Neo Chronicles: Black Void

Episode 26: I Didn't Do Nothin'

Table of Contents

His largely built, gargantuan fist speeds towards me.

Instinct takes over—POW—a little late though. I'm not that fast. When something comes my way, as much as I want to, I can't just up an' bolt outta the way. I don't got that kinda speed. I'm not agile. My reflexes ain't five steps ahead of everything.

Didn't even see it coming. No, scratch that. I saw it coming. It was the only thing I saw. Hit me square on the cheek. Felt like my brain rattled inside my head. Punk. Dude was lookin' to one shot me.

I'm still standing, doe.

My mind comes back to me after a second, and I see that faceless, four armed, diamond plated, sharp pointy headed, upright standing freak come walking up on me. He gets right up in my grill, pulls me by the collar in close and smacks my face as hard as he can. I fall down to the floor.

As I look at the ground—which is so very close—rubbing the sore spot, I do what I do best and reflect. I introspect.

This ain't right. I didn't do nothin'. I didn't start this, didn't provoke him, didn't embarrass him, didn't talk—man, I don't even know dis dude—I didn't do nothin', but you can bet I'mma do somethin' to let this fool know –

I ain't havin' it.

I bang the floor with my fist. I storm to my feet and throw a punch at diamond-head's jaw. He saw it. Froze up just like I did when he did it to me. I see his whole body reel from the impact. Can tell he wasn't expecting it. He wasn't expecting it to hurt so much.

There's no mouth to let out that gawking cry that he makes. No soft cheek that folds back as my fist makes contact. No nose that scrunches, no eyes that wince, but I know. I know that it hurt. The way his body quakes from the impact, the way he stumbles to keep himself from toppling over—it's all there. Everything you'd expect from a guy who just about got the wind knocked out of him reflects in his body language.

He holds his face and then shoves me away. After muttering something under his breath, he bolts at me. It's like a full on, bull rushing charge.

I ain't scared, doe.

I stand my ground.

And meet him up front.

He pulls back his fist. I pull back mine.


We hit each other head on. I mean that literally. We literally punch at each other's heads. My cheek is screaming at me. Hurts like a mug. I can only imagine his is doin' the same. Now, I'm thinkin' we're done. He wanted to start some mess. I proved I wasn't gonna back down. That should be the end of it.

But nah. This dude is salty. He wants that runback. He ain't done.

As we're both staggering from the shell shock of it all, he uses two of his free arms to grab my one free arm and judo throw me to the ground. Then the big ol', oversized, lard of a freak lunges on top of me! Now, I'm outta my element. When I fight a dude, I don't get into all this wrestlin', jujitsu, ground work junk. I hit a guy, and they go down. That's it. Most of the time they don't get up, and if they do, they don't wanna get hit again. Having super strength is a pretty good deterrent. Chris'll tell you that.

But for a guy to take the hit and go to round two? Like I said, I'm outta my element. I'm on the ground. I'm at his mercy. I throw up my arms tryin' to block his hammering fists as they fall over and over, but two against four ain't fair. I'm tryin' to overpower him, but it's not working. It's not that I'm not strong enough. I'm pretty sure I can pick this dude up an' chuck him to the nearest star cluster if it came down to it, but there's no leverage. I got nothin' to push against. He's making sure of that just by sittin' on me.

This sucks. I gotta lay here takin' everything he dishes out until he gets tired, an' I can't do a thing about it other than block.

No. I don't accept that. I'm lookin' at this dude sluggin', bobbin' an' weavin' best I can. All the while, I'm tryna find an opening.

And then he gives it to me, plain as day. Diamond-head lifts all four of his arms, like he's about to finish me in one strike. That was a mistake. I got a free arm, and he gave me a free target.

I punch the center of his gut so hard, it leaves a dent in his rocky exterior. More than a dent. It's like a crater. I found his soft, squishy center. Diamond-head's so stunned from the blow, he immediately stops what he's doin' an' gets up off of me. Like he gets all the way off. Even takes a couple steps back to hold himself.

Like I said before, I didn't want this. I was jus walkin' back to my room, didn't give nobody no mind. Then this lame decides he gon' step to me? And of course ain't none of these posers standin' around watchin' in this hall gon' do nothin'. Matta fact, they all gathered around. They here for the show. Okay den.

Diamond-head's recovered. He's regained his composure. I see him point his finger at me. Dude's sayin' somethin', an' even though he don't got a face to show it, everyone here can tell he means it. It's all in his body language. Dat macho posturing. He's sayin' somethin' about how he's tired of my—of my dren? That's a new word. Not the first time I heard it. Guess it means crap. I dunno. Weird how the translator doesn't have exact words for everything, but the meaning's still there.

Now he's goin' in with the insults. He turns to the crowd tryna get them on his side. They all riled up. Hoopin' an' hollerin' like—a buncha... a buncha—like a buncha Negroes.

I wanna walk away, but this isn't the first time this crud's happened. I don't know if it's a matter of pickin' on tha new guy, or if they jus' don't like me. Haven't seen Carlos go through this mess. Who knows? Maybe he's in the crowd, too. Maybe it was his idea. I don't know why everyone thinks they got beef wit me, but I'm tired of it.

I jus wanna let you know I didn't want this. I know I've told you time and time again, but jus so's we clear: I didn't want this.

While he's still eggin' the others on, I step up behind him and left hook him upside the back of his head. He reflexively swings his bottom right arm back while he holds the spot with his top two. After he turns around, I hear a hearty laugh as he says somethin' like “looks like the mosst's got fight after all.”

You know that thing that happens when people get so mad, they don't know what's goin' on? Like they get so salty, the whole world whites out, and the next thing they know, a whole day or hour or minute or whatever moment goes by, and all that's left is what they did while they were goin' berserk.

Yeah, we both know that's a load a' bull.

As soon as he shoves me, I know exactly what happens next. I see everything. I hear everything. The punches I throw, the punches I take, the crowd—the sheer roar of the crowd—mixed with the grunts and groans and battle cries exchanged between us. I feel it too. My knuckles are only padded by the thick, leather-like adaptive-wear material of the suit I wear, and as good as it is for insulating and taking an impact, it's still getting rammed up against a rock over and over and over and over again. Not for nothin' though. I eventually take him to the down and keep ramming them against his face.

After about what feels like a good minute, it becomes clear that diamond-head ain't movin'.

That don't stop me, doe.

See, I got a lotta pent up anger. It's what I do. I bottle things up. I hear it's not the healthiest of things, but it keeps me goin', gives me somethin' to think on.

Now that fragments of his rocky exterior are falling off, the crowd wanna intervene. As long as I'm losin', it's cool to point an' laugh, but the minute I –

“Darius, what the hell you doin'?”

There's Carlos. The crowd's pulled me off diamond-head, and now Carlos is standin' in my face. It's weird seein' him tryna lecture. He's mad. That much is clear. He's stumbling over his words. He's takin' a moment to sigh out his frustration, and I'm treating him—well, this isn't fair. He's spittin' some hard truths.

“Again? What is with you? Calm the f*** down!”

I should be listening. I realize that'd be the smart thing. I realize that'd be the right thing. I need to keep my head down. I need to stay out of trouble, but –

“No! I won't calm down!” The words come out instantly. “I tried! I tried leaving it alone! I tried keeping my head down! But every single time, something like this happens! I'm not cut out for this! I don't get along with people! They don't like me! I don't like them!”

A loud thundering voice interrupts my rant. “Why is one of my men dying on this ship?” Everyone turns to the voice to see the captain in all of his grandeur.

“Great, now I'm gonna get in trouble for this, too.” I half murmur under my breath.

“Of course you're gonna get in trouble! You beat this fool half to death!” Carlos responds with a slightly more forceful tone than mine.

“He started it!” My voice booms back to its loud, boisterous level. I'm sure everyone in the hall can here what I'm going on about now.

“Are you serious?” Carlos too. “What kinda Kindergarten logic is that?”

“Tell me what happened here!” The captain demands. He's made his way to the center of the madness, standing about three feet from me, givin me this cold, hard, threatening stare.

“Know what?” I interject. “I'm done! Have me walk the plank or whatever. Can't deal with this crud no more.”

“The new guy was assaulted.” What's this? “And he fought back.” Someone speaking up for me? “Not much else to it than that.” Turns out to be Rutra. His voice carrying that insect-like buzzing undertone. Creepy, weirds me out, but I can deal with it if he's bein' cool about it. “Saw the whole thing.”

The captain takes a moment to look at Rutra. He's sorta put off by the guy's insecty appearance too. Takes a look at me, then the guy who's lying in his own bright pink blood and lets out a stress filled sigh. Then he looks behind him to address the crowd.

“Is this true?” he asks.

They begrudgingly moan in agreement.

“Then it's settled,” the captain declares. “Garnakk looks like he won't causing any more problems; so leave it be. You know how we work here. Someone clean him up and lock him into confinement.”