When we last saw our three heroes they were attempting to slip in to a VIP party in the basement of the old Polygon Battle Chamber, all whilst wearing unlikely disguises! Chairman Pete Prickle is beginning to suspect. This party is for owners, not fighters, least of all the disgraced yet somehow still INCREDIBLE...
REMEMBER THE POLYGON!
“Loving that money-green suit, bro?” Marty was saying with amusement as Wallace checked himself out in every reflective surface.
“Nobody can accuse us of trying to be inconspicuous,” Liza muttered.
“I’m still pulling off the wall street yuppie look better than him,” said Wallace, who knew very well that his taste hadn’t kept pace with his means.
Marty laughed. “You may be pretty, but at least I don’t have a magic rock up my ass.”
“Don’t forget who gave you those scars, Mars.”
“Save the play fighting for later,” Liza hissed. “There’s Pete. Hide.”
The trio veered away; Marty snagged another glass of champagne from a passing tray.
“So how do we get past him?” Liza wondered. “You said you had a plan.”
The boys looked sheepish; Liza knew with a sudden clarity why she’d been invited along. Her face told the tale of her lack of amusement, and just like Liza herself, it didn’t pull punches.
“Just distract him for five minutes,” Wallace pleaded. “You know you’re his favorite.”
“Right, and I’m not even supposed to be talking to you. Neither of us are. How do Marty and I avoid ruination in this scenario? I still have a career ahead of me and people who think I’m halfway respectable.”
“What about self respect?” Wallace whispered. He looked at Marty, his best friend, still caught in the game with its dirty tactics and thrown fights. Marty was a couple years older than Wallace, a couple years closer to retirement or collapse, whichever came first. No doubt he too was wondering what kind of legacy he was leaving for the family he hoped to have someday, if he even survived another kick to the head… Wallace hated to think of it happening to him. Marty was a good man. Even Liza deserved better, though she’d been dirty for years without a flash of conscience, at least until her husband died. He’d been a worker on a shoddy construction project overseen by one of Pete’s cronies. Liza hadn’t reported it but she knew: it was negligence. Cutting corners. And it would happen again. So when Marty and Wallace had made their list of potential accomplices, Liza was at the top. She was smart, kept herself out of the power struggles. None of the owners suspected she had her own plans for revenge. And the three of them knew they could turn the situation to her advantage, maybe even set her up at the top of a whole new sport, a pure one. By the fighters, for the fighters. But first they needed to stop Pete.
“Okay,” Liza sighed. “So your goal is to reach Pete’s office and raid his files. Somehow you’re going to find the one that blasts open his connections to every crime boss in the city. As if such a file exists.”
“We just need the cipher to unlock his private Cloud server,” Wallace reminded her. “Then we’ll—”
“You two aren’t cut out for this spy stuff. How have you managed to get stuck in a brains over brawn situation?”
“You of all people should know, Liza. Never underestimate a fighter’s capacity for strategy.” Marty smiled. “Time’s up. Get out there and shmooze.”
Wallace could feel the moon rising. His powers would be in full force if bullets started flying, but it wouldn’t be so great for their disguise. For now he figured they had thirty minutes, tops, before he started looking strange.
“Makes you wish none of this had ever happened, doesn’t it?” Marty said under his breath as they watched Liza work the room. “All three of us, just normal, innocent people.”
“That was never an option for us, Mars.”
“At least one of us made it big.”
“Only to throw it all away over some alien encounter, right?”
“You said it, not me.”
Wallace gritted his teeth and tried not to let it get to him. The memories. The bitterness. None of them had had a choice. It was either this or end up like Liza’s husband, like all their families, chewed up and spit out by people like Pete and his friends. They had always owned this town. Wallace was just hoping the powers he’d received through dumb luck would give him a chance to even the odds. After what he’d done, he’d be dead already if not for his dryad skin.
“There’s the door, but what’s on the other side?” Wallace wondered, gazing across the room to a darkened hallway and a locked stairwell, presumably wired with alarms and cameras and who knows what else.
“It won’t be so simple as just sneaking past. This place is a labyrinth. Remember before Pete bought it? The old coliseum? Kids said it was haunted.”
“Well if it wasn’t then, it is definitely haunted by now.”
“Liza’s man worked on the restoration. She drew me a partial map. Let’s hope her memory is as good as her left hook.”
“Wait. When did this map happen? Did you guys meet without me?”
Marty sighed. “Look, you know she leaned on me after he died— You were off cavorting with gods or aliens or some shit and I was down on planet Earth trying not to get my brains knocked out as always. I needed someone, she needed someone. There’s trust there. So yeah. She drew me a map.”
Wallace could feel the sweat on his skin congealing, saplike, a sensation he still hated. “Sometimes I just feel like I’m not human anymore. Like… no one sees me the same way.”
Marty sighed. “You did a lot of that yourself. You got singled out. You and your conscience. Now here we are.”
Wallace flinched, felt his skin contracting, changing, the cells calling out for the nourishment of the moonlight to make them even stronger. Even less like the man he used to be. “You’re the only one I can trust, Mars.” And that’s why I’m scared of you. You could destroy me for sure, not with a weapon or a fist. With a word. Do you even know that? “We’d better move soon.”