Archive for February, 2020

Love Bites 2020

Writing | Posted by David A Ludwig
Feb 14 2020

This time Katheryn Avila is hosting the seasonal Blog Hop, Love Bites 2020. I’m quite pleased to get my entry posted on Valentine’s Day, and wish you all a happy one!

With our choice of romance tropes as prompts, I’ve chosen to follow up on my Fantasy Fighter setting in 744 words–the events of the preceding New Years Revolution being particularly relevant to this scenario though there are no characters in common and either flash fiction should stand alone.

Brandon “Blades” Brown’s stainless-steel elevator plummeted past its fifth safety check point unimpeded. Thankfully he had grabbed a robotic gauntlet off his workbench before being driven into the elevator. He slammed the gauntlet into a corner and fired the grapple line through.

The stop was bruising, but at least they weren’t the paste in a steel sandwich. Hazuki Akiyama, the Japanese schoolgirl in the elevator with him, jumped off the ceiling and the walls to land back where she started unscathed.

Blades flexed his hand, looking past where his gauntlet was lodged in the wall to the doors of their off-kilter prison.

“Those aren’t opening any time soon.”

Hazuki sighed heavily, falling against the back wall and sliding to the floor. Either his calculated grapple shot or Hazuki’s ninja skills kept her movement from disturbing the dislodged elevator.

A pat down of his ripped t-shirt and jeans didn’t turn up any usable tech. He had his namesake roller blades on. Unfortunately, their limited arsenal wasn’t enough to take on the slime monster that chased Hazuki into his workshop, let alone the infamous Caldwell Keller backing it up.

“We’re in trouble,” Blades smiled at his pouty peer. “But I’m glad you came to me.”

Hazuki glared incisively back.

“I’d have ducked into an empty building if I could.”

“Oh, come on! You know I’m in love with you, right?”

“Hai, kimoi!” Hazuki nodded and scooted further from Blades with a disgusted grimace. “I’ve met your creepy robot of me.”

Blades slammed his head back into the wall and was relieved to find they did seem to be well wedged in the elevator shaft.

“That is not entirely my fault! I only designed her to fight like you, as a study, her personality…”

Hazuki’s harsh hiss hushed him. Blades changed topics.

“I guess Caldwell’s one of the bad guys now… Kinda regretting giving him security override privileges.”

Hazuki materialized a sparkling shuriken to roll over her fingers.

“He was always bad.”

“Right. Well, we need some way to get you out past him and the Biomass to real backup. The world needs you more, so I’ll buy time if I have to.”

Hazuki looked at him differently after that. Which made him feel more like he was about to die.

“Unless… Could your ninja magic disguise you as Habot?”

“Nani?” Hazuki’s eyes widened in a mix of incredulity and offense.

Blades raised his hands placatingly.

“You disguise yourself as Habot, I act like I don’t know what’s going on and we walk out right past them.”

Hazuki multiplied her shuriken into a fistful.

“Or we fight. Two on two. Easy.”

“I don’t have half my tech, and Biomass Delta is a hard fight even for Caldwell. Then Caldwell himself? The dude killed a god!”

Hazuki’s shurikens poofed as she popped to her feet.

“I’ve beat both plenty of times!”

Blades stood, putting his head higher than Hazuki’s.

“Not at the same time. I know how good you are, but do you really think Caldwell fought you seriously before? This time feels different. You were running from them.”

Hazuki held his eyes for a moment before snapping her fingers over her head and spinning on her toes. By the end of her pirouette she looked exactly like Blades’ mechanical model of her.

“You should probably hang off me a bit, to help sell that you’re Habot.”

Habot’s angry emote flashed across the face screen of the imitation, but she did as Blades suggested. Hearing movement on the other side of the doors, Blades lowered his voice to an aside.

“I’m not so bad if you’d give me a shot. If nothing else, I’m worth billions even if most of it is off the books Agency stuff.”

“The Akiyamas have been pillars of our community for generations.” Hazuki even nailed Habot’s synthetic voice. “We’re quite comfortable.”

Shadows ripped the steel doors from the elevator to reveal Caldwell Keller. Blades rushed to the grizzled mercenary with Hazuki dangling off him in a flawless impersonation of his bot.

“Caldwell! Man, am I glad to see you! One of my experiments must have overloaded, because everything just failed all at once! It’ll take forever to sort out why!”

“Mm-hm…”

Caldwell cracked his right knuckles then his left, studying the fake Habot. Hazuki flashed Habot’s smiley emote while looking up at their grey-haired adversary. The real Habot appeared behind Caldwell pointing at Hazuki with her crying emote flashing.

“Daddy?! That’s not meeeee!”