New Mutants Unlimited #68

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New Mutants Unlimited #68
Post by Risk on Sept 12, 2007, 3:32pm

New Mutants Unlimited #68

Cover Description: The Kingpin holding an unconscious, battered, and bloody-faced Damien up, his hand wrapped around the top of Damien's head.

Title: We All Fall Down

Note: And this is the second part, the first part of which I lost :D. It follows straight after New Mutants Unlimited #67.

Again, a retcon fiction from before moving to space.

***

Three strikes.

A blow to my ribs, a punch below my diaphragm and a kick to the jaw.

Three strikes is all it takes to tell me that he’s better than me. That he’s out of my league. That I can’t win this fight.

Not if I don’t cheat. ‘All war is deception’, after all.

I hear something snap with the next punch. I think it’s a rib. The blow sends me sprawling back and my head collides with the hard brick wall behind me. I’d say the wall cracked a bit – it definitely sounded that way – but I know my head’s not that hard, and if I’d hit the wall hard enough to crack it, well… I doubt I’d be able to get back up.

I do, though. Get back up. Push through this… push the thoughts of failure out of my mind. The only advantage I have here is my speed, and if I don’t use it, then I might as well give up – there really is no other way that I can win this. I barely parry his next blow, but it gives me the opening I need. His balance shifts to compensate for the parry, and I head but him as hard as I can in the ribs, flooring him.

Nine years of training in aikido, bujutso, bojutso and jujitsu on top of other disciplines, and I throw it all away in a moment. It’s called survival.

I dash away, make it out of the room and turn the corner, but he’s already recovered. A punch shatters a good deal of the wall next to my head and the debris sprayed over me distracts me long enough for him to grab me by the throat and slam me through the next wall. Even when my limp body hits the ground and I roll onto my side wearily, he doesn’t let up. Hoisting me to my feet by my neck he holds me up for a moment… long enough for two thoughts to run through my head.

What the hell has this guy got against my neck?

My second thought leads me to realise that he’s still vulnerable. His eyes. I drive my thumbs into his eyes and he drops me, reeling back in pain.

It doesn’t save me from the wild kick he sends in my direction, sending me flying into another wall. How many walls does this damn place have? They can’t need this many….

Of course, I remember who’s building this is. He doesn’t need this place at all. Even if he did… it’s not like I care. The bastard can go burn in hell for all I care. He comes at me once more, still half blinded, but the difference is… I don’t mind cheating. I was fighting fair most of the time before, because I didn’t get the chance to do much else.

I think driving a broken arrow from the quiver on my back into the side of his knee is cheap enough.

He lashes out in pain again, but this time I see it coming. Ducking under the crazed swing, I kick him in the chest, but he refuses to fall from it. I don’t need him to. I only need him to be slow enough for me to get out – to get away from his reach. Out of his sight. With an arrow in the side of his knee, he becomes that slow.

I barrel away from him and smash out of the nearest window. I can survive the fall, so long as I land on my legs. That fat bastard can’t. Still, the glass goes into my arms when I smash through the window… a little too deep, but I get lucky. It misses everything important.

‘All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved.’

Obviously Sun Tzu never fought an obese behemoth like the Kingpin… with all the power to crush the life out of me with a simple hug.

I hit the floor hard enough to make my teeth ring… and to make it a little hard to think. I know I left my other gear somewhere at the base of the building… the basement. It was in the basement with the foundation pillars of the building. I rush back inside for the gear, and then I realise how I’m going to beat him.

Besides him, the building’s empty. His home. The throne to his empire.

… perfect.

I finish up in the basement, by the foundation of the building, emptying the vast majority of the contents of my satchel in the completion of my task, before making my way back out.

When I make it there… he’s waiting for me. Like a big, stupid gorilla. Underestimating him like that would be stupid, though… but he’s almost as predictable as one. He seized me by the neck yet again, lifting me a foot off of the ground. It’s far from a fun feeling. His eyes do widen ever so slightly though… when he hears the click.

The expression in the eyes shifts to an angry expectation. Awaiting an explanation, no doubt.

I’m happy to oblige.

"'All warfare is based on deception.’ Sun Tzu. That… was the activation of the charges that I’ve attached to the foundations of your home. They won’t go off. Not yet. But… look, here’s the clichéd part," I grin. "Look at my left hand."

Sure enough, he does, and when he does, he sees my thumb pressed down on a button on a tiny remote – you wouldn’t even notice it if you weren’t paying close attention.

"Yeah. You guessed it," I continue. "I take my thumb off the button? Bang. A big one. And your entire deck of cards come tumbling down. Sun Tzu was right about one thing, anyway. "If you know the enemy and know yourself, your victory will not stand in doubt; if you know Heaven and know Earth, you may make your victory complete." Something tells me you’ve never read The Art of War, though.

"You know what I want."

He releases me with a grunt, glowering all the while.

"You’re going to have to let go of the button sooner or later," he growls, speaking for the first time since he first hit me. Or maybe he spoke during the fight. I’m not sure. I think my ears are bleeding.

"Wow. The gorilla speaks. You know… you’re right. But do you know what the worst part is?" I let go of the remote and the charges go off. The building seems to slide to the side slightly at first, before collapsing downwards on itself.

"You got beaten by a kid." I don’t give him the chance to lay another hand on me. A single bound carries me fifty metres away and to the top of the nearest standing building, and another carries me to safety.

Records. Bonds. Heirlooms. Contact storage. All of it, destroyed. He’ll have back-ups all over the city – hell, I’d be amazed if he kept anything too important to his operation in there. The bad news is… it’s not even a dent in the operation.

It’s enough of a blow to him, though. Personally. The jewelled throne of his empire just came toppling down…. It’s a small victory, but it’s a victory all the same, and right now, I’ll take that.

'Thus it is that in war the victorious strategist only seeks battle after the victory has been won, whereas he who is destined to defeat first fights and afterwards looks for victory.' – Sun Tzu.

I’ll be back, Fisk. Count on it.


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