Wardens Fourth Edition
Geniuses and Genius? - Stories
A look at what happened during and/or after Session 54.
Story - Lessons
Game Date: 12/18/2007
Stalwart walked away from the training room reviewing the latest session in his mind.
Midnight and the others were improving with each session, but Midnight was really starting to stand out in hand-to-hand combat training. The boy was beginning to exhibit an ability to predict his opponent's actions that would make him a truly formidable combatant with a little more training.
Instructing the young trainees also brought back memories from his lessons with Sensei Kogo.
Horatio Adams stripped off his surgical gloves and tossed them into a bio-disposal box. As he worked the anti-bacterial gel over his hands and slipped on a new pair, he asked his nurse, Sharon Gibbs, "Whose next?"
Sharon glanced down at the chart, "Bert Hasher, Doctor, twelve years old. His mother reported he was subject to a gang beating while coming home from school."
Twelve, the same age as his son Percival, he thought.
What was the world coming to these days when even an innocent child was not safe from gang violence?
He looked down at the unconscious child who looked so much like his own.
The pizza had gotten cold by the time Horatio got home, but his wife, Janet, didn't complain of his tardiness. She was just as likely to be running late when tracking down a story for the San Francisco Chronicle-Tribune. While she had waited for him before eating, she had let young Percival eat over an hour before and he had retired to his room. As Horatio idly nibbled on a slice, he remarked, "Another child, same age as Percival, came into the emergency room today, victim of gang violence."
Sharon sighed, "Another one? Seems like half the crime stories we run involve minors these days."
Horatio replied, "I'm thinking its time Percival learned some basic self-defense. Doctor Tills recommended a Dojo nearby that sounds ideal."
Sharon frowned, pausing a moment, then finally responding, "You know I don't like the idea of teaching violence to children."
Horatio gave a little shake of his head, "Not violence, self-defense. The world is more dangerous for children these days and with the increasing rate of paranormal criminals running about, it's only going to get worse."
Sharon sniped back, "And how would Kung Fu help him if some crazy Para is shooting laser beams down a busy street while he's waiting for the bus?"
Horatio calmly rejoined, "Perhaps it would make it more likely that he'd notice the criminal and seek cover before its too late, or help him dive for cover, or even just help him to avoid panicking and doing something self-destructive when such a situation popped up. Not being trained in martial arts certainly won't help him to survive such a situation."
Sharon picked a piece of pepperoni off her slice as she reluctantly admitted, "Maybe you're right. So, when were you thinking of having Percival start these lessons?"
Horatio promptly rejoined, "I'll take him down to the Dojo after dinner.
The First Lesson
The sign above the circular building featured a colorful dragon, leopard, tiger, snake and crane and the simple name, 'Kogo Dojo'. As Horatio led his son, Percival, into the dojo for the first time, he noted a dozen young students, ranging in age from 10 to 16, dressed in simple white cotton uniforms. There were also three older men and two women wearing colorful silk uniforms decorated with embroidery.
Horatio paused, momentarily confused. Who should he speak to?
Finally, a tall man of Asian decent with salt-and-pepper hair, the dark purple of his uniform embroidered with elaborate barely visible designs crisscrossing the fabric in red thread, approached and gave a friendly smile.
"I am Sensei Kogo. Are you and the child both prospective students?"
Horatio shook his head, "Only my son. While I have always been interested, I'm afraid I can't risk injury to my hands. I'm an emergency room surgeon, you see. But, with the world being the way it is today, I realized young Percival here needs to know how to defend himself."
Kogo peered down at Percival a moment, then simply asked, "That is what your father wishes. What do you hope to gain from training here, child?"
Percival paused a long moment, then finally announced, "I want to learn to fight super-villains like the advocate paranormals who were called Dragon!"
Kogo sighed, "Here at this dojo, we will help you to learn to tap your Chi, or inner strength. We will teach you control, precision and leverage."
"The first Dragon's martial skills were augmented by Project: Avenger and the second Dragon's Chi was enhanced by his mystic dragon armor. Seeking to equal them solely through the power of your Chi would be a mighty challenge."
"Focus first on mastering the power within you," advised the wizened teacher. "Know yourself fully."
Sensei Kogo paused then continued, "Then you can decide if your ambition still holds wisdom."
As Percival hurried off to join the rest of the students in his first lesson, Horatio nodded thankfully to Kogo
"Thank you," said the doctor. "I was worried his desire to learn self-defense would be crushed once he found out that as a simple human being."
"He will never have the strength or skill to achieve his foolish desire to be an advocate paranormal," stated Horatio matter of factly.
Kogo quirked his brow, then simply replied, "I am glad that you were satisfied with my response."
The Last Lesson
Percival Adams looked down at his armored feet as he entered the dojo. Ordinarily, he would have been wearing the embroidered silk uniform that distinguished the most advanced of Sensei Kogo's students. But, after Adams had told Kogo the tale of his being injected with a super-soldier serum and gaining paranormal abilities, Kogo had told him to come that evening to the dojo in the very same armor he planned to wear while battling paranormal criminals.
Percival noted the usually brightly lit dojo was currently only illuminated by a few dim red bulbs overhead. It was odd, but since he could now see even in total darkness, hardly worrisome by itself.
He spotted Sensei Kogo quietly standing in the center of the sparring circle.
Did Kogo want to try Percival's newly enhanced abilities in personal combat? Such a challenge would have been quite difficult once, but now, Percival's abilities were beyond that of any merely human foe. Not even considering the high-tech body armor he was wearing should protect him from even the strongest blow his sensei might deliver.
As Percival entered the circle, a line of Kogo's students, each carrying a simple six-foot long bamboo rod, filed out of the backroom and took their place around the perimeter of the circle.
Kogo announced, "You came here as a child and announced your desire to use the skills you learned here to fight super-villains, as you called them."
"Now, you proclaim to me that thanks to a drug, an experimental serum, you have the power to achieve your desire."
"I say that the power to accomplish your goal always lay within you."
"It was your doubts, your beliefs, which held you back from tapping your Chi's full potential."
"So, let us see whether you have truly broken free of the chains of your own mind. Best me in battle, student, and be recognized for what you now claim to be, a hero for the ages!"
Percival paused a moment to ponder this unexpected challenge.
As he did so, he began to feel the dull thumps of the bamboo staves across his back and legs. The impact was almost completely nullified by his armor. Each blow causing only a slight sting and a bit of a shove, nothing more, really, than a minor distraction, an annoyance.
Still, better to get this over with quickly, Percival decided.
He launched into a lightning fast nerve strike designed to incapacitate Kogo without any lasting physical damage. Yet, despite being nearly twice as fast as his opponent was, Kogo simply wasn't there when his hand reached its destination. Almost as if Kogo knew everything Percival was going to do before he did it, but of course, Kogo had trained him and watched him spar for a decade and a half.
Kogo knew all Percival's moves and his favored tactics better than he did.
Percival felt a brief sting of pain as Kogo's fist struck his ribs. Just like the staves, almost all the force was absorbed by the body armor.
Abruptly, Percival realized how unfair all this was. He was dressed in high-tech body armor that made his opponent's attacks largely futile and had the strength and skill to kill any normal human being with a single lightning fast blow.
What was the point to any of this? He pondered as the constant drumbeat of staff strikes was starting to give him a headache.
Percival launched an overhasty strike as the frustration mounted. Even as he missed, he realized he was glad his blow hadn't landed. It had just a bit too much force behind it. Instead of merely bruising, it might have cracked a rib.
Abruptly, Percival wondered if that was the true test.
Did his sensei wish to ensure that his suddenly empowered student would not use his teachings to kill and cripple his foes?
Subtlety that is what, in his arrogance, Percival's had ignored.
Confident in his abilities, he did not carefully analyze the situation and gauge his opponent then develop a plan that would result in a favorable outcome. He did not even truly consider what a favorable outcome would be.
What purpose would be served by humiliating Kogo in front of his students, for instance?
Of course, careful rational thought was not assisted by being continually pounded upon by wooden sticks, no matter how ineffectual they otherwise were.
However, there was no time limit to this match and no reason not to deal with the distraction first.
Percival whirled and launched a short kick, shattering the nearest staff. One by one, carefully calculated strikes followed until the circle of students stood empty handed and Percival could turn his full attention onto Kogo once more.
He pondered a moment and then stated simply, "Besting you in battle, Sensei, is impossible. For the very skills I would use against you, were your creations."
"My victory here, like all future victories I might attain, is yours as well."
At that, Kogo straightened and bowed to Percival as one might bow to an equal, "Then go with my blessing and that of your fellow students."
Record Last Changed Date: 10/16/2011
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