Episode 1: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Lion

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Episode 1: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Lion

Post by Mederic du Pons on Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:22 pm

You slide from your perch in the old tree to avoid the sunbeam glaring in your eye. You landing safely with a loud thud, startling something in the bushes. It walks out into the clearing as your vision returns.

You are staring at a large mountain lion, its eyes locked on yours and its teeth barred in a hiss. Instinct tells you to run, but your rational mind resists. If you run the great cat will chase; instead you should make yourself large and threatening. You stand upright and begin clapping, shouting "Ha. HA!"

The cougar coughs in a large yawn, almost as if its laughing at you. It begins circling, inching closer with each turn. Your eyes never leave its, locked in a dance daring the other to flee.  Neither relenting, violence seems imminent. You move into tiger form and prepare. Hopefully one good strike will be enough.

She breaks your gaze briefly to study your stance. Then suddenly, she bolts back into the bushes, pausing only to look back at you, still staring steel eyed in tiger form, ready to fight. In a moment the mountain lion disappeared.

You breath freely again. Not everyday you meet a Puma. They are not that uncommon in the countryside but she must have wandered quite a ways to be on the city borders. Good thing your parents bothered to teach you how to avoid large predatory animals!

You jog back to the car, adrenaline still pumping through your veins. You have a report you need to finish for tomorrow but that encounter left you itching for some more excitement.

What should you do?
Go HOME to work on the report
Go to the GYM to lift weights

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Episode 1: Second Choice

Post by Mederic du Pons on Wed Nov 20, 2013 11:43 pm

With all the adrenaline pumping through your blood you are far to jittery to do any work.

The gym is only 10 minutes drive away, still on the border of town where land is cheaper. It used the space well; two stories tall and almost an entire block wide the Gold's Mega Gym contained everything from free weights to racquetball courts, two Olympic sized pools and a full spa. All covered under the 60 dollars a month membership fee. Your job sucks, but you never complain about the 75,000 a year they pay you.

You cross the parking lot into the over architectured lobby. As the desk attendant checks your ID, you see a flyer for a new Mixed Martial Arts class. That alone perks your interest, but the instructor's name catches your full attention. Ron Silverman.

In college, you won a number of Martial Art Tournaments and earned admittance into a national tournament alongside two of your closest friends, Elisabeth Tisdale and Jackson O'hara. All three of you made it to the finals; you fought Betsy and Jack fought Ron Silverman. Clearly the weaker fighter, Ron used a illegal face kick on Jack. He was immediately disqualified, but he left Jack with a concussion which became a stroke. Jack lost most of the function of his left hand.

An all to familiar annoyance pulls you from your memories. "Brian!" Someone calls. You turn around to see Deborah jogging across the lobby wearing a pink Gi. "Jim said worked out here, how awesome is it that I finally run into you here? I only started a month ago, after my last place raised its prices. I mean, I still pay more but I may as well get more out of it you know? " She sees the flyer in your hand and gasps "Oh my Goddess! Do you kung-fu as well? What stye did you use?"

"Uh, Tiger Style." You answer slowly, unsure whether to probe deeper or back away.

"That's so cool! I do Snake Style. My instructor said that I should try it out because I'm so twitchy. How funny is that?" She makes a punch like a serpent uncoiling, her perfect form betraying that beneath her.... bubbly exterior she is in fact a strong fighter. You should ask her to spar sometime.

Before you get the chance, she sees someone rounding a corner and calls out to them. "Ron! Hey Ron! This is my friend Brain from work. Apparently he practices Tiger Style and never told me."

Ron sees you and smiles. His gazes washes past you like a wave of sewage. "Brian," he says walking towards you, "How strange it is to see you here."

"Mr Silverman."

"I hope you do not sign up for that class. You would be teaching me within the week."

"Don't worry. Good Day." You try to leave but Ron lashes out and grabs your arm. Did the whole room go silent as you turn to face Ron? Even Deborah seems to have notice and shifted into a stance preparing to stop you from fighting.

"If you have a moment Brian, perhaps you would indulge me in a match. I always regretted never getting to cut my teeth on you in the finals."

What do you do?
- WALK away. This man is dangerous.
- Don't just fight him, HUMILIATE him for what he did to Jack
- FIGHT him fairly. He is a challenge you never had a chance to overcome.

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Episode One: Choice Three

Post by Mederic du Pons on Sun Nov 24, 2013 4:09 pm

You want to put this jerk in his place, but your restrain yourself. Ron is as dangerous as a cornered animal; its best to just back away. "No thanks" you answer, pulling free and walking away. His eyes burn on the back of your neck. Then, as you round the corner, you hear rapid footsteps approaching. You spin around, ready to strike, but its is only Deborah. You really wish it was someone else.

"I am so, so sorry." She says, "I had no idea he would act like that. He seemed so nice during the class, I never suspected. If I had know I..." She catches herself, "Please forgive me."

"Its alright Deborah." You answer shortly, "Ron and I have a history that there was no way you could have know about."

"Still, is there anything I can do?" You look her in the eyes. Her blue eyes have begun to swell in the stage before crying. She is really distraught over this; you feel like you just kicked a kitten.

"Sure I guess." you think for a few seconds, "Would you be willing to spar for a bit?"

Deborah brightens up immediately. "Sure, of course! Right now? There is a nice studio on the second floor that should be open now." She waves for you to follow and runs off down the hallway.

The gym does apparently have a martial arts room tucked between the dance studio and the women's bathroom. Despite the out-of-the-way location, it comes fully equipped with training mats, dummies and other such equipment. You find pre-marked circle and begin your spar.

You lose the first round, but it is your fault. Muscle memory lasts a while, but combat instincts disappear with under-use. You are overly defensive, giving Deborah the ability to force you back and out of the ring with a series of strong punches.
After taking a moment to re-examine the fight, you begin the second round. This time you win. The difference in your style took her by surprise while your quick claws forced her into defensive. You quickly closed the distance, where you locked her right shoulder and spun her to the ground.

The final round both of you fought in perfect form. As soon as the match began she snaked through your defense and struck your shoulder hard, breaking your stance. She landed three more blows before you manged to side step her and claw her stomach. As she gags you swing wide and hard but she recovers in time to block.

You exchange blocks and blows for a solid minute. Tiger style focuses on ferocity and strength verses Snake style's focus on speed and accuracy. You tower above her but she refuses to flinch; she snaps like a spring but you beat her blow aside. Eventually her feet twist and you strike hard enough that she loses her balance and falls. You follow her down to finish the match.

Only it was a trick! Without her knees once touching the ground, she twists into a coil and leaps out like a snake. Her palm strikes your chest, throwing you aside and onto your back. In a moment her foot pins you down and she points her finger at you like a gun. "Bang" she laughs.

She helps you up. "Well, you just went 2 of 3 against a national champion." You laugh

Deborah blushes. "That last one was a trick and it could only work once. Otherwise you had me outmatched."

"It was smart though. Smart wins fights." She smiles, not here normal over wide grin but more subdued.

Then she sees the clock and gasps. "Oh God, I need to get home right away. Thank you so much for the fight. I'll see you tomorrow." She bows politely then dashes off.

Now What?
Go HOME. You still have work to get done.
STAY longer. You barely worked out at all!
PURSUE her. She is a lot more interesting than you gave her credit. You should ask her out.

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Re: Episode 1: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Lion

Post by Mederic du Pons on Thu Nov 28, 2013 2:45 am

You enjoyed fighting again, but it is closing in on 6 pm and there is still that project that needs to be finished; You really should be getting home.  You sign out, make it to your car and pull out of the parking lot just behind a red Corvette.  

You live in a nice house up in the hills (another benefit of your government job.) It is spacious, has a great view and is in a decent neighborhood. The only big issue is that the house is a little out of the way. First you take the highway from the city, then turn off onto a side road into a small town, navigate the town onto a back road and only then can you reach the winding road to your house. At least the gym and most of the stores are in between your office and your house.

Something darts in front of your car. You slam on the breaks, coming to a halt inches in front of a large mountain lion. The lion looks at you and does a coughing laugh before meandering out of the road. Was that the same lion from earlier? You check for her in your mirrors, but she has disappeared into the darkness.

You drive on, arriving home a few minutes later. You park, go inside, drop your keys by the door and check the messages on the Home phone. Work, your Mother, your Uncle and...

"Hey Brian, this is Betsy Tisdale. I asked Jack for your number because I am moving into your neck of the woods! Found a great job with a Tekelec there, and got everything packed in a big ol' U-haul.

"And uh, yah, this call an't just friendly. I thought I had an apartment but some jackass overbid me at the last minute. I am now sitting in a Denny's just outside town with my roommate wondering what to do, and it occurred to me that Jack said you had that big house with some guest rooms. I hate to ask so last minute but would you be able to room me and my friend for a few days while we sort this out? Call me back ASAP XXX-XXX-XXXX."

Well, would you?

A couple of days shouldn't be a problem. SURE, they can stay with you.

NO. Your happy she's in the area, but you don't feel comfortable letting them stay on such short notice.

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End of Episode 1

Post by Mederic du Pons on Sun Dec 08, 2013 7:31 pm

You don't forsee any problems with letting your friend stay for a few days, other than a couple confidential files you will have to lock up. You call Betsy back and let her know you are willing to help her out.

"Really? Thank you so much Brian." Besty responds in a long sigh. "Is it alright if we head right over?"

You give her your adress and she says she will be over in around 30 minutes. The guest room just needs a set of sheets and the window opend, so you quickly knock that chore out of the way. Then you settle into your work.

About the time the numbers begin the macarana across the page, Betsy finaly arives to save you. "Howdy, there!" She greets you with a big wave as she climbs out of the gaugy orange van (19.99 a day!) "How've yah been?"

"Fairly well. Yourself?"

"Can't complain." she replied before she remembered that, technically speaking, she had now joined the horde of the homeless. Her personality was not the only thing that hadn't changed much since college; she still had that 80's christmas card haircut, still stood about 2" taller than you and still weighed around 210 lbs of solid muscle. Without a doubt she had been the physically strongest member of the Martial Arts Club. To attract new students they used to have her break baseball bats in two instead of wooden planks.

A woman stepped out from behind the van, looking lazily across the hillside for a red corvette. She was of some asian descent, tall and thin with deep black hair. Beneath her blue three t-shirt you can see a lion tatoo hiding on her arm. When she at last she turns to you, she smiles warmly but says nothing.

Besty follows your gaze behind her. "Oh, this is my roomate Kay. Kay, my college friend Brian."

"Hey." Kay nods

"Nice to meet you."

She turns back to Betsy."I'm going to start bringing our stuff in."

"Do you need any help?" you ask.

"We just have a couple of overnight bags for the trip, other than that I think most of the stuff can just stay in the car for now. But thanks though." Kay adds as an afterthought.

You show them inside, and Kay immediately heads down the stairs to the guest rooms. Betsy shrugs apologetically, "She's really very kind, she just takes some time to warm up to new things."

"Don't worry about it. "

Neither of you can think of something to say for a few moments. Kay came back up the stairs. "Is it okay if I watch TV?" she asks.

"Sure, make yourself at home." She nods and heads downstairs to the TV.

"I'm just gonna hit the sack; I've been up since 6 driving. But tomorrow lets catch up!"

With your agreement she heads into the guest room and from the snoring you can tell quickly falls asleep. Kay sinks deep into the coutch, watching alternatively the local news and some cartoon about ponies. Whenever the pink one begins talking she smiles hungrily. It wouldn't be the first pony she ate.

Wait, What? You turn back to her. She meets your gaze, expecting you to say something. "what are you watching?" you ask.

"Local news mostly."

"Ah." Another moment of odd silence. "Well, only thing really is I keep some classified documents in the Office. You might be fined or imprisoned if you go in."

She shakes her head as she lets out a single laugh. "I'll be careful. I tried prison and it didn't work for me. "

"Haven't done prison myself. Poison once."

"How did it go?"

"Poorly; I died. I got better though."

She laughed again.

"Hey if you need anything, just ask."

"Sure. I will then."  She lied.

You head into your home office, and continue working for a few hours. Eventually the soft sound of the TV dies, leaving you alone to think. Just earlier today you wanted something to be diffrent, now almost everything seems changed. Deborah is more complex than her cat pictures would indicate; Betsy and Ron just popped back into your life out of nowhere.

Betsy may once have been one of your closest friends but after you won nationals something changed. You changed. It felt like you were fighting your older brother: She was patronizing you, letting you win because how could you ever be match for her.
You shake away the bad memories. This is a chance to reconect with an old friend. It is a good thing. Content with new hope you save the project, lock the office and head up to bed. Between the time your head hits the pillow and when you fall asleep you think you hear a large cat howling outside, but you drift off before you think anymore of it.
END Episode One

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Re: Episode 1: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Lion

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