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The Ninja Master
(original, computer, chuckle)

This story was originally posted to alt.cyberpunk.chatsubo, a group that consists of stories of a dystopia of high tech and street violence based on William Gibson's novel "Neuromancer"....

"I see a fat man with a white beard lying in the alley, tiny reindeer chewing at his corpse. I see a dead reindeer, rats tearing at its flesh. I see a dead rat, maggots crawling over it. I see a maggot that is looking a bit under the weather.

"I see the stringy sinews of the gleaming pus from the running sore of Christmas...."

The carol continued to play on the televid monitor on the wall above the bar. For hours the visuals had consisted only of a log burning in a fireplace, but the fire had gotten out of control and spread into the studio, engulfing the video equipment.

A man with a long black ponytail and soft black clothing sat at the bar. His name was Soo Ni Buffalo. He was of Japanese and Native American origin, a heritage that bequeathed to him extraordinary quickness, agility, and balance. At a large public university in upstate New York, he had become expert in the ancient art of hand combat, Kung Pow. Such was his mastery that he was chosen to wear the outfit of his school's mascot, the Kung Pow Chicken.

Soo Ni Buffalo had taken the path of Kung Pow, a weaponless art. His brother Soo Ni Stony Brook chose to study the new technologies of combat. He had once created the ultimate adhesive, but he couldn't get it out of the bottle. Then he created a monofilament strand of diamond so strong and yet so thin that it could cut through any substance when a very slight pressure was applied. Unfortunately, the weight of the monofilament strand was enough to create a very slight downward pressure, so the strand cut through the table, the floor, the foundation, and the bedrock. As far as anyone knew, the strand was still oscillating about the gravitational center of the earth. Soo Ni Buffalo eschewed his brother's gadgetry in favor of instinctive human ability.

On the monitor, he watched fire destroy the video studio until the visual signal turned to static. Then he pressed a button on a hand-held transmitter, which emitted a small burst of radio waves. The burst was picked up by one of the many transceivers of the I'veFallenAndICan'tGetUpNet, sent up to their comsat, bounced off their lunar repeater installation, boosted down to the Very Very Very Large Antenna Array, and relayed to the monitor that Soo Ni Buffalo was watching, where it caused the channel to change.

The monitor now showed a man in a gray suit and ceramic hair, speaking to the camera.

"Around the world in 30 seconds, this is CNN Headline News. Tonight's top stories: Police crack down. Leaders urge restraint. Comment sparks controversy. Costs overrun estimates. Committee issues call for action. Candidate claims mandate.

"In business news: Supply interacts with demand; Wall street panics.

"In sports: Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

"And finally, we happened to notice this story: Even in this day and age, some people still do something the old-fashioned way.

"To recap tonight's top story: Events transpire."

While Soo Ni Buffalo watched the monitor, two hyped-up street-hardened razorboys came up behind him. Their arms and legs were padded by heavy slabs of black rubber armored underneath by steel belts. The slabs were embedded with metal studs and had angry angular patterns like long lightning bolts gouged deeply into their surface. Chains had been strapped to the surface of the slabs.

Soo Ni Buffalo's 360-degree peripheral vision warned of the two figures behind him, and he turned to them slowly. He recognized the uniform of The Radials, a tough gang that lives on the street.

One razorboy screamed, "Change the channel back."

Soo Ni murmured evenly, "The previous channel had no picture. It was only snow."

The razorboys growled, "We like snow!"

Then they went for it. They made their play. They made their move. They stepped over the line. They tossed the dice. They cast the die. They cast two dice, and then tossed them. There was no turning back now.

Soo Ni slid off the bar stool, assessing the weapons they'd drawn: Triple rotary, floating heads, 800 rpm, sideburn attachment. Cartridge-loaded double-bladed disposable safety, lubricating strip.

One fighter leaped at Soo Ni. He ducked, and the attacker jumped over him. He sailed over the bar and into a rack of bottles, where the broken glass caused severe tire damage.

The remaining fighter charged. Soo Ni could have ducked again, but then no lesson would have been taught. He blocked the weapon away, reached into the attacker's mouth, pulled out his heart, stuffed it with cheese, put it back, and watched him die of arteriosclerosis before he could make another move.

Soo Ni Buffalo remounted his bar stool. The room was silent except for the audiovisual monitor.

"Tonight's top stories: Dictator appeased. Fears quelled. Arson suspected. Dozens injured. Gaps widen. Deficits loom...."

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