A few hours ago, I was speeding down the highway in the hopes of meeting someone in the city. Now I’m here, in a high-rise apartment complex with a group of strangers telling me that I’m the key to shutting down a large corporation I’ve never even heard of before.
After our brief introduction, I sat down in the living area with the others as they spoke about their mission to find me, and how now that I’m here, there is hope for Solai. I remained silent, although I listened intently to what they were talking about as I stood and gazed out of the window overlooking the city. Eventually Locke got fed up with my silence, he walked up to me and grabbed my shoulder as he pulled me around to face him, he asked “Don’t you give a shit about the state of this place?” He was clearly frustrated as he leaned in towards me, his face within a few inches of mine. Before I could say anything, Caine interjected, “You fucking idiot, what do you expect? He says he remembers nothing...” Locke's attention quickly shifted to Caine as they approached each other and squared up in the center of the room. I looked over at Data, who began sniggering behind his desk, as Clova positioned herself between the two hotheads. Struggling to keep them away from each other, she yelled and offered them an alternative, “Again?! If you want to beat the crap out of each other, then do it in Zone 4. Got it?!” Caine backed away and began walking towards the window as Locke’s eyes followed him with a brooding glare. Caine walked out onto the balcony of the towering penthouse apartment and with a smug expression turned to face Locke as he said, “Hey asshole, let’s go!” He leapt off the balcony and began scaling the side of the building, just like he did when I was chasing him earlier.
Before I had time to process the fact that this kid had just climbed up the side of a skyscraper again; Locke, seemingly accepting of the challenge, charged angrily towards the elevator at the back of the room. As he entered the elevator, Locke muttered the instruction “Go to Zone 4” before the elevator responded and the door slid shut. Data spun around on his swivel chair to face me, I looked at him wondering what the hell had just happened, and before I could say anything, he suggested that I go with Clova to Zone 4. Clova and I stood and waited for the elevator to return, and while we were waiting, she told me that Zone 4 is Shadowtasks very own combat training area, designed and built by her and Data. It’s a place where the team can go to test new weapons, build new combat strategies, and train. The training area is situated in Zone 4, on the rooftop of the Shadowtask building, and is surrounded by a solid 150ft tall wall that wraps around the entire building's perimeter. According to Clova, the wall was made by combining concrete, steel and a ‘classified’ material developed in her lab, capable of withstanding extreme explosion and impact damage.
Soon after she explained where we were going, the elevator door slid open into a small room with a panoramic view overlooking the huge rooftop training area. The room was fairly large for what seemed to be a spectator box, and as I looked around, I saw that it had a wall of at least 30 monitors that was hooked up to cameras placed all around the perimeter of the training grounds with every inch of the rooftop covered. At this point, I realized what was happening; I was about to watch a brawl between Locke and Caine in an environment where they have the freedom to beat the shit out of each other, without causing mass damage and chaos to their surroundings. They stared each other down for a moment as Caine rolled his sleeves up to reveal his bionic arm radiating a red glow. Locke followed suit as he slid a hoop shaped attachment down onto the shaft of his baseball bat. In an instant, it went from dead silence to complete chaos as Locke swung his bat, releasing the hoop shaped projectile which flung towards Caine and detonated on impact. It took a few seconds for the smoke to disperse, meanwhile Locke was already loading another round onto his bat. As the smoke settled, Caine was down on one knee taking cover behind what looked like a big metal shield. As he stood up, I noticed that this shield had replaced his bionic arm that I saw moments ago. He smirked and shouted over to Locke “Eager, aren’t you?” as his arm transformed back into its previous form. Caine began sprinting as his opponent hurled another projectile towards him at incredible speed; darting from left to right, he dodged it effortlessly as he ran directly towards Locke, closing the gap between them. Pulling his fist back as he hurled himself toward Locke, his arm began beaming bright neon blue as he looked to strike his opponent. Backed up against the perimeter wall, Caine launched his metal fist towards him, Locke ducked out of the way as the punch narrowly skimmed past the left side of his head, and into the wall behind him.
What followed, was a close quarters battle between the two, as they exchanged multiple blows; punching, swinging, blocking and dodging as the sound of clanging metal echoed on the roof top. Becoming increasingly agitated with Caine’s ability to dodge his attacks, Locke screamed with anger as he single-handedly swung his bat at an incredible speed, aiming directly towards Caine’s head. It was this attack that allowed Caine to find an opening in Locke’s previously solid defense as he ducked under the bat and launched a flurry of fast paced punches to Locke’s body. Locke stumbled slightly as he leapt backwards to help create distance between them both, and whilst breathing heavily began sniggering as he raised his head to face his competition. “What’s funny about getting your ass kicked?” Caine shouted whilst Locke remained silent. It looked as though the fight between them both was over; Caine seemed more than confident that he’d bested his opponent as he stood with his arms folded. Finally, Locke broke his silence as his tone changed to that of a teacher; “When are you gonna learn? Combat is about more than strength, it’s about strategy.” He raised his bat in his hand, holding it upside down as his thumb hovered over what looked like a button on the base , and as Caine’s face suddenly dropped, Locke made one final remark before pushing it, “Maybe next time, Kid.” As Locke pushed the button, a faint beeping sound began, and it was at this moment Caine began frantically searching his pockets before pulling out one of the projectiles I saw Locke use earlier. Flashing with a green glow, Caine held it for no more than a second before it exploded in his metallic hand, flooding him in a cloud of smoke, as Locke dropped his bat on the floor and hurled himself towards him. Locke ran towards his opponent, throwing a solid right hook into the thick cloud of smoke. Caine’s unconscious body was thrown out of the other side, at least 6 feet backwards before hitting the ground. Caine was out for the count. Locke approached him and rolled him onto his side before turning around to pick up his bat, and made his way to the elevator. With a sigh, Clova shook her head before heading down onto the training grounds to give Caine medical attention. I wanted to see how the kid was; for a moment during the fight I actually thought he’d won.
As I headed towards the elevator, Data cut in on the intercom: “That was fun, right? Make no mistake that Caine is very strong, however this was as much a battle of the minds as it was on of the fists. Here, watch this.” The fight began playing back on the monitors in the room, with every angle covered as Data scrubbed to find the most critical part of the fight: “Ah, here we go. Watch…” I watched as Data paused the video and told me to pay close attention to Caine’s flurry of punches that earlier on made me think he had an edge over his opponent. Data played the clip back in slow motion, and as I watched Caine duck under Locke’s attack to deliver the body shots, Data switched the camera to a different angle. Now I could see them both in a side profile shot. While Caine was busy delivering blows to the left side of his opponent's body, Locke used his right hand to plant one of his projectiles into Caine’s left pocket, using
his batting arm to block Caine’s line of sight. Played at full speed, this entire exchange lasted around 2 seconds, which would explain why I missed this detail watching the fight moments ago. Data explained to me that the reason Locke won was because regardless of how angry he seemed during the fight, the truth is he’s always very calm and level headed during combat. He explained that in this case, Locke lured Caine into a false sense of security by making him believe that his temper got the best of him. This allowed Locke to manipulate his opponent's position by intentionally leaving himself open to attacks in order to gain his advantage. Data explained that Locke is right handed, and usually grips his bat with both hands in order to produce the most effective and damaging force behind his swing. However, at this point in the fight, Locke quickly switched grips and held his bat using only his left hand as he swung it frantically in a fit of seemingly blind rage. What he was actually doing, was intentionally leaving his left side wide open in order to bait Caine into attacking with his right arm. Data explained that Locke knows how strong Caine’s left arm is, and that strikes from a bionic arm as powerful as his, have the potential to cause serious damage to the body. If Locke tried this strategy using his normal batting arm, then he would have exposed his right side to attacks with such power that it would most likely have given Caine a big advantage in the fight.
After listening to Data's analysis of the fight, I boarded the elevator and headed back downstairs to Zone 1. On my way there, I replayed the fight over and over in my mind, as I tried to put into perspective the level of strength, intellect, and fighting skill displayed during their brawl.
- PYLOT View the journal entry