Thursday, March 3, 2011

Heavy Type - Honor and Face

by John Prins

Piddly little shit of a Dominionite. It wasn't even a proper duel. Barehanded combat. Not a duel for military men.

Sous-Lieutenant Krieger was not pleased.

And what was the hell with the crowd? Most of them weren't even military. Somebody in the back is taking bets. Bloody damn savages. I'm surprised they aren't selling tickets. Hope they enjoy seeing their boy go home bloody.

Jacob raised his head to stare across the ring. The Southerner looked uncomfortable. It was a good crowd. Always nice to have that hometown support. Still, he was a bit surprised that word had spread so fast. There hadn't been more than a dozen patrons in the Soba shop at the time of the incident, and most of them had been Peacekeepers themselves.

Which was probably the reason the Republican had challenged him to a duel as opposed to going straight for his sword. Nobody is so stupid as to try and face down a shop full of officers. Even off duty. Southern arrogance has its limits.

Jacob tested the tape at his wrists again. Rock solid.

Krieger stood up.

Yes, dammit, I understand the bloody rules. Quit droning on, old man. No biting. No scratching. No eye gouges or throat shots. What do you think I am, some sort of frothing beast? Get out of my way. I've got work to do. Teach somebody some manners.

There he is. Class is about to begin, bastard.

Luck? Thanks, boys.

Jacob stood up and bowed to the captain, touching fists with his fellow officers. It was all on his shoulders now. Even if he lost, he had to make it look good. The captain would expect nothing less. Neither would Jacob.

Jacob stopped at the painted border of the dueling circle, slamming a fist into his palm in salute to his opponant before striding over the line. It was bad luck to even touch the line during a duel. His opponant, he noticed, had avoided stepping on the line, though he probably hadn't heard of the tradition. And if he had noticed the salute, he ignored it, taking up a fighting pose, fists clenched.

The chosen judge stepped into the ring, coming to rest between the two duelists.

He dropped his hand and stepped back. Only one thing left to do. For both of them.

Yeah, you'll feel that one tomorrow, bastard. You're making me look good.

Shit. Fast!

Walk the circle. Trust the body, it remembers. The mind is a liar and a trickster.

Work through the pain. It's a distraction.


Krieger's fist glanced off Jabob's jaw as it passed. He grabbed the elbow and turned, pulling. Krieger tried to spin out of his grip. Jabob's other hand hit his hip and pushed.

Get the hell out of my way!

Krieger struggled with the chairs and people just outside the ring.

What the hell? Where is he?

Ring out?

No. He won't cheat me like that!

Victory, Jacob decided, was sweet after all. He smiled, despite the broken nose and the new bruises he was gaining from all the friendly pounding he was recieving on the back. People would respect the Peacekeepers a little more from now on. He was sure that a certain Republican would as well.

The crowd went silent.

Now, you bastard. You'll fight proper or you'll die where you stand. Somebody give him a sword! Nothing is decided until he's got a sword!

Jacob shook his head, looking away from the Republican, standing there with his sabre out, eyes like stone. There was no help for it. Jacob turned and held out his hand to the captain, who was the only armed officer present. The captain frowned, nodded, drew his weapon and reversed it into Jacob's palm.

As Jacob turned back, Krieger charged.

What? NO!

The 11mm slug tore through Krieger's right shoulder, spinning him around like a top before he crumpled to the floor. His saber rattled against the floor of the ring before sliding off into the crowd.

Jacob watched as the Southern officer hit the floor. He felt sorry for the poor fool. He couldn't even lose graciously to a superior opponent. How would he ever recover the lost face resulting from an unprovoked attack like this?

Goddamn Dominion bastards. No honor at all.

[Next: Freedom of the Press]

[John Prins] [Heavy Type]

The above article was archived from Heavy Type: A Heavy Gear Fan Fiction Website as part of the Hermes 72 Archive Project. It has been edited from its original form and is used without permission.

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