Chapter 5:

Ch. 5: Trouble is brewing

Neo Discadia: Rise of the Sewer Rats

A dark room. An assortment of monitors and a strange man in a suit drinking a bourbon on a black glass.

“It seems you've finally made your appearance known. Long time no see… number one…”

His monitor zoomed in on a shot of Neo from the motorcycle derby. He got up to start making phone calls and making moves to secure something lost.

Meanwhile, Neo and his friends stand in a colosseum filled with people cheering for them. confetti is being thrown music is being played. They felt like they were, quite literally, on top of the world.

“That was amazing!” the announcer's voice screamed over the microphone “I don't think anyone here saw this coming, the pint-sized runts of the litter beating out all the competition to stand atop their bodies to claim their victory. What do you have to say to that folks???”

and the crowd screamed a mix of elation and frustration. For bets and gambling were the bread and butter of the sports entertainment of Neo Discadia. Official bets mediated by the colosseum staff to make sure debts were paid. And an underdog taking the crown is always gonna be an upset.

The announcer lowered themselves onto the stage on an elevated platform that looked like it belonged on a construction site. It all played into the mad max aesthetic of the death games. The announcer hopped out and walked towards them.

“why is he coming over here?” Erika said

“I don't know but just smile and wave and I’m sure everything will be fine” Johnny said

the announcer grabbed Erika and Johnny's hands and raised them up to the sky “give it up for the sewer rats!!!!”

Erika looked and saw Neo standing awkwardly to the side and quickly grabbed his hand and raised it up to the sky as well “you’re just as much a part of this, don't be modest”

“that's… alright.” Neo said

the crowd let out a big cheer as they started chanting. “Sewer rats! Sewer rats! Sewer rats!”

“sewer… rats?” Neo said now back in their green room

“oh yeah, in the entry form there was a question of whether or not we were a team and what our name was”

“and sewer rats was the best you could come up with?” Neo said

“I like it. it’s fitting.” Erika said

Neo looked at Erika and saw the look in her eye.

“I mean, it was our lowest point. Our rock bottom. And now look at us. I mean, who would have thought, right?”

“uhhhh I did. It was my idea.” Johnny said

“Yeah but even you didn't think we’d actually win.” Erika said

“I was pretty sure we could” Johnny said

“yeah pretty sure and certain are two different things” Neo said

“you- you’re one to talk! You didn't believe in us at all!” Johnny said

“that's not true. I was nervous yeah. and it got to me a couple of times and Erika said what she said and it calmed me down. But that wasn't why I didn't want us to do it. I was nervous about them finding out.”

“Who?” Wendy asked

“oh, sweetie just some baddies we had to deal with in the past.” Erika said

“they're why we lived in the sewers for so long.” Neo said

“Are they scary?” she asked

“not at all” Johnny said “they fed us, clothed us, kept us clean and off the streets for years”

“then why are you avoiding them?” she asked

“Johnny doesn't remember much, he was real young when we got out. but they did experiments on us. they… did things to us. I don't know why there were so many of us… but thanks to-” but before he could finish, the door to their greenroom slammed open. they all turned around in shock at the abrupt and surprising entry of none other than the chief manager of the entire colosseums conglomerate. Chief executive manager Marcus Aurelius.

“you kids are something else. You know that?” he said

“uh thanks… sir… um… who are you” Johnny said

Neo looked at Johnny and couldn't believe he had to ask, did he know anything about the games before he signed up? Marcus let out a hearty laugh “oh, that was a good one. in short, I run this joint. And you kids just made me a lot of money. And for that, I wanted to thank you personally”