Author's Note: It's been ages since I've played or read about -anything- "One Must Fall" related (about 8 years). So, in other words, please pardon any inconsistencies or errors, but feel free to correct me on them in the form of an e-mail or review. =) I won't be using any of the original cast, partially because I can barely remember any and partially because I have some nifty ideas for characters. Please enjoy!

ONE MUST FALL : Dawn

                Seiro shut his eyes, relaxing and breathing deeply. Everything around him felt cool and smooth; especially the air which was slipping into his lungs. Thoughts enveloped him… They were voices, really, reminders and bolstering words from his friends and family. Soon the comments faded away, and with it went the brief warmth in his heart. The only voice left was Blue, his friend and chief mechanic. Slowly, he became aware that it wasn't a memory of Blue- that Blue was actually there, talking to him. Seiro's senses rushed back to him in a flood, stirring him to his very soul as his eyes flew open.

                "… Now, listen up, 'cause here's the good part," Blue must have been talking for some time, "I managed to do some tinkering with your interface network and hydraulic actuator systems. Most of your movements will be eh.. aboot 40% faster, I think." Seiro stared at Blue, completely lost for words for a moment. He gave himself a brief shake and quickly regained himself, speaking calmly.

                "Anything of consequence that I should be worried about?" Blue narrowed his eyes at Seiro, removing the cigar from his lips and leaning on the side of the cockpit hatch.

                "You weren't listenin' to me before?"

                "Uh… Sorry." Blue only shook his head, gesturing at Seiro with his cigar before placing it back in his lips.

                "You best be careful. You start zonin' like that out there and-"

                "I know… I just… I had to think."

                "Alright… Well, for a quick recap-" Blue was interrupted by a loudspeaker system.

                "This is your 60 second warning. Match begins in: Fifty. Five. Seconds."

                "For a quick recap… You watch your balance. We had some trouble calibrating the knees and ankles of your HAR, and I'm still not satisfied with what we got. The damage from our last test run has knocked the right torso plating all to hell. We made it look pretty, but you better keep your opponent away from there. Thassit. G'luck, Sei."

                "Thanks, Blue." Blue gave a nod, stepping back and pressing a button which sealed the cockpit off. Darkness enveloped Seiro, save for a few monitors. An electronic voice seemed to emit from all around him, fading somewhat as he began to merge with his HAR. He was somewhat surprised that he didn't even have to concentrate, now; it just happened on it's own.

                "Twenty. Five. Seconds." Seiro opened his eyes. Somehow, it didn't startle him to see things from this view… Several stories high, with his mechanic crews working around him busily. Like little "Micromachine" figures that he used to play with when he was a child. He could see Blue off to his right, disengaging the catwalk and giving a wave as the motors drew the long stretches of metal walkway out of his way. Blue seemed to have no doubt in the world that he would do alright, but Seiro wasn't so sure, himself. He hated to admit it, but he was quite nervous. What if he lost, and disappointed everyone he knew? Blue included. He disliked that thought a great amount. Blue, why do you have to believe in me so devoutly?

                "Ten. Seconds." Seiro steeled himself as the great doors to his "Jaguar" class HAR's hangar opened with an eerily slow and deliberate pace. All previous thoughts began to flush away, and he focused more clearly on the task at hand. His opponent was virtually as new to the tourney as he was, with only two victories under his belt. "Harold Sehrlocke", a Jaguar pilot not unlike himself. Harold was a fan of seemingly random play, apparently. He was renowned for striking hard enough to rattle pilots' teeth, but then retreating as quickly as he had come. A psyche player, Seiro thought with some contempt. He could see the hangar opposite to him open, a red and orange Jaguar standing at idle. His opponent. His challenge. He could barely hear the announcer's voice as he concentrated.

                "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the New Antioch Gladiatorial Stadium. Our first match for the night is between two hardy and eager newcomers into the tournament; Seiro Hibari and Harold Sehrlocke!" A loud roar of cheers bubbled from the enormous crowd which surrounded the energy-barred arena. "Harold stands in Hangar 01, with two victories under his belt and no losses in his still-young career as a HAR pilot. Seiro stands in Hangar 02, with a clean slate and quite an impressive training record which lead him up to this competition. Both are ready and prepared, as you can see! So without further delay… Let's begin the countdown!"

                "Match in five seconds. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Begin."

                There was a deafening shriek of metal as Seiro lunged from his hangar as the countdown ended. He maneuvered his Jaguar in a wide arc, compensating and adjusting as he rushed around to meet his opponent, who was jockeying for position as well. He lunged forward and down, skidding to position behind Harold as his opponent stood ready for a frontal attack; but Harold was too wary, and immediately leapt high in the air. Seiro nearly panicked as he looked up to see the rival Jaguar beginning to fall down on top of him with a leg outstretched to pierce his torso plating. He appeared to hesitate in dodging as the Jaguar decended rapidly, surprising everyone- Harold included- when he shifted his torso and slammed his fist home in the rival Jaguar's gut. The Jaguar's limbs flung forward as the rest of the HAR was held back by Seiro's fist. A limp and stray arm clubbed Seiro's Jaguar acrossed the brow, jarring him considerably and stunning him for a moment. Seiro stumbled backwards as Harold began to rise from his attack, preparing to launch a counter of his own.

                Seiro's teeth gritted as Harold lunged forward. He couldn't get his balance back well enough to do anything about it. Harold's Jaguar collided with his own with great force, carrying him acrossed the arena to slam him into the energy barrier which seperated them from the crowd not far away. Seiro's Jaguar spasmed as energy arced through it, Harold stepping back to view the fireworks. Seiro let out a desperate grunt as he wrenched his HAR away from the barrier with considerable effort, smoke rising from his Jaguar's battered hull as the mecha nearly doubled over and fell. He reminded himself that the pain wasn't real, and quickly faced his opponent, who was approaching to ram him again.

Seiro's leg snapped up and into the helm of the opposing Jaguar without a thought, sending it reeling ungracefully as he quickly followed it up with a torrent of punches to the torso and midsection, making the HAR spasm as if shot by a high powered assault rifle. Just like in some bad Kung Fu movie, Seiro thought with vague amusement. The thought was gone half a second later. Harold was backing up to regain space, and Seiro allowed him to- for just a brief second. Before Harold could recover completely, Seiro lunged forward once again, spinning with a vicious roundhouse that was only partially blocked by swift reflexes on Harold's part. Harold pressed forward for a moment, slamming his knee into Seiro's chest before dropping for a legsweep. Seiro backflipped, barely avoiding what could have very well meant destruction. Harold was already on his feet and lunging as he touched down onto the ground.

                Seiro couldn't think again. He vaguely was aware of his Jaguar suddenly spinning with its knee outstretched, clipping Harold's Jaguar in the head and sending it lurching backwards. Before it could fall though, Seiro saw his Jaguar spin again in slow motion, roundhousing Harold's Jaguar acrossed the torso and ripping away the torso plating, sending the HAR sailing away into an energy barrier. There was an agonizingly bright flash of light. Seiro wasn't sure, but he swore he could hear the tourney's music playing loudly as his vision returned. The crowds were cheering rabidly. He had won.