Brave New World, Chapter 10: First Bracket Announced “Jake, what are the odds that our friends won’t notice if one of the entrants into their tournament are replaced by someone other than the actual contender?” asked General Savage. “So long as that entrant isn’t one of the TFFers the odds seem to favor us,” replied Mad Jake sleepily. “Would you say Thrall is prepared for a mission of this caliber?” asked Savage. “There is nothing further that our tests can tell us about his skills, the only way to achieve any further performance data is going to be to put him into a level of combat and stress that we can only find at this tournament as far as TFF is concerned,” said Jake. “I see,” said Savage. “And what are the odds of him winning.” “Traditional odds and our data would put his odds at 99%,” said Jake. “Traditional odds?” asked Savage. “It’s a curious occurrence, but there has only been one time in the history of TFF where a tournament was able to be completed without any interruptions that forced it to be cancelled,” said Jake. “After the encounters that the TFFers had with the soldiers of the man called Kain there is little reason for us to believe that he won’t strike again in some way or another at something as important as this tournament, not to mention the numerous other forces in the underworld of TFF and Spamopolis in particular.” “What are the odds of us taking advantage of such an occurrence?” asked Savage. “Given Thrall’s performance capability and the current strength of the defense force, should such a scenario arise I would place Thrall’s ability to put us in an advantageous position at one hundred percent on the dot,” replied Jake. “Very good,” said Savage as he lifted the tiny communicator in his hand to his lips and spoke, this time not to Mad Jake. “Solomon, take out whichever target you’ve established. On my mark have Thrall take his place, out numbers show us to hold a very distinct amount of power under these conditions.” ******************************** “Yes sir general, moving out,” said Colonel Solomon. He turned and signaled his men to move in, there was a brief sound of struggle as they subdued their target and brought him out of the room he’d ducked into moments earlier. A squad of six men, seven including him, and up until recently they’d been considered the top tier of soldiers Project Badass had ever produced. Now that Thrall was around they’d been relegated to other duties, but unlike the other branches of the force Solomon’s soldiers weren’t broken up by this loss of their elite status. This may have stemmed from the fact that they were still present on many of Thrall’s missions as a support and diversion crew, meaning pure action, but whatever it was they didn’t complain. “You’re up big man,” said Solomon, turning to Thrall who’d been standing behind him, still as a statue for several minutes now. The warrior said nothing as he proceeded now, down the hall and into the tournament waiting room, taking the identification card of the beaten fighter to help him carry out his mission. “I don’t care how long we work with that guy, it’s always going to be a relief when he goes off,” said one of the soldiers under Solomon’s command. “He gets the job done don’t he? And if things keep going the way that they have been since he started we may be on our way to an early arrival in paradise,” said Solomon. “I don’t know about paradise, I’m just hoping I never do anything to piss Savage off, whether he sends Thrall or does it himself I don’t think it’ll be much fun,” said the soldier. “Ain’t that the truth,” said Solomon. “Let’s get moving, Thrall may be able to fly under the radar, but our suits advertise just exactly who we are pretty loudly.” *********************************** “First round pairings are on the board!” shouted the tournament organizer as he set up the large plaque that had the names and opponents of all of the fighters who would be active at the day’s events. All in all there were sixteen names altogether, meaning that half of the competitors were members of the Defense Force, but those that weren’t didn’t seem afraid. The shining knight commander, Bucklingburger, the strange armored man who’d just entered, Salazar Slugger and the others all had a look of grit to them, but there was one figure, cloaked and standing in the back corner of the room that had Firiath wondering just what he had in store. “The first fight will be between Meteorain and Salazar Slugger,” said the organizer as he ran down the list. “The second will be between X and Sorillon, third will be Kakashi and Commander Masque, fourth will be Herald of Woe and Bucklingburger, then Chad08 and Overread, then Oddrun and Crackler, then Wolf and Syx, and finally Running Wolf against Vizn. Get ready everyone; the first fight will be in ten minutes.” Firiath looked around at all of the competitors, she’d gotten enough of an idea of who was who to have pieced together who all of the new faces were. X was the man in the corner, who now seemed to be eagerly eyeing Sor, who simply stared back. Commander Masque was the Shining Knight of coarse. Chad08 was probably the armored fighter who had entered that now stood in total silence, not moving even in the slightest as his fight was called, something about him filled Firiath with a sense of dread for everyone, not only OR who would be fighting him soon. Crackler didn’t look too impressive, he was a large sumo style fighter, and he wouldn’t be able to give much trouble to Odd. Vizn’s only really notable feature was that he had eight arms; he’d need all of them to fight RW. Finally there was Syx. There was something familiar about him, he had a face that seemed to scream a name that she couldn’t place. He didn’t wear any shoes, and he wore no shirt beneath his jacket, revealing a chiseled body that looked as if it could be used to cut diamond. His skin was lightly tanned and his hair was a dark shade of brown, he had a powerful aura to him, so much so that Firiath wasn’t sure if Wolf would be able to take him, either way it would be a very interesting fight between them. Firi was so involved in observing the competitors that she didn’t know that she hadn’t noticed Met approaching her until he spoke, causing her to jump slightly, “Keep a close eye on that Syx character, there’s something I don’t like about him.” “Care to elaborate?” asked Firi. “Not really,” said Met. “I’m just getting a weird vibe off of him. Chad08 too. They’re hiding their real auras, like they’re trying to hide their real powers from us.” “Couldn’t that be called simple strategy? After all they want to have some advantage in this tournament?” said Firiath. “Not with them. There’s something familiar to the feel from both of them. And it’s not like with X who just wants to make an entrance,” said Met. “Just wants to make an entrance?” asked Firi. “If you’re focused enough it’s pretty obvious who he really is, should make for a pretty fun second round when I finally get to take another crack at him,” said Met. “What about Sor?” asked Firi. “What about Sor? He’s good, but he’s not going to be able to beat X, there aren’t many people here that I’d pick as a favorite against that guy,” said Met. “Do I hear nervousness in your voice?” asked Firi. “Hardly,” said Met. “I just know X’s skills a little better than anyone else here, and I can tell you he’d give anyone here a run for their money, although I doubt he’ll be able to handle me.” “Weird,” said Firi. “What?” asked Met. “It never ceases to amaze me how quickly you go from impartial analyst to shameless self promotion when your name gets thrown into the mix,” replied Firi.