humans in the local community. When someone wanted to -really- test themselves they came to Slammers to find him. There were times when Vencer’s PTSD or a flashback from his time as a soldier would put him on a rampage and it took half the super-humans in New Hope to stop him when he did. Thankfully those episodes were rare.

“Well do you want to work on that ki-attack I was showing you?”

“The galactic gun?”

“Gallick gun!” Krosa huffed.

“It’s just a purple destructive wave.” Vencer chastised.

“Oh #$%@ you, it’s not just a destructive wave. You gotta use your aura. Besides it’s better than that “trap” attack you’ve been working on.”

“HEY! I’ve almost got that one hammered out. I’m telling you, first guy who gets hit with my Trapball is going to be too dead afterward to tell you how great a technique it is.”

“I’ll eat my sparring gloves if you ever pull that stupid thing off.”

“Anyway, I’ll catch you later Krosa.” Vencer and the Saiyan struck each other's knuckles before parting ways for the night, Krosa heading out of the garage door while Vencer slipped into his SLAMMERS jacket and went inside with his protein shake in hand.

It was a sweltering summer night in New Hope and as Vencer stepped into the long corridor that connected the garage to the back store rooms and kitchen he brought with him a welcome and refreshing aura of cold. The kitchens were a flurry of movement. Men and women dressed in slip-safe black shoes, dress pants and neatly kept chef’s aprons moved in unison between the different work stations. The fryers where boneless chicken wings were being cooked sizzled, flames roared and licked the corner grill where steaks and burgers were gaining their tan-lines, the faces of servers bobbed at the window cut into the wall where the platers were arranging sandwiches and meals on checkered wax paper. The chefs waved or shouted to Vencer as he passed by them and enjoyed the breeze of cold air that followed in his wake.

Beyond the kitchen on the left-hand side of the hall opposite of the employee bathrooms was the storeroom that Vencer stepped inside of. Neatly stacked boxes and crates full of supplies and food lined the three-tier high steel racks, bags of fresh onions and other vegetables hung from drying hooks and nestled into a corner was a steel-latched freezer where they kept frozen goods and where sometimes Vencer would go to take a nap away from the hustle and bustle of the bar. Another door near the supply racks lead to the employee lockers, lounge, dress-room and a small office. This section had been added when Vencer had bought and renovated Slammers. He wasn’t sure how the previous owners had managed to keep the bar in any working order without it and as he stepped inside the Icer came face to face with two of his employees.

One, a half-saiyan girl with long, black hair that cascaded nearly all the way down her back was slipping into uniform, her hand fighting to get her tail through the hole cut into the back of her jeans. The other, a blonde human woman whose eyeliner was slightly running as she fought back tears was talking at a furious pace, distracting her friend from reaching the floor and punching in for her shift.

“Camilla.” Vencer interrupted, causing the two women to jump back unexpectedly, “Let Dalliah get dressed. We’ll talk in my office.”

Dalliah, the dark haired woman, hadn’t been wearing her shirt when Vencer arrived and she quickly tried to cover herself as the cold aura touched her naked flesh, causing goosebumps to form over every inch of her skin. Such attempts of modesty were largely ignored by the alien as he quickly passed by and entered into the small meeting room behind them. “Good luck,” Dalliah whispered as she hurriedly put her shirt on, slipped her pager band over her wrist and went to check-out a tray-droid for the remainder of the night.

The office was only a 3x3 meter room, just large enough for a desk, a handful of chairs, a filing cabinet and Vencer’s computer which was programmed in the very distinct ta’masslr, the Icerian language. As Camilla stepped inside and closed the door she found Vencer seated at the corner of the desk with his tail swept over one knee, slurping on his protein shake.

“I’m really sorry to bother you, sir, but I...”

“You’re still having trouble finding a new apartment?” Vencer had heard that Camilla’s previous home had been destroyed in a meta-human bout some weeks ago. It was by some miracle that she and her two daughters had been out in the city at the time. Vencer wished this wasn’t such a common story in New Hope but it was only a few days beforehand that he had brought a building down himself.

“...Yes. I’m living with Franklin right now. He gave us a room but I’ve been so busy and Melanie has a science project that’s due next week and…” She wiped her eyes, “I’m really sorry, Boss. I’m really, really sorry but I need another night off to help her.” She looked at him with a trembling lip, her eyes fixed on him as if he might attack her. Most of Vencer’s employees knew him as keeping an extremely tight ship. He didn’t tolerate slackers or laziness in any capacity and almost exclusively hired Ascended because of Slammers’ particular clientele. The staff assumed it was because he might consider doling out Icerian reparations, punches or kicks to keep them motivated, what they didn’t realize was that it was for their protection. Vencer didn’t want one of his employees to be defenseless if a meta-human decided to tear the bar down one night.

“Why don’t you take a week off, Camilla.”

“I can’t afford to go without work for a week, Boss.”

“I’ll give you an advance. We’ll take it out of your bonus for the winter.”

She hesitantly nodded while Vencer fished through the pocket of his jacket and withdrew a small wad of zeni bills. He flipped through them for a few seconds, going well over a week's salary, before grunting and handing the stack to her without counting the remainder and then stood up and headed out of the office before Camilla could even thank him. One might mistake it as charity but Vencer saw it as an investment, one he hoped would gain interest in the end.

Slammers was Vencer’s long con. One day, when some Zantetsu or some reckless-as-hell decision left his body broken for good he knew he was going to need something to fall back on. He loved the bar, but ultimately it was a means to an end if the worst were to happen. It didn’t hurt that it gave him the chance to feel ‘in command’ of something and he made decent zeni. Nothing like when he had been merc’ing, but at least he didn’t have to make the kinds of choices he had back then.

Vencer made his way to the front of Slammers, passing through the double saloon doors that lead out of the server station to the main bar itself, his employees noticeably picking up their step as he came within full view. Slammers was two stories and had a large perimeter. On the bottom tier was the main bar itself. A long, twenty-foot gold oak hardtop with a black drip-edge and padded railing. There was enough room behind it for three bartenders to address the patrons but Vencer liked running only two so that there was time for the guests to sober up and mingle a little between drinks. The floor was hardwood, with a large mural painted at the center of the bar beneath the final finish depicting two fighters cracking knuckles with the kanjis for “SEI” and “DOU” written on their black and white gis. The western flank of the bottom floor dipped lower into the ground and sported several long rows of billiard tables, dart boards and a corner where a few golden-age pinball machines had been collected into a cache. The eastern flank was filled with tables and booths where most patrons spent their idle time. Above, on the second tier was the band stage, a dance floor and smoking lounge. Slammers decor was aptly chosen, a fighting and martial arts motif. Behind glass display cases were title belts from different world championships on Earth and other more well known planets. Racks of medals hung on the walls beside framed fighting uniforms. Black and white photos of tournament coverage from the last two centuries, including the bout of the Nine Hells on Ng Yelo added a touch of history while Saiyan and Ng Yelonian battle armors dressed on mannequins standing in the corners of the bar reminded patrons that their sport was owed in large part to the warrior races of the galaxy.

Buzzing among the throngs of bodies that moved between Slammers’ two decks and the outer arena were a host of local favorites and visiting new-comers. Slammers drew an interesting menagerie of fighters and curiosity seekers. Anyone passing through the New Hope starport was liable to hear word of the bar, which had a somewhat notable reputation. New Hope was known as the meta-human hotspot of Earth. That was due in large part to the high Saiyan population and a history of events that stretched back over two hundred years. Fighters were always moving through the ‘verse, seeking out new challenges and pursuing the interests of their individual power. New Hope was a starting point for a lot of Zantetsu and Slammers was becoming a part of those beginnings. Mingled among those emerging Ascended were Vencer’s employees, who had the difficult job of trying to make a day's wage while dealing with so many ego-maniacs and lone wolves, each of whom had a armory of energy bombs coursing through their veins. Health insurance alone was costing Vencer a fortune, and the constant repairs when someone inevitably went nuclear sapped a lot of the revenue they were making.

As Vencer’s eyes flicked across the bar, taking in tonight’s guests he spotted Masis on the second tier, standing at the balcony with a glass of Kuma Spirits.

Vencer had to wade through a large crowd of local flavor to reach Masis. The band that they had scheduled for tonight had brought in more guests than they had anticipated. The upper deck was packed and Vencer found himself rubbing shoulders with more than just Masis as he reached the railing. His co-owner traded a complimentary *clink* of his beer mug and Vencer’s protein shake.

“Where did you say you found this group?” Masis shouted.

“They were playing over at Zeal Park on trashcans and portable amps after dark last winter. People kept showing up even when the NHPD was hauling them off for disturbing the peace.”

“How old are these guys? What do they even play?”

“The drummer is only like 13. The singer is 40. It some kind of thrash-pop.” Vencer took a long slurp from his shake.

On the other side of the second tier a bedraggled group had made their way to the stage. An old man with a beard nearly dragging down below his waistline wearing sunglasses, a hot-pink sports coat studded in spikes, white pants and a pair of sneakers whose souls were kept together with strips of silver duct-tape stood at the lead mic next to a synth-board and a kickstand of electric guitars. Behind him, a young boy with frizzy brown hair, thick glasses, wearing his sunday school best, took a chair behind the drums and slowly began to kick. The lyrist pulled a banana-yellow electric-V from the kickstand and slid the strap over his shoulder before picking with his long, cigarette-burned fingernails. He shredded a few chords, stopping occasionally to tune and find his sync with the kick drum until they were sufficiently warmed up. The pair turned to one another and shrugged before the lyrist approached the mic and cleared his throat,

“I’m Zed. That’s Kelly.” He motioned over his shoulder to the young drummer before reaching into his hot-pink coat pocket and retrieving a flask that he unscrewed and took a draw from, “We’re uh…” Zed gave a loud *burp* “...We’re Zed and Kelly!” He smashed down the guitar pedal at his feet, causing the speakers to blare out a foghorn of static.

Kelly hit the drums, bringing a heavy ¾ bass as Zed began to shred, his fingers moving down towards the base of the V-neck as he jumped chords and laid heavily into a complex series of scales and slides that lead into multitudes of notes, his head swinging wildly, his beard tossing from side to side. They set the groundwork for a solid minute before Zed dropped the guitar and went to the synth-board and the mic, bellowing out:

“Laces tie me tight..” /
“Sneakers I’m wearing…” /
“Kid, they make fly…” /
“I got my Nimbus, haters got anchors…” /
“Fuck a driveway, I’m in airplane hangars…” /
“I’m skipping Snake Way while bitches beg Yemma…” /
“Anyone who doesn’t acknowledge me in the positive…” /
“Shouldn’t be hollerin’ or talkin’ about Superman…” /
“When they live in the Metropolis…” /

It was a fast word play coupled with snare drum flurries, cymbal crashes and a heavy synth that lead into slower riffs and almost blue-grass picking. The style was hard to define but the crowd seemed to love it and the pair put on a theater act of oddity to accent their unique sound. Masis and Vencer watched for nearly an hour before the band let the energy die down and finally stepped off the stage to refresh.

“That was… interesting,” Masis said as the second tier cleared, many of the patrons who had been bobbing and dancing around them heading down the deck to sate their thirst.

“If New Hope wants to hear it that’s all I care about.”

“What kind of music do they have on Ng Yelo, Boss?”

“It’s hard to describe. Icer’s hear a few different ranges than your kind.” Vencer tapped the strange lobes at the side of his head as if to emphasize the difference in their physiology, “There are instruments on Ng Yelo that you don't have here. I used to go to…” Vencer looked down at his cup, then Masis before licking his lips. “...Uh, like I said, hard to describe.”

“Hold on a second, you said you used to go to…?” Masis looked at him expectantly, causing the Icer to rub the back of his neck and scrunch his features.

“...When I was a Sentinel I would have to guard in the Golden Dome during leave from the Imperial Navy. I used to get posted at the Cha’llrand’un, the uh… Grand Opera House, I guess you Earthlings might call it. The orchestra had these instruments, Pi’lleka, uh… like rings of frozen water that they would break with percussion mallets and freeze back. The only way I can liken the sound is when you roll your finger around the rim of goblet filled with water, except… with more range and clarity. It sounded like…” Vencer actually blushed. “...It sounded like @#$%ing angels singing sometimes.”

“Sounds really lovely,” Masis said, respectfully. “Maybe we could find someone who plays and have them for a weekend? There’s a small crowd of Icers in the city. They might come for that.”

“...Yeah, maybe.” Vencer admitted.

He swirled the remainder of his drink where it rest at the bottom of his glass before his eye was caught like fabric on a thorn. Below them on the bottom deck was a man wearing a drab, black wool coat, a bowler hat and pinched between his index and ring finger was a short cigar. The man had coal-black hair and a thick mustache like the head of a painter’s brush.

“Darska?”

“...That’s the Legende Special Forces agent, right?” Masis pointed down towards him, “Must be looking for you?”

“I think so. Masis, this isn’t exactly the best time to tell you but I’m going to be leaving for a little while. Have some personal business to take care of.” Masis knew what he really meant.

“You’re coming back, right?”

“...Probably.” Vencer swallowed the last of his drink and patted Masis on the shoulder. “...You hold down the fort, okay?”

“Yeah Boss, you can count on me.”

Rizion
Posts: 1068
Joined: 22 Jan 2009, 23:17

Re: SLAMMERS

Post by Rizion » 05 Aug 2017, 21:03

To summarize:

Vencer tells an employee they can't just up and leave their job at Slammers.

Then he up and leaves his job at Slammers. =P

Rizion
Posts: 1068
Joined: 22 Jan 2009, 23:17

Re: *SLAMMERS

Post by Rizion » 05 Aug 2017, 21:12

Real response:

Another perfect solo. I'm not blowing smoke up your ass, this is some great writing. Rarely in all modern means of media (moves, anime, manga, books, video games) rarely is a setting a character. People say things can be because they are trying to push the idea, but Slammers really comes alive in this log. I feel like I need to say it: When we spoke about future plans and what you wanted Vencer to do in the long run, I was not on board. I felt like you were trying to hold onto Slammers because of what it meant to our previous characters, but now I do not see that place anymore. It has a life and a breath all to its own now. In these few lines you showed a multitude of realism and allowed it to bleed and let it mix with the modern rp society we have built. So often do we say buildings are blowing up and shit is hitting the fan, but you left a mark on those who have to move on once those pieces are picked back up. This log gave Hero City a heart and it beats and it hurts when these meta characters go nuts.

And the start, with the tales from Ng Yelo. I mean we spoke about this in private, but I need people to read this review and realize how deep that training at the start was. Not because Vencer himself is getting stronger, but how he painted a better picture of a planet that no one has really explored. In that short story, he gave us a better look at how native life on Ng Yelo can be, showed us with great description the things that live there.

Ah. I could go on and on how great this log is, but I am happy I read it. I am happy it changed my mind on Slammers. I'm glad its back and I hope it thrives.

Rpp rewarded.

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