This is the eighth in a series of 365 Flash Fiction stories I’m writing from 2nd December 2012 until the 1st December 2013. It’s intent is to keep me writing throughout the year, and not just in November. you can find out more about the challenge here.
The Elementalist, by Jonathan L. Lawrence, 13th December 2012
Word count: 999
Theme: competition, sport, super powers, mutants, utopian future
I bounce on the balls of my feet, oan outsider might see a competitor warming up, in truth I’m trying to work off a building sense of fear and excitement that were ripping me apart.
“Its the World Championship, you’re allowed to be nervous,” that’s my coach Silenius Smith, I resented his calm, but he’s been through this, he was an old pro, maybe in his forties now.
“I’m just wired,” I tell him.
“No Rusty, you’re terrified, but it’s okay you won’t lose control in the arena, you’re more than good enough for a first round victory,” Silenius admonished.
“I’d rather hear you’ll be kick my arse if I mess it up,” I tell him, trying to laugh.
“No, that wouldn’t be fair,” Silenius said sternly, “I’m going to kick your arse in training tomorrow anyway,” giving in to a smile.
Now I laughed nervously.
For the next few minutes we walked through some moves and counters, making sure I was mentally ready.
The five minute warning chimed, the bout which preceded mine was over. Silenius had me sit in silence. Then came the one minute warning.
He removed my outer robe, and checked over the leather padded thick fighting suit I wore.
“Good luck,” he said pointing the way through the entry corridor.
I nodded. I walked through to the entry door. A fight official was there, he thoroughly checked me over, then used his radio to contact the controllers saying I was good to go.
“Good luck,” the official said shoving me towards the green hatch. I clambered through, and made the small drop to the ground.
Then the most amazing sound washed over me, the crowd roared and screamed. In the heat of the moment my hands were thrust into the air. Unfortunately, it wasn’t for me, my opponent had stepped out before me. In the championship the first round is random lots, I had hoped to face someone new to the games, my opponent wasn’t new though.
The world famous Heidrick O’Hanlan, as quick, as power, as deadly as I never wanted to meet. He wasn’t at the top of the leagues anymore, but he was never far away, and frequently made the Championships.
“Fighters, take your places,” the announcer called, and the audience began to hush. I climbed a podium marked in green and stood atop it. .
“You ready to dance little boy?” Heidrick called out through the echoing chamber. I simply nodded, what else can you say.
The arena turned red, the dome above became lined by stripes of black, (which would let the live audience see the important bits of the action without glasses), and the announcer came on.
I tell myself to pull it together, get to cover quickly, but somehow, I’m rooted to the spot.
“Too slow,” O’Hanlan calls. I can see him gathering up heat energy in front of him. I rememebr now, he’s a heat elemental, with a minor talent in air manipulation. Instinct kicks in, I render an air shield in front of me. His ball of superheated air hits it, I can smell ozone, but most of the energy is directed away.
Alert again, I dive off the podum, using the remnants of the air shield to cushion my fall, and move me into a roll. I glance back, O’Hanlan hasn’t moved he’s using his podium as the high ground. On the ground I have cover.
O’Hanlan wise to this starts firing his super heated balls of air up wards, and watched them arc towards me over obstacles. I have to keep moving.
Arena’s are designed as a twenty five meter diameter circle. Within each arena the three basic powers are manifest in three seperate sections. The podiums are near the centre. There are plenty of obstacles out and about, though not always consistently. I dashed towards the blue area, the water section.
O’Hanlan sees where I am headed and tries to cut me off with a series of quick heat shots. A moment of clarity on my part saves me several burns as I quickly fire air blasts into some geometric obstacles that while falling provide me with cover from above, though I have to dodge the falling shapes as well.
Hiedrick O’Hanlan seems to lose me for a second, but only a second, the audience are soon pointing my direction. I’m at the water though.
O’Hanlan was a powerful air-heat type. Me, I’m more general, not as strong in air, heat or water, as a specialist, but my mutation gives me some power with all three. With enough skill, someone like me can generate enough static electricity to stun a human. Heat and air is all I need, the water is the delivery mechanism, air is too hard to transmit electricity through. I had all I need. One attack, that’s all I have against an experienced fighter and tactictition.
I move into position, scoop up the water as my mind tries to manipulate the molecular bonds around me, within moments I have a buzzing ball of water.
O’Hanlan wise to the trick was diving off the platform for cover, I have no time to wait. I send it off as fast and as forceful as I can, and pray it hits.
I’m helped out of the arena but officials.
“Don’t worry about it kid. The best lose first time out the hatch. That lightening bolt hurt plenty, keep practicing at it,” He slaps me on the shoulder as he headed off to the winner’s press conference.
“Good work out there,” Silenius said as he approached, “We’ll get those burns, and that bump patched up.”
“Going to kick my arse?” I asked.
“Yes, for training. You did good out there, O’Hanlan’s a pro, and you earnt his respect. Now come on,” he smiles reassuringly, he’s pro at this bit too.
I’m 16, I just competed in my first World Championship on a wild card entry, I’ll can do better next time, I swear.
This is another bit of a cheat, as it’s based on a NaNo project I failed at, (or if it wasn’t a NaNo project, it was a story I started but never got far on). Anyway, I wanted to explore it, so I moved away from my original story, but kept it in world.
The world itself is a post mutation crisis world – i.e. long after the era of the X-men in the marvel universe, where a group of mutations are now fully integrated and accepted in society, have jobs, and are subjected to only very small differences in legal and societal standing to a normal human. (i.e. they covered by the same laws, though there may a law or two around certain uses of thier mtuated powers – because it’s definitaly a series of mutations that bring powers). I went with the idea that the mutation is in the brain, that it unlocks the ability to manipulate very specific minor frequences that manipulate the bonds between molecules. Allowing the mutant to excite common air and water particles to different affect. How the brain specifically works alters it’s ability to manipulate these bonds, so you have specialists in certain types of reactions.
Anyway, in this accepting world there is a sporting champion ship for the mutations, bit like Judo but with the fame of football. There’s fights that feature both the mutated powers, and physical combat. The higher you rank, the greater your rewards. There’s also side competitions involving specialised talents and such. It’s a whole month of power based fun.
It’s on my to do list to go back and redo, the hard part is keeping it original enough that it’s not just an X-men what if, (or these days also Mutant X, and Alphas). Plus, while the human brains ability to manipulate these bonds is fantastical, it needs to feel like there’s real science behind it. I wasn’t interested in shape changing, instant healing, or superpowered screams, an evolutionary change like this would be almost subtle in comparison.
About this particular flash fic, if you’re wondering what happened between the lightening ball and the end of the fight, that was intentional. Aside from requiring a lot more detail, with a lot more science, I kind of wanted it to be a flash of what happened. My character (randomly called Rusty), faces an eternal build up, then gets in has his triumphant shot, and suddenly it’s all over, and it’s not so triumphant.
This was his first championship afterall, and it would be too much of a cliché to go straight for a win. It’s a stepping stone to greater things.
Hopefully I’ll sit down and write those greater things in the near future.