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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Who Would Win in a Fight? The Eastern Zodiac vs The Western Zodiac

It’s time for another first installment of my award-worthy series, “Who Would Win in a Fight?”  This week we pit the time honored tradition of astrology in a cross-cultural death match and find out who would reign supreme, the liberally interpreted connect the dots of Western origin or the team of animals that graces place mats in Chinese restaurants.

So without further ado, let’s meet our contestants…

 In the Red Corner: The Eastern Zodiac 

According to this thing, all people
my age are successful.

One needs look no further than the dragon to know that the Western Zodiac is in for an uphill battle.  Even granting that it is a Chinese dragon and thus more snake like than the canine-dinosaurs of European dragonry, it is still a formidable foe that combines physical power with extreme intelligence and, of course, fire breath.

Standing in the dragon’s shadow are a number of other beasts, some far more suitable for battle than the others.  The tiger, snake, ox and dog make up the most salient secondary threats.  Granting that the rat, hare and rooster are relative non-threats, that still leaves a ram, a pig, a horse and a monkey. 

In the interest of cultural fairness (and the best possible brawl), we’ll assume each of these animals to be the most battle worthy of its race.  In other words, we’ll grant the Chinese zodiac a vicious Doberman rather than a wiener-dog.  In that same vein we’ll grant a razorback boar and a pretty badass monkey.  Heck, we’ll even say that the monkey is riding the horse.

 In the Blue Corner: The Western Zodiac 

Nothing about this is screaming "formidable".

More familiar to most of my readers, this motley crew of rag-tag symbolism is anchored by Sagittarius the centaur archer and an army of lesser warriors trying not to get eaten by Leo before the fight starts.

The clearest advantage on the side of the Western zodiac is one of intellect.  Dragons are rumored to be pretty darned smart and monkeys aren’t too shabby, but the Western zodiac brings five human brains to the fight (but only 8 human feet).  This promises a strategic advantage, though it is largely overshadowed by the fact that the other side has a freaking dragon.

In addition to the archer, water bearer, virgin and twins, the Western zodiac boasts a lion, a bull, a ram and a scorpion.  The lesser players here are clearly the fish, the goat and the crab.  Far worse are the scales, which have to be carried to battle and left somewhere near the margins once the fighting gets going.

 The Battlefield: Queens Center Mall (Over by Macy’s) 

Like this, except over by Macy's.

While the location is anything but neutral, it doesn’t give either side a very distinct advantage.  Both the archer and the dragon would operate better in a more open arena, but the archer’s advantages are diminished to a greater degree.  Open spaces and walkways will give the dragon plenty of room to escape and/or ambush, but not enough room to use fire breath without risking damage to his own army.

The most distinct advantage here goes to the Western zodiac in that humans, fish and a set of scales are really the only things on the list that one would expect to see at a mall.  The entire Eastern zodiac would suffer from inhibited movement and be unable to move stealthily due to the echoes of horrified screams they would elicit.  Having a thorough understanding of the workings and limitations of escalators would also serve a distinct advantage.

That's more like it...

 Rules of Engagement: 

Impromptu weaponry only (excluding Sagittarius’s bow).
All fighters must remain within the designated battlefield.
No penalty for collateral damage.
No declaration of aggression required.
No code of combat enforced.
Last man/woman/beast standing is declared winner.

ROUND ONE… Fight! 

The melee that would mark the start of this battle is difficult to comprehend but after the first clash, certain observations could quickly be made.  The ox and bull likely cancel one another out, neither able to gain a substantive advantage in the early part of the conflict.

Both armies also contain rams and it is safe to say that they would not only cancel out, but given their natural fighting proclivities, they would likely move away from the general field of battle and utilize their exceptional balance and agility to move their fight to the catwalks and ledges.

In addition to exceptional balance, rams also have the
inexplicable ability to lead their division at 6-8.

This tactic would make the Eastern ram an easy target for Sagittarius, but he would be unable to focus on assisting his animal compatriots.  At the first charge three of the fighters retreat quickly, drawing the dragon from his army and leaving the Geminid twins to direct the remaining force.

Once the dragon is out of sight, the monkey takes control of the army and charges.  Unable to determine the voracity of each threat, he steers his horse randomly toward the crab.  Tragically, he would trample the rooster along the way, making it the first fatality of the war.

A quick thrust leaves the Eastern zodiac at a seeming advantage.  The snake makes quick work of Scorpio, the horse tramples Cancer and the goat falls under the first potent strike by the pig.

The fishes watch on from a nearby aquarium as the Tiger adopts a predatory stance and begins slowly circling Leo.  The most formidable remaining threat for the Western zodiac is rendered impotent for several moments by the whole growling and intimidating dance that felines are notorious for.

You know, the part where all the tiger's friends are talking smack
and all the other cats are yelling "fight! fight! fight!"

This costs a lot in the short run, but when the dog locks on to one of the twins, the other pounces on it making surprising use of the scales by whacking the dog mercilessly about the head with Michael-Vick-like ferocity.

This single victory quickly turns the tide of the battle.  The monkey turns quickly toward the twins but tumbles off the back of the horse in a comical monkey-like way.  The horse carries on without him and the twins split, forcing the horse to choose a single target.

Meanwhile, elsewhere on the battlefield…

The dragon is fast and powerful, but cannot fit in the elevator.  This gives the lead team a critical moment to lay their trap.  They move hastily with the dragon close on their trail.  Sagittarius knows his fellow mythological beasts well enough to know that even if the dragon can overcome his innate proclivity for attacking sacrificial virgins, the temptation would be too great if that sacrifice was placed in the middle of a Zales.

With the water bearer nearby as a fire-breathing contingency, Sagittarius ducks behind an ad for Tron: Legacy and takes careful aim.  Virgo sets about mock-binding her hands to the countertop, mixing her virginal dragon-seducing pheromones with the beast’s genetic predisposition for acquiring precious stones.

Within seconds the dragon’s ghastly form fills the hallway beyond them, riding in on a wave of horrified shouts.  Sagittarius watches the scene unfold through a reflection in the Orange Julius window, ducking around with bow drawn only once the reptilian antagonist turns in toward his waiting prey.  For a precious second, the underbelly is fully exposed.

Had to use this... strangely enough I couldn't find a pic
of a centaur fighting a dragon in a mall.  Google sucks.

Round Two… Fight!

Even from the battlefield above they could hear the echoes of the dragon’s death knell.  The momentum of its massive body barrels forward unabated after the archer’s mortal shot.  The beast’s weight crashes into walls below, shaking the foundations of the mall and educing a deafening exclamation of “OMG!” from behind.

The tiger slips slightly as the floor shakes beneath him and Leo takes that moment to strike.  His potent forearms spring out with monumental power and decapitate the tiger before it can raise a paw in defense.  Leo would turn from his victim with a victorious growl and snack on the rat in celebration.  The rat had avoided detection to this point, but the sight of that bounty of crabmeat was too much to resist.  With a second foe swallowed, Leo turns his eyes on the monkey.

Any excuse to use this picture is a good
excuse to use this picture.

The twins would have avoided the horse by taking advantage of its inability to navigate stairs, but this also keeps them separated from the battle.  The snake slowly creeps in behind their upstairs sanctuary and is poised to take them both when the battle-hardened centaur makes a dramatic reappearance.

His hoofsteps are scarcely audible before his arrows begin reigning down on the remaining foes.  He takes the pig out before it knew he was coming.  Its squeal draws the attention of the dwindling remains of the Western army.  The snake is the first to react and springs from its hiding place in full slither.  The twins subdue it before it can advance very far and behead it with a novelty knife from the nearest kiosk.

The two warring rams come into view and Sagittarius scores a quick assist by planting an arrow in the hindquarters of the opposing ram.  He then turns his rage against the ox as the water bearer goes to check on the fish.

The monkey raises its squeaky little voice in an effort to scream but it is drowned out by the lion’s mighty roar.  This leaves the horse as the only real threat, but with the bulk of the Western Zodiac still remaining, it is quickly and humanely dispatched (in the alternate ending the virgin tames it).

Final Outcome: Western Zodiac Wins

With only a few casualties, the intellect of the human (and centaur) minds reign supreme over the might of the Eastern zodiac.  The side effects of the battle are minor for the east; Cancers, Scorpios and Capricorns will need to find a new sign and Leo is going to have something of a complex for the next few millennia.

The results for the west are far more ruinous.  It could take decades for them to find something new to put on their place mats.

Aaron Davies

PS This all really happened by the way.  It happened on Tuesday while I was trying to finish up my Christmas shopping so if I didn’t get you anything, this is why.  Malls are crazy enough this time of year without supernatural wars taking place as well.

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