Monday, 17 December 2012


This week's FIGHT is written by Colleen Cheetham-Gerrard.

You're in a bar. 

It's dark, it's grimy, and you know that to come out alive you must say the correct thing to the one-eyed barman, polishing a dirty glass with a grimy cloth. 

His jerkin has seen better days, but then so has his bare skin beneath it. You’d be hard pushed to say which one was leather.

Evening,” you say, nervously. 

The barman nods tersely, once. 

You have your chance. 

The shadiest drinkers in the shadiest corners pause their murky work, waiting to hear what you say. You swallow, once, and prepare for the statement of a lifetime.

I’m here…I’m here about the fight.”

The barman puts the glass down. 

He spits in it, a molten gobbet that hisses as it cleanses the glass of its solute. 

You tense. He takes a knife from a rotting, fly-harvesting roast and gently eases it across his shoulder. He weeps a single tear into the glass. There is a hiss. Steam cascades across his stubbled chin.

When it clears, all that is left in the glass is charred remains. The barman tips the glass upside down on the counter and it falls to the pitted wooden surface. It sits there balefully inside a now shining glass prison.

You think it might have been an eye.

You stare at it for quite some time.

Wouldn’t know about that sort of thing,” the barman says eventually, drying his knife on the cloth.

"Please," you say, "I can pay."

"I know you can," says the barman. Then he throws the knife.

You move quickly. Sinews are summoned, muscles stretched taught. Your head surges forward towards the blade.

There is a blinding flash, and a sound like steel being unsheathed from the caress of a glacier.

The glass on the bar explodes. Embedded in the burnt object is a knife wreathed in flame. You rub at a spot on your forehead. It tickles.

The barman stares at you for a second, and then removes a key from inside his jerkin and beckons you accompany him.

"It was an eye," he says quietly, 
"This way to the fight."

The door behind the bar is thick teak, it gets heavier with age so they say. Inside it are stone steps leading down, deep into the dark places of the world. A candle flickers at the top of the stairs, and the barman takes it, begins his descent.

A roar in the distance welcomes you. The darkness seems eternal, but then you see the flame move backwards behind you, and feel a hand on your back as you are pushed through a curtain and into stunning light, torches and staffs and gravity globes fill the chamber.

You have arrived, both spiritually and physically.

You are at the fight.

And the cry goes up:








Gandalf (AKA Mithrandir, AKA Stormcrow, AKA Olorin, AKA Lathspell, AKA oh, this is ridiculous) is a Wizard, sent by the Valar to Middle Earth to assist those wishing to oppose Sauron. Mostly, he strides around by himself, making Hobbits do things they don't particularly want to, all the while feeding his crushing nicotine addiction. For more information, try reading The Hobbit or Lord of the Rings by J.R.R.Tolkien

(Or, you know, see the films.)

Jean-Luc Picard (no AKA) is a French human, captain of the USS Enterprise, under orders from Starfleet to explore strange new worlds, seek out new civilisations, and stop Riker from sleeping with the native population. He eschews tobacco, but has a healthy regard for Earl Grey tea. For more information, check out Star Trek: The Next Generation and try to forgive the earlier seasons.


Jean-Luc Picard has the firepower of the Enterprise, flagship of Starfleet and one of the major players in the 24th century Alpha Quadrant. The arsenal includes but isn't limited to phasers, photon torpedoes and the deployment of inappropriate catsuits on Deanna Troi.

Even when he's on his own he's armed with a phaser which can stun or kill from a considerable distance.

Gandalf has a staff and the sword Glamdring that he 'reclaimed' from some trolls. The staff is meant to be magical, but mostly seems to be used as a torch, or as a blunt weapon. He also has a magical ring, the powers of which are frankly ill defined. Mostly it seems to inspire poetry.

Picard wins.


Gandalf has an uncanny knack of making people fight for him, being a member of the White Council (it's not racist, probably) and persuading people to fight against often unbeatable armies. In this case, 'people' includes the armies of Gondor and Rohan, the Dwarves of the Blue Mountains, and the odd plucky Hobbit.

Picard has a loyal and dedicated crew, who run the place fairly efficiently in his absence but also mourn him fiercely. They are the best that the Federation has to offer, spanning a variety of cultures and species. He even has 'Captain Picard Day' run on his own ship in the classrooms for the children, therefore indoctrinating his future followers at a young age.

However, one of his crew is Wesley Crusher.

Gandalf wins.


Gandalf is basically an angel. He once came back from the dead and by his own admission he then had to climb down a mountain range in the middle of winter, stark naked. Textbook angel.

Whilst he has no problems pretending to be a harmless old man, it's fairly clear that at close quarters Gandalf is to be taken rather seriously, particularly if he's recently had a smoke. He can negotiate with kings, beggars, and everyone in between, and makes that hat look good.

Picard can be a miserable bugger, angsting over the right course of action, trying not to hurt any of the people he mentally classes as 'inferior species' for not following Starfleet's somewhat bland ideals. He has, however, invented an impressive fighting technique known as the Picard Manoeuvre, and can negotiate his way out of even the most unlikely scenarios. He is, of course, French, despite the Earl Grey and periodically declaiming Shakespeare. Picard is also bald, so possibly open to taunts by the much hairier Gandalf.

Interesting, both have problems with adversaries beginning with a 'B'. Gandalf fought to the mutual death with a Balrog, although no record remains on how the Balrog felt about the matter. Picard has regularly taken on the Borg and on one occasion was assimilated into the collective as Locutus and had to be rescued by Riker. Embarrassing. Technically speaking, he didn't actually die, so in 'fight to the death' terms Picard has a better success rate than Gandalf.


At this point a highly sophisticated computer, possibly voiced by Majel Barrett, processes the above information to find the ultimate winner. The computer is infalliable, remember? Don't blame us.


Gandalf and Picard are in a dungeon, looking at each other warily. Both are fairly used to being locked up at a whim of an insane local ruler, so let's not dwell too much on why or how they've ended up there.

We should work together to escape!” Picard declaims. Gandalf looks suspicious.

How do I know you're not in league with the Dark Lord?” Gandalf demands, not unreasonably given that Picard is dressed in polyester.

Picard rolls his eyes. He's good at this local mumbo-jumbo native belief thing, and prides himself on being able to talk to beardy weirdos and persuade them of his innate superiority as bred in all Starfleet captains. Within just 45 minutes, he thinks, the situation will be his and he'll be back on the Enterprise! “There's no such thing, it's all just science, and I can explain it to you...”

Pah, everyone knows that any sufficiently advanced science is indistinguishable from spells done by computer,” Gandalf rumbles, suddenly taking up a lot more of the room, dark smoke rolling around him. “I am a Wizard, and I know more mysteries than any Man of the Third Age could contemplate!”

Having now suitably assessed Picard's strength, he knocks the phaser out of his hand using his staff. Picard goes to grab Gandalf's beard, but instead Gandalf lets him, and then spins round to fling Picard off his feet like a big musty human swingball.

Fool of a Frenchman,” Gandalf mutters, as Picard lies in the corner, bruised and having somehow ripped his uniform in a fetching manner (as instructed by basic Starfleet training). 

Gandalf turns his back so Picard doesn't see his lips move while thinking up follicle-themed taunts, at which point the Captain reveals his bluff and leaps on the Wizard's back, out of blunt object thwacking range. 

The two magically rise slowly into the air as they wrestle, and eventually Picard loses his grip of Gandalf's voluminous robes and falls to the floor, this time cracking his head on the polystyrene rocks and being knocked fully unconscious and ultimately waking up to one of Beverly Crusher's 'He's asleep, I bet he wouldn't notice if I just went for it' faces.

It is at this point that Pippin and Wesley Crusher come to open the cell door, having formed an unlikely bond and also an accordion based folk-music duo.

Gandalf starts regretting some of his life decisions.




It's a tough one, this, but Gandalf is always going to win every fight via magic, cheating and outright bribery when he needs to. Picard may have beaten the godlike-being Q, but unlike Q Gandalf isn't a complete twat with obvious and defeat-able flaws.

Even Christopher Lee can't beat Gandalf, and he combs his beard and everything.

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! will return in:


If you have any suggestions for who you'd like to see square go each other in future FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! articles, please mention them below.

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