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Kale Peacock

The Greatest Ever (You Decide)

He let go! He couldn’t believe it! Surely it wasn’t true? But yes, there he was, flying up into the atmosphere at breakneck speed. He had let go.

Aside from his initial shock, Korlo wasted no time in assessing his situation. He’d only done it before in training, let go on purpose to practice recovery maneuvers. But, those maneuvers were pounded in to every totter’s head until they could do them in their sleep. Fortunately, he was traveling perpendicular to the earth, which always made recovery easier. As for his equipment: servo arms, blaster boots, body shocks, all check. Damn! Korlo was hoping something had malfunctioned. But no, it had been his fault, he had just let go.

He reached the apex of his flight nearly a mile higher than his failure to hold on. Only thing to do now was to pull the chute and float back to earth to swallow his defeat. At least he wouldn’t have to walk far to his platform; he might even make it back before Galis did. That jerk would rub in his face for weeks, “I beat the great Korlo!” it would be everywhere. It was so sad. Korlo could even see the arm descending a mile beneath him as he reach for his shoot. Wait a minute!

Instead of reaching for his chute as he began to fall, Korlo turned face down and engaged his blaster boots straight up. He shot downwards as fast as a bullet. It just might work; the rules said that the empty arm had to reach the ground. Throwing your opponent was only part of the victory. If he could get back on the arm before it touched down, he might be able to steal this one back from that smug Galis.

He made a quick adjustment so his aim was right and he was there. He grabbed the handles and locked his servo arms. This time there was no way he was going to let go! That was easier said than done. He was going way too fast for his body shocks to take the entire impact. He’d be crushed when he hit ground. Korlo pulled himself onto the seat and engaged his blasters again, this time straight down. The move slowed him down, but not enough. He braced for impact.

The sound outside of his totter suit must have been deafening. First the screech of his body shocks as they overloaded and exploded. Next came the bang of touchdown, always loud, even when you traveled at practice speed. Finally the roar of his blaster boots as he rocketed one last time upwards, this time to victory. He may have destroyed half his suit, but the servo arms still worked, and that was all that mattered now.

He got the word half way to the top. Galis’ team had already informed him that Korlo had been thrown. He had all but let go and was preparing for his slide when Korlo had smashed his side of the arm onto the platform. Galis had been thrown at a bad angle, and his team had made the decision to go back to their hotel for the night. They were sure that Galis wouldn’t be able to walk back before morning. This would be a sweet slide, probably the sweetest of the 131 victory slides he had done so far. Only two more to go.

Our first story tonight: what else but Korlo, and his astounding win over Galis in the totter event of the year.” Brick Yulter, preeminent sports announcer, and more importantly, Korlo fan. “Let’s go straight to the video of his interview at the victory slide.

“Korlo,” the interviewer asked, “Galis predicted that he would win this totter; that he would be the first to defeat the great Korlo; did that give you the motivation to put on such a display as you did this evening?”

“Not really ma’am,” Korlo didn’t know this interviewer’s name, “I always knew I could beat him. He talks big, and he gave me a little trouble, but I never doubted that I would pull it out in the end.” Korlo had learned to lie through his teeth at these interviews.

“Korlo, you set several new records for this totter: hardest impact, longest arm, and we have just received word that Galis was thrown 11.3 miles from his platform, which shatters the old record of 8.2.”

“Well, I hope Galis has a long walk home then,” Korlo smiled as all the reporters laughed. “Now, as you can see, my suit and I need a little rest.” Korlo excused himself as the reporters laughed again because of his devastated totter suit.

“And there it is,” Brick Yulter continued from the studio, “the amazing Korlo pulling the most death defying move ever in the history of professional teeter-tottering. Baker, he is now two wins away from breaking your all time win record of 132. And more impressively, he is still undefeated. What do you think of tonight’s performance?”

“I think it was reckless, is what I think.” Baker, all time champion of tottering, retired. He now worked as the top color analyst for the sport. “He may have pulled out the win, but at what cost? His totter suit was completely destroyed, his platform will definitely need to be repaired, and he could have even killed someone coming down that hard. People say Korlo is the greatest of the sport but I say he’s destroying it.”

“And there you have it,” Brick continued without missing a beat, “expert analysis from a bitter, bitter former champion. Join us for continuing sports coverage at 11:00.”

“Jeez Baker,” the producer spoke up, “I know he’s about to break your record but could you wear your feelings any farther out on your sleeve.”

“Cut it with sarcasm, you know that’s not what this is about.” Baker was about to say more, but the producer rushed of to start the 11:00 o’clock news.

“In other news today, retired totter champion, Baker, went on a tirade against current champion Korlo saying that Korlo is destroying the sport of teeter-totter. Bob.”

“If you ask me, he is just being petty because his record is about to be broken.”

“I think we all can see that Bob.” Baker switched the news off. He had been attacked by hundreds of TV networks already, including his own, and he had barely returned home from ending his own broadcast.

“Honey,” Baker’s wife said from behind, “they do have a point. You’ve never attacked anyone like that before.”

“He’s scum,” Baker tried to keep the venom out of his voice for his wife’s sake, “and it’s about time everyone knew it.”

“He always seems so nice,” Baker’s wife had never seen him this upset, “and he’s very polite to the interviewers.”

After a long while, Baker responded by repeating himself. Only this time, instead of an explanation, his words were a conviction: “It’s about time everyone knew.”

“Well, that’s it,” Brick Yulter declared, “the great Korlo has defeated Barrymore and tied the all time win record at 132.”

“Yes Brick, a victory by Korlo, but as worthy an opponent as Barrymore was, this totter was completely overshadowed by the upcoming match between the great Korlo, and none other than Baker himself,” the new color man put in his two cents, “a match that both sides have agreed will decide the champion once and for all, with the loser being forced, by the agreement, into retirement forever. And with the recent rule changes, I think it’s safe to say that this one will live up to the hype.”

“In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past three weeks,” Brick continued smoothly, “some new rules and safety regulations have been put in place because of Korlo’s amazing win against Galis last month. For safety, landing platforms have been redesigned and reinforced and all team members and maintenance workers must set up a minimum of one half mile away.”

“Although not an issue until the Korlo vs. Galis match,” the color man took over, “it has been decided that thrusters, shocks, and servos may be used in any way the totter and his team deem necessary to throw a competitor.”

“We saw a great example of this in today’s match,” Brick again, “when the great Korlo used his servos to hold onto the platform, even as he engaged his boosters. The slight delay enabled him to set a new record for launch speed and cause damage to Barrymore’s servos which led to Korlo’s victory. The final rule change deals with the teeter-totter itself. Previously, 500 yard segments were added every up. The rule has been changed to allow the teams to negotiate both the length of the additions and the frequency at which they are added.”

The color commentator followed his cue, “Most matches reach between three and four miles of arm on each side, or 10 to14 ups for each competitor. Korlo and Baker, the greatest of them all, will build with 1000 yard segments every up. I think they are both in a hurry get this issue resolved. Brick.”

“Why do have to say things like that?” Brick went off script.

After panicking for a moment the color man responded dumbly, “Like what?”

“‘The greatest of them all’,” Brick rose out of his seat, “you know this match is a sham because Baker is jealous of Korlo. Jealous because Korlo is going to break is record. Baker was a bitter, washed up totter when he worked here, and he is still griping today!”

“Baker dose still hole the record. And what about the accusations he’s made against Korlo?” The commentator stood also as he referred to Baker’s activities of the last few weeks, “such as buying out an orphanage so he could tear it down to build a monument to himself.”

“Lies, all lies!” Bricks eyes bugged out as he shouted the response, “besides, Korlo donated over 100 million dollars to charities and research funds last year.”

“And he spent over 200 million dollars on his own birthday bash!” The color guy didn’t miss a beat, “every one of Baker’s accusations of Korlo’s debauchery and criminal life has turned out to be true so far, and you know it!”

“You know we support Korlo at this station, and if you don’t then…” Brick’s sentence was finished with a punch to the color commentator’s face. Despite going down, the color man managed to get his head turned around and speak straight to the camera.

“Go Baker! Beat that scumbag!”

“You and Baker can kiss my…

“And that was the scene over at Channel 45 today,” an 11:00 o’clock news caster began to wrap up his broadcast, “I don’t know what kind of crap they’re producing over there.”

“Neither do I, Bob, neither do I.”

“Anyway, join us next Thursday for the big teeter-totter match that will indeed decide who will, forever, be considered the greatest of them all.”

Everything was set, the anthem was played with the announcer shouting the familiar last word, “totter!” and the totters mounted their arms. Every totter on two continents had canceled their matches to be here for the event of the century. Baker, with more wins than any totter in the history of the sport, coming out of retirement to defend his record against the great Korlo. Who could have seen this coming? And Korlo, who vehemently denied the accusations Baker leveled against him, instead asserting that Baker was jealous and had made up the stories to defame him, sometimes some of Baker’s own family standing next to Korlo in support. With the loser being forced into retirement, this would be the greatest event that the sport of professional teeter-tottering the world had seen since its invention in 2316.

The match played out as everyone expected. 1000 yard segments being added every up. Four, five, six ups. Seven, eight. When the length of the teeter-totter reached over 14 miles a new length record was set, but the match was no where near finished. Finally, after reaching a totter length of nearly 18 miles, the critical part of the match played out.

“I’m going to do it, that’s that!” Baker and his team had argued about the maneuver over the entire course of his last to ups. And rising again into the sky, approaching an impossible length, Baker knew this was the time. “Look, like I’ve been saying, the negative G’s coming down have nothing to do with it. Everything on the totter is reinforced, except the seat.”

“Well a seat has never broken before,” his crew chief shouted back at him, “what makes you think his will break now?”

“Ugh! We’ve been over this” Baker would need to act soon for his move to work, “no one has ever reached anywhere near this length before. If I time it right, I can stop the totter before he reaches his platform. The extra momentum will carry him right through his seat and he’ll crash into his platform, I know this will work.”

“But you don’t have a platform to bang against,” the chief continued his own argument, “there’s no way you can get the totter to stop fast enough for it to work.”

“The suit’s shocks are anti-grav. If I overload the shocks, then unload my thrusters into them it will blow everything for a mile around as hard as a comet hitting. It will stop.”

“It may kill you.” The chief’s concern came through, “at the very least you’ll throw yourself.”

“My servos should hold me on and my suit will protect me,” Baker responded calmly, “besides, if he pulls a maneuver that throws me at this height, I might be launched into orbit and never make it down. Chief?”

The chief laughed, prayed, then said, “go ahead.”

“I don’t believe it!” Bob screamed, “Baker and Korlo both tried to pull the same move simultaneously at opposite ends of the teeter-totter. It is unheard of to try to stop the totter before it reaches the platform, but there you have it. Never has there been such a destructive finish, never has there been such an explosion, never has there been such a match!” Bob stopped, breathed deep, and announced importantly, “And the winner is…”

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