When the Last Sword is Drawn
Sylvia laid in her bed. The light of the morning sun was trickling through the thin floral curtains in the hotel. She was spinning the cylinder of Jack’s python revolver around and around, the barrel pressed against her head. The gun wasn’t loaded, but she laughed as she pulled the trigger. Click. The sound the gun made as the cylinder turned over with every pull. She stopped and looked over at Jaeger who was reading a magazine left on the bedside table.
“We need to get going. Today’s the day.” He said without looking up.
“Today’s the day.” Sylvia repeated as she stood up and walked over to her briefcase. She opened it and inside was a H&K G36 assault rifle. She took out a leather belt which ran across her waist, it had 4 clips of assault rifle ammo attached to it and she put it around her waistShe put the Colt Python revolver into the holster, then opened up a compartment of the brief case with 5 throwing knives in it. She put 3 into loops in her trench coat. She tied her katana in its sheath to the other side of her waist and stood up.
“Finally, it’s going to feel so nice to get revenge on that bitch Katarina.” Angel said
“Y’know Sylvia, you should really let this go. It’s not worth it.” Janice replied
Sylvia sat down on the bed, her head in her hands. She moved over to the side of the bed and picked up the pink rotary phone on the bedside table. She dialed a number and the phone rang once.
“I need to speak to Master Umata.” She said in her native tongue before the person on the other line had time to speak.
“Right away Yamizaki-Chan.” The man replied without hesitation. There was a long pause then a voice answered from the other side.
“Yamazaki-Chan, how have you been my pupil?” Master Umata said on the other line. His voice was deep and thoughtful. He spoke slowly in Japanese
“I called to ask for your guidance sensei.” Sylvia replied “I feel as though…”
“You feel as though you are succumbing to anger again.” Master Umata finished for her.
“I could tell. Something about your energy was off.”
“Please help me. I’m feeling the lust for revenge again, and it’s clouding my judgement.” Sylvia responded
There was a long pause. “There’s a fire burning within you. I can sense it… It fills you with the same anger that consumed you when first we met.”
“What do I do master?” Sylvia asked
“Yamizaki-Chan, righteousness is defined by our own standards. I can’t decide your fate for you. I can however give you some advice… Those who chose to walk the path of vengeance often find that they themselves have become the villain.”
The other line went silent.
“Mas… Master?” Sylvia said into the phone but there was no response except for the dial tone.
Sylvia sat on the bed, phone in her hands for a few minutes, then she hung up and stood up from the bed. She grabbed her suitcase and walked out to her car.
Katarina walked into the front doors of the Black Star Gentleman’s Club. There was a group of men around the center stage watching one of the dancers slide down the pole. She was wearing her Ukrainian military outfit. It consisted of a green wool jacket and slacks, with red leather gloves and a red beret. She had a red and black eyepatch with the sickle and hammer of the Soviet Union across it. She had her 3 military medals on her lapel, including her golden star, the highest badge of honor in the Soviet military. She had her military sabre in a holster by her waist, carried a gold-plated AK-47 around her shoulder and a Colt Single Action army in a front mounted holster.
She walked into the back room where the Boss was sitting at his desk.
“Katarina my darling, you look… Different. Different but nice, although I thought I told you we have a strict dress code here.” The Boss said.
“I don’t care about dress code.” Katarina replied coldly and sat down in a chair across from him.
The sunset was lighting the sky on fire as Sylvia pulled into the parking lot of the Blackstar Gentleman’s Club. She took a deep breath looked into the rearview mirror of her car. She was wearing a red turtleneck underneath a black trench coat. She tied the Japanese flag like a bandana to keep the hair out of her eyes and then pulled her face mask up around her mouth and nose. She stood up, being weighed down by the assault rifle poorly hidden in her coat. She grabbed the purple parasol in the passenger’s seat and fanned it out.
She walked by the front door of the building, the parasol obscuring her face. There was a large man in a tight shirt with a Black Star tattoo on his left wrist standing guard at the door. She twirled the parasol around as she walked by him and reached into her coat to grab a throwing knife. Before he could even move toward her, she moved the parasol down and threw the knife at him, sticking it right into his forehead. He slid down to the ground off of the wall slowly and down to the gravel where his body sat there, lifeless. She tossed the parasol aside and reached for her assault rifle around her back. She kicked open the front door and let out a barrage of bullets without hesitation, killing two guards by the door and two men sitting at the bar.
She combat rolled to the side behind a small table as two other men barged through the doors. She shot one twice in the chest and he fell over dead, as the other one stood behind a pillar. As he turned to fire at her, Sylvia shot a small portion of his leg which was uncovered. This caused him to fall over where Sylvia could finish him off with a burst to the head and neck.
“What the fuck is going on out there?” The boss yelled, standing up from his desk as two men came running in.
“Sir, it’s Yamazaki, she’s here.” One of them said.
“Damnit. Ok.” The boss grumbled, before taking the microphone perched upon his desk and bringing it up to his mouth.
Sylvia was on the floor having wrestled another guard down and locking his arm in her leg, flipped over and shot him square in the forehead. She stood up and hid behind the bar as The Boss’s voice played over the intercom, cutting off the beginning of Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now”
“Dear all assassins and staff of the Black Star Gentleman’s Club. Whoever brings me Sylvia Yamazaki dead or alive will receive a 1-million-dollar reward. This is an open contract so I implore you… Please play nice. That is all.” The mic made a metallic feedback sound before cutting out. The boss looked up and saw that Katarina was readying her gun to go into the fray.
“Where do you think you’re going? You stay here and protect me.” He barked at her.
“Sylvia dies by my hand and my hand only.” Katarina replied as she walked out of the office doors.
It was a madhouse inside the club, as about 20 men were now looking for Sylvia and many fighting and killing each other in the process. Two men came up to the bar where Sylvia was hidden. She unsheathed her katana and waited until they looked over the bar, then she leaped into action. She grabbed one of the men by the head, slamming it against the bar then used her momentum to jump over the bar and knee the other man in the chest. She stabbed him in the neck with her katana then turned her attention to the other man. He pulled up his pistol but she knocked it away as he fired, sending one round into the floor. She put her foot around the inside of his leg and judo tossed him to the floor, turning his arm around and going to the floor with him. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw another man lining up a shot, so she quickly pulled her assault rifle around, rolled over to her side and shot him from the floor. Sylvia then put a bullet into the head of the man she was on top of then she grabbed her sword and sheathed it.
Katarina was coming from the other side of the building, AK-47 in hand unloading rounds into other assassins with militaristic precision. When her current clip ran out, she threw it at one of the men and quickdrew her revolver, firing off two rounds in rapid succession that killed him. She continued through the hallway, firing off rounds from her single action revolver all the while pirouetting like a ballerina to the cadence of the song. One man was pushed into her as she leapt through the air, knocking her off balance. She grabbed him, shot him in the head once, then pushed the body back where it came. She pulled up her revolver and shot it, killing another man before entering the main area of the club.
Meanwhile, Sylvia was engaged in a fight with a man who she had just thrown to the floor. She wound up her katana to deliver the killing blow, it was blocked by a machete. She stood up and clashed blades with the man, twice before they were separated by a pillar. Sylvia had her katana pinned to the pillar by the man’s machete, but the other man had gotten up and attacked her. She sent a back kick his way, then spun around, dodging his attack and pulling her katana away. The man dodged her swing as Sylvia dodged another attack from the assassin with the machete. She pinned his blade to the pillar, then grabbed the other man by the hair and slammed his neck into the point of the machete, cutting his throat and spraying blood onto the nearby bar. She then turned to the other man but he was shoved out of the way as another assassin had appeared. He shot at Sylvia who ducked behind the pillar. She pulled out her revolver and aimed at his foot from the other side of it. She shot, hitting him in the foot then she aimed at his head and delivered the killing blow.
Sylvia quickly turned and saw the other man had gotten up and swung his machete at her. The two clashed blades twice, then she ducked under, cut his thigh and shot him once in the chest. She kicked him back through the doors that lead to the main room of the club. She holstered her sidearm and sheathed her sword, pulling up her assault rifle which only had one half a clip left. She hid behind a counter as four men were fighting each other. She unloaded her last clip, killing all but one of them. She popped out of cover, threw her rifle at the remaining man, then dove to the side as she drew and fired her revolver twice, hitting him in the chest. A man appeared from out of the doorway and from a lying position on the floor, Sylvia pulled out two throwing knives and threw both at his chest. He fell down, clutching the hilt of the blades and leaning up against the door.
The building was destroyed. Blood soaked the walls and floor, bullet holes riddled every inch of the area, and the dead bodies were piled around the room. The boss continued to drink from his glass of wine as he watched alone over the security cameras.
Sylvia and Katarina were the only two assassins left alive. Katarina had emerged toward the back of the stage as Sylvia had stood up from her previous fight. The two looked at each other without saying a word, each on the other side of the cyan and pink neon lit stage. After a moment, both dove to the side and shot their revolvers. Click click click. Both were empty. Instead of trying to reload their guns, the two stood up on the stage and faced each other. Katarina attacked with her sabre and Sylvia drew her katana from its sheath and blocked it in one swift motion, then the two locked blades at the apex of their sword’s arcs. They stared at each other with unmoving blades, the cyan neon reflecting off of Sylvia’s sword and the pink neon off of Katarina’s.
“Is this really how you want to fight me?” Sylvia asked “I probably have more training just with a sword than you have in your entire life.”
Katarina said nothing, just stared at her with a single piercing blue eye. The two were circling around each other, Katarina was holding her sword at her side with her right hand and Sylvia was holding her sword above her head in a traditional swordsman’s stance. Katarina swung at her again, Sylvia easily side stepped it and parried the following blow, immediately returning to her stance.
“It was nice of you to finally not dress like a sex doll for the climax.” Sylvia snarked.
She struck at Katarina, the two clashed high and then low and as Katarina went for another high hit, Sylvia stepped back so one of the poles blocked her incoming attack. She reassumed her stance.
“After you shoot me in the back, nearly kill me, take 2 years of my life away and make me drive across the country, you can’t even muster up the strength to say anything?” Sylvia growled as she deflected another weak strike from Katarina. Katarina continued to stay silent and glare at her.
“Hmph. Look at me being a total chatterbox during the fight. Master Umata would be livid with me.” She laughed and finally decided to stop toying with Katarina. She launched a fury of attacks that Katarina barely managed to stave off. Sylvia deflected her counterblow and lunged at her with a stab. Katarina side stepped it just enough so that it avoided hitting her, but it left a long cut in her wool jacket. She managed to grab Sylvia’s arm and use her momentum to swing her down and onto the ground, sending her katana skidding across the stage. She then moved to get on top of Sylvia and was about to bring her sabre down on her when Sylvia kicked it out of her hand. Sylvia delivered two strong punches to Katarina’s jaw before she was able to stand up. She reached for her sword, but Kat kicked the back of her leg and then wrapped her arm around her neck to put Sylvia in a chokehold. Sylvia managed to get a portion of her hand in between her neck and Katarina’s arm. The two struggled and Sylvia eventually used her weight to smash Katarina up against the pole, then they stumbled off the side of the stage, separating from each other. Sylvia was near the edge of the stage and looked up to see her katana was by her head. She reached for it but Katarina caught her left arm, jammed it against the edge of the stage by the shoulder and hit it right at the joint with a swift karate chop. There was a sickening crack and Sylvia cried out in pain as her shoulder was separated. Katarina had gotten to the sword first, but just as she grabbed it, Sylvia used her good arm to wrap around Kat’s neck and tackle her to the ground. The sword fell off the side of the stage and Sylvia made it to the blade first.
She got on top of Katarina, restricting the use of her legs and was trying to drive the blade down on her with her only good arm, while Katarina was using both her arms to fight against it. Sylvia was slamming her weight down on Katarina, trying to get the blade to go into her chest. Both of the women were exerting every last bit of strength they had left. Finally, Sylvia was able to drive the sword into Katarina’s side, just below her left ribs.
Katarina didn’t exert any sounds of pain, she just stared at Sylvia as she pulled the sword out and stuck it against her throat.
“What are you waiting for, just kill me. Live up to your namesake, Ice.” She said, her nose had started to bleed, and she spit out blood on the floor by Sylvia’s shoes. “But before you do, I’m going to take off my eyepatch so I can see the woman who finally bested me with both my eyes.” She removed the eyepatch slowly, her gloved hands quaking and placed it by her side. Sylvia was staring into her miscolored eyes.
Sylvia wasn’t listening at all to what Katarina was saying though. Jaeger was standing behind her and he was talking to her, his voice muffled by his mask.
“Go on, do it. Be the Apex Predator.” He egged her on.
“Don’t listen to him Sylvia. For once just listen to me.” Janice pleaded.
“You’re a cold-blooded killer Sylvia. Be one.” Gideon’s voice echoed in her head.
Sylvia moved her sword away from Katarina’s neck. She wiped the blood off on her jacket. A few specs of it had run off the sword and onto the black star tattooed on her arm. She turned to face Katarina.
“My anger with you was misplaced. I realize that now. You were only following orders. It’s not you I have a quarrel with. It’s him.” Sylvia said, pointing her katana to the security camera in the corner of the room.
“That shouldn’t have hit any vital organs. You should be ok if you get to a hospital soon.” Sylvia said, sheathing her sword. Katarina laughed, and a drop of blood had rolled out from her nostril and onto the gold star medal attached to her coat.
Sylvia tried to put her shoulder back in place on the corner of the wall, but despite her slamming it against it and grunting in pain every time, it was to no avail. It was separated badly and left her hand hanging down by her knee. She walked through the hallway, stepping over body after body. She got to the door where the boss was hiding and she kicked it down.
“Show yourself you cowardly bastard!” She yelled. The Boss emerged from behind the shadows of his desk and stood in front of her, leaning on his walking stick.
“I hope you’re happy with what you’ve done Ms. Yamazaki.” The Boss said
“You brought this upon yourself by fucking with me.” Sylvia sneered, her hand already hovering over the hilt of her katana.
“This is how you repay me? You were nothing without me Sylvia. I gave you a family, a steady source of income. Without me, you’d be rotting in an insane asylum somewhere, or worse, out on the street. I remember when we first met. You were just a helpless young immigrant fresh off the boat with unattended mental illness. You had nowhere to go, you were completely adrift in the sea of rats that is Los Angeles. I took you in, got you the money you needed for medicine. I gave you a sense of purpose in life. And this is what I have to show for it.” The Boss replied angrily.
“I would say a pile of dead bodies is pretty apt as to what you stand for.” Sylvia replied sarcastically.
“Oh, now you want to play the morality card? The psycho killer who talks to herself is trying to take the moral high ground, isn’t that rich.” The Boss laughed in response.
“I’m done being used by you and everyone else. I might not have a purpose in life, but I’m going to find it myself.” Sylvia reached for her sword and The Boss pulled the top of his cane off, revealing a short sword. Sylvia unsheathed her sword and closed the distance between her and The Boss.
“You really think you can take me in a sword fight?” Sylvia scoffed
“I’ve sparred with Gideon a number of times, and I fenced at Cambridge. I fancy my odds against a one-armed person.” He replied
“As a one-armed Shinobi, I don’t like those odds for you.” Sylvia smirked before bringing her sword up with her working arm.
The Boss sent forward a flood of attacks that were all easily parried by Sylvia. He tried again and again she blocked them all without even breaking a sweat. He finally ran at her with his blade above his head and both arms on it, bringing it down with force. Sylvia easily blocked the attack with one hand then used an upward attack to cut the bosses right hand off. His sword clattered to the ground as he fell to his knees, gasping in shock as he held the stump of his arm, blood gushing out from the wound.
There was the faint sound of police sirens outside. Sylvia brought her blade up to The boss’s neck.
“Wait. Wait.” He pleaded “Wouldn’t it be more satisfying to see me rot in jail the rest of my life? You say you’re not a killer…”
“Why do you say that? Is it because that’s what a hero would do? I might not have a sense of meaning in life, but I do know one thing for damn sure. I’m really more of a sympathetic anti-hero.” She replied, sticking the blade deep into the space between his collar bone and neck. She then used her foot to kick him off the blade as she pulled it out. His lifeless body slumped to the floor. Sylvia wiped the blade off on her forearm and swiftly put it away in its sheath. Just as she did, three police officers burst into the room.
“On the ground, hands behind your head now!” One yelled. Sylvia put her hands up and laid on the ground. She started laughing maniacally as they handcuffed her.
Katarina stood in line at the Morningview Mental asylum in Los Angeles. The floor was reflecting the soft fluorescent lights from the ceiling. There was a large wood countertop with a few people sitting behind it. There was 2 people in line in front of her. As she waited, she looked up at the small TV in the corner of the room. It was playing a trailer for a movie.
From Director Michael Bay comes the most explosive action movie of the summer. The thrilling and true story of Sylvia Yamazaki. The trailer said across the screen. The trailer opened with a voice over.
“My name is Sylvia Yamaizaki, and I’m an assassin.” It showed a scene of Arnold Schwarzenegger as Gideon fighting Sylvia, who was played by Eva Mendes.
“What do you say? Will you dance vid the devil?” Gideon said. The two actors clashed swords and there was an explosion
The scene cut to a low angle shot of Katarina’s actress getting out of a car. She was then seen sitting on the Boss’s desk, with her leg up in a seductive pose. “You know, I am not always wear stockings to make for good fighting.” The actress said in a horrible Russian accent.
Katarina looked away and shook her head in disgust. The eyepatch wasn’t even over the correct eye. Finally, she got to the front desk.
“Hello, how can I help you today?” the receptionist asked kindly.
“I’m here to see Sylvia Yamizaki.” Katarina said simply.
“I’m sorry ma’am, but that patient is not allowed to have visitors.” The receptionist responded
Katarina looked around for a moment then reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a leather badge, showing it to the receptionist.
“Oh, right this way Agent Kovalyov” She said, changing her tone immediately.
They went down a long hallway and into a separate ward that was behind two different ID locked doors. There was another hallway and then they came to a door with a small window in it.
“Wait here while they ready the patent for you.” She said, walking off back down the hall where they came from. Katarina looked through the window on the door. She saw two men tying up Sylvia in a white strait jacket. Then, another man came in with a long syringe and stuck it in her neck, pushing the plunger all the way down. A man had arrived next to Katarina to escort her in.
“Don’t you think the strait jacket and the sedatives are a bit much?” Katarina remarked as the man opened the door.
“You saw the pictures of what she did at that night club, right?” The man replied
“Saw them? I was there.”
“Then you know how dangerous this woman is.”
Katarina walked up to the glass that separated Sylvia’s cell from the other half of the room. She was sitting on the floor and looked up at Katarina.
“Oh my god, is that you Kat?” She said happily
“It’s me Sylvia.” Kat replied
“What are you doing here?” Sylvia asked
“Nothing, I just wanted to check in on you.” Kat answered
“Oh, well I’m doing really good.” She was very mellow and her voice was quiet and not very emotive. “They let me watch baseball in here sometimes.” She said “What about you? How have you been?”
“I’m good. I’m… Back at the KGB. And that’s why I came here.” Katarina said bluntly. “We need your combat expertise to help us take down an international terrorist.”
“Well, as awesome as it does sound to be a spy, Katarina, I have to decline. I’m happy here.” She replied
“You like anime, right? Katarina asked
“Of course! My new favorite anime is Cowboy Bebop.” Sylvia answered
“Well, think of this as your redemption arc.”
Sylvia sat in her white padded cell, thinking for a moment.
“Sorry Kat. I don’t fight any more. I found where I belong. It’s nice here and I feel safe.”
“At least think about it, alright?” Katarina replied. She turned around to leave and added “I’m really glad you found somewhere you can be at peace.” Sylvia smiled as they took Katarina away.
Kat walked outside and got into her Lamborghini. She touched the pad in the middle of the dashboard and it brought up a call.
“Any luck?” a British man said from the console.
“No. I didn’t expect her to leave anyway.” She replied
“Well, we’ve a change of plans. We need you to break into an American supermax prison.” The man said
“What? Why?” She asked
“We’ll brief you when you get here. Your flight leaves in the morning. Remember to pack your cold weather clothes love, you’re going to Siberia.” The call ended and Katarina turned the radio on as she drove away.
“Candice Miller here, and I’m signing off one last time for you guys. It’s been an amazing 25 years with the station, but I’m going to leave you with The Ramones ‘I Wanna be Sedated’. One last time, this is Candice Miller signing off on KIRNY, LA’s most ironic radio station.”