Monday, 1 April 2013

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! #25


This week's FIGHT is written by James Clayton.


Seriously?

No really, seriously?

Alright, well it’s clear that we’ve taken this is far as we can.

Time we settled this like real grown-ups.

We’re all intelligent, responsible, reasonable adults here.

Even you.

Fighting is obviously the only way, yeah? What do you mean, “no”?

FIGHT!
FIGHT!
FIGHT!

Yeah, we’re gonna fight.

No more questions. No more quibbling. No more discussion or debate. We’re not talking about it anymore.

It’s time we wrestled.

I’ve taken my shirt off.

I’ll see you in the car park.


FIGHT #25

 


AGENT SMITH
vs
ELROND
vs
MITZI DEL BRA 


WHO THEY THEN? 



Agent Smith is an AI program. To be precise, he’s a ruthless construct designed to keep order in the Matrix which is a simulated reality designed by sentient Machine overlords to enslave humanity. Somehow Smith manages to be even more of a terrifying proposition than the concept he supports. He gets great pleasure (if he’s capable of feeling pleasure) from eliminating subversive rebel hackers who’ve swallowed the red pill of truth and unplugged themselves from the system.

There is no soul or compassion beneath the iconic shades and suit. Smith is the ultimate callous bureaucrat and the antithesis of humanity in a horrifying, highly disturbing cyberpunk nightmare. He looks a bit like Hugo Weaving and can be found in The Matrix film trilogy.



Elrond Half-elven, Lord of Rivendell, is an Elf. To be precise, he’s a 6,000-year-old sage who sits on the White Council (an allegory for the Governors of the BBC, if this lie I just made up is to be believed) and acts as master of the beautiful Elvish sanctum in the valley. Basically, Elrond is kind of a big deal in Middle Earth and people gravitate towards him in grave times in hope that he’ll stare out into the forest and make melancholy pronouncements about bad times past and future.

He used to be a warrior way back when and witnessed the War of the Last Alliance when Isildur failed to destroy Sauron’s One Ring because he was a nob back then. Regardless, that’s all ancient news now and these days (which are, in fact, those days) Elrond’s more of a consultant who acts as an Executive Producer; facilitating others’ quests for Dwarven gold, vengeance against dragons or the delivery of evil jewellery back into the fiery chasm from whence it came. He looks a bit like Hugo Weaving and can be found in The Lord of the Rings novels, their film adaptations and - because we like him so much and wanted him to make a cameo - the movie version of The Hobbit.


Mitzi del Bra (alias Anthony “Tick” Belrose) is a human being. To be precise, he’s a drag queen from a Land Down Under with a repertoire of entertaining mime-and-dance routines that he performs in a wig, makeup and fabulous, ostentatious outfits that are conventionally worn by women.

A star draw in Sydney’s happening nightlife scene, he’s open to the idea of taking his show on the road for a fresh challenge. He does this in a lavender-coloured “budget barbie camper” bus nicknamed Priscilla, and he’s happy as long as he has some companions along for the ride. He/she looks a bit like Hugo Weaving and can be found in the film The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.



THEY PACKING MUCH HEAT?



Agent Smith totes an IMI Desert Eagle Mark XIX pistol (standard issue for Agents) and fires fast. He doesn’t need it though because he’s most threatening as a physical force, employing his superhuman strength and martial arts moves choreographed by Yuen Woo-Ping. His gravity-defying wire fu is exceptional and his rigid style perfectly suits his persona and makes him invincible in close combat.

He’s been known to be punch people through several sets of walls with one blow. To initiate a scuffle with him is to all-but commit suicide. The Agent can bend the Matrix to his will and has no problem manipulating the surrounding environment or, say, your face if you haven’t yet disconnected yourself from your fluid battery-pack bath back in the real world. As a bonus add-on, he can penetrate your flesh and assimilate your physical form and Smith also has a nice sideline in barbed put-downs. In total, Smith will suffice. Run. Just run.

Though he’s not as combat ready and keen to get involved in warfare as he was in his youth, Elrond’s a master of combat with considerable action aptitude. Elven blades are renowned as weapons of high quality and he wields his sword and throwing axes with dextrous skill. As an Elf he’s probably also quite handy with a bow and his own special abilities of prescience and healing power in addition to his intellectual strength and strategic acumen make him a powerful proposition. Elrond has also been known to make Hobbits cry with nothing more than a condescending glance.

Mitzi is more of a lover, not a fighter. He thus doesn’t carry firearms, sharp implements or anything that might conceivably be categorised in the ‘Lethal Weapons’ sub-section on eBay. Nevertheless, don’t underestimate Mitzi because in certain circumstances a cock in a frock on a rock can be more dangerous than a rottweiler made out of plutonium (feel free to provide your own examples of such circumstances in the comments section below).

If Tick is feeling resourceful he could use his high heels as self-defence devices and his glitzy wardrobe may be used to dazzling, devastating effect against aggressors. Mitzi’s main skills are showbiz-based - a sense of rhythm, sultry dance moves, sharp wit, feminine grace, etc. - but his years of resilience in the face of bigotry and homophobia prove that Mitzi is more than just front. Beneath the mascara there’s a tremendous strength and courage that can handle hostile opposition. What’s more, he’ll handle it with class and look gorgeous while giving ‘em hell.

They all have their strengths but Smith inevitably and obviously wins this round.


THEIR BACK: WHO HAS IT?



Agent Smith used to operate alongside a couple of humourless sidekicks named Agent Brown and Agent Jones. Their uneasy partnership fizzled out, however, and Smith subsequently became a solo lone virus running amok without the backing of other Agents or the Machines that used to control him. Nevertheless, he’s not lonely because his self-replicating ability allows him to create as many duplicates as he desires for stimulating philosophical dialogues and backyard brawls. Two Smiths are company. Three Smiths are a crowd. Over 80 Smiths is the best scene in The Matrix Reloaded.

A highly esteemed figure whose name is renowned across Middle Earth, Elrond will never be found wanting for allies. He shares a few words with other important figures and BOOM: fellowships form and armies are raised, such is his authority in worldly affairs. People may only appreciate him begrudgingly (Dwarves! Get over the ancient racial grudges, already!) but they’ll still bow down before him and accept his command for he is a wise, fair being who knows a thing or five about fighting Ultimate Darkness.

The Rivendell residents have his back, the majority of Middle Earthlings would probably side with him should shit get real and he can rely on go-to-guy Gandalf as a Wily Wizard Wildcard. Plus, his best friend is the luminous, ethereal and omnipotent Galadriel, and no one can argue with a Lady who can turn herself into a My Bloody Valentine album cover just by imagining. If you try she’ll reach inside your mind, look into the depths of your soul and tear you apart from within with her terrifying telepathic voice.




Mitzi has many fans in Sydney thanks to his beguiling, beautiful rendition of “I’ve Never Been to Me”. They, his estranged wife Marion and various other acquaintances he’s met on the road (including a bunch of Aborigines and Bob the Open-Minded Mechanic) would all undoubtedly come to the ladyboy’s aid in times of need because Australians are a friendly race and Tick’s a fair dinkum fella.

Del Bra’s ultimate auxiliary force comes in the form of his Priscilla co-pilots - the bosom buddies with whom he shared his quest to climb King’s Canyon in high heels. Spirited young transvestite Felicia Jollygoodfellow (a.k.a. Adam Whitely) and veteran transsexual Bernadette Basinger (a.k.a. Ralph Waite) have been through a lot with Mitzi and altogether the three form the most sassy and spunky power trio in the Southern Hemisphere.

To sum up, Mitzi has Guy Pearce and Terrence Stamp in drag backing him up but that probably doesn’t trump Elrond’s contacts. All, however, are doomed in the face of a flood of Smith clones.



NUANCES AND WHATNOT



Smith and Elrond both have fight experience in extreme adverse meteorological conditions. Mitzi, on the other hand, hails from the arid outback land of Australia and will probably be at a disadvantage if it starts to get wet, windy or unnaturally dark. He also doesn’t tend to dress to weather conditions or practical requirements unlike his opponents so costume may come to be a decisive factor in the fight.

As flesh-and-blood beings with a soul, Elrond and Mitzi spend a lot of time worrying about the fate of their only child and that affects their judgement whereas Smith has no emotional attachments of any kind. The Agent’s extreme aversion to humanity may impact upon the encounter, though, and could potentially be turned upon him by those seeking to destroy him. Smith gets nauseous at the scent of humans though it’s unknown whether Elrond’s Elf odour has any effect on his acute olfactory sensibilities.

Elrond does have a bit part in The Lord of the Rings: The Musical but it amounts to nothing when you compare it to the stage experience and prolific performance history of Mitzi. Agent Smith has no West End or Broadway appearances on his resume.

Readers may also be interested to know that the Red Skull was invited to participate in this fight but, sadly, couldn’t make it because he’s currently held captive in a Cosmic Cube. If you find yourself getting really bored while reading this, simply imagine the following scenario: Hugo Weaving enters in a Nazi-uniform and rips off his face to reveal a terrifying crimson comic villain visage. He screams “HAIL HYDRA!” and suddenly the arena is swamped by a swarm of armed ninja goons. They keep shooting and shooting and shooting until everyone and everything is just bloody pulp. The Red Skull then has a bath in it all and the HYDRA legions take it in turns to seductively massage his bony scarlet scalp.



IT'S CLOBBERING TIME

This is the point where we run all the above information through our highly sophisticated computer program to establish the victor. The computer has never made a mistake except for that one summer at the end of that package holiday it took on the Bulgarian coast. He should have told her his true feelings and has suffered for the past 18 years because of it. This story has a happy ending, however, for next spring he’ll encounter her again on a walking tour around Lake Windermere. Pleasantly surprised to be back in each others’ lives they’ll catch-up and rekindle the flame of their holiday romance over a couple of cream teas before consummating their unfulfilled passions during a midnight skinny dip. This will make up for all the lonely years of yearning for his one true love, will make a unique romantic comedy film and will prove that, actually, the computer never makes any mistakes that can’t be rectified by the care and attention of a good woman.

 


Blackness.

Dead void.

All is emptiness but then quiet glitching noises begin to eke out of oblivion and dribbles of neon green appear. Streaks of code - kanji script, Western numerals, morphing letters, obscure flashing pictograms - stream downward. Digital rain systematically eats away at the dark and substitutes it with shape and form.

The simulation comes into full effect. We soon observe that the cascading luminous Matrix code is manifesting a Chinese courtyard. It’s the kind of cloistered space you’ve seen in so many old chopsocky movies - a backyard to the martial arts school where the Master’s disciples do all their punitive training before the students of a rival school show up and bring da ruckus.

Here however it is quiet and empty. As the green-tinted tech-edge eases off and the simulation fully renders we see that no creature is around save for a stray cat and a drunken beggarman who’s dozing beneath an ancient cherry blossom tree. On either side of the courtyard are two great arches and they seem to be the only methods of ingress and egress.

The beggar stirs and snorts, knocking his cane to the floor as he shuffles. It ricochets loudly on the stone tiles and Matrix script visibly ululates and ripples right around the environment.

A telephone rings. Another telephone rings. Ominous rising strings. The scene is a green-tinged claustrophobic tableau of tense suspense. Footsteps...

At the Western Gate, enter Elrond, Lord of Rivendell and adept practitioner of the Elven Blade Style. At the Eastern Gate, enter Mitzi Del Bra, Drag Queen of Twilight Sydney and adept practitioner of Priscilla’s Burning Rubber Style.

The pair stand and regard each other with moderate curiosity before loud booming noises from behind each of them snatch their collective attention. The archways have been bricked up by an invisible force. There is now no way to exit the courtyard.

Beneath the cherry blossom the beggarman begins to convulse violently. His skin stretches and some internal force wrestles at his membranous exterior. High-pitched computerised blipping audiobits singe as he metamorphs into an entirely new personage.

He is Agent Smith.

Smith stands and smiles a smile that has no right to be identified as a smile. The atmosphere is electric. The fight is on.

Who will make the first move in this Mexican stand-off? (Can you call it a Mexican stand-off if it’s taking place in China or at least Matrix China or rather Artificial Sim-China digitally constructed to make a really entertaining and stylish fight programme for users to enjoy? Do we have any proof that it originated in Mexico? Answers on a postcard, please, then scanned in and uploaded here)

Elrond puts his best foot forward first (his right) and takes an authoritative step towards the courtyard centre. He turns to Mitzi Del Bra with a sombre, concerned look on his august features. “My good Lady Tick. I think it would be wiser if you left me to handle this,” he states (all paternal and patronising, like).

Slightly insulted, Mitzi screws his face and huffs audibly. He considers rebuffing the haughty High Elf with a lecture about stereotypes, macho insecurity and its insulting side-effects with a closing rejoinder, “Assume makes an ass of ‘u’ and ‘me’, you pointy-eared little prick with a little elf prick.”

He decides not to bother though, shrugs and retreats to how things unfold before getting involved himself. “Fine, ‘Rond Boy. Have a go... I hope you’ve been eating your hormones.” He whispers aside to the cat “Smug high-fantasy hag...”

Satisfied, Elrond rushes forward towards Smith who’s poised, relishing the opportunity to unleash the full force of his fists on the peculiar pair who defy his machine comprehension. Elrond looses his sword and swings wildly, hoping for the best.

He gets closer to the worst.

Every jab, parry and thrust is dodged as the Agent ducks and feints at superfast speed. The foolhardy confidence of the Rivendell ruler rapidly vanishes as he struggles to keep up with the motion blur before him. He can’t connect at all and the vague outline of Smith keeps twisting and turning, in and out and away from his attacks. He seems to be able to bend over backwards and defy the laws of physics. He does it all while leaving the trace of a grotesque, mocking viscous grin.

Elrond grits his teeth and keeps on stabbing at the Smith smear but soon finds himself wearying. He pauses for breath and his suited foe seizes the opportunity.

A cyclone of limbs pummels poor Elrond and he’s helpless to battle back against the hard-hitting horror haze that’s beating him at triple-speed. This way. That way. Another upper hook from another direction. An interesting array of knees come out of nowhere followed up by a fifty-three punch combo that he never had a hope of anticipating.

It’s a hideous spectacle and it perturbs Mitzi so much that he picks up the pussy and starts stroking it for reassuring comfort. He’d help but has no idea how he can get an in on this ultra-fast and ultra-furious virus. Elrond continues to take the epic uptempo thrashing unaided.

Smack, thwack, whack and bababababababrakakakakakakaBRACK then everything slows down to bullet-time as Smith delivers a precise flying sidekick to Elrond’s solar plexus. The Elf goes flying backwards through the air and smashes into the courtyard wall. A web of impact cracks spreads far and wide right around the arena as the beaten Middle Earthling drops half-dead to the hard ground.

Smash. But Smith doesn’t get the chance to smile and deliver a cutting zinger. The spreading cracks reach higher and higher and the pagoda tower overlooking the yard breaks away from the foundations. It crumbles, tumbles and comes down right on top of the Agent, burying him beneath brick and lacquered ornamental wood carvings.

Strewth! Oh my wing wang! Bloody hell!” squeals a near-hysterical Mitzi, the only participant so far unharmed. Suddenly though he feels spasms in his lap. Freaked out by the convulsing cat, he leaps up from his seat and drops the feline which immediately morphs into Agent Smith.

Meeeooooooow,” he sneers. “Well, Mr. Belrose. You look surprised to see me again.”

Smith starts stretching and flexing out his replicated form. “It seems you’ve been living two lives. None of these lives has a future,” he threatens as he cracks his knuckles. He cracks his neck. He cracks his testicles. He proceeds to beat the living crap out of Mitzi Del Bra.

Mitzi frights and shouts “Oh tits!” but there’s no running from the oncoming onslaught. He manages to get a falsh fingernail scratch in on Smith’s right nostril during the skirmish but the Agent utterly dominates. A whirlwind of woe and agony rains down upon Del Bra but - hark! - her saviour cometh. Risen from the debris and dusting himself off, Elrond drops a large stone slab on Smith’s cranium and yanks him away and off of Mitzi’s mangled body.

The Agent reacts angrily and splutters with wroth. “You!? You, Mr Half-elven! You and this.... this creature of the zoo! You are a disease! You are a cancer! You’re a plague and I am the cure.”

Elrond frowns. Mitzi gawps, lipstick smeared across his wobbling chin. Somewhere in the real world a shabby guy with dreadlocks watches flickering screens and hollers “Yo hey, Morpheus! Some weird loco shit happenin’ here...”

Back in the courtyard, the irate Agent creases up. “Smith will suffice. It is futile to resist. Your deaths... they are inevitable...”

With a whip of his arm he reaches into his jacket, pulls out his Desert Eagle and points it at the impertinent Elf. He fires rapidly and bullets swim through the airwaves at supersonic speed directly into Elrond’s torso.

SCHRRRRIIIIING SCHRRRRIIIING SCHRRRRIIING!” sounds echo around the courtyard. There is no gun fu bloodshed as shrapnel ricochets off the target who remains standing, defiant and proud. He lets out a hearty laugh and rips off his Elven threads to reveal an intricate and beautiful platinum vest. “Mithril!” he explains triumphantly. “You Smith, dark and vile bringer of despair and malevolence, are not the only one with surprises up his sleeve.”

Smith is furious and growls in frustration. Shoving his Elven foe aside he sets upon Mitzi again. He smashes his right knife hand into the drag queen’s abdominal area seeking to penetrate and assimilate. Del Bra lets out an “aaaaah... aaaaahhh... ahhhhh!” which, uncannily, harmonises after switching through a few different keys. “Aaaaaaaaaaaahhhh aaaaayyee... will survive! I will survive! Oh, as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive!”

Dropping into disco, Mitzi finds fresh revitalising strength in the song of Gloria Gaynor and repels the Agent who writhes in apoplectic agony. The beat and boogie itches his inner being. The elemental emotion embedded in melody makes him feel sick. He gasps, “No! No! No, it’s not fair! No! NOOOOO!”

His shades shatter and his ears start to shrivel up in protest. He’d try to make Mitzi’s mouth totally skin over so she can’t sing but it’s way too late now. The music has cracked him and corrupted his strength. As code collapses and algorithms come undone he finds that he can no longer fight or indeed function at all.

The Matrix ripples and throbs. A ghastly electronic scream bursts from the Agent’s insides and he explodes - a shock of white light that consumes the courtyard. Agent Smith is obliterated. After the flash, peace and serenity returns.

Wounded and rattled, Elrond and Mitzi rise and stand side-by-side. As they survey the devastated scene around them, the Elf clears his throat and politely says, “My gratitude, Anthony-Tick, Son-slash-Daughter of Belrose. Clearly there is strength left in the world of men and in the world of men who dress as women...”

Mitzi answers with an almighty bitchslap that knocks Elrond out cold. He drops to the floor like a sack of stale lembas bread and smacks his head on a large stone, consequently falling into a coma that’ll last at least thirteen decades. “Yeah, shush you condescending pointy-eared prick with a little prick. Tsssk. Pompous doughnut puncher. That’ll teach you to patronise and piss off the fabulous Mitzi Del Bra.”

He picks up the fallen Elflord’s decorative diadem and considers wearing it as a victory trophy before scrunching his nose and discarding it with the words: “Yuck! Tack-a-rama.”

Mitzi then departs, daintily traipsing over the rubble of the fallen pagoda taking care not to get his dress any dirtier or trip in his heels. He marches brassily into the Desert of the Real beyond as “Shake Your Groove Thing” kicks in on the soundtrack providing an uptempo crescendo to this martial arts ménage-à-trois. 


AND THE WINNER IS...

  

MITZI DEL BRA



(Though he may metamorphose into another Agent Smith replication and come back for a confusing sequel that will have to be explained to you by a PVC-clad pseudo-philosopher-cum-spiritual guru. Maybe you should have taken the blue pill.)

FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT! will return in:


"STOP TRYING TO HIT ME AND HIT ME."

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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