I’ve been hit by the inspiration bug, so I had to share a little of what I’ve been working on. Here’s a peak at the first chapter of BoxersWIP!
Solstice sighed. It didn’t look like she was going to find any promising Boxers today either.
White lights basked the fighter in a way that made the sweat on his back glisten, highlighting his muscles as they churned. He threw punches at the training Droid with vigor, jabs, crosses, and uppercuts against the plush exterior of the robot powerful enough to make thumping noises that echoed through the gym. But Solstice had seen better. This may have been her first time sponsoring a fighter, but she was no rookie. He had a bulky build, and he grunted loudly with every hit, but the force he was putting out wasn’t nearly as much as other fighters she’d considered. If anything, he seemed to be getting louder to compensate. Which only confirmed Solstice’s suspicions. He was nothing but a wanna-be.
Not to mention the numbers on the back of the training Droid didn’t lie. The LED newton tracker screen on the back hit 400N, 420N, 460N, at max so far. But she’d seen her competition with Boxers were making averages at 800 newtons, plus.
As he delivered what Solstice was sure he thought was an impressive finishing blow, with a record-breaking 465N, Ben Feddler stepped away from the fallen Droid, the padded head on the device now twisted at an awkward angle.
The man got from out of the ring, pushing a few locks of his short, blond hair out of his eyes, and Solstice tried not to recoil as drops of sweat from his hair fell to the ground when he did. Or while his entire body dripped liquids to the floor with every step he took, practically leaving puddles in his wake.
His trainer looked to Solstice. “So, what do you think, miss Mayfield?”
Solstice finished writing a few things on her clipboard, checking a few boxes and crossing out others. Too many for her. Then she looked back up at the boxer, raising her eyebrow and hoping he would clue on.
Ben nodded. “Oh right. Sorry.” He picked up a hand towel from off the floor and swung it around his shoulders, then gave her a respectful bow of the head as he added, “Thank you for your time.” With that, he walked away, his feet padding against the gym floors while he made his way to the showers.
Yeah, wasted time, Solstice thought. The thought was harsh, but her field of work was harsh. She needed to sponsor a future champion to compete in the Dryliax Tournament, and every moment she spent interviewing a bust was another moment her competition had to snatch up all the good ones from under her nose. Already, she was behind with this being her first Tournament. All the exclusive gyms with professional trainers were reserved for past winning sponsors. So for Solstice’s debut, she would have to find a diamond in the rough to sponsor and win with. She knew he was out there.
Just not at this gym.
The trainer was grinning. He crossed his arms and nodded his head towards the one that just left. “What did I tell you? Real champion material right there. He’s the best I have in the whole gym.”
Not something I would brag about, she thought. “I can tell.”
“So what do you think?”
For courtesy’s sake, Solstice flipped through the stats she’d recorded of the other candidates on her list and compared Ben to them. As she thought, there were candidates that were much faster, others with much better reflexes, and most at least made averages of 800N, which she decided was her minimum.
She sighed as she passed by her previous top candidate. Anthony Lambrook. 5’11, fast, a little on the light side at 140 pounds, light on his feet, and with an average of 850N in his punches. He was a dream, but she got nervous and kept looking around at other gyms in case there was something better, thinking she’d come back to him if she didn’t find it.
But then someone beat her to it. Now he was sponsored by Daxton West and the Equinox company because she was too slow.
She wouldn’t make that mistake again. When he found her winner, she was going to seize him before anyone else could take him from her.
Not needing a reminder of her failure, she took out Anthony’s sheet and crumbled it up, tossing it in the trashcan a few feet away, giving herself a mental pat on the back when it made it in.
Then she remembered Ben’s trainer still needed an answer.
“Well, he was certainly… energetic.”
Solstice’s subtle disdain went over the trainer’s head completely. The stout man was nodding his head vigorously, and she wondered if he was trying to fan her with his baseball cap as the bill waved up and down. He put his hands on his hips, his stance like that of a proud father. “He’s been training since he was little for the Tournaments. He’s fast, dedicated, and thinks quick on his feet. Exactly what you’d need in a contestant.”
Solstice met his response with a small smile to hide her irritation at yet another trainer trying to tell her what she was looking for. But this was the same response she got at most gyms. Trainers tended to think they could do her job better, and they thought that as a female, Solstice would be fooled into taking their word as truth when they pumped up their boxers as the best fighters this side of the Ferulian galaxy. However, despite their assumptions, she knew a good fighter when she saw one. Her daddy didn’t raise no fool, and as a retired champ, he trained his daughter’s eye to be able to examine fighters like telling counterfeit bills from the real ones. But she let gyms and other fight companies think she was an amateur. It would make her debut all the more earth-shattering when her and her winner blew the rest of the competition out of the water.
“He has potential,” she replied simply. “Mr…” she was drawing a blank when she tried to remember his name. Most likely because she’d already dismissed the whole gym.
“Wilson,” he supplied.
“Right, Wilson.” In a smooth motion, she passed him her business card, then turned on her heel. “We’ll be in touch.”
Solstice’s pumps clicked against the floor as she walked past punching bags hanging from the ceiling, other fighters hammering into them with vigor. And as she pushed open the door and let it swing closed behind her, she had to take a steadying breath before she started for her Pod, trying to remember where she’d parked it. Despite the fact that any one of her other candidates were clearly better than Mr Feddler, none of them were good enough for the Tournament, and she didn’t think any amount of training with so little time left would fix that. Again, she ground her teeth about her missed opportunity with Anthony Lambrook.
Shaking herself and finally remembering that her Pod was around the block, Solstice promptly took out her Comm and started dialing the number to the last gym she could visit before turning in for the day, opening her Pod and pleading with the Fates that Ben Feddler was her lowest point. That from here on out, there would be better, more qualified candidates that the other fighting companies had skipped over, and she could swoop in like a harpy and snatch them before anyone else.
That’s all she asked for.
Someone picked up on the other end, and their Vision came up for her eyes, and her eyes only, as the Perspective Tech was famous for — privacy for all their clients’ conversations.
“Is this…” Solstice had to check her notes. “Tobias Wolfe?”
The man whose semi-transparent Vision was in front of her nodded. “Yeah, that’s me.”
“Hi, this is Solstice Leclair. The one that called you earlier?”
His image was cutting out, getting fuzzy and his speech broken. Damn it, he didn’t have good connection, wherever he was. She could only see him from the shoulders up, so she couldn’t tell where he was or what he was doing. He could have been traveling.
Mr Wolfe looked confused, then he slowly nodded in understanding. “Oh— yeah. Miss Le—. What— you need?”
Solstice started up her Pod, hearing it hum in response, then light up in blue holograms that offered her a grid of the city. She marked his gym. “Do you think I could come in right quick for an interview with on of your—”
But Tobias was cutting out. “What— you say? Sorry, my connection— horrible.”
Sighing with more than a little frustration left over from her last interview, Solstice enunciated slowly. “I know it is late. But it turns out I am interested in visiting your gym after all. Can I come tonight in about half an hour?”
He frowned, checking something below him, probably a watch. He sucked through his teeth. “It’ll— tight. B—”
She couldn’t hear anything but feedback after that, but his body language told her he could make it happen.
“Okay, thanks, I’m coming over.”
With that she hung up, happy to be rid of the confusing static. Then she set the Pod in motion, hoping that whoever this guy planned to show her would at least be better than Mr Feddler.
Or, if she dare hope, as good as Anthony.
She sighed wistfully.