That smell. It’s pungently putrid — but familiar. It reminds me of something — something from my youth? — Yes, that’s it — from my youth. Memories instantly flood my mind of the Meatgardens and the years I spent training there in the Little Fucker League. Especially of this one match with a tentacled fellow — its name escapes me — who wrapped me so tight I couldn’t……WAIT. I CAN’T MOVE. Where…where am I? — Sounds of laughter and moans all around — my vision blurred as my eyes start to roll back into my head — I look and I can see I am strapped to a bed — I glance at my right shoulder and see meat dangling off the white bone of what remains of my right arm — A loud burst of laughter and more yelling from around the room. My memory is coming back to me now. I…I had won.
The room is darkened with fluorescent lights flickering every so often. Water drips through tiny spots of rust in the ceiling — one of those spots happen to be hitting my left knee — infuriatingly irritating — drip….drip…drip…– In the middle of the room, hanging from the ceiling is what looks like a miniature jumbo-tron — four televisions, one on each side. It is playing what every television plays in the Nexus — Blood.Stream — but we just call it BS for short. BS airs nothing but live or recorded Barge Fights sparing the viewer none of the graphical gore and prides itself in sacrificing media reporters for the very best of action. — And what is playing on BS right now is not just any Barge Fight — it is MY Barge Fight!
I watch myself on the television as I am fighting a giant Helot and we are lunging and dodging — I grimace as I know this part — I know what comes next. — drip — A foreign telepathic command combined with my desire to please the crowd inspire me to make a sacrifice. I watch on the screen as I skillfully lunge my right arm out far, just grazing its left uppermost appendage. I purposefully stay outstretched just a little too long — knowing it won’t be able to resist the temptation of an easy strike — it uses its lower right appendage to slice my right arm off — in doing so, leaving its midsection — cough — its sexual organ — open for a fraction of a second. — I quickly uppercut with my left arm right into its meaty flesh driving my blade through its testicles directly up through its torso almost three feet deep — impaling it like some over sized Helot corndog. The giant Helot’s scream was only overshadowed by the roars from the stands as the massive barge began to rumble from the decibels. Last thing I remember is feeling completely fulfilled from the approval of the crowd just before its enormous body goes limp and comes slamming down on top of me rendering me unconscious. — The room I am now in explodes in yells of victory as the other Helots — all in differing states of disrepair — scream in blood lust and cheer at the creativity of the kill. — drip…Drip…DRIP!
Full of adrenaline from watching the kill and enraged at the incessant dripping — I jerk my body back and forth and the bed starts to slide across the floor with each movement. I manage to slide it just far enough to escape the dripping when I see horrid figures out of the corner of my eyes — figures I am all too familiar with. All the sudden my brain is filled with thoughts — thoughts that aren’t mine — commands that I must obey. “Rest. Relax. All is calm. You feel nothing.” — Instantly, I am in some sort of trance as I watch these beings approach me carrying what looks to be an arm. But this is no ordinary replacement arm, no– this arm is almost twice as muscular as mine and is plated with spikes and protruding daggers out of the knuckles. — Oh yes! I am getting an upgrade!
Here is a dramatic reading of the story: