Max vs Erix III
“Well, this is an odd reversal,” Shades grunted as he leaned over the railing to help his friend.
He honestly wasn’t sure if he could lift him, but he was sure as hell gonna try. Max stared up at him with obvious surprise, but now was not the time for explanations. Shades hauled his friend up, and Max helped out with one arm still holding the railing.
“Shades…” Max began urgently, staring up.
“Not now,” Shades replied. “First we’ve gotta—”
And so Max’s warning went unheeded as Shades felt an elbow strike him between the shoulders. He lost his grip on Max’s hand as Erix jerked him around by his jacket collar. Before he could react, Shades found himself being bombarded with punches and kicks as Erix combo-ed him right up against the wall.
Shades was able to block one or two hits, but Erix quickly broke his defense, and the last thing he remembered as he hit his head against the wall was Erix’s voice in his mind saying, Shoulda killed me when you had the chance, kid…
“I respect you for what ya did, but it didn’t work,” Erix told him, seeing his own reflection in Shades’ mirrorized lenses as he activated his laser claws. “Attack me from my blind side, will ya…”
But before he could attack, something struck the wall near him, erupting in a cloud of smoke-screen.
“Dammit!” Erix hissed as he staggered back, drawing one of his power pistols and aiming in the Maximum’s general direction.
“Justin!” cried Max as he charged Erix, kicking the gun out of his hand, making his shot go wide. In the absence of any further interference, he finally managed to drag himself back up. And apparently rejoin the fight just in time.
Shades lifted his eyelids just long enough to catch a blurry glimpse of Max as he jumped back in. This Erix was a real piece of work, he reflected vaguely; not since his and Max’s battle with Mall Security had he felt this beaten down. That one man managed to deliver more punishment than a dozen guards.
Shades slumped against the wall and waited for his vision to clear, for now it was all he could do.
Erix was still slightly dazed from Shades’ initial attack, and now Max was going all-out against him. Even so, he still tried to keep one eye open for Shades, in spite of his slumped posture. Still had no idea how he got free in the first place, and thanks to those damn shades there was no way to tell if he was really out or just playing possum, though so far he hadn’t moved.
Found he still didn’t trust it, though.
Worse, he found he had little margin to watch out for Shades as Max was making a comeback. Seeing his friend alive gave Max renewed strength and resolve, taking the fight back to Erix. Reduced to hand-to-hand combat, they were both more evenly matched.
Finally both of them paused for a moment, catching their breath.
“Well met…” Erix said quietly, already thinking of his next move. Inexperienced as he is, he’s got the touch. In spite of the interruptions, this was still the best fight he’d had in a long time. “Your move, pretty-boy.”
Max paused for a moment, looking into those eyes— one cold, one dead— realizing that as grim as things appeared to be, he found he liked the challenge in spite of himself.
Yet when Erix blocked his next attack, he fired up his laser claws again and slashed. Max just barely slipped aside, belatedly remembering his adversary even had them to begin with. With the advantage of energy weapons, Erix turned the tables on Max, pushing him around, as about all he could do was dodge them.
Max knew it wouldn’t be too long before Erix got in a hit or two, and that would be the end of it. What he needed was a chance to grab even one of his fallen laser swords, or else one of Erix’s. A way to block and counter. But Erix was running him around relentlessly, refusing to give him a any time to do more than evade.
As Erix drove him back toward the railing again, Max got a flash of inspiration as he spotted a pole sticking up from the railing. Drawing from a duel he had watched years ago, and was hoping to make end differently this time. Envisioning Erix as his father’s nemesis, Slash, he allowed himself to be pressed against the railing, knowing that even one mistake could be the death of him without Erix even lifting a finger. Figuring that if it worked against Striker, it might also work against him.
Grabbing the post as he jumped back over the edge, Max swung around on it, aiming both feet at Erix while he was still facing the wrong way.
Shades blinked his eyes open in time to see Erix slide across the deck, landing against the wall, laser claws gouging the deck and the wall along the way.
Max staggered as he landed, making a dive for one of his laser sword before springing back to his feet. Erix also spotted one of his own blades lying nearby as he scrambled to his feet. Not as effective as it had been against Striker, but it at least gave him an opening. Instinctively fearing Erix might try to take Shades hostage again, Max charged him.
As the two resumed what must surely be the final round of their battle, Shades let his head roll to the side to keep them in view, not wanting Erix to see that his eyes were indeed open behind those impenetrable lenses. The two of them were in the zone. Except in the movies, he had never seen such spectacular swordplay.
But he knew it couldn’t last for long; this had to be Max’s power play.
Shades knew he would get cut to ribbons if he got in the way of those energy blades, but he wanted to help Max. Then he spotted Max’s other laser sword lying on the deck. Now that Max had Erix’s undivided attention, Shades reached slowly for it. Max needed help, and this was the only way he could think of to deliver.
Meanwhile, Max and Erix stood toe-to-toe, blades locked together, neither giving ground.
As Shades pretended to slump all the way on his side in order to finally grasp the fallen energy blade, he felt a portion of the deck tear away from the wall, starting from where Erix’s claws bit into it only moments before.
Max and Erix paid no heed, though, Max shoving his opponent down, but Erix snatched up his other sword as he rolled across the deck. Was about to launch another attack, having regained the advantage, when he saw Shades bound back to his feet out of the corner of his eye—
Then the whole structure gave way with a loud ripping noise and snapping of several supports below.
Max and Erix were both thrown toward the edge of edge as the entire deck toppled over. Shades dashed across the deck, leaping outward in a desperate attempt to hit deeper water— to say nothing of getting the hell out of this thing’s way when it hit. He saw Erix tumble and Max go into a graceful spread-eagle trying to gain some distance himself.
The last thing Shades heard was Erix’s surprised scream, then he hit the water, and all he could hear over the rush of bubbles all around him was the thunderous crashing behind him.