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Saturday
May122012

Whales versus whales: the battle

Last week, I announced a one-off match between Zoofights IV contender Tangaloa and a trio of clones of Mr Atlantic, one of the brutes from Zoofights II way back in 2006.

Below is the fight that was written and posted in real time on the ZF forums, over two hours on Wednesday night. Because it was written as a series of sixteen posts, and because I was writing off the cuff with no real planning, there are probably a lot of ellipses and repeated adjectives.

Even so, it's one of the longest fights we've had, largely because I wasn't desperately trying to draw pictures or cajole others into doing the same. In any case here's how it went down, complete with molten magma, brave Maori pit technicians and Beastie Boys tributes. Enjoy!

 

FIGHT STARTS

 

The battered old cargo lifter rocks and swings in the frigid Martian air as the three hulking killer whales leap from its embarkation ramp, one by one. Despite the deadening qualities of the thin atmosphere, the careful observer can make out a tinny thrashing sound pouring from the open hold - it is the sound of "Fight (for your right) to Fight", the pump-up tune that has been playing on repeat in the hold of the ship since it left Earth orbit four weeks ago.

True to form, the Brothers are pumped. The two most headstrong of the crew, named Mike Dorsal and Ad-Rorqual by the lunatic fans that have smuggled them here, race straight towards their vast opponent, troll arms pistoning and Orca grins slavering bright white through red dust. Meanwhile, to the horror of the ship's pilot, the third whale simply drops from the ramp and pivots on the ground, reaching out to grasp one of the lifter's landing legs.

The engines of the bulky ship whine, raising huge clouds of dry ferrous soil as they strain to escape the pull of its erstwhile passenger. The crew beg their charge to stop through the ship's loudspeakers, but he can't hear over the music, and simply laughs a silent laugh as he wrestles the ship sideways into the regolith.

Meanwhile, Tangaloa holds his towering war club in the air in a defiant salute, and levels his magma cannon as the brothers approach...

Wasting no time, Tangaloa lets loose a benthic war-moan that is less heard than felt through the bones of old mount Olympus, and unleashes the full fury of the magma plant on his factory-like back.

A glowing torrent of rock erupts from the cannon on the whale's hydraulic arm, roasting the dim Martian dawn with a light that has not been seen here since the dead little world had its own molten core. Dust ignites in a great raging cloud as the magma arcs back to the ground, but Mike Dorsal has already leapt clean over the stream with a flex of his great grey legs.

Jaws open, the jubilant predator sails through the air and lands with a crash against Tangaloa's shoulder, wrenching his cannon arm up and spraying a shower of rock globules into the pink sky.

Immediately the Orca is scrambling over the expanse of Tangaloa's flank, gnashing at his great bundles of cabling and pounding at weak rivets with his oak-like fists. The sperm whale retaliates with leviathanic thrashing, but his attention is split - while his brother clambers onto the larger whale's back, Ad-Rorqual is advancing into close range...

Seemingly oblivious to the rapidly developing brawl at the ancient volcano's summit, the third whale continues to torment the crippled cargo lifter, tearing off antennae with his gnarled hands and delivering ruinous body blows to its hastily welded chassis. The crew scream in their cockpit as a tail swipe bashes a crisp white spiderweb into the windscreen, and klaxons drown out the sounds of pump-up music.

Meanwhile, perched on Tangaloa's nest of dorsal exhaust funnels, Brother Mike grabs one of the Polynesian powerhouse's major hydraulic conduits and pulls with all his oceanic strength. Clicking and screeching in triumph, the orca snaps its jaws open and closed in the spray of rapidly congealing hydraulic fluid that erupts from the breach, like an ecstatic thug looking up from a bludgeoned police informant in the midst of a thunderstorm.

As the fluid gushes onto the dead Olympian dust, the mighty club sweeps that keep Ad-rorqual at bay grow weaker and weaker. They drift like punches in a dream, falling ever shorter of their target as the great whale fades like Sir Gawain at the setting of the sun. sensing this, the black-and-white pack hunter circles ruthlessly forward, licking his conical teeth at the thought of another great cetacean brought low by relentless group tactics...

But not all of Tangaloa is powered by hydraulics. With a surge of black-muscle myoglobin godstrength, the great tail that powered the beast's body into the depths of the Pacific in a former life surges forth in concert with a full body twist, battering Mike Dorsal thirty metres into the freezing sky.

The killer whale's troll arms flail and wheel as it turns end over end, before the seven tonne animal arcs down to land flat-out on a vast red boulder. Even in the weak Martian gravity the landing is bad, and the sharp crack of shattering bone echoes across the desolate volcanic summit.

But during the distraction of the strike, whale number three has managed to yank a viciously heavy looking engine block from the bashed-up transport, and pitches it savagely at the sperm whale. Troll limbs retain a memory of how to chuck boulders, and the spinning delivers a blow to Tangaloa's hill-like brow that leaves a foot-deep gash along its flank. Already weakened by the attack on his hydraulics, the great whale reels back and lets a great cry of despair escape his jaws in a gout of steam.

The hydraulic pipes thrashing in his peripheral vision remind his mammal core of the cephalopod horrors that lurk in the crushing depths beyond the reach of light, but his shark cortex simply roars for blood, for more fighting. His knees refuse to buckle, and the Whale stands firm.

But the Brothers Atlantic have not bothered waiting to see what their enemy would do.

Already, the vicious third whale has taken advantage of the moment of weakness to dive in to close range with a might belly flop across forty metres of terrain. You can almost see the word SEAWORLD fly out of the point of impact, as tonnes of white-coloured belly smack straight into Tangaloa's exposed underside.

The impact knocks the staggering titan entirely off his iron feet, and a plume of dust shoots up to obscure the battlefield. Now free of the threat of the stone club, Ad-Rorqual dives in alongside his brother and tears a huge jawful of flesh from Tangaloa's tail. Jaws snap and fists fly in the roiling red chaos, and a great tattooed tail thrashes down again and again.

The sperm whale's jaw cracks a troll arm at the elbow, while a leathery grey heel smashes sideways in a roundhouse kick that shears one of the larger brute's hip servos from its mounting. Huge damage is being done by both sides, but Tangaloa is becoming visibly more sluggish as his hydraulic fluids continue to drain...

Then a small, defiant warcry sounds.

Unable to watch the suffering of his big bro any longer, one of the maori techpriests heading up Tangaloa's pit crew dives through the forcefield keeping atmosphere inside the battle site's observation bunker, and sprints towards the stricken giant.

Usually we would shoot any human interference on sight, but this is different. The fight's not technically a legal one in the first place, and for god's sake this guy is not even wearing a spacesuit.

His inked, bare torso already beginning to frost up, the warrior-technician takes a giant Martian leap into the fray, and sets to work with a wrench on the whale's back. As his eyes freeze cloudy and his lungs collapse, the hardened techie dodges killer whale fists and jams Tangaloa's main hydraulic conduit back in place. With his last ounce of strength, he tightens a fist-sized bolt, and raises his wrench in triumph...

...only to be snatched into the air by a pair of black and white jaws. The long rows of teeth scissor together once, twice, and the technician is just a bloodied pair of discarded legs. Ad-Rorqual narrows his glassy black eyes as the blood sublmes off his chin. Mmmm... just like fresh seal...

Rule 1 of Zoofights: don't ever stop to gloat.

With a fresh surge of hydraulic power, Tangaloa's vast club-weilding arm sweeps from the dust like stone lightning, striking Ad-Rorqual straight in his smug face.

The Orca's head bursts like a rubber melon full of jam, and it collapses to the ground in a quivering heap. As fluid judders into the compression cylinders in Tangaloa's mighty legs, he rises on one knee and swipes the Third Killer aside with the backhand of his killing blow.

ONE BROTHER DOWN.

The third whale lands on his back in a puff of dessicated earth, sliding to a halt beside the recovering Mike Dorsal. Both nursing bruises and fractures, the killers back off and regroup around the wreckage of their landing craft. Communicating through terse clicks and squeals as the dawn wind picks up, they tear hull plating and jagged metal spars from the carcass of the ship.

Back to back and armed with makeshift shields and spears, the two brothers gape jaws in defiance and turn to face their quarry. But their opponent is bringing the fight to them.

The slope of the old mountain quakes under the impact of car-sized metal boots, and a deep wrathful keening eclipses the howl of the wind. Forty tonnes of South Pacific vengeance tower against the first rays of the rising sun, and the great club is raised. God-fearing men everywhere pray they will never be charged by a bull Sperm whale with the mind of a hammerhead shark. But it is happening, and it is happening to the Brothers.

As Tangaloa strides forward under ever-increasing steam, smoke surges from the stacks built along his spine and the nozzle of his magma cannon glows brighter than the sun.

Raising his war-club's stony visage spacewards, he lets rip with the full force of the geological inferno bolted to his abdomen. With his injured spine, Mike dorsal cannot dodge the vulcan blast, and instead raises his shield to take the brunt of the magma.

Built to withstand atmospheric re-entry, the lump of hull plating holds fast against the torrent, but in the freezing temperatures of Mars it soon accumulates a great crust of cooling black rock. After a few moments of this even the legendary strength of a troll cannot keep the shield aloft, and it sinks slowly to the ground.

The last thing Mike Dorsal sees is the silhouette of Tangaloa against the dawn, before a new sun blazes and the magma cannon unleashes a new blast of liquid fire.

TWO BROTHERS DOWN

Knowing he will soon face the gnashing horror of Ned Killy, Tangaloa lowers his cannon to conserve the last of his ammunition. Red droplets swirling with a fine sheen of black slag drip to the desert floor, and the great whale stands in front of his final assailant.

The third orca thrashes his tail in challenge, and bangs the butt of his wicked polearm against the regolith. He lowers his shield, and begins circling the giant predator before him.

The club sweeps out but the killer hops to the side, ducking under the hard rock haymaker and slashing some smaller hydraulic pipes for good measure. A feint with the spear causes Tangaloa to lunge with his tail, but all the huge flukes hit is air. Another slash at the Polynesian's cabling, and the third killer whale backs off to a safe range.

Or so he thinks.

With a heave like a weightlifter throwing a menhir through the window of a pet shop, Tangaloa straight up chucks his club at his enemy. The blow doesn't connect with full force, but wrecks the hybrid's shield arm from the shoulder down. The sperm whale steps in for the kill...

...and the Third Whale, named MC Ahab by his sponsors, steps right in and jams his harpoon deep into Tangaloa's neck.

Blood fountains and hisses from the terrible wound, and the battered killer whale throws his full weight behind the thrust. From hell's heart he stabs at the giant construct, and for a moment all is still.

Sperm whales have a huge amount of blood, however, and Tangaloa did not come to zoofights with the intention of bleeding to death.

Letting his full mass press down on the harpoon, he slides down until MC Ahab has nothing left to grip onto, and wraps his vast metal arms around the smaller odontocetid.

His sheer size and strength now uncontestable, Tangaloa turns the whale upside down like a ragdoll and raises him high in the air.

Singing a subsonic hymn to the oceanic spirits commemorated in his Moko tattoos, the giant contender drops to one knee and executes his most exalted move, the Tiki Tombstone Piledriver.

The final Brother's spine is ruined in an instant, but the light has not left his eyes. Not dying now is his greatest mistake. Driven by an unimaginable rage, Tangaloa backhands the Orca's body onto its belly, and places his enormous iron foot on the back of its neck.

Screaming in triumph as he crushes the beast's upper body, he reaches down and tears off its head in a flourish of shark instinct, before letting off a vertical jet of magma fumes to salute the spirit of his adversary. It is done.

THREE BROTHERS DOWN, TANGALOA WINS...

As the Martian sun climbs into the sky, it illuminates a champion who will be forgotten by time.

Bleeding, leeking hydraulic fluid, wheezing from smoke-tattered lungs, Tangaloa looks up from the pasted remains of his foe and considers the horizon.

High up where the pink dawn bleeds into the cold blackness of space, a single point of light is twinkling.

Is it that time already?

The wounded titan picks up his Moai club and flexes his joints. It is all he can do to stay on his feet, but he will not show weakness. Whatever comes now, he will face with courage.

There is no time to prepare. As a faint, faint roaring filters down through the whispy heavens of the red planet, Tangaloa braces himself and prepares for what he know will be his last battle.

<commentary ends>

This fight dedicated to Adam 'MCA' Yauch. Couldn't think of a better tribute than to name a badass killer whale after you, dude.

Reader Comments (6)

Man, this was a great fight. Tangloa was such a great design.

May 12, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterOgopogo

Does this retroactively make Ned Killy's win kill thievery and jeopardize his status as king of beasts? Because Tangloa shoulda had that...

May 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCaptChimichunga

Ned Killy is a right cheating bastard of a flying deadly fish head. He cares not for concepts of ethics and legitimacy such as kill-stealing.

But, yeah, it was completely ignominious how Tangaloa went down so quickly.

May 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZuki

Major, I had nowhere else to post this.

My account is inaccessible due to login attempts, but the captcha confirm does not show up and instead I just get the entry box, essentially locking me out. Nothing to lose sleep over, but I can't create a new account for the same reason. Or see the board admin list for hope to grab an email and send one to you instead of misusing your comments feature.

If you don't want to hand over access to the account that's fine, actually splendid.

Looking forward to more nonsense! And the suncat/mooncat matchup! I'll be sure to tell my niece.

May 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBanjo jojo

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May 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBanjo jojo

Somehow my account access works now. But I tested it and I thought you should know the new user registration still has the problem. So phpbb be preventing new registrations. And I'd love to see the community expand, for one.

Sorry for spamming.

May 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBanjo jojo

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