Hero Points: 1 of 1
Their cheers, chants and taunts reverberated through the hall, their stomping caused the dust to fall in a gentle cascade from supports above the dimly lit locker room. The bulb swayed on it's cord, Tomas paced the perimeter of the room, his fingers tracing the white washed cinderblock. The UWC was now operating out of a firehouse on 39th, the organization had grown since Creed had tried to end his career. This new location was able to host a crowd of four hundred, maybe five if the inspector wasn't paying close attention. The promoters had snatched it up after the Incident, real estate along the 39th St corridor dropped due to the massive damage caused by the clash between the city's enhanced defenders, and the invading ... whatever they were.
Tomas touched the wall, almost reverently, the Soldier had rallied the NYPD, formed a perimeter along 39th St until the National Guard arrived. Not that they faired much better. He'd been training for his debut then, exhausted from his morning work out and sparring sessions, at the 9th St station, waiting for a bus that'd take him back across to East Harlem, and home. He'd panicked, feared for his parents, tried to get home, he remembered the fear, the confusion, the utter hopelessness he had felt while he struggled to find his family. They had survived, but everyone was scared, gods and monsters walked among them, humanity was no longer alone.
He remembered struggling for something, normalcy, something to connect him to his family, his community, his city. He heard the chants through the locker room door. A smile flickered across his face as he pulled the mask down, cinched it tight against the back of his head, laced it with practiced hands. Routine, almost ritual.
He'd debuted a month after the Incident, Jaguar, to connect to the community he insisted Fireheart bill him as coming from East Harlem, El Barrio, the home town champion. His first match, he'd performed a 680 flip, with a float over into a front face lock submission. They went crazy, chants of 212, 212, the Barrio's area code echoed through the hall. He'd found something that could help them forget, help *him* forget, the horrors, the apprehension, of the Incident.
"TJ, you're on in five."
For a second he heard Fireheart's raspy voice, turned, but the man was just a junior promoter, one of UWC's officials. Fireheart was dead, killed in a clinic run by an organization that enhanced talent for sale to the highest bidder. Cartels, warlords, despots.
He shook his head, cleared his thoughts. Be Fearless. That's what his grandfather had taught him, and he knew that he needed the crowd. He needed that pop, that surge of adrenaline, the cheers, the chants, the taunt. Be slammed a hand, hard, against his chest, right over where his grandfather's words were tattooed on his flesh.
Creed was out there, the man who had gone off script to end his career. He was a rudos, a brawler, the crowd loved to boo him, to taunt him, but they had a strange relationship with the man who had taken Tomas' championship, for as much as they despised his tactics, they loved his violent disregard for his opponents, and the rules of the ring. Creed was scheduled for a match against the Machine, Aleksi Markov, and Tomas, the Jaguar, was to run in and interfere. He'd prevent Creed from power bombing Markov through the announce table, and then a stare down with his rival, setting Markov up for the upset victory, and a feud between the current champion, Creed, and the man whose career he ended two years ago, Jaguar.
He walked through the doors, and as the roar of the crowd washed over him, the promoter who was five steps ahead, turned, having thought he heard the low growl of a predator behind him.
OOC: As requested, Perception Check [UWC Arena]: 1D20+8 = +8 = 19
as Jaguar exits the locker room area and enters the arena proper.