you finished the preparations yet?"
The woman reflected in the rearview
mirror asks her driver while she
touches up her lipstick.
"The arrangements for the invitations
were prepared one week ago. And I've
just completed the preparations for
the meeting. We'll be arriving at
the meeting place in five minutes.
Please be ready."
"Is that all that's on today's agenda?"
"Yes. I've heard nothing of any special
options. Do you have any plans with
"Yes, we have reservations for dinner.
But it's okay. It looks like we can
do this without having to cancel
The woman finishes her preparations
as she looks toward the hall from
her car window.
The heat of the assembled mass is
overwhelming. Among these members
must be one who no one foresaw coming.
In spite of the hall being able to
handle two to three thousand people,
it's quite overwhelming when everyone
is pickled into it like this. Even
more, the majority of them are crazy
with excitement at the event taking
place in the hall before them. Not
only is it hot in here, the heat
of the bodies also takes its toll.
For K' (K-Dash), at least, this is
the worst situation imaginable.
"Is this some sort of torture?"
Not looking anywhere in particular,
K' puts the question to Maxima in
his usual surly matter.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Do you want something
Maxima, not looking particularly
fazed by all this, offers the glass
of beer he's taken a sip out of to
It's clearly misunderstanding. But
it puts an end to K''s listlessness.
"...That's not what I meant!"
"Care for another one?"
"Don't yank me around. That's not
what I said.... How are we going to
put an end to their plans?"
"You mean NESTS? Ah, I've got it
under control. Once this little chore
is over, that is."
Maxima answers K''s queries matter-of-factly
and once again takes another gulp
"A meeting with our new teammate."
A suspicious expression seizes K''s
face as Maxima offers him an envelope.
"An invitation...KOF? What is this?"
"We've been invited again. It requests
our participation as invited athletes
on the Special Team. I was accessed
by our other teammates yesterday.
And they told me to meet them here
at this hall."
"Are you going to enter?"
"It seems that the finals are to
be held in Southtown."
"It's just a stone's throw from here.
There's evidence of their handiwork
somewhere over there. No matter how
you look at it, something is just
not kosher about the tournament.
I think it's best to check out anything
dubious, don't you? ...So that's why
The growing cheers signal the entry
of the participants in the main event.
The cheers well up, as if in waves.
But as the participants near the
ring, the cheers turn into a steady
roar. Hidden by the onlookers, K'
and Maxima are unable to make out
what's going on. After a short while,
some masked men spring into the ring.
One, then another...one wrestler after
another, wearing the same mask, climb
into the ring. Before one knows,
the roaring cheers change to laughter.
"This is hilarious! Aw, man, that's
K' stands beside the amused Maxima.
K' looks even more bored than before.
"What a yawnfest!"
A gong chimes outside the pandemonium
of the ring. Among the throng of
small masked men, a larger hooded
figure stands out, and he jumps at
the smaller combatants as he removes
IT ENDS IN AN INSTANT.
The conclusion was as expected.
An explosion of cheers is directed
to the man with a patch over his
eye, standing in the ring.
Maxima shoots a blunt look at his
companion's blunt interjection.
"Oh, pipe down. Enough negativity.
Some people here are actually enjoying
"I don't have the time for such amusements."
"Amusement? That guy? He does have
a flare for presentation, but quite
the contrary. He's quite a piece
of work that man is."
Oblivious to K' who ignores this
comment, Maxima takes readings on
the man wearing the eye patch in
the ring. The readings that register
prove the man's extraordinary capabilities.
The moment he attempts to examine
the other traits, an alarm appears
on the monitor.
A look of anxiety seizes Maxima's
face. Next to K' sits a woman, her
chin resting on her hands, in the
seat that should have been open.
"Who are you?"
"Why, your partner, of course."
"Weren't you supposed to be a man?"
"Your manager contacted me yesterday.
Did I surprise you?"
"No, I'm Maxima."
Maxima extends his hand, as if letting
everything slide. The woman responds.
"The name's Vanessa."
"The other...Ramon, when will he grace
us with his presence?"
"He already has."
The cheers drown out Maxima as he
asks where Vanessa's partner is.
When Maxima looks at the stage, the
monolog of the man with the eye patch
"I believe I sufficiently displayed
my true abilities, but I'm think
all of you aren't satisfied, huh?
Maybe a further demonstration is
necessary, so do not hesitate to
try again! ...I dedicate my next victory
to all of you in the audience!"
The man with the eyepatch points
to the far-removed Vanessa. Vanessa
responds with a wave.
"So he's Ramon?"
Maxima, seized by amazement, checks
on Vanessa. Continuing to wave, Vanessa
"Something wrong? I think I'm on
the right track."
Before their exchange ends, K' rises
from his seat. Vanessa looks over
"Are you leaving?"
"I have an errand. Maxima, I'm leaving."
He brushes by Vanessa as he passes.
"How about learning a bit more amiability?
It would make you more attractive,
"Put a sock in it, toots."
Without looking her in the eyes,
K' bids these final words of farewell
and leaves. Following his lead, Maxima
rises from his seat.
"Sorry about that. My partner just
hates being told what to do."
"Don't worry about it. If he weren't
like that, he wouldn't be interesting.
Do you think this is a good idea,
you and us?"
"Let's hope so."
Unlike his partner, Maxima leaves
the hall with a smile.
Vanessa removes a cell phone from
her waist pocket as she sees him
"They've left now. Don't lose them."
Vanessa, too, leaves the hall, breaking
into a jog.
It is underground, where the visibility
is anything but satisfactory.
Following down along a line of a
number of bunched up cables, a large
object that is beyond K''s understanding
emits a low hum. Maxima arrives late.
"This again. Just what time does
that make it?"
"Near the area of the exhibition
match there's an inexplicable object
that lets out a moan. This is quite
a piece of work, this is."
Touching the cords, K' mutters,
"But there's something different
about this. It's the first time something
like this has been placed in the
center of a KOF venue."
Nearing the device, Maxima attempts
to examine the data through the jack
pin in his fingertip.
"It doesn't matter. Have you understood
anything? Anything about its contents?"
"I'm working on that now. ...Hmph.
It's the same. It has a transmitting
device...that's all I know."
"Is it theirs?"
"No doubt. It's a product from NESTS.
I recognize all the parts in it.
But having one of these lying around
a KOF venue.... Something must be up."
The alarm emitted by Maxima's sensors
and the flashing is almost the same
A bullet zips by the eyes of K'.
Maxima's sensors begin to count the
number of enemies in succession.
"It looks like we got company today.
A lot of them."
Rising up, he tugs at his thigh with
his glove. The right hand of K' is
"Maybe they think if they group together
they can win."
"Yeah, they just never learn; that's
Countless red points from laser gun
sights light up the two.
Vanessa, returning to her car, gazes
at the monitor installed in her seat.
The camera and K' continue to glare
at each other momentarily.
And all of a sudden the image on
the screen abruptly changes to snowy
interference, and then it goes dead.
The driver waiting for the end to
the picture speaks,
"I'm sure you've already become aware
of this. Someone came straight from
the exit of the hall. He's lifted
the back of this car and there's
nothing I can do..."
She thinks about it a little and
"DO WHAT YOU CAN."
For Vanessa, this is the only option
she can agree most with.
"It's OK, just go with it."
"Are you sure?"
As she tries to answer, Vanessa's
voice is cut off by the sound of
an explosion. The car shakes violently.
The sound of the explosion is not
one that occurred close by. But the
smoke that climbs from the manhole
visible from her car, however, indicates
the force of the blast.
"Wow, that kid can really do the
"I was right to let him take a shot."
Maxima whispers as he returns to
the arm responsible for the blast.
"Do you have anymore ammo left?"
Keeping his back to him, K' responds:
I have about two or three for the
Vapor. What'll we do?"
"Give me all you got. I still have
got this baby with me."
At the other end of K''s line of
sight, he sees one of the objects
that withstood the blast. Maxima
loads the cartridge.
"Be careful there...Hey, what's the
K' shoots Maxima a sideways glance
as he burns the KOF invitation.
"I can't just punch it directly,
"That's right, but if I don't have
"We can't enter? As long as that
woman's around, it should be no trouble."
Pondering his words for a moment,
Maxima soon agrees.
"Yeah, I guess you're right."
They place the cartridge inside the
object and fling in the burning invitation.
It doesn't take long until the sound
of another explosion is heard.
This time around it is a little smaller,
but it is sufficient enough to be
"Things look like there going to
get pretty interesting from now on,
Vanessa does nothing more than look
in the direction where K' and Maxima