Sunday, October 19, 2014

Death in the Arena

Part 2 of the Arena of Xarxes

Wounded in his first fight in the arena, Rugen was escorted under armed guard to the medic. Before the doctor could attend to his wounds, the Inquisitor arrived.

"Do not fret, Templar," the Inquisitor commanded, "we will patch up those wounds. We have far more in store for you."

Rugen replied with a sarcastic "Thanks."

The Imperial snorted in derision. "You may not thank me after your treatment. On my orders, the doctor will not be using standard medical technology. He will be using paroxymed."

Rugen's eyes widened slightly. Most people would not have noticed, but an Imperial Inquisitor is not most people.

"Ah, so you have heard of it," the Inquisitor continued. "It is very effective in healing any wounds, so you will be back in the gladiator pit in no time. Of course, its healing process is very painful, akin to the proverbial rubbing salt into a wound, although much more, er, uncomfortable."

The doctor arrived and began treatment. Rugen was roughly strapped to the treatment table. As the Inquisitor walked from the room, he chuckled while Rugen's screams echoed off the walls.

Once Rugen's wounds were healed, he and Tee were brought to the arena once again.

This time, the opposing doors opened and out rushed four large, powerfully built men practically naked from the waist up. They wielded an assortment of wicked looking two-handed axes.

"Brutians," stated Tee. "They love nothing better than to kill."

Soon, the Brutians were upon them, hacking away with their axes. Our heroes dodged, ducked, and parried, trying to stay away from the nasty blades. Rugen parried one attack, but this left him open to another one of the enemy. He swung; Rugen managed to get his club in the way, but the power of the blow pushed aside his club. The axe buried itself in his arm. Rugen screamed, then riposted madly. His blow caught the Brutian on the side of the head and the enemy collapsed in the heap. The other opponent facing him slashed at Rugen's legs. Rugen managed to skip away, but the blade grazed his thigh, opening another deep wound.

Meanwhile, Tee was facing his own assault but his android reflexes prevented any blows from landing. One of the Brutians took a wild slash. Unbalanced, he spun around slightly. Tee wasted no time in landing a shot to his head. Another Brutian was down. 

Before Tee knew what was happening, the remaining Brutian facing him leaped upon his back. Normally, an android would have no difficulty grappling with a humanoid, but the Brutians are incredibly powerful. The Brutian kept Tee's arms in his grip while he beat relentlessly upon Tee's skull. In moment's, Tee sank to his knees then collapsed face first into the sand. The Brutian stood and raised his ax over his head, ready to strike a killing blow on Tee.

Suddenly, the Brutian felt a weight hit his back. He stumbled forward and fell into the dirt. Regaining his feet, he turned and saw a bleeding Rugen standing in front of Tee. All the other Brutians lay dead upon the sand. Screaming in rage, the Brutian rushed the Templar. Despite his wounds, Rugen easily parried the blows. Stepping inside the ax's blade, Rugen jammed his club into the Brutian's guts. While the barbarian doubled over and struggled to regain his breath, Rugen spun, raised his club, and brought it down upon the Brutian's head. The last opponent crashed to the earth.

Rugen rushed to Tee's side, anxious to determine if he still functioned. As he checked for vitals, he heard a voice behind.

"Tsk, tsk. Such a waste."

Rugen turned to see the Inquisitor standing over him.

"Oh, don't worry Templar. We will fix your friend . . . this time. Of course, who knows what might happen in later fights? But then, this could all be avoided . . ."

"What are you talking about?" Rugen growled.

"The plans, Templar. Give them to me and you both will be safe."

"Never!" Rugen yelled as he leaped forward and rushed the Inquisitor. Suddenly, a flash of pain raced through his nervous system and he collapsed.

"Uh, uh, Templar. You should know better than that," the Inquisitor stated as he held up a hand-sized electronic device. The Inquisitor glanced at the device, smiled, and simply said, "the controls to that collar of yours."

Stay tuned for part 3!

Saturday, October 18, 2014


Part 1 of the Arena of Xarxes

In our last episode, our heroes' ship was destroyed by an Imperial cruiser. They jettisoned successfully but were caught up in a tractor beam.

They were taken inside the airlock, where they were met by a squad of Imperial troopers with blasters leveled. Having no choice, our heroes surrendered. They were taken into custody and interrogated extensively, but they would not divulge the fate of the research. After many fruitless sessions, the interrogator had to report to the captain.

"So they still will not talk?"

"No Captain," the Inquisitor replied. "The Templar's discipline is too strong and the other is an android. None of our usual methods will work on an artificial being."

"Have your engineers tried to hack into his cerebral processors?"

"Yes, sir. However, the information has been encoded and protected. We cannot access it without frying its entire system."

"So? One less Federation robot the better."

"But it would also fry the information, Captain."

"Pity. It appears that there is nothing left to do. Dispose of them."

"Wait, sir. I may have a better idea," replied the Inquisitor with an evil smirk upon his face.

Days later, our heroes were transported to the Imperial planet Xarxes. It was arid, squalid, and brutal. The Xarxians' favorite past time was gladiator games, and Rugen and Tee became the latest participants in this brutal sport. Stripped of their uniforms, fitted with obedience collars, dressed in the traditional breech-cloth of Xarxian gladiators, and armed with rudimentary clubs, they were escorted to the arena by blaster-toting guards. At the entrance to the arena, they were met with an Imperial Interrogator.

"Welcome to your new life, Federation stooges. You will now entertain us, and risk death every day. Of course, there is a way out. Turn over the research plans and I will change your assignment. Oh, you will still be slaves, but I can find you a much less dangerous post."

"Save your breath, Inquisitor, we will not betray the Federation." Rugen retorted.

The Inquisitor snorted, then ordered them to be escorted into the arena.

Rugen and Tee walked into a large, dusty, oval field surrounded by stands. The stands were filled with cheering patrons. Workers were cleaning up the remains of the last bout, shoveling body parts onto a grav sled. Speakers blared and the workers hurried from the field. Then, a door across the field from our heroes opened. Out rushed a swarm of short, bluish creatures with sharp teeth and long claws.

The enemy
Our heroes advanced upon the creatures, swinging their clubs. Rugen connected, swatting the little gremlins aside. They were weak, so one blow would incapacitate them. Unfortunately, they seemed to many to count! The beastly beings swarmed around the legs of our heroes, slashing and clawing. A group of them managed to trip Tee. He fell flat on this back. One of the gremlins leaped at his face, ready to claw his eyes out. Rugen knocked aside his attackers, spun, and smashed the gremlin attacking Tee. The android was able to scramble to his feet, kicking aside the creatures.

Rugen and Tee stood back to back, fending off the gremlins each time they surged forward. One managed to leap upon Rugen's arm and take a deep bite. Rugen screamed in pain but managed to shake off the beast. Another was able to dig its claws into Rugen's abdomen, tearing away at the flesh before Rugen brained it.

Nevertheless, the clubs of our heroes whittled down the horde's numbers, until only one remained, Finding itself alone, it ran away in fear for its life, but one of the guards blasted it into oblivion with his laser rifle. Rugen, his blood pooling at his feet, and Tee remained standing.

Rifle-armed guards escorted the duo of the field. As they exited, the Inquisitor was there. He ordered the guards to escort Rugen to the medics. "After all, we do not want him to die before his time."

One of the guards was assigned escort duty. Once they got out of earshot of the Inquisitor, the guard whispered, "Have courage. Help is on the way."

Stay tuned for part 2 of the Arena of Xarxes.