Jayhawk walked the dark aisle way towards the entrance of the arena. The scent of alcohol, sweat, and perfume permeated the air, making his head swim. The blaring cacophony made it hard to hear over his earbud.
While he waited, Jayhawk clenched and unclenched both fists, checked his equipment belt, and ensured his helmet was secured. Staring across the arena at the other entrance, he saw his opponent, the Golden Sentinel.
“Ladies and gentlemen. Distinguished judges.” The disembodied voice of the announcer sounded over unseen speakers. “Tonight, we are down to the final two candidates. They are battling for the title of City Defender.” The word Defender reverberated around the arena and surrounding spectator areas.
The crowd erupted with cheers and shouts.
“So far, these two have been equally matched in each of the previous contests. They are also well known in the city and surrounding area. I present to you, the Golden Sentinel and Jayhawk.” Again, the last words bounced around unseen areas of the arena and the crowd noise swelled.
The gate in front of Jayhawk sprung open. Taking the cue, he dashed in. A rolling dive let him dodge the weapon the Golden Sentinel threw. As Jayhawk sprung to his feet, he spotted the Golden Sentinel shaking his head.
Stars burst into Jayhawks vision and he collapsed to the surface of the arena.
The crowd gasped, then belted out a cheer with applause.
Jayhawk forced himself to his feet and scrambled for a nearby obstacle, using it for cover. He felt the back of his helmet. It was covered in spider web cracks and flexed when he put pressure on it.
The hairs on the back of Jayhawk’s neck stood up. A quick glance and he saw the shadow pressing down on him. Darting a hand to his belt he pressed a secret button.
The Golden Sentinel vaulted over the large cement obstacle and reached for Jayhawk. His entire body tensed and he fell to the ground with a loud thump and a loud scream.
“You’re not the only one that has surprises,” Jayhawk chuckled. “Electric counter-measures.”
Jayhawk looked at his target, the green flag flapping in the imitation breeze of the arena.
Scampering over several low obstacles, Jayhawk took the path of least resistance for the flag. Being the easier path, made it longer.
The Golden Sentinel moaned as he stood. He shook his cowl-masked head to clear the cobwebs. After a quick check of his opponent’s progress, the Golden Sentinel fired a grapnel line. The small wench on this belt pulled the Golden Sentinel towards his destination.
Jayhawk watched as the Golden Sentinel zipped into the air. A quick flick and a small disk shot from Jayhawk, severing the line Golden Sentinel had. The Sentinel plummeted to the arena floor amidst other obstacles.
Cheers and jeers rose from the crowd, and Jayhawk moved faster with his opponent out of commission.
The Golden Sentinel scrambled to his feet and dashed for the flag. As he climbed an obstacle, he aimed his grapnel gun again. Firing, the dart penetrated the lower leg of Jayhawk.
“Aahhhhhh,” Jayhawk screamed, clutching his leg, then collapsed on the platform.
The crowd gasped as they watched the expanded view on the jumb-o-trons placed high above their seating areas. Several booed, but a few cheered.
The Golden Sentinel activated the wench on his grapnel gun again and climbed to where Jayhawk lay sprawled. “Tough break.”
Several low sounding boo’s wafted over the arena as the Golden Sentinel advanced closer to the flapping flag.
Staggering to his feet, Jayhawk pulled a small item from his belt. With a hard flick of his arm, the device connected with the knee of the Golden Sentinel. A splat of blood hit the surface of the obstacle, and the Golden Sentinel dropped to keep from falling over the edge.
Again, the crowd expressed their amazement at what the possible heroes were doing to each other.
Jayhawk limped after the Golden Sentinel, passing the prone hero and advancing to the next platform.
Both heroes slowly worked their way closer to the flag. They both landed on the large, raised platform opposite each other.
“You’re not going to make it,” Jayhawk said and tossed a handful of pellets at the Golden Sentinel.
The Golden Sentinel rolled to the side to avoid the small projectiles, but wasn’t fast enough. The pellets exploded with little pops and a foam advanced over the form of the Golden Sentinel.
At the same time, the Golden Sentinel tossed a single disk at Jayhawk. Kicking the device, it exploded in a puff of smoke encasing Jayhawk. Within seconds he was coughing like a 30-year smoker.
Still both struggled to reach the flag.
The Golden Sentinel extended a hand, but it was covered in the foam, halting all advancement. It even covered his face.
Jayhawk felt his entire body go limp, and he fell to all fours, then to his belly, and lastly stopped. His arm, much like the Golden Sentinel, was extended, but not touching the flag.