Chapter 1:

Underground Brawl

Cyber Heist 2099

The night was young and the shops looked more like shacks, held up by a cluster of different metals melded together by one screw or duct tape, ready to collapse at a moment's notice. For every five or so shops, there was a tenant building of thirty feet in height standing tall and thin, windows cracked or broken, stones that were dilapidated with wear and discolor. In between two shops there was a staircase that would lead underground. The people that were venturing underground checked their surroundings periodically to see if anyone was following them, they tried to remain clandestine with their movements. Down the staircase they went, complete in darkness, like an endless abyss, seamlessly never ending.

As each person reached down the end of the staircase, they were met with a huge underground space with machine kiosks, and behind those kiosks were multiple brooding dark oval paths that would lead to the entry gates. The attendants were some of the grimiest and dirtiest thugs that could have assembled. The clothes on their backs were either tattered with holes or rags that were stitched together, and stenches that reeked from multiple feet away. Among the people most members were missing body parts whether it would be teeth, eyes, arms, and legs or some form of combination. Those who were fortunate not to be missing limbs had rusty prosthetics that were well beyond their use of utility. Each person lined up to the kiosks, feeding them their wrinkled bills, rusty coins, or had their barcode scanned on their screen cracked phones, tapped on the screen for who will be the winner of today's match. Once they paid the machine, the force field for the pathway dissipated, allowing each person to get further underground.

Once the forcefield went down, a metal platform appeared, the fan stepped onto the platform, and descended downwards. The descent further was fairly quick, the platform levitated in mid-air not connected to anything, as you go down you can see many other platforms stopping at various floor levels according to your ticket purchase. After getting off the platform, each member walked to their specific gateway entrance, waiting to enter into the arena. Before each member could enter the arena they were met by two identical looking guards. Standing at around six feet in height, they were covered in armor from head to toe as if they were getting ready to defuse a bomb. Their helmets in the shape of kabuto, gas masks covered their faces with the lens of the goggles glowing lime green, where two nozzles were pointed out at an angle. Each guard was equipped with a G-36 assault rifle in both hands, attached to their holster was a pistol and baton as their sidearms, and other various grenades equipped around their hips. That armor and those gastly green eyes staring back at you with no reaction made sure that insubordination will not be tolerated.

The guards scanned each member, the goggles gave the guards a rotating three dimensional holographic outline image of the person in green, various text boxes calculating their threat level, along with checking for other weapons that may be hiding under their clothes.

While waiting in the back of the line to be scanned, a short old man with a hunch, was muttering to himself constantly. Everything he looked at gave him the jitters, suddenly out from under his sweatshirt he pulls out a rusty old jagged dagger and stabs the man who was in front of him in the back. The dagger sank into the victim coldly ripping through his skin like tissue. The victim wailed in agony, immediately alerting the guards.

One of the guards pushed two fingers to his ear and said "Alert! Alert! Hostile in the area, close gate B-9," and instantaneously the gate slammed shut with a metal barricade. Once the psycho saw the barricade close, he pulled out his dagger from the victim and ran away toward the platform areas. The crowd cleared out of the way wanting no part of his violence. And the guards sprinted out of their posts, still carrying their assault rifles in both their hands, to go searching for him. He started to look for platforms that would help him escape, that was until he saw a blonde woman walking out from her platform in the distance.

Looking upwards he saw her out from a higher position, instantly recognizing Trina and at the top of his lungs “TRINA! THIS IS REVENGE FOR WHAT YOU DID TO MY FRIEND ED LAST WEEK.” Trina paid no attention to the man and was walking out from her platform to enter the contestant door. The man started running and with his momentum planted his left leg down and hurled his dagger from his right hand with all his might. The dagger honed in like a missile never losing its velocity. Trina never even peeked at the dagger coming her way. As the dagger inched closer to Trina, it was already too late, Trina had already entered the contestant room and the dagger came to a halt and crashed into the wall.

Once Trina entered the contestant area, the only thought she had for the psycho was pathetic.

The guards finally caught up with the victim. One of the guards turned off the safety of their rifle and pressed their eye towards the scope. With all the movement from the bystanders the guard saw a clean opportunity with the target in his crosshairs and fired a single shot.

The bullet sprang out of the chamber making a loud pop, the case rattled as it hit the floor, and the shell whooshed, traveling through the air missing innocent people by mere inches, until it reached its destination right in the middle of the lunatic's forehead. His skull moved back, a splatter of blood came out, and he laid there on the ground lifeless, in cold blood. One of the guards communicated "hostile threat neutralized, seeking immediate medical help for the wounded over here." Two robots rushed one wearing a nursing outfit, the other wearing a surgical gown, their clanks echoed when they arrived on scene. Their gears whirred and stirred as they rushed to the place where the victim was located so they could attempt to save his life. The robots applied some bandages on the victim for initial first aid, then proceeded to place him on a stretcher carefully to avoid reopening the wound again.

The killer's body layed there in cold blood, and once the situation calmed down the bystanders formed a single ordered line again, stepped over the dead body, and the puddle of blood that was formed. The guards assumed their original position, the steel corridor opened up again, and not one soul spoke about the events that had just transpired.The crowd members did not care about the arduous protocols or the unfortunate events, the people attending already had enough problems defeated by society in their own lives, they wanted no part in someone else's problem. As long as they get a ticket for the fight, make a bet on the outcome, and find a nice view to watch the action, they are content with their lives. This is one event where people could escape for even just a moment.

The walls encapsulating the open arena were coated in a bold sapphire blue, spotlights scattered throughout the stadium, hovering TV monitors in all directions, metallic benches sparsely placed for people in nosebleed sections. While people closer to the action had their own chairs. With so many people congregating in bunches many people decided to stand up to get a better view of the action. The roars from the crowd made it arduous to even hear someone beyond who was next to you. There were two run way entrances our contestants would walk out from, leading out from the entrances was a staircase leading to an elevated open platform, for spectators to cast their undivided attention. A string of cables connected to the ceiling where fluorescent lights connected to form a cube were dangling down at the center of the stadium.

The arena was twenty to forty feet wide around all dimensions, concrete ground, with square tiles, separated by the tiny lines of dried cement, leaving a vast amount of room for the fighters to maneuver in. Both contestants walked outside their runway. Trina's steps were long quiet strides of confidence, each tap on the ground gave her the self assurance she needed to fight. Drack's stomps were rumbling, trying to create tremors each time he planted his foot on the ground. Each person took to their side of the arena floor. Metal squares started rising from the metal railings, in all directions from the edges, to form a cage with an open top. The cage squares started to connect and had a cross hatch design with holes no more than an inch wide, so no one could slip through the cage and escape.

Then the crowd boasted a thunderous boo in the arena as they gazed upon Trina. Her gentle facial features and a toned physique all combined to make a stunning yet fierce competitor. This juxtaposed with almost every audience member in the arena, giving even more reason for her audience members to see her doll face scratched up. Her clothes matched the apparel of the audience. An all black sweatsuit, fitting clothes for someone looking to get into a bar scrum. Across from her on the other side of the stadium, her opponent was Drack who could be said to be the same, his body looked like something out of a bodybuilding competition. His oversized muscles had veins on the verge of popping out of his skin, giving Drack the confidence for violence. Drack’s biker clothes matched Trina’s Trina’s attire, if she was looking to be in a bar scrum, Drack would be more than welcome to give it to her. As both combatants entered the cage Trina looked at her opponent dead in the eyes and gave the devilish smirk of arrogance alluring Drack that victory was for sure hers. This infuriated Drack to where the veins in his forehead started to bulge outward from his temples.

As both combatants walked up their side of the stairs, stood to their side of the cage, the announcer descended down from the ceiling holding onto a single silver cable with one hand, a microphone with the other, and a miniature metallic circular platform to support his feet.His over the top voice immersed the audience, letting them get invested in the drama and what will be at stake between Drack and Trina. He glanced for a moment at Drack and pondered poor guy doesn't know what's going to hit him. When the announcer reached the cage's floor he combed back his hair one last time. He started to announce Drack's introduction, "In this corner we have our newest contestant, he'll rip your guts out, beat you in a bloody pulp, and stomp on your grave. Ladies and gentlemen give it up for DRAAAAAACCCCCCK!!!!!." Flames, smoke, and fireworks shot out from the air, the fans go wild as Drack gives his essential bodybuilding poses. The announcer reads Trina's introduction in monotone fashion "and in this corner we have our current champion trina," by the end of his sentence he sounded like a punny rat. Her presentation was nothing at all; she was only invited by boo's from the crowd. She crossed her arms, turned her head to the side, frowned, pouted her face, and gave an aggressive scoff. Jackass, she thought to herself.

The announcer quickly descended up again, once he fully ascended towards the arena's ceiling, a hole in the ceiling opened and the announcer disappeared. He reappeared in another area and walked down the hall to take an elevator. He pushed the button on the elevator labeled "C". The elevator descended down, deeper than before. As the elevator was moving he leaned in between the corners of the elevator, put his hands in his pockets, tilted his head down, and let out a sigh. This was one of the times he could find solace in his job. He looked at the miniature camera bubble that was recording him and thought this, it just doesn't get any easier does it. Once the elevator doors opened he appeared into the control room.

The room was poorly lit with only a few spotlight lamps, from the corners of the room, which pointed towards the lone chair in the area. The only other light source were the dozens of other monitors that were mounted on the wall, filming everyone's movement, at numerous different angles and locations throughout the building. Right under those monitors was the control system, a keyboard with an abundance of grey chrome knobs, buttons, switches, and levers. This was all to control the cameras, lighting, and audio for the entire operation. The announcer sat down on his chair, set his microphone on the table, and flipped a switch, and out from the ceiling four spherical drones with a indented camera lens for an eye, no bigger than the size of an adult first appeared, with hemispherical propeller fans to keep themselves afloat.

The bots had a claw extension, unfolding out from the bottom of their body and grabbed the final piece for the top of the cage. Each bot grabbed a corner of the cage piece and they flew downwards in unison, carefully aligning themselves to make the for connection, and snapping the final piece where the springs locked in with holes of the cage. The cage was completely enclosed. He put on his headset, turned up the knob for volume and said to all the guards stationed at various entrance points "don't let anyone interfere with the match, so help God me I'll have your ass sent back to the Gillian." He whispered to himself "let's get this show on the road."

The message rang through their gas masks and they all replied in unison with a stern " YES SIR!!"

The announcer appeared on the TV monitors his voice came through an intercom so everyone could hear him. In one final breath he yelled "LEEEEEETT THEEEEEEEEEE BRAAAAAWWWWLLLLLL BEGIN!!"

As soon as those words were heard, Drax was eager to strike first blood. He ran in like a behemoth stomping his black leather boots to the ground screaming, "I'm going to wipe that smile off you bitch!!."

As Drack closed the distance taking the aggressive first strike, he cocked back his right arm and lunged with a jab in full extension, only to whiff missing nothing but air. Trina took a simple side step to the right, still keeping that devilish smile intact. Drax instinctively lowered his body and tried to go in for a sweeping kick, only to find Trina somersaulting backwards. This has only angered Drack further and started to unleash a barrage of hooks and kicks. Trina clamped her arms together then lifted them up and shielded her face with her arms, while tightly squeezing her elbows into her ribs, trying to make sure none of her vital organs got exposed. Drack's movements made Trina a little weary, what he lacked in precision was made up for in power and speed.

Drack was eager to land a blow, even just the thought of hurting his opponent gave Drack glee. Trina bobbed and weaved in all directions, making sure that none of Drack's punches were connecting, while keeping her guard up. I just have to hang in their a little longer, then I can end this thing, thought Trina. Suddenly Drack landed one of punches on Trina's forearms. The rapid impact from his fist shocked Trina, all her muscles vibrated violently. Her guard was finally broken.

Drack took advantage of the moment, lifting his leg and blasting the sole of his foot right into Trina's stomach. "This is your champion?!! what a pathetic excuse for a fighter," yelled Drack in his low gargled voice. Trina's stomach contracted inwards having the wind knocked out of her. She coughed up a small hunk of blood. Her body went flying. Her back hit the cage first, causing the cage to ring emphatically, followed by her head getting whiplash, sending her the pain of needles to her head and stomach areas. Trina's vociferous grunts of pain only pleasured Drack, feeding his ego as the crowd continued to champion him and his actions.

As the match waged on. The crowd went on their phones for a brief glance to check on their phones to see what the betting odds were for Trina and Drack. Initially the people betting had their money on Trina as the favorite since she was the incumbent. The betting meter at the start favored Trina. However, as Drack started to land hits on her people started to place their bets on Drack and the meter slightly moved towards Drack but not by much.

Drack rushed in again to strike the final blow. He jumped up ten feet in the air with his arm locked back thinking how he would be gowned in glory from winning tonight. Trina could see Drack's shadow getting larger as he descended from what would seem like the heavens. When Drack was close to landing he elongated for the punch and struck the ground, igniting a booming rumble. The punch formed a miniature dust cloud. The audience let out a big gasp in silence waiting to see past the dust cloud.

Drack dented the ground, leaving a small crater with his fist, where some of the concrete residue was ingrained on his fist. Trina had rolled out of the way in the nick of time, right before Drack landed. For an instant, her heart rate spiked, her eyes widened, and gasped for air, knowing she had just escaped death. A little too close for comfort, she realized.

Ok now it's my turn, thought Trina. Taking advantage of the smoke, Trina gathered her composure, tumbled out of the dust cloud. She swiftly got up and torqued her abs, hips, and legs to generate enough rotation for a ferocious roundhouse kick, at Drack's knee. Distracted by the split second where he thought he won, there was no time for Drack to react, as soon as the kick made contact Drack's kneecap shattered like glass, and completely dislocated. His leg completely gave out from under him, leading him to be off balance, and fall forward. As Drack was falling down, Trina wrapped both her hands behind Drack's head, interlocked her fingers, pulled her arms down, and leveraged his face into her knee. Drack recoiled backwards, nose broken, teeth were flying out from his mouth, vision blurred, and it took every ounce of his strength to even maintain balance.

Trina returned the favor and front kicked Drack right into the gut. Drack hurled a sea of red and crashed to the floor. Trina finished the job and kneeled over him and punched his face five more times and flattened his face to a smooth surface. Drack's eyes were a deep purple and completely shut; he was completely numb to the pain at this point, only feeling some pressure on his face being mashed in repeatedly. All he could sense in his mind was Trina, with her complete white eyes and the fiendish energy that she oozed, haunted his mind, leaving him to dread the decision to even step in the ring. The white bandages that Trina once wore were now stained in red. She started to walk away leaving Drack to grasp his own mortality. "Arrogant little shit," whispered Trina under her breath, and left with essentially his corpse on the ground. 

Joe Gold