Mindscanner #57


by Carla Teter <[email protected]>

Of course I remember the second tournement hosted by the I.K.V. Melota. Everyone had their weapons inspected by the judges and the competitors drew numbers for ring one Bath'leth class. The judge called out to the crowd "OK, who got number 1?", Two people answered. I looked at my number... seven. I was to be of the seventh pair in the ring.

I looked about, wondering who my opponent was. Finally the judge called "seven, who's got seven?". Adam Hamner spoke up. I just nodded to the judge who closed his upheld hand and called "who got 8?".

"Great," I thought," I have seen Adam fight and he's no slouch". Adam was younger, stronger and more skilled than I was.

I drew my chair up to ringside and cheered or jeered the fighters while awaiting my turn. I studied the ring and noted the slight hump of ground just off-center and the potentially toe catching clumps of grass scattered about. The small areas of bare dirt looked soft. As the warrior pairs fought, the bare dirt barely raised a dust cloud, "Not too soft" I thought.

"Sevens, sevens to the ring!" the judge called.

I stepped to the start box attached to the ring and Adam stepped into his start box. I noticed several people calling and darting thru the crowd. " Carla's in the ring, she's fighting Adam!" was shouted repeatedly. People gathered at ringside and the judge in ring two called a recess and joined the crowd. The crowd was silent, waiting, watching intently. I thought "I won't disappoint them".

The judge called "Begin!" in Klingon. I started across the ring, bath'leth held in one hand with one hand slightly extended. Adam came across the ring, both hands loosely holding his bath'leth.

I reached him at the center of the ring. "Good luck" I said as I tapped him on the chest. "Break, one point, Carla" called the judge as the crowd roared and laughed. The almost maniacal grin never left Adam's face as he (wisely) backed to his start box. The crowd was silent once more, waiting for what some call the " Carla part two". Some were actually leaning forward. The judge, who had seen me fight before was grinning expectantly.

"Begin" called the judge once more and both Adam and I came out in fighting posture. I walked three steps into the ring then suddenly broad-jumped close to Adam while uttering a hair-raising scream. Adam froze for the split second I needed to plant the tip of my Bath'leth on his chest."Break, one point, Carla"' the judge shouted almost gleefully.

The crowd roared their approval, cheered and jeered. I could tell my scream affected the crowd as well as Adam by the small number of spilled drinks among the spectators.

I now had two of the three points needed for a win in this round. But I had nothing left in my "bag of tricks". I would have to get the last point with plain swing and block. The judge signaled the start and Adam and I came out fighting. Adam seemed hesitant, apparently expecting another ploy. Just using ordinary tactics after the two diversions was a ploy in itself. We circled, swung, blocked, thrust and parried for several seconds ( I could swear minutes, but time is irrelevant in battle). Adam got first a one-point chest strike and then two half-point belly strikes off me. I blocked a side-swing and dodged to one side. My foot sank, then slid into soft dirt and I fell heavily to my knees. My bath'leth flew from my hands. Adam tapped my back with his bath'leth amid shouts of "kill her now, kill her now"

"Break, one point Adam, Adam wins!" called the judge.

Adam and I left the ring side by side, discussing the tactics used during our battle. Adam grinned sheepishly as he told of really being scared by my scream. Adam then admitted to understanding the phrase "old age and treachery will defeat youth and enthusiasm".