“I am still having difficulties in processing the events of SLAMTRACK 10,” Hittora says.
She sits reclined in the examination chair, staring blankly at the white foam panels of the drop ceiling. A thick cable snaking from underneath her runs to the floor and loops up again to a wheeled cart and into the back of a computer case. Dr. Rika Ishida is sitting in a rolling chair, hunched over a keyboard and squinting at diagnostic information on a screen.
“Hmm,” Rika says.
“The flow of the battle royal was significantly different than my simulations predicted,” Hittora continues. “There was much I did not expect. I found myself in a state of inaction at several points as I analyzed the situation. This reduced my effectiveness in real-time competition. I must consider that my eventual victory in the match was not entirely a result of my own actions. I conclude that simple chance played a large role.”
“Right,” Rika mutters.
Hittora turns her head to look at the young roboticist. “You seem preoccupied, Dr. Rika. Would you prefer to have this conversation at a later time?”
Rika taps keys and swipes the mouse around. “Go ahead and talk if you want.”
“Thank you but I will stop now,” Hittora says. “Facial analysis indicates you are annoyed.”
Pursing her lips, Rika hammers Enter a couple of times before kicking herself back from the computer with a loud sigh. “Yes, I’m annoyed.” She rubs her eyes under her large round glasses. “The whole team took today off. It’s Father’s Day,” she says, bitterness in her tone.
“Father’s Day,” Hittora repeats. Her eyes freeze as she accesses her database. “An annual holiday to celebrate the parental role of fathers in raising their children. It is reasonable that your colleagues would like to take time for this occasion, is it not?”
“Whatever. I just have to do everything by myself today, that’s all. Sit up, Hit-chan.”
Rika gets up, wagging her hands impatiently as Hittora leans forward in the chair. A small flap of silicone skin on Hittora’s spine hangs open, exposing an access port where the cable is plugged in. Rika yanks out the cord and massages the flap back in place. “You’re good to go. You can put your shirt on.”
“Thank you, Dr. Rika,” Hittora says, sliding out of the examination chair. She walks over to the clothes rack and retrieves a white blouse. “Do you not wish to take time off to celebrate your father?”
Rika scoffs as she coils up the cable and shuts down her equipment. “Oh please. You mean the man who spends more time with his machines than his family? Who never cared about anything I did? Who’s so unsatisfied with his disappointing, natural born daughter he went and built a better one?” She casts a fuming glare at Hittora before turning back to her business. “I haven’t made any contact with Dad since we left Japan. Why would today be any different?”
Another sigh gusts out of her. “We’re off the face of the planet as far as he knows. And that’s the way I want it.”
Rika shakes her head, ponytail swinging, and storms out of the lab without another word, her white coat billowing around her. Hittora watches her go, her blouse hanging forgotten in her hands.
A few minutes later, after dressing, Hittora goes to look for Rika, and finds her office door shut and locked. She raises her fist to knock, but hesitates when she detects noises from within. Wet sounds, ragged bursts of breath, quiet muttering.
Based on auditory cues, Hittora calculates a moderate probability that Rika is crying; without visual cues she is not sure. Her first impulse is to execute a comforting routine, but the situation is beyond her experience, and she does not really know what to do. She decides to let the young doctor be alone for now.
She turns and walks away.
“Hello, friends of Red Line Wrestling. I am happy to speak to you again.”
It’s the RLW interview booth. Hittora is seated on her usual stool, in her usual crossed-leg position, in her usual skirt suit, sporting her usual polite, faintly blank smile.
“May I begin by sending to my colleagues who are fathers, and my colleagues who have fathers, a happy Father’s Day,” she says, and bows her head. “I do not have a family in the sense that humans do, but I recognize the importance of these familial bonds. Therefore I wish you well.
“Hello, Jessica Cross,” she continues and gives a small wave to the camera. “We will meet in competition at the RLW MASS TRANSIT iPPV event. From my research into your history, I learned that you were raised in a family with a long wrestling tradition. You grew up among legends and champions, and your departed father was an accomplished wrestler.” Hittora’s face turns sober and she bows her head low. “I am sorry for your loss.”
She straightens up again. “Ms. Cross, it is apparent that wrestling is prominent in your lineage, ‘in your blood’ as one might say. I am certain, even at your young age, that your skills are impressive and that your potential is considerable. I do not believe that you were able to properly demonstrate your talent in the Battle Royal at SLAMTRACK 10. It was a chaotic type of match that defied my every attempt to predict or analyze it, in spite of the powerful simulation processors at my disposal. That is why I do not infer any skill differential between us from the fact that I eliminated you from the Battle Royal and eventually won the match.”
Hittora cocks her head slightly to one side, smiles, and gestures with one hand. “However, our one-on-one battle will be a very different situation. I do not have the benefit of a hereditary advantage or years of training. On the other hand, now that I have gained valuable experience in three matches with veterans such as Dick Fury, Brad Andrews, and Eric Dane, I believe I am well-equipped to apply my skills against yours. My simulations of our upcoming match are very positive.”
She bows her head respectfully. “As one competitor to another, Ms. Cross, I will wish you good luck.”
Hittora stands up, puts her palms flat against her skirt, and does a traditional Japanese bow toward the camera, her shiny black hair spilling over her shoulders. “Thank you for watching and have a wonderful day.”
That evening, as Hittora sits in her examination chair with a thick charging cable connected to her back, Dr. Rika shuffles into the robotics lab, looking down at an iPad in her hands. It’s less that she’s focused on the screen, and more that it’s a pretense not to meet Hittora’s gaze.
“Good evening, Dr. Rika,” Hittora greets her politely with a small bow of the head.
Rika glances instinctively at her before she catches herself, and then she covers her face with the tablet. She groans under her breath. “Hey, Hit-chan,” she mutters.
“Are you feeling better?”
When Rika lowers the iPad, her expression is sheepish. “You were worried about me, huh? You’re sweet. More sweet than most actual people.” She walks over to the examination chair and drops into a rolling chair. “I wanted to say I’m sorry for my bitchy mood earlier.”
“You do not need to apologize, Dr. Rika,” Hittora says with a smile.
“No, I do. My father is kind of a trigger for me, and today was like having it thrown in my face.” Rika puts her tablet down on the computer desk, plays absently with her skirt. “I never felt like I had my own life back in Tokyo, working at Tezuka with Dad. Everything was about him, his project, his reputation. But being here in Chicago, just me and you, doing it ourselves, it’s different, you know? This feels good. It feels like we’re accomplishing something that belongs to us.”
Hittora’s face is frozen, listening attentively. Rika looks at her and chuckles. “It probably kills him that I took you away, his pride and joy. He could never handle not being in control of everything. If he knew where we were, he’d probably bring eighty kinds of wrath down on my head. Actually, no. Wrath isn’t his style. It’d be ice cold rage.”
“But we will eventually reunite with Dr. Ishida, yes?” Hittora asks.
“Oh, sure,” Rika says. “We can’t stay on the lam forever. Besides, if I was anybody else, I’d probably be in prison by now for stealing proprietary technology. Look, once you’ve had a chance to learn how to really be your own person, we’ll go back to Japan and show Dad how you’ve grown.” She smiles and puts a hand on Hittora’s shoulder. “I promise, Hit-chan.”
To: Dr. Ishida Shintaro From: Hittora Subject: Happy Father’s Day Message: Thank you for creating me.
He stares at his computer screen, mouth hanging open. He blinks away tears as he reads and re-reads the email, barely believing the words.
“Hiroko,” he whispers hoarsely.
Hand shaking almost uncontrollably, he reaches for the phone. He has to make a mental effort to maintain his grip as he presses the handset to his ear and touches a speed dial button. The line picks up a moment later: “Tezuka Multimedia, IT Division, this is Fujita.”
“I need you to trace an IP address,” Dr. Ishida says in a trembling voice.
[Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction,” alerts Jessica Cross that her phone is ringing.]
“Okay so it wasn’t so solid of a plan.”
[RLW newcomer Jessica Cross stares at her phone as a familiar name pops up on the screen.]
“I had everything a girl could want going for me: I’m decent enough to look at I know the art, and the business. Besides, who wouldn’t want someone who was raised and trained by Mike Sloan and if that wasn’t enough we have a family friend that would be able to get me into any promotion I wanted. Although, that would mean having to ask Eric Dane for a favor and someone told me once that was like making a deal with the devil himself. So when Curtis offered to get me into RLW I trusted Curt when he said that he would handle getting me a guaranteed spot in Red Line. “
[Since she was a little girl she has always tried to justify her every action by talking it out as if there was someone to listen to her and guide her. In reality she knows that she is just looking for a loophole in her actions.]
“ So with that secured I had to find a way to move to Chicago and not raise suspicions of the parental guardians and that meant getting into DePaul University. All I had to do was apply and get accepted into DePaul University and that meant good grades, graduating at the top of my class, and deceiving both of my uncles that wrestling had lost its appeal.”
[She looks down at her phone as the ringing stops. She prays that he doesn’t leave a voice mail.]
“Ugh, I had to bring my grades up.”
[Beep, Shit FUCK!]
“That is when the hard part began, getting out of Curtis’ Curtis Clutch would be easier.”
[There it was the voicemail that she did not need to hear today.]
“For as long as I’ve been aware the only thing that mattered was wrestling, grades not so much because I personally know some of the greatest wrestlers of all time and the majority of them don’t have a high school diploma and so the grades never mattered. So over the second half of my Senior Year I pulled my “C” average up to a 3.25 GPA and started the application process for DePaul and the area’s surrounding colleges. That part was about as hard as escaping an arm bar without tearing a ligament or two. In fact I think I’d rather have my arm torn out of socket than have to do that again. “
[She reaches out to grab the phone, knowing that it’s just a voicemail and that he isn’t in Chicago.]
“I can’t even fathom mid-terms.”
[Again it rings and she jerks her hand back like it was bitten.]
“ The worst part of all I had to quit it all and I mean the training, the watching of all wrestling, and separation from the only person who ever understood my passion for the business, Curtis Penn.”
[The thought of Curtis Penn helps with the apprehension while she’s listening to her phone ring. ]
“The last part placed a huge smile onto Mike’s face, which is something that I’ve rarely seen since Curtis began to train me. Mike has rarely shown any anger towards anyone since he retired, but Curtis taking over my training did. Quoting Mike, He’s irresponsible, dangerous, and doesn’t know his ass from a hole in a ground. So “quitting” my training and not hanging out with Curtis only eased my uncle’s mind about me wanting to enter in to the family business. And he stayed off my back when he saw my grades improve and the acceptance letters from DePaul and other colleges. “
[The only thing she can think of now is how big of a jerk Mike Sloan has been to her since she turned 17. If he had only paid a little bit of attention to her he might have understood..]
“Little did he know that I had other plans in my mind than attending Writing Comp. 1o1 or Algebra 101. All I ever wanted… all I ever dreamed of was lacing up a pair of boots and climbing into the squared circle. And Mike would have known that if he had paid attention to me and not blow me off when I tried to talk to him about wrestling.”
[The ringing died out.]
“So to shit I say if he finds out that I participated in RLW’s Battle Royal at the last Slam track. “
[The thought of Eric Dane being in RLW kinda makes her nervous, he and Mike still talk right?]
“I mean…he won’t know if no one tells him right?”
[She looks at the phone for a few more seconds and when she is satisfied she presses the button for the TWO voice messages.]
[And out comes the tone that she just knows means she is in a shit storm without any toilet paper.]
Jessica, did you really think that I wouldn’t find out what you’ve done. You have two choices to make: One you pick up your phone right now and call me back. Or, TWO, I come up there and bring you back.
[Jessica did not bother checking the second message. She knew that it would take him and an army to bring her back to Gulf Shores, Alabama. She is a wrestler for RLW and it would take more than a threat to make her miss out on Mass Transit.]
“I guess I should have called and told him Happy Father’s Day?”
FWrestling.com was founded in 1994 to promote a community of fantasy wrestling fans and leagues. Since then, we've hosted dozens of leagues and special events, and thousands of users. Come join and prove you're "Even Better Than The Real Thing."
Add Your League
If you want to help grow the community of fantasy wrestling creators, consider hosting your league here on FW. You gain access to message boards, Discord, your own web space and the ability to post pages here on FW. To discuss, message "Chad" here on FW Central.