Chapter 2: Starrk Vs. Ishida
Mayuri's sinister laboratory was a bit chilly in the morning.
He rubbed his hands and shut all the windows tight, he even sealed up the most microscopic of drafts with his tried and true slime. But nothing could keep the heat in; he supposed this creeping chill must be an odd side effect of his Space-Time Rape Machine as it thrummed into action, pounding the fabric of reality with its phallic piston.
“Kurotsuchi-taichou, we’ve just got the test results back!” said a junior 12th squad intern (#607) as he handed Mayuri the documents. Mayuri swiveled in his chair as he licked his fingers and leafed through them.
“And? How are the specimens faring?” Mayuri asked, clicking his long fingernail casually against his desk—which meant “fetch me a coffee.”
“All the Arrancar you wanted alive are still in their tubes for the moment, but they’re showing remarkable progression! With the exception of Yammy Riyalgo, who…”
Pound pound pound pound pound
“Uh, captain… I thought we’d scrapped that machine, for the plan?”
The Space-Time Rape Machine had nothing whatsoever to do with Mayuri’s mass resurrection scheme. Mayuri simply liked having space-time a little raped every morning.
“Fuck’s my coffee?” Mayuri growled.
Too late. A final tap of his fingernail and the junior trainee’s head immediately imploded into a singularity, the rest slumping lifeless.
“Probably should have asked him about Riyalgo before I killed him,” Mayuri told himself, but he quickly jettisoned this ridiculous notion, since a high turnover of trainees was what fueled his scientific enterprise and promoted efficiency.
Pound pound pound pound pound
The familiar pounding of the piston jolted Mayuri’s memory. “Oh, that’s right, now I remember! I was tinkering with that Arrancar’s head while in bed the other night. Nemu!”
“Yes, father?” Nemu teleported kneeling at his feet.
“The head implosion technique is still leaving more of a mess than is acceptable, kindly wipe the floor using 607’s body while I make myself a little coffee and attach Yammy’s head to his neck.”
Mayuri strolled over to his bedroom and sure enough, there was Yammy’s massive noggin; in fact, it was hard to miss, since it took up around 93% of the room (2% was his futon and 3% was a prototype portable Space-Time Rape Machine). A gaping slit down the forehead told Mayuri that he had been handling the vanquished Arrancar’s brainmass towards some end, but what exactly that was he could not recall. But now the head’s purpose was to see battle screwed on the tiny decapitated neck of an intern.
It had been Mayuri who had raised a fuss to keep the tournament on schedule, despite Soul Society’s recent spate of rather hard luck. And he’d lobbied hard to arrange the matchups, with partial success.
“Oh good, Nemu, you’re here already, be a dear and pour me some coffee.” Mayuri’s pharaoh chin strap turned into a cup he could bring to his mouth by jutting out his jaw.
“Yes, father.” Nemu opened her mouth up wide and regurgitated the espresso—a glitch that was now a feature.
“Excellent work, Nemu,” Mayuri grinned as he rewired individual nerves in Yammy’s brain with plucks and twangs. “Though I have a feeling the tournament today will be the thing to truly wake me up.”
Nemu’s body temperature plunged now that the coffee had escaped her system, but her teeth chattering was lost to the
Pound pound pound pound pound
The first Arrancar to be ushered from the resurrection tubes to the battlefield was Starrk, who, as the strongest of the Espada, was the first to awaken.
"Dammit, I came to whip some shinigami ass," Ishida kvetched. "I mean, I just don't know if my heart will be in this one. Where's Mayuri!?"
Starrk stared. "...What are you? You a human or what?"
The crowd waited with bated breath as the two sized each other up, bated breath not because they were seized with excitement but because Mayuri had injected the soul dango with an amazing array of exotic soul parasites.
"I mean, I kill Hollows for fun, I pick my teeth with 'em," continued Ishida airily. "One time I invited in a whole host of Hollows just to annihilate them all. But you? You don't look like you're even worth the time of day."
"Wow, Ishida is getting pretty good at smack talk," said Rukia.
"He was a bit rusty but he's come a long way," said Ichigo.
"...I am a whole host of Hollows," said Starrk. "And frankly, as a single human soul you're not exactly what I'd call a worthy opponent.” Starrk sat down on his ass. “Can’t we just… talk?” he asked, lethargic and lonely.
“HAHAhh! I knew you’d do that!” Ishida shouted.
“What, sit on my ass?”
The anti-Arrancar landmine (yeah, remember that?) activated, toasting Starrk nice and crispy.
Starrk spat out some soot and scratched his head. “Ugggh. Ow.”
Ishida trained his shining arrow directly between Starrk’s eyes. “Any last words?”
“Sure. Kick about, Los Lobos.”
Starrk’s gunslinger form transformation reverted him to full power. From now on the firearms would do the talking.
Literally, in Starrk’s case.
“Oh man, you had to release for a chump like this guy!?” Starrk’s guns were infused with the essence of his other half, the uncomfortably loli Arrancar Lilynette. (Lilynette Gingerbuck, if you really must know.)
But Starrk was ready with a new tactic to silence his irksome soul-twin. Coolly he raised a single finger to his lips and went shhhh. I got this.
“I never realized your nosehairs were so long,” she said, since as he shushed her he was still grasping that gun.
Ishida had never seen a spirit being with revolvers before. He wondered what sort of strange unfamiliar attacks Starrk might boast in his roster, and took a defensive stance with his bow-shield.
Of course, Starrk’s eclectic roster of attacks turned out to be LOTS OF BEAMS.
“Parallel lines, parallel lines, draw the parallel lines to make the moneeeey! Yeah!!” Kubo sang as he rocketed out about page a minute. His assistants pondered which rock anthem he was blasting into his ears that carried that beat. For lack of better things to do.
Ishida was no stranger to dodging ceros; getting thrown into a pit of insanely advanced and grotesque Hollows was his father’s idea of a therapeutic reprieve from training. These beams were coming pretty thick and fast, but it wasn’t anything lethal if he just broke a little sweat.
The real consternation was that of the audience, which couldn’t see what in the hell was going on. And hey, who knew so many Rukongai residents were epileptic?
“Run circles around ya,” Ishida panted. “Maybe you’d be better served launching paper airplanes those beams are so, huff, pathetic.” Ishida hid the stitch in his side.
“Admirable resolve,” complimented Rukia from the stands. “With smack talk like that, he’ll go places.”
Starrk let up his beam spam for his final, unavoidable onslaught move. Dozens of explosive ghost wolves spawned beside him, snarling and gnashing their fangs of pure energy.
Starrk’s glare of resignation clearly conveyed: This is the end. I wish you had been stronger.
Oh, now it was on. “You know something? ‘Pure energy’ is just about the worst weapon to use against me.”
The wolves pounced and sprinted towards the poor defenseless human. Half the crowd averted their eyes and braced themselves for the sounds of screaming and vicious explosions.
What they were met with instead was the heavenly hum of rushing spirit particles, coupled with the whimpering of a chorus of wolves.
“Before, you asked me who I am. Well now I’ll tell you.”
Ishida obliterated every trace of Starrk with a single gigantic shot, powered by the recombined energy of his own wolves.
"I's a Quincy, BEEITCH!" he crowed with a triumphal shove-up of the spectacles.
"And there he goes off the edge," said Rukia.
ROUND 2: ISHIDA WINS!!
NEXT ROUND: KON VERSUS THAT STUFFED PIG GUY