In the short time Horizon Rider had been unveiled to the public, they had generated massive amounts of hype and intrigue regarding the new, mysterious figure. Every ringside reporter was desperate to try and earn a quick interview with them, brushed off by their stoic disinterest. A few who even tried to step in front of their path were only knocked down and casually stepped over by Horizon Rider as they barely broke stride. Now, the false rider had even less patience for the crowds and media circuit than before; It was time to face off and defeat the one they had been based on.
Before SYM-24 was even built and attained sentience, they had false memories that stewed in their cybernetic mind endlessly. Recordings of nearly all the Justice Riders in their countless adventures and exploits were hardcoded into their brain. Despite how short SYM-24’s existence truly was, the insurmountable archive of data had to be experienced in real time from their perspective when they were activated. In the long instances they had been deactivated between training, they were truly hibernating, reliving their past exploits as a surreal, sleepless dream.
They hated every second of it.
The gratuitous explosions, the cheeky attitude, the unending snark, the obsession with celebrity, constantly treating each monster as a disproportionate threat for the sake of stardom as opposed to pouncing on and eviscerating it instantly with their absurd technological power. SYM-24 was a beast by nature, and the constant bombardment of sensation and color, even as they lay dormant, antagonized them endlessly. Their only solace was the opportunity to utterly and completely destroy them in front of the cameras and televisions they so worshiped. To expose them as frauds playing cowboy and crush them into the dust.
They had looked forward to being able to defeat the Black Knight in the ring. Just as Horizon Rider had earlier been forced into the same repeating dreams, he had the audacity to step into their territory, as if mocking them. Had the scientists holding him in a cage not put them under to recalibrate their behavior, they would have killed them right then and there. Instead, they could only glare as they sauntered off.
Now, however, he was given a far more enticing opportunity to defeat Justice Rider Blaze. Jill Breicen. The face of this damned nightmare. SYM-24 wasted not a second as they stepped into the ring, surrounded by the deafening roars and cheers of the crowd. Their only movement before the carnage proper was to crack the ligaments in their neck, and reflexively stretch their fingers as a tiger would it’s claws.
Jill, on the other hand, knew none of this. She’d received a short text from Izzy the moment the matchups were revealed:
”Watch yourself around that one.”
She didn’t know what he meant, exactly, but she decided it was no reason to be rude. Even if she had no idea what this guy was thinking, and she could usually get a decent read on people. The blank, dark dome of its helmet was like a creepy imitation of the Riders’ typical glowing visors. Completely expressionless, and it gave her the impression that anything could be hiding under it. Still, he was probably a normal guy, right? Maybe he just had a crippling injury or something and this was supposed to be demoing some cool new prosthetic system?Yeah, that’s probably it. Would make a nice PR stunt…
“It’s kinda funny,” Jill said, stepping on her bike as she spun her keys around her finger. “I like to keep up with what Horizon’s up to, but… I never heard much of anything about you, stranger. Been hopin’ that we can fix that today.” She stuck the key in her belt and struck her pose.
The moment her transformation finished, Jill charged forwards like a racer who just heard the starting gun. The moment she was in range, though, she gracefully slid her legs off the bike. In an impossible feat of coordination and leg strength, she held it by the handle and transferred that momentum into a powerful swing, wielding her bike like a massive hammer.
As she swung the bike directly at him, Horizon Rider was forced onto the backfoot, lunging backwards to avoid getting struck by a devastating blow. As he retreated, however, his long, corded tail extended from his lower back, immediately curving around to his front as it ejected at rapid speeds. Just as Jill had finished the swing of her first attack, the point of the tail had darted forward and stabbed into her shoulder, delivering a brief yet powerful shock that into her arm, causing the massive weight she had been carrying to suddenly drag and pull her along with it, causing her to stumble and struggle to regain balance, lest she fall to the ground.
As her guard was down, Horizon Rider leapt high into the air towards her direction. Doing a brief spin, he muttered one simple word aloud:
His leg was coated in red energy as he descended at high speeds with a high jumping kick, aimed directly for the off-balance and guardless Justice Rider.
Jill was recovering, but the moment she heard those words she knew what was coming. She didn’t even bother trying to recover her balance; she just let the momentum flow, dropped her bike and spun to the ground, just barely
managing to avoid a literal earth-shaking blow as she rolled to the side. She didn’t waste any time getting up, and rose into a graceful cartwheel to gain some distance. Pit Stop wasn’t nearly as graceful, and a hydraulic hiss sounded off near the bike as the drone attempted to push it up again.Guess I can’t expect another friendly chat…
She held in her hand one of her bike’s handlebars; Pit Stop must have detached it for her when she fell. She channeled her ki and flicked her wrist, then swung her arm towards Horizon Rider. A whip rapidly formed and followed her movements, capped off by a sharp-looking spark-shaped head.
Horizon Rider quickly manifested and swung his Bioblade at the whip, his own caustic and violent energy cutting straight through the prolonged chain, severing it and causing both ends to fizzle into sparks.
He came to the conclusion that fighting at a longer distance may be more beneficial. He extended his right arm, which quickly resculpted itself from a monstrous hand and into a pointed cannon. Directing the point of it directly at Jill, He fired a barrage of four bursts, with minor alteration for each shot, intended to throw off her footwork and trick her into getting hit.
Jill went on the defensive, in a way flashy enough to draw excitement from the crowd. The first burst was deflected by what was left of her whip. The second and third were dodged with a series of graceful flips and cartwheels. The fourth? One long, beautifully executed jump. The Justice Rider smirked…
And promptly got hit in the chest with one last shot. Her armor held, but it still had the impact of a solid punch. She began to laugh as she caught her breath, as if she’d been fooled in a particularly funny joke. She flicked her whip again, the weapon quickly reforming, and charged the EX-System. The sounds of Cloud Nine’s engine started back up again as the bike sailed away from danger, having managed to right itself again.
The uncoiling of the whip struck Horizon Rider directly in the chest, sending waves of electrified Ki throughout his entire body. His best ranged option, despite landing squarely, barely slowed Jill down. As much as he loathed to admit it, she had superior speed and mobility alone, and her accursed bike getting itself back on it’s wheels would only give her an even greater advantage. It was time for desperate measures if he was going to intercept and defeat her…“Berserker Mode, Engage.”
As the last mote of crackling energy wore off, SYM-24 turned downwards for a brief moment, holding completely still, arms outstretched. Then, slowly and gradually, every tiny little scale and fibre of his organic armor began to twitch and vibrate wildly, like a chaotic goosebump. Slowly but surely, his body began to glow with bright, vibrant red veins coursing across his body from his torso. SYM-24 themselves also began to twitch, with much more agitation, before turning it’s head skyward and letting out a monstrous, animalistic scream.
Then, in a single flash of motion, SYM-24 was gone from Jill’s view, having vanished with little more than a blur.
Then, his black helmet was mere inches from her face, he delivered a powerful punch directly to her face, the overwhelming impact sending her flying straight into her bike, crashing against it and knocking it over. As soon as the bike fell over once again, SYM-24 turns it’s attention back to Jill, and broke into a mad, violent dash towards her, his fingers held wide open like claws.
Jill rolled to her feet, her muscles feeling like electrified gelatin. After a hit like that, her body wanted to rest, but her mind and the EX-system wouldn’t let it, as if they both knew she couldn’t. Pit Stop had managed to latch on to her during the crash, and her instincts had managed to piece things together faster than her mind could: This guy had gone from 0 to 100 fast, and if she didn’t bring out the big guns right this literal second then this would be a very short match.
The Justice Rider released another limiter on the EX-System, her new armor beginning to appear before she even spoke the words:
She held her hand forward, a glowing blue eye staring out from her shattered visor as she prepared to take another nasty hit.
As SYM-24 closed in he delivered another devastating blow directly to the face, the impact once again sending her flying. While her defensive brace managed to reduce the impact of the attack, in the brief moment she flew through the air, she noticed him immediately close the distance again
to the free-flying Justice rider, then delivering another powerful kick to her stomach, sending her flying even faster and into the ground.
Jill rolled to her feet almost instantly after she hit the ground, the extra armor and power doing wonders to help mitigate the blow. She released the limiter on her arm.“My turn.”
There was a subtle filtered quality to her voice, as if the damage to her helmet had somehow made it less clear. Her eyes emitted a fiery blue glow that once again obscured anything inside the armor. She swung her whip, not towards her opponent, but towards her bike. Putting all her body into one solid pull, she swung the machine back towards her like a flail, knocking aside Horizon Rider and bringing the machine back into her hand. She stepped on and, with a turn of the wrist, disappeared herself, leaving behind a blue blur of her own and a mighty crack that sounded across the stage as she charged toward her opponent at impossible speed.
Still blinded with nauseating rage, SYM-24 could think of little more countermeasure than to get back up onto his feet and charge straight into their charging, empowered opponent, crackling red energy trailing behind him as he charged straight into her charge of blue. The most he could do was channel all of his energy into his left arm, and punch her rapidly approaching bike head-on. The impact of the two energies caused a large explosion of white that for the briefest moment lit up the entire colosseum and left behind a cloud of smoke.
As the smoke of the destructive charge began to fade, SYM-24 still stood on his feet… With only a slight few crackles of his berserk energy fading away, before they quickly collapsed to the floor, completely spent. Jill stood completely still for a moment, struggling to process the events coming to such a sudden stop as her heart pounded on and on. Eventually, she caught up, and re-engaged her limiter.“... You alright?”
The Justice Rider asked, tilting her head to the side. She only had a second to wonder before the crowd erupted into applause.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE HAVE A WINNER! ANOTHER SHOWSTOPPER VICTORY FROM JUSTICE RIDER BLAAAAZE!!!
Jill smiled, relieved, and powered down her suit, waving back to the excited crowd.
SYM-24 could only limply twitch, desperately trying to struggle back to their feet, rage pulsating through every fiber of their broken and exhausted form. They were NOT going to let themselves be defeated in such a humiliating method. But regardless, their flesh and will had reached their limits. Their body forcibly relaxed and fell again to the floor below. His will had been suppressed by the accursed device in his head, as a small team approached to extract him and return him to the cold lab below.