Cage Match 2014: Round 2: Trillian Astra vs the Dust Witch: Page


The Contestants



Trillian Astra: Page
Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Age: Unknown
Race: Humanoid
Weapons / Artifacts: Space artifacts
Biting wit

The Dust Witch: Page
Ray Bradbury’s Something Wicked This Way Comes
Age: 320 (approx)
Race: Homo magicus (Fae) Lineage: Carny witch
Weapons / Artifacts: Magic, sleep dust, able to manifest a powerful adhesive
Sleep dust powder attack

The Breakdown


  • Mathematician
  • Physicist

  • Cunning
  • Merciless
  • Can “see” and track souls

  • Physically vulnerable
  • Short-lived compared to most interstellar species

  • Like her kin, she is vulnerable to water or fire (see: The Wizard of Oz, Hansel & Gretel)

  • HAL 9000
    It can only be attributable to human error.

How we think the fight will go

Greetings and welcome to the 16,475th annual Fortieth-Quadrant Space Revival Tournament, brought to you by Parallax Gigantism Elixir: “If recreational deformity is the question, then Parallax is the answer!”

Today we head into Phase Four of the semi-hectafinals, beginning with a category that many find boring, although connoisseurs of the sport have continued to make a strong case for its inclusion. Naturally I’m referring to the contestants from that sparsely populated spacetime bordering the Vogon Transit Region.

Due to the physical and mental simplicity of these contestants, the League is actually able to re-animate them in the flesh, a refreshing change of pace from the voluntary holographic submissions of more advanced civilizations. And by donating the remains (if any are left) to scientific research in the bio-entertainment field, the League also satisfies a crucial qualification of its philanthropic mission, especially in terms of maintaining a tax-exempt status. What a commendable effort toward an unambiguously charitable cause!

We here in the official Parallax Sportscasting Zeppelin are beaming this to you live, fully spectromated to fit receivers across the entire Universe. This is a great match to watch from home – the Tournament’s live audience tends to be confounded by this Phase. You may note them in the background, already twiddling with the special viewers distributed at the beginning of the round. Many have already given up and headed to the concession stands.

However, you can sense the excitement among the younger audience members at the emergence of the Dirt Zamboni. Here it comes, folks! As a condition of the League’s Kind Treatment Act, occupants of this primitive spacetime are granted the right to battle to the death among the trappings of their native habitat. In this case, that means lots and lots of dirt – according to the latest archeopocryphal research, they’re so fond of the stuff that they named their entire home planet after it.

This brings us to Phase Four’s first contender, known only as “Dust Witch.” As her Warp Chamber descends, note the lack of photo-receptive eye-spots, which have made her a controversial pick in the betting pools. Apparently this feature is entirely true-to-life, and not, as some have speculated, the result of a defect in the 5-D printing process. Likewise, the shape and texture of the being’s outer structure: we stand assured that these are ceremonial garments of some kind, and that our two contestants are indeed a qualified genetic match: they are both bilateral, semi-conscious, and strictly organic life-forms. When (and not if) they cut each other, they will certainly bleed!

Here comes the second Warp Chamber, containing the only specimen from this spacetime ever to lodge its own formal complaint against the Tournament, citing amnesty on the grounds of intergalactic Presidential diplomacy. Naturally this complaint is being considered quite seriously by the local government, and an official ruling can be expected sometime within the next twelve- to sixteen-hundred celestial rotations. This, onlookers, is called “Trillian.”

Remember, these contestants are not given any fighting accessories or League implements. By Tournament standards, battles in this phase tend to drag out for quite some time, as beings from this spacetime are uniquely maladaptive to unarmed combat.

That’s interesting – the match has yet to begin, but already the “Dust Witch” seems to be preparing for battle. It’s almost as if she senses the presence of a combatant, despite the signal-baffling properties of the Warp field. Observe the prowling and pacing, the waving of the extremities. Do we have any translators watching from ringside who can tell us what she’s saying? I’m hearing that we don’t. We’ll be sure to bring that to you shortly, in playback.

In the meantime, the countdown to battle has initiated. While the crowd in the Parallax arena doesn’t seem too enthusiastic, I’ve just been told that viewership galaxy-wide is especially high today. Could this match set a new Fourth Phase viewership record?

Wait – wait, something’s happening … Warp fields are still up, but something unusual has just occurred over in the “Trillian” chamber. As you can see at home, the being seems to be struggling to remain upright. I’ve heard this is a common problem among bipeds, but we’re also getting a funny reading from the Warp Chamber’s biostats. Some kind of organ failure, they’re saying, although we’ve been assured that all specimens are re-animated at the peak of physical health. Meanwhile, look back over there at the “Dust Witch” chamber: As you can see our dirt-loving contestant seems to be growing stronger by the second! It seems utterly fixated upon its unseen opponent. How is this possible?

The “Trillian” chamber is re-ascending, dear viewers! They’re taking this bioform out of the competition – probably for keeps, since I’m seeing on the bio-print here that it is already 100% de-animated, a result of spontaneous cardiovascular failure. I’ve never seen anything like it! My goodness, not only is this going to upset the betting pool, it’s bound to change the standards for this regional Phase in Tournaments for millennia to come.

For now, rules state that since the extrasensory attack (which is how newsfilters are already describing this unprecedented incident) occurred before the official start of the match, the “Dust Witch” cannot claim Phase victory. Rest assured that a new combatant is being gene-printed and animated as we speak, and Tournament judges will be performing a full inspection on the Warp Chamber fields in the interim to make sure everything is strictly up to code. No funny business here, folks! Our commitment to fairness is tantamount to our commitment to senseless violence for the sake of your at-home entertainment.

Who will enter the ring next to oppose “Dust Witch”? We’ll find out after this hour-long utterance from Parallax Gigantism Elixir, the smooth beverage with the fuller-than-average body. Stay tuned!

Predicted Winner: The Dust Witch

NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON Monday, March 24, 2014, AT 12:00 PM, EST

Check out all the Cage Match 2014 posts!

Editor’s Note: Tom Blunt is the producer and host of “Meet the Lady,” a recurring variety show that pays tribute to oft-overlooked women in cinema, part of the film program at New York’s 92nd Street Y. His blog, Doom Cakes, has been profiled in The Guardian and Edible Geography. Tom has also written for New York Magazine, Hadassah, and the television channel AMC.

Check out the the Bracket Reveal video here and the full bracket here!

Cage Match fans: We are looking forward to hearing your responses! If possible, please abstain from including potential spoilers about the books in your comments (and if you need spoilers to make your case, start your comments with: “SPOILER ALERT!”