Disclaimer: I claim no rights to the characters or story of Chaos.
Summary: The ODS doesn't fight like a machine. They fight like a team
A/N: A brief fic/team study inspired by all the great fight scenes in the show. Many thanks to Faye Dartmouth for providing a beta: remaining mistakes are all on me.
Rick fights much the same way he does everything else in the spy world: without experience and without especially honed skill, but with enough energy and exuberance to still somehow be effective.
It isn't that he doesn't know how; he's logged countless hours in training, and has taken numerous hand-to-hand classes. Granted, he's devoted far more of his time to linguistics, but he's known that as a spy he would likely have to fight, and has planned accordingly. But in the thick of combat, sometimes all the training and the classes and the instructors' voices spouting tips on his technique just melt away as fear and adrenaline take over. He doesn't think in terms of 'left uppercut' or 'roundhouse kick' – he doesn't think at all, he just lashes out with everything he has, at whatever target is closest.
It's a bit ungainly. It lacks finesse. But Rick is tenacious and scrappy and he just keeps pummeling with all the adrenaline-fueled, terror-driven power he's got.
It's unexpected. And surprisingly, effective.
And when a seemingly-random punch takes an opponent out, dropping him to the ground cold, no one is as stunned as Rick himself as he shakes out his fist, blinking.
Casey fights the way Russian prima ballerinas dance: with grace, skill, precision, and a lifetime of harsh training and discipline.
He is intimately aware of every muscle, every nerve in his body; his spatial awareness is exact. His control is complete. He knows the exact trajectory of his fist as well as he knows the time between the beats of his heart, and he exerts his willpower over both. And after a lifetime, it all comes naturally.
His technique is a combination of myriad styles, accumulated over decades of training and travel. Three years spent in a Shaolin temple learning Fu Jow Pai as a young man still show in the Tiger Claw stance he falls into, hands raised and fingers curled; his studies of Aikido have served him well by helping him redirect the strength and weight of his opponents, making his relative size and stature an advantage as opposed to a disadvantage; the months he spent undercover in Israel early in his tenure at the CIA provided background in Krav Maga, with its brutal efficiency and rapid neutralization.
And everywhere Casey goes – every opponent he fights – he learns.
And with every enemy he puts down, the Human Weapon becomes a bit more dangerous than he was before.
Billy fights the way he learned how in Northern Edinburgh as a lad: it served him well then, and it's been pretty effective so far in his life.
'Born and bruised,' he likes to say of his origins, and it's not just a colorful turn of phrase. Alright, so it could be worse, he might have grown up in Glasgow, but he still managed to run with some rather rough lads back in the day. 'Reckless boyish mischief' were words that might well apply not just to the termination of his career with MI6, but much of his life back in the UK. And among those misadventures and mild misdeeds, he learned how to take a punch as well as how to throw one.
Facing off against an adversary, Billy's stance is that of a bareknuckle boxer: arms raised to defend his face and torso with easy blocks, but equally prepared to lash out with swift and focused force. He's not afraid to drive an elbow below the belt, or fight dirty if an opening is afforded to him. It isn't elegant, and it isn't the kind of martial artistry practiced by Casey and any number of other operatives.
But it takes a bloke out just as neatly. And at the end of the day, for all his eloquence and poetic words and St. Andrews' education, Billy's just a boy from the streets of North Edinburgh.
So he fights accordingly.
Michael fights like the strategic mastermind he is: not just with his fists and feet, but with his 'fevered brain', and any other advantage he can find.
Michael's is the sort of mind that thinks of throwing bubble-wrap across a warehouse floor in the dark. The sort of mind that uses a wall of boxes to hide, and ambushes throughsaid boxes, turning his shelter into a weapon with a single well-placed blow that sends everything tumbling down.
If Michael doesn't have the high ground in a fight, he finds a way of making his ground higher.
And all the while, through every punch and swing and kick, Michael thinks. Michael plans. For each jab he makes at his opponent, he's already taken into account the four possible ways the man might block or counter the motion; he's also taken into account the dozen different ways he can react in turn, and weighed the pros and cons of each potential course of action. Sometimes the optimal outcome becomes a statistical impossibility due to the multitude of rapidly changing variables. But he'll settle for the next best alternative, because Michael can adapt.
Throughout the fight, Michael's body never stops moving, but only because it can't even hope to keep up with the pace of Michael's mind.
To say the ODS fights like a well-oiled machine would not be entirely accurate.
True, like a machine, they channel force to meet a certain goal or objective. And like a machine, they function in a sort of synchronicity that is both efficient and effective. Like a machine, their individual parts fit together into a greater whole.
But machines are composed of many unchanging parts, suited to a single repeated task. Machines do not evolve, or adapt, or learn. Machines don't make judgement calls, or weigh (and then ignore) the odds. And when machines break down, they don't pull themselves together and have another go.
The ODS doesn't fight like a machine.
They fight like a team.
Weaknesses are complemented by strengths, with technique and force and cunning balancing one another out. Billy's street smarts, Casey's expertise, Michael's tactics, and Rick's tenacity bring a deadly variety to each encounter – they're vastly different, which makes them unpredictable, yet they're a team, and therefore work in devastating tandem. In the end, the bad guys don't even stand a chance.
But ultimately, it isn't how they fight that matters.
It isn't about strength or strategy or style.
It's about something else.
And Billy says it best when he raises his glass for a toast in the bar they all stumble into after the mission. "To all the things we're fighting for," he says with a grin. "For lives saved, countries defended, and having each other's backs!"
"Hear hear," Michael agrees, and the other three members of the ODS clink their glasses together, weary and bruised and battered, but victorious.