“Ladies and gentlemen!!” shouted the red hologram of the announcer as he stood in the center of the war arena. Around him seated high within an encircling amphitheater cheered a crowd of finely dressed men and women in silk tuxedos and dresses, sipping fine wine and smoking expensive cigars, “without further ado I present to you the main event!!”
There was a heckling applause mixed with the muffled pattering of expensive white silk gloves as the lights in the arena darkened to showcase two opposing corners of the stage. Loose wires and pillaged plasma screen holographic display monitors hung from the ceiling and were clearly visible within the confines of the underground gladiatorial arena as a 3 meter tall piloted mechanical suit of armor ascended a nearby ramp. This manned war armor was chromed and had a Number Nine stenciled upon its right shoulder. Ambient green neon lights glowed from indents upon its surface plates as it shouldered a kite shield and raised a longsword in salute to the crowd.
Men and women cheered as a second mechanical war armor ascended an opposing ramp. This one was dark red with glowing purple indents in its armor. Unlike the white suited warrior which was armed with a kite shield and sword, the red towering juggernaut carried a trident and capture net woven from high density Tetradine Omni-steel, one of the hardest materials known to man. Once upon the stage, the pilot of the red war armor mirrored the chromed war armor by raising its trident in salute to the crowd.
“Representing Europa Tau Van Seti is Lillian Shroud, two year gladiatorial champion of the Seti System,” the lights focused in on the chromed mech as a series of blue holographic displays flickered across the arena showcasing dozens of brutal kills and the face of the female pilot, a young raven haired woman with a blue dot on her forehead.
“And… representing Val Styx Imperia is Ophelia Faust, three year gladiatorial champion of the Imperia System,” in repetition the lights focused in on the dark red mech as the blue holographic displays returned showcasing the brutal kills of a young female pilot with short red hair and a dark red dot on her forehead.
“Today these two lionesses will fight for your pleasure. The winner will receive her freedom, and the loser will be vanquished. What say you, young pilots?”
In synchronized motion both the trident and sword were raised, “We who are about to die salute you!!” and so the crowd cheered as the eyes of the Tau Seti Guildmaster gleamed down upon the combat arena from his personal skybox.
Feet drummed in the stands with excitement as a loud blast horn signaling the start of the fight to the death. The two war mechs circled one another as nobles dressed in their finery started placing bets in the stands.
“Five million credits on Shroud!!”
“Three million credits on Faust!!”
The two female pilots circled in closer and closer, red swung first, the mesh net skirting over the kite shield of white. Then came a trident blow, reflected. White circled in closer, and red pulled back swinging the mesh net again. This time, the mesh net was caught by white. Red tried to pull away faster and harder, but white dashed forward, the kite shield hammered into reds breast plate.
“Fight fight fight!!” yelled the crowd. Red staggered to its feet, trident held by both robotic hands. The mech charged forward, white reflected the hammer blow from the trident with a glancing gash of torn paint from the surface of the kite shield.
With a single fluid motion, white swung the longsword in an arc that severed the tridents shaft mid pole. The weapon tore in two and red fumbled backwards as another shield bash pummeled into the mechs breast plate denting it inward.
Red was now on its back, white’s longsword gashed in an arc across the chest, but the pilot turned over onto her back to avoid the killing blow. The crowd cheered as white discarded its weapons, the pilot getting in close to red, for a hand to hand kill.
Whites pilot placed her armored boot onto reds back and grabbed the other pilots left robotic leg. She pulled with both arms, twisting, sparks erupted from the robotic limps broken joints as the enemy pilot released a long blood chilled scream through her cockpit com. In a spray of black hydraulic fluid and red blood, the robotic limp tore free in a hail of yellow sparks. Blood continued to spray from the delimbed mech and mech pilots shared joint as the wounded gladiator continued to scream in agony. White, having achieved victory, picked her red armored opponents suit up by the neck, and placed it upon her shoulders like a sack of flower.
“What say you!?” yelled the announcer.
The crowd roared in mockery of the wounded pilot as a holographic hand appeared over the arena. This was a direct projection from Guildmaster Tau Seti’s skybox. This hand formed a thumps up gesture before turning it down sharply much to the crowd’s approval.
White gripped the red mech held above its head and started to twist and warp the torso of the wounded mechanical armor. The armor and fleshy pilot within was being torn in two opposite directions. The yelling of the crowd become more infectious as the suits abdomen started to shower sparks as armored plates tore at pressure points. The enemy pilot started to scream as the joints started to separate apart in her armored abdomen.
Then the suit tore in two, a shower of blood, oil, and sparks rained down on the white mech as the two parts of the red armored mech went into separate corners of the arena. Loose intestine tangled with mangled wires as the female pilot of the red mech died in agony, severed at her abdomen, such was the fate of the vanquished.
“Ladies and gentlemen!! We have a winner!!”
White raised its armored fist in celebratory glory, for this was the day that its pilot, Lillian Shroud, earned her freedom from a life of slavery and killing for the pleasure of rich nobles. This was also the day she discovered that the final battle for her freedom had required the sacrifice of her one and only sister.
Sparks rain and armor yields to reigning blows,
Though born from separate mothers,
A Gladiators Death is a Gladiators Death.