Monday 18 April 2011

Necromunda Underhive: Pit Fight

by Jonathan Green

Welcome, fight fans, to the twenty-seventh All-Comers Fight Fest, here at the To-The-Death Arena. Boy, have we got a treat in store for you tonight? The pit fight to end all pit fights. We’ve got Piledriver. We’ve got Ramrod Rameses. We’ve got the Head-Harvester. We’ve got Ghyarotha, the Ratskin Savage. We’ve got monstrous mutant Milliasaurs, hungry Scalies and the biggest rat-beast you’ve seen this side of the Effluous. Who will leave as our Lord of the Spire and who will leave in a body bag? It’s all here, fight fans! At the twenty-seventh All-Comers Fight Fest!

Nastrol Skedge opened his eyes and looked around him. Nothing had changed. It was the same nightmare situation he had awoken to after those slime-sucking snakes of Delaques had turned betrayer on the Ironfists. Unbelievably, his Goliath gang were being beaten by those snivelling dogs of Vito Scald’s when the Network had turned up, emerging like mirror-eyed ghosts seemingly from nowhere.

At first Sisken and his Delaques had leant their firepower to help the Ironfists bring down Scald’s Hotheads but as soon as that threat had been eliminated, they turned on the Goliaths. Skedge himself had been buried under a collapsing bulkhead and was taken alive, only to be sold to the notorious Guilder Phelonius Carbonyne to become one of his pit fighting slaves, fodder for the endless bouts of his bloodthirsty entertainments.

Skedge’s head ached like someone had rammed an electrode into his brain, as indeed they had: several electrodes, in fact.

‘Stop squirming,’ the techno grumbled. ‘If you want me to get this saw unclogged and working again before the next round you’d better sit still!’

Skedge looked up into the man’s eyes, or rather eye – the other having been replaced by a red bionic implant – and scowled. The techno was bald and wiry, and reminded Skedge of the traitorous Delaques. The Goliath’s shoulder and back ached from where the monstrous buzz-saw arm had been grafted onto his body and bolted to his spinal column, his left arm having already been brutally removed. The flesh around his newly-implanted ownership studs was still red-raw too.

‘Are you done over there yet, Lazlo?’ asked one of the other pit slaves sitting waiting inside the plasteel-walled bunker. He had a grease-black topknot of hair, a Guild skull tattoo on his left shoulder and a huge hydraulic claw in place of his right arm.

‘I will be if this muscle-head stops twitching worse than a Ratskin overdosing on Spook,’ the techno complained.

‘Don’t talk about our potential associate like that, Lazlo,’ the claw-armed pit slave chided, a broad grin on his face.

‘By the black Abyss, what are you talking about?’ Skedge growled, speaking for the first time since he had entered the bunker after eviscerating half a dozen scavvy mutants in the last round. ‘We’re slated to fight in the next round!’

‘We’re breaking out of here,’ the pit slave said. ‘Let me introduce myself. The name’s Scuzman Veck. I and my friends here,’ he took in the other cyborgs in the sweaty gloom of the bunker with a sweep of his claw, ‘have had enough of living life at stinking Phelonius Carbonyne’s pleasure. So, after the third round…’

This is it, fight fans, the one you’ve all been waiting for. Scuzman Veck’s Meat Grinders against the Executioner and the Beast of Broken Spar, Ghyarotha. You won’t see the like of this grudge-match again in a long time. Place your bets and remember, when the klaxon goes the blood flows!

The roar of the ground was deafening. Underhivers packed the stands of the arena, all eager to see the pit slaves slaughter each other in new and messily interesting ways. Scuzman Veck and his crew were lined up on the other side of the rust-stained ash floor of the fighting pit with Skedge and the drugged-up Ratskin brute they were calling the Beast of Broken Spar facing them.

Through narrowed eyes, Skedge could see the obese warty bulk of Phelonius Carbonyne squatting like a fat, albino toad on his servitor-carried palanquin within his own private arena box. Diesel engines roared and oily black smoke belched into the air as the pit slaves fired up their tool-weapons. The crowd roared even louder, in expectation of the bloodshed to come. If the plan was to work they had to make this look convincing…

Don’t panic, fight fans! Don’t panic! Everything is under control! Please remain calm and return to your seats. Everything is under con-… fzzz… krzzz… You can’t come in here! Get out! Hey, watch that power ca-… sprzzzz…skzzz… Get out, everybody! For skav’s sake, didn’t you hear me? Run while you still can!

Underhivers scattered before him as he powered towards them, sweeping the whirling blur of his buzz saw before him. Exhilaration running through him, Nastrol Skedge came to halt outside the arena gates and looked around him. They had done it. Skav, but they had done it! Well, at least he had done it. He could hear Scuzman Veck still cursing, trapped by the press of Guilder guards in the arena behind him. But Nastrol Skedge was free!

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