Fight for the Right
The bit more
than two weeks went past. Plans were made and changed and reformatted and all
the while Zaria, Galatia and their friends trained. Each day brought them more
strength and surety with their young bodies. Zaria had confided in the girls
what they were planning on doing. The girls were at once thrilled to be working
with the legendary heroes and somewhat apprehensive of what lie in wait inside
also been put in the loop hence their practice now centered on listening and
anticipating. She was determined that these girls would work as a team using
unspoken commands and instinct.
it was announced that thirty-two students would be chosen to assist with the
retrieval of Hope and Amy. It was no secret that the bodies had been lost
inside the Castle along with the bodies of twenty-five Marines and they had
determined that their attempt at recovery shouldn’t be a secret either. This
decision had been made based upon several factors but the biggest reason had been
simple; if their expedition disturbed Alti enough to make her suddenly reemerge,
they didn’t want to catch the Family off guard. It was better if everyone knew
that someone was haphazardly poking a stick into Alti’s bee hive.
choosing the student participants simple. A simple contest of staffs was
initiated. Seven winners would be chosen from each of the top four pre military
grades and the last four would be chosen personally by the Sisters, one from
school system was set up slightly differently than that of Earth. Children went
through thirteen years of regular schooling. When they had completed their
regular schooling, they all served in the Marines or in the Amazon Marines in
the general infantry for two years before they were allowed to choose a career
field and either go to College or simply go to work. Those that chose to stay
in the Marines were given the opportunity to move to another career field
within the Marines at that time. Children were not considered to be adults
until they had completed this fifteen year schooling cycle. There was no such
thing as graduating early. Exceptionally gifted children were simply challenged
harder so that their full potential might be reached. Mars had no truly slow
children. Those that displayed less aptitude for some things were simply given
other things to do.
They had no
child obesity problems; they had no diseases such as ADD in children or adults
and they had no problems with anti-patriotism. Their children were strong willed,
confident and proud at the same time, they were also polite and respectful. Mars was no
utopia it had its problems but they were not caused by weak family units or
lack of education.
So it was
that the contests began. Everyone was eligible and of course everyone wanted to
go. Classes were suspended until the winners were chosen.
Even at the
onset of the games many were surprised that Zaria and Galatia and their friends
were making short work of their opponents. They had trained very hard in the
past few weeks and they wanted it worse than anyone else. Zaria and Galatia
could not lose; if they did the Sisters would have a heck of a time explaining
why they were coming anyway. So they fought with an abandon that scared many of
their opponents. The competition became fiercer the closer that they came to
the top of the pile. But the girls fought hard and at the end of each school
day they trained hard. Harmony was careful not to tire them out. They needed
their rest and strength. But she drove them as hard and as much as she could.
of the girls all came together and worked out an eating and sleeping plan that
accommodated their training. And each night Galatia slept with Zaria. They did
nothing but sleep after a few long kisses but they slept peacefully and awoke
each morning refreshed.
their class of three hundred and seventy-nine had been whittled down to only
fourteen contestants. Six of those contestants were Zaria, Galatia and their
friends. They had made it this far on mostly desire alone. Now they faced six
of the very best staff fighters in the school.
these last fights were so important each one would be fought individually. The
winner of each fight would go to Uranus with Queen Faith, Solace, Dura and the
Marines. And it had been rumored that the Sisters would also be journeying to
Uranus to help recover their sister’s body.
contestants drew numbers from a hat to determine who they would fight and in
what order in which they would fight. First up, Ediva would fight a boy that towered
above her by nearly a foot by the name of Shane. Nadia would fight the cat like
Patricia. Zaria would fight Sherry the class champion. Lacy would fight the
psychotic April. A boy by the name of Baylor would fight Jana, his match in
every way. Rachael would fight the incredibly strong Jerry and last up, Galatia
would fight Jillian, a girl that reminded her of Varia.
anticipations were high as the final fourteen contestants of their age group
stepped onto the field. They would be the second and last group to fight today.
The previous group had been their junior class. It had been no surprise that
Zaria’s younger sister Mable had beaten all of her opponents to be chosen not
only to go on the trip but also as the class champion. Galatia’s sister, Jean
had also won enough matches and then defeated her final opponent this afternoon
to be chosen to come on the trip.
thought it was strange that before she had her memories restored she had always
thought of her sisters as being the best fighters in the school. It was an eye
opener to realize that she had probably been looking through the eyes of pride.
They were good that was not in question but they were not any of them class
champions. But she was still proud of
them. They had been mean to her but they were still her sisters.
had spoken with her mother several weeks ago she had no more trouble with her
sisters. They actually were treating her fairly well. It was clear that Peace
was still a bit bent but all Galatia could do was apologize and she had already
done that. If Peace didn’t want to accept it then she didn’t have to. At any
rate Peace and Joy would be fighting tomorrow for the right to go to Uranus.
Galatia hoped that they were good enough to beat their opponents.
brought her out of her musings. Ediva’s name was being called out. Ediva’s head
snapped up. She turned to look at her friends and returned the confident smile
that they gave to her. She spun on the ball of her foot and approached the
were all done in a modified Amazon style because not everyone was an Amazon it
was therefore not right to have Amazon ceremonies that generally accompanied
these types of fights. The ring was a ring only in name it was in fact an
octagon shaped demonstration field that had bleachers set up around it. Amazon Guardians
stood at the tips of each of the eight points to officiate and to protect if
The rules of
the contest were simple. The boundaries were set by lines of imbedded blue
rocks. If a contestant stepped over the blue line with any part of their
anatomy they were automatically disqualified. If they lost any part of their
staff over the line it was removed from the ring entirely and they would have
to fight without a weapon. No consideration was given for chivalry or
sportsmanship but this was not an invitation to cheat. Cheating was grounds for
an automatic disqualification and the judges determined what constituted
cheating. It was not a fight to the death but the contestants were expected to
fight as if their lives depended upon it. The contest was over when either a
contestant was unable or unwilling to continue or if the judges called it. And
finally, killing, maiming or malicious blows were strictly forbidden.
for this round of fights were the three women of the Amazon Council. Faith and
Solace were also in attendance but they were only here to observe. They had
stopped in for a few of the matches earlier in the day so their presence here
now did not attract any special notice from the majority.
reached the ring and was entering. Her opponent Shane had entering from the
other side of the ring. The Amazon Guardians flipped their staffs to battle
ready and held their position. The match had begun. The opponents circled each
other. Ediva was short but the staff help equalize the difference. Shane had
been calling out challenges to her for over an hour. He was either certain that
he was going to win or he was trying to convince her that he was certain to win. Either way it annoyed Ediva. She
was a proud girl and she would show him that size did not matter when you
carried a big stick.
stepped in and swung towards her head. His hands were in the center of the
staff so his reach could be out distanced. Ediva stepped to the side and
grabbed the end of her staff and delivered a very hard pool cue style shot to
his stomach. Shane’s body convulsed for a moment and when his head came down in
the inevitable reaction to being jabbed that hard in the stomach, Ediva slid her
hands down the staff to stop near the center. She spun the staff so that the
end that she had been holding struck Shane on the top of his head. She followed
that move with a simple counter strike that brought the opposite end of the
staff up to strike him under the chin. Shane had a tough jaw but three strikes
in a row had completely bewildered him. He had thought that she would be an
could think, Ediva had switched grips and had swept his staff aside and was
delivering a disarming blow to the top of his forearm. It was a very hard
strike. The entire stadium heard his arm snap. Shane howled in pain and doubled
over. He had not asked for mercy and the judges had not called the match. Ediva
did not hesitate, Harmony had not taught them to hesitate, and she brought her
staff around again in a broad swing and caught him in the side of the jaw. His
head and then his body snapped around and did a hundred and eighty turn but he
was still standing, still holding a staff and no-one had called the match. She
struck him behind the closest knee and he went down… on his face. He put out
his hands to catch his fall and his broken arm snapped fully free and became a
compound fracture. Shane passed out from the pain. The match was over. Ediva
Once it was
over she quickly knelt beside Shane and tried to staunch the bleeding. EMS was
on scene in seconds but it still took some time to stabilize Shane’s arm.
had been silenced by Ediva’s win. It had not been expected. A month ago this
little girl didn’t know the first thing about the staff. Suddenly the afternoon
matches had become much more interesting.
Next up was
Nadia and Pat. Nadia had speed on her side but Pat was also quick and she was
also flexible and she incorporated a lot of different kinds of moves when she
fought. They called her cat lady for
a reason. The only good news for Nadia was that the staff was Pat’s least
the ring and wasted no time circling her opponent. She stuck fast and hard. She
ran at Nadia and at the last second she launched herself into the air to flip
over Nadia’s head. As she passed she struck Nadia with a slightly deflected
blow to the back of her head. Nadia spun and lashed out catching Pat with a
glancing blow across her back before she spun to face Nadia. The blows came
fast and furious. Neither gave ground nor did they connect with anything but wood.
This was quickly panning out to be a contest of wills and stamina.
minutes of nonstop battle went on before they suddenly broke apart. Both were
sweating but not yet breathing hard. Nadia was however starting to show signs
of fatigue. Her staff was held just a hair lower than it had been and her
shoulders sagged a bit as well. Pat was keenly aware of these signs. She smiled…
even that looked like a cat.
to circle Nadia. She spun her staff in a cocky self-assured manner. Nadia
wasn’t intimidated. She watched and slowly turned in a circle allowing Pat to
take the long road around her. Nadia knew that she was tiring as well. This
contest would be decided soon… the sooner the better for Nadia. The more that
it dragged out now the worse it would be for her. Suddenly Pat struck again.
Four quick blows aimed at Nadia’s legs followed by a succession of blows aimed
for her head. These weren’t truly meant to be landed they were to keep Nadia
busy and to wind her a bit more and hopefully to make her begin fighting by
instinct alone and make her forget to actually think.
spun sideways in the air and struck for Nadia’s ribs and connected but Nadia
had seen the move before. She knew that if she allowed the strike to her ribs
that Pat would leave herself open for a thrust shot to her chest and upper
abdomen when she came back down. If Nadia stayed in position, timed it right
and didn’t flinch too much when the strike came to her ribs she could hit Pat
in a sensitive area below the arm pit and render her incapacitated.
began and the strike to Nadia’s ribs was hard and painful, it easily cracked a
few ribs. But Nadia was not giving up. As Pat’s feet came back to the ground
and her staff was pulled away from the blow so she could reload for a strike to
the head to finish off her opponent, Nadia turned her hips to face Pat and struck
out with the point of her staff at the tiny area under the arm that Pat had
crossed over her body. She struck with everything that her body had left in it.
She would have one shot and she knew it. If Pat were allowed to deliver the next
blow it would most likely fell Nadia if not make her unconscious.
landed just as Pat’s staff came down. Nadia threw herself into a tuck and roll
away from the head blow. It bounced off of her shoulders as Pat was thrown back
by Nadia’s strike. Pat dropped a hand from her staff and tried to keep her
balance. The blow had driven all of the wind from her lungs and she was having
trouble bringing more in. Her vision swam and she dropped to one knee and
finally collapsed in pain onto her side. Nadia was still standing albeit
crookedly and leaning heavily on shaky legs. The judges called the match and
EMS personnel rushed in to collect the contestants. Nadia had won but she also
had at least cracked some ribs.
contestants on The Strike is Right
were the much anticipated Zaria and Sherry. Over the past several weeks Zaria
had been regaining her Xena like strength and against Sherry and the staff she
was going to need it.
women entered the circle spinning their staffs. They were matched for height,
weight and even look. Two sets of baby blue eyes tried to stare each other
down. They struck at the same time and a fast set of blows ensued. Their
strikes were only meant to test each other. They backed away from each other
only to charge in again. They struck and spun and struck some more. Blows were
landed but neither looked as if they were hurt or if they had even noticed.
became harder and faster and then came the kicking and the punching. This was a
battle between truly well matched opponents. The audience was on their feet
cheering loudly. But the contestants heard nothing. Zaria leapt over Sherry’s
head and twisted in the air and brought her staff down on what looked like
Sherry’s unprotected shoulder. She did not strike for the head because the blow
could kill Sherry if she did. But Sherry surprised her by bringing her staff up
to protect her exposed upper body. The blow was hard enough or it might have
found a weakness in the staff but either way it broke Sherry’s staff in unequal
halves and drove her to one knee when the partially deflected blow came down
onto her shoulder.
not required to give quarter, but she did. She took a step away from her
opponent and allowed Sherry time to assess her own situation. Zaria came around
to the front side of her opponent so that Sherry knew that she would not be
attacked from behind. Sherry tried to lift her shoulder. It was broken and
would not move.
whispered. Zaria took a step closer so she could hear her opponent. “I would be
no good to you if I went to Uranus. It will take months for this to heal. You
and Gabrielle need to go and you need strong fighters at your side.” Zaria
looked shocked and then smiled minutely. “Not everyone knows and had I not
fought you I would still be skeptical. But you are Xena, and that can only mean
that Galatia is Gabrielle.”
“You got us
figured out. Please don’t tell everyone.” Xena asked.
worry. Your secret is safe. But you should know that others are figuring it
out.” She smiled and they both noticed that the judges were becoming impatient.
“Fight me… let me go out fighting. If you are to take my crown and deny me this
trip to Uranus then let me go down fighting… not on my knees.” Xena nodded and
stepped away from Sherry. Sherry got to her feet in a surge of energy that was
fueled by will alone. She tucked the thumb of her injured arm into her belt and
raised one half of the broken staff.
Even with a
broken shoulder Sherry fought like a wild cat. Even so, Xena let her tire
herself out a bit by simply staying out of reach and parrying the broken staff
away. She tried not to make it look easy and even made a few mistakes that
allowed Sherry to connect with her body. Only the most skilled of fighters
would notice the deceit. Xena waited patiently for the prefect opening and when
it showed itself she took it. A single strike to the head left Sherry on the
returned to the bull pen with the rest of her classmates she gathered them all
around her, including Baylor and told them all to try and not to break any
bones. It did no-one any good if they debilitated their opponents in such a
manner. Xena stressed control and precise blows. Later she would tell Galatia
all that had transpired.
Next up was
Lacy and the not quite right April. Xena’s admonition was not feasible when it
came to fighting April. The woman turned into a rabid animal when she was faced
with an opponent in the circle. She jumped and spun and twisted and all the
while she screamed and snarled and hissed while she was striking and landing
blows. She reminded Xena and Gabrielle of Callisto. The girl was both scary and
good and the only way to beat her was to literally beat her.
over matched and she knew it. She fought hard and landed dozens of blows but
she couldn’t stop April. The girl really was like a rabid animal. Lacy was
certain that she had managed to break a few bones in the hope that the pain
would slow April down, but it was like she had no nerve endings whatsoever… she
just kept coming.
inflicting pain on Lacy as well. But Lacy had decided to be stubborn and would
not go down. There was blood flowing with the sweat down both heads and welts
were cropping up everywhere. The contest came to a pivotal moment when Lacy got
lucky and struck April’s hand. It broke and fell disengaged from the staff.
Lacy handily disarmed her and struck to render April unconscious. The blow
never landed as April threw her entire body at Lacy and the two contestants hit
the ground together. The battle degraded into a brawl. Shortly after the tussling began the judges
called it to a stop. It was a draw but neither girl would be going anywhere but
between Baylor and Jana was long and bruising. But thankfully they both had
more control than the previous contestants. They would come away with a good
many bruises but no broken bones. The judges eventually called the match when
both contestants were panting heavily and staggering. It would be another draw.
Either they would both go or neither would go. It was now in Faith’s hands to
Jerry would be next. Their contest was a quick one. Rachael stayed out of his
reach and inflicted a great deal of pain. Her only hope was to wear him down
without getting hit by him. She did well for several minutes and it looked as
if she could keep it up she just might win. But fate had a different idea for
the outcome of this particular contest.
striking and running and generally staying clear of Jerry’s reach. But he
unexpectedly surged forward just as she was making a dart in of her own. She
came to a screeching halt and lost her footing in the loose sand and went down
on her butt. Jerry’s staff came down in a bone crushing blow onto her staff.
Her arms shook with the blow and buckled. He kicked her in the jaw. The blow threw
her back onto her back. She was momentarily stunned and hence she lost her grip
on her staff. Jerry quickly took advantage and placed his staff on her throat
and called for judgment. It was granted. He had won fair and square and neither
of them had taken severe damage.
Last but not
least Galatia would fight Jillian. They were evenly matched in nearly every
way. Galatia had only one advantage… she had been swinging a staff for a lot
longer than Jillian. They traded blows for several minutes. Neither was landing
anything on flesh no matter what they did. It wasn’t until Jillian attempted a
thrusting blow and her foot slid out further than she wanted in the sand that
Galatia was able to press the advantage. She spun away from Jillian and struck
behind her over extended knee. The blow did not bring her down but it did force
her to bring her other foot forward to keep her balance. Galatia spun again and
delivered a foot sweeping blow that threw Jillian to the ground on her back.
Galatia slapped Jillian’s staff out of her loosened grip with her own staff and
brought the tip of her staff back around to stop on Jillian’s throat. But
Jillian was not done.
slapped Galatia’s staff away from her throat and sprung from the ground to
lunge for her staff. Galatia dove over the top of Jillian’s lunging body and
managed to push the loose staff further away from Jillian’s outstretched hand.
The staff rolled onto the blue line and was snatched up by a Guardian.
staff out of the picture Jillian did a couple of back flips away from Galatia.
Now Galatia had a choice to make. It would be the sporting thing to do for
Galatia to toss her staff out of the ring. But it would also extend the
competition and frankly her body wasn’t yet up to snuff. Jillian couldn’t help
but notice the indecision on Galatia’s face. She took a step closer to her
you going to do?” Jillian asked.
“I have to
win Jillian. I have to go to Uranus and The Queen has enough decisions to make
already. I don’t want to injure you to secure my seat.” Galatia was torn.
“I will not
just lay down for you. I don’t care who you are. You need to earn this spot.”
She made it clear that she knew who she was fighting.
it your way.” Gabrielle tossed her staff from the ring and when Jillian averted
her eyes for that split second to watch the staff cross the line Gabrielle
leapt into the air and landed a kick to Jillian’s chin. Jillian had seen it
coming but had not had time to react. She flew back and landed hard. She was
momentarily dazed when her head struck the ground. Gabrielle wasted no time
delivering a blow that knocked Jillian out.
The next day
after the final competitions between the upper classmen; Zaria and Galatia
quietly met with Faith in Harmony’s home. The final list of those that would be
going to Uranus was completed. Among the winners was Galatia’s older sister,
Joy as well as Zaria’s older sister. From their class those that would be going
were Zaria, Galatia, Ediva, Rachael, Baylor, Jana, Jillian and Jerry. At the
last minute Faith added Patricia’s name to the list. She really had liked the
way that the girl had fought. She added another person from the senior class as
well. The total was thirty-four students and twenty-seven Marines. These numbers did not include eight of the
parents to help with the children, two squads of Amazon Guardians, the three
grandmothers and the Sisters.
all leave on the newly commissioned Amazon Queen II in fourteen days.