The opponent today is female. She looks at me. Her eyes are very pale and clear. Very blue, very large. They are framed with wide, fanning blonde eyelashes. There is a hood on her other hair that has a bar of distasteful, vividly blue circuitry running down its center. The faulty color is all over her, in the strange patterns of her circuits.

The opponent is like someone I knew.

Error. That was untrue.

I am ready, I draw my weapon.

The opponent makes a very strange face, her mouth drawing into a scrunched little O. The blonde lashes flutter. A little line appears as her skin crinkles up between her eyebrows.

She is clearly incorrect. That is why she is here. Clu has chosen her. She is undesirable, and she must fight so that I may destroy her.

I am flying. The platform goes from beneath my feet, and I twist to bring myself to the correct position upon landing. I pull my discs apart. I am the only one with two: Clu's perfect weapon. I am unique.

My energy becomes the energy of my weapons. They illuminate and slice the air. I am pleased.

My feet meet the platform again, and one disc departs, then the other. I am exacting. She must fight to survive me for long. She must fight well.

But she is imperfect and awkward, and draws her weapon only now, clumsily shielding herself. The strength of my strike knocks her onto her back. But her inelegance saves her, and my disc flies over her where she lies.

My weapons return, I snatch them back. The solidity and the sharpness as they hit my palms is pleasing, but unimportant.

The opponent kicks her legs up neatly. She is well structured.

No. That is unimportant.

She is incorrect, imperfect. Nothing else matters except that she is a flaw to be erased.

She follows the momentum of her limbs with her body. She lands again. Her weapon is ready now.

This is correct.

Her helmet is activated. Slightly blue, partially opaque, her visor shows expression underneath.

Error: she is crying. Her face makes the shape of a sad and silent wail. Her lip is trembling and her hands shake. She is broken.

Does she fear me? The others, they fear death. But not her. Her glitch is elsewhere . . . where?

She is looking at me. Into me.

Error. She cannot do such a thing. Only Clu sees inside, pulling the strings of code and looking; always looking, and fixing me. Keeping me perfect.

I am displeased. She is all wrong, broken. She is unstable. Why is she like this? Not a warrior, but here in the games anyway.

The opponent screams at the walls. She invokes Clu's name. She is speaking of me.

Error. She cannot be. I do not know her, so she cannot be speaking of me when she asks him what he has done. She is unstable. She is no one, only the opponent. She will die and there will be others . . . just like her. No different.

No, that is incorrect. This faulty opponent is different.

But she must be eliminated anyway.

I am in the fight again. There is the place on the wall I must hit, focused before me. The strength flows through my arm as I aim for it. My disc will pass her, and then return, and she will die.

She screams when the disc passes her.

Why does she scream? Screaming does nothing. All speech does nothing . . .

My weapon returns, but she flings herself down upon the ground as it does. She dodges death. Sloppy. Graceful.


She is an error!

But . . . she looks again. Looks at me again. Looks so deep.

She speaks. The voice is ravaged. The ferocity is . . . beautiful.

"No," she says, but moves to the opposite effect. Her weapon comes towards me. Poor aim. It hits the floor, it slides, and I am instantly away from it. Perfect, exact, elegant; I am doing what is correct. I am fighting.

She is not. Her disc is still and disengaged at my feet. She has surrendered it to me. She was not aiming at all. She meant for this.


She is weaponless. She cannot fight this way . . . and I cannot fight her.

Error: why not?

Why is she doing this? She is impossible.

I am angry now. I spring, I turn in the air, and then I am behind her, ready with my anger. Her arms hit my disc as she blocks it. I swing again, and she ducks.

I am better than her.

Discs in hand, spinning and parking as they make contact, I strike her again and again and again, sharp and precise. She cries out. I am hurting her. Data breaks on her surface, little gouged out slices appearing all over her. But she does not fight. She does not get her weapon.

And she cannot be killed without her weapon. I do not know why, but I know this is correct. To strike her down now would deeply wrong. This I understand.

She flees now, finally out of reach. I am relieved . . .


Command protocol awakens. It speaks for Clu. I must please him and obey.

I fling the discs to either wall, and they ricochet back. They will intersect, cross through her, cut her so neatly . . . so painlessly and quick.

But she is lovely and graceful and strange. She does not look away from my hands; but somehow, she is in the air, she has her knees pulled up, and she is above my discs as they cross.

They hit the walls, they return, and I take them from the air.

She will not die! She will not fight! She only avoids, as she just did. Avoids without error. Avoids with precision and perfect grace.

But her face is tired behind the visor now. She breaths so that her chest rises and falls visibly. I see also that she trembles.

"I said no," she pants. Still, it is like a command somehow.

Processing . . .

She doesn't make sense.


Suddenly she is leaping. She is in the air and she is closing on me. But she is still weaponless, so I must only cut her sides slightly as she passes. Her arms wrap around me.

She is warm. More solid than she looks.

She also has momentum, and brings me down on my back, lying on me.

I am repulsed. The discs must go, because she must get off. She must go. Go now. I need both hands to push against her.

But then her slender fingers are there, sneaking into the crevices of my armor.

Error! This is not how the disc wars are fought! Error! I must dispel the opponent. I must get her away. This must be rectified.

We are rolling together, hitting the floor roughly. She is so persistent. She will not let go. I am infuriated . . . so impossibly filled with hate.

Error. . .

She is pulling me, so delicate but with such determination. She is pulling my shoulders.

And then she is rising up from the floor where she lays.

ERROR. I have miscalculated . . .

She hits my helmet with her head. There is stunning force behind it.

Things become black with her beneath me, and I collapse . . .

Then, for a moment, there is memory in the darkness. I know the opponent. I remember her.

Yori . . .

And then it all goes away. I forget her again.

There is nothing.

Shut down complete. Initiating restart.

I am left alone in the dark. The opponent is gone. All over again, she is gone.