Ryn regretted everything.
He regretted the murdering of an entire family he had done at the age of twenty-three,
and he regretted putting up such a damn hard fight when the cops came for him that he killed one
and crippled another. He regretted his behavior in jail, and how it had gotten him a place in the Penal
Legionnaire forces that had a chance to win their freedom in this crazy show, or at least a chance
for an honorable death with all their crimes against society repaid.
But most of all, he regretted not starting to run sooner.
He was breathing so heavily that his gasmask made wheezing and sucking-sounds, and he
ran so hard he could taste the blood in his mouth like it was really there.
But then again, maybe it was. Maybe the monster they had encountered had wounded him more grievously
than he thought, and he was just too pumped up to feel it.
Of all the stupid things he had ever done, watching the attempted rape of a Gladiator was by far the worst,
where his life expectancy was concerned.
It was nothing that hadnt happened before, he remembered growing up watching this show he was now an unwiilling part of.
Small teams of superconditioned fighters, sent in to face a faceless, merciless horde of grey and steel.
More often than not, they met a bloody, if hard fought, end at the hands of the hordes. And at the end, any survivors were rounded up
in a veteran team to fight the hardest round of them all, the season finale.
Ryn's unit, like all the other Greymasks, as the penal legions were called, consisted entirely of hardcore criminals. Rapists, pedophiles, mass murderers,
the worst of them all. And there were somehow NEVER a short of those these days.
He knew they deserved death, and thats exactly why they were sent here to begin with.
An arena the size of a country, a titanic dome with its entirely own biosphere, camera's everywhere, and billions of viewers keeping an eye on every
drop of sweat, blood and tear that fell to the ground.
The concept was sick. Conceited, perverse even.
But by the gods, it was popular.
He heard a high pitch whistle on the wind behind him, an eerie whisper promising swift, painful and messy death.
He knew it came from the monster that was after him, a Gladiator called Crimson.
Having seen her on TV in jail, she had always been his favorite. She showed such grace, such enticing
elegance when she danced between prey, that he had felt privilegied just to see her on a screen.
It was almost pornographic, and he knew he was not the only one having dreamt of her at night,
her supernatural body writhing and heaving with his in throes of extacy.
It was universal that any gladiator that was too damaged for further service, but not dead, and the occasional survivors of a season finale, were auctioned off to the highest bidder.
To own a Gladiator was the ultimate symbol of prestige and power, and the amount of money paid for these rarest of
servants were nothing short of exorbitant.
The ex-Gladiator would be relieved from duty, reprogrammed to serve as bodyguards, assassins, insatiable lovers... or all three at once.
And so it was that Ryn's unit had come across her, knocked out from an airstrike by a Greymask helicopter.
She was laying there, wind caressing her hair tenderly, every inch of her body peaceful and inviting...
They thought she was dead, they could see a huge cracked dent in the wall where the blast had slammed her against it, and a little smear of blood
from the wall to her head. By all rights, her insides should be liquified, her cranium broken and her brain turned to paste.
But they were all too infatuated to remember she was a Gladiator. She was not human.
If anything, she was a goddess.
Gladiators were made over a process of several years, artificially grown in tubes so they could be tweaked and modified to the
peak of prowess. It was a hit or miss thing, with about half of them turning into sinewy, overgrown hulks of meat and muscle,
hideous spawn that were still superhuman in many regards. Some developed psychic abilities somehow, but most were just mountains of
strength and brawn. These were inducted into the Greymasks, their lumpy, mismatched bodies clad in a grey longcoat just like Ryn's, just way bigger.
They were brainwashed into serving loyally, and while they invariably met a gruesome end, they had been a good weapon to use against their perfect brothers and sisters...
However, it was not these terrible Malformed that the crowds wanted to see. They wanted the Gladiators.
Each one of them was perfection embodied, genetically and physically modified to excel at one specialized combat role.
Outside, most resembled normal humans, polished to a photomodel look and tailored to outclass trophywives and poolboys alike.
However, some were different, a fusion of man and beast, harnessing the strengths of both while eliminating the worst of the weaknesses.
These were by far the hardest and most expensive to make, but they tended to be the hardiest. The human ones were excellent tacticians and such,
but the Crossbred had a long range of physical edges over their Sapien counterparts.
All gladoators however, had their skeletons reinforced, their organs interweaved with strings of bulletproof material so they were nigh unrupturable.
Bodies toned to athletic strength, muscles like whipcord ensuring them incredible strength and stamina despite their elegant frames.
Senses so sharp they could spot a tiny housefly at fifty yards, and their bodies so flexible they could handle the most base of weapons with beautiful grace.
And that was before the tank opened and they spilled out, coughing and hacking their first breath of air.
They were specifically designed to kill, maim and perform extreme feats of physical strain. But most of all, they were made to
do all these things as spectacularly as possible, to please an audience they didn't know existed.
And the one on his trail now, had been Ryn's favorite.
Ryn rounded a corner, his boots slipping in the fine ruin-dust of the grey streets.
He fell onto his side and tumbled, the assault rifle he carried clattering across the pavement and stopping only once under a burning car.
"Fucking great.." he grumbled to himself, and scrambled on hands and knees to try reaching for his rifle.
He was so close. So close he could touch the hilt with his fingertips! Just an inch or two more...
But before he could reach, the eerie whistle echoed through the streets, sending a cold shiver down his back.
He looked down the street, and the one across from that, but saw nothing.
Then, in his peripheral vision, she came into view. Running across the rooftops, bounding from one grey bombed-out building to another, bounding across
rooftops and through blasted windowframes in long leaps.
He saw her mid-flight, and even from a houndred yards he could feel her deadly eyes bore into him.
It was like a searchlight lit him up, he could see her brilliant eyes pin him down, a sad lump of meat in a grey coat, puffing into a faceless gasmask.
The split second they saw eachother felt like it lasted forever, but at the same time, she slipped out of view far too soon.
Ryn gave up on his rifle, scurried to his legs and started running again.
Gun be damned, he had a better chance if he ran than if he met her, solo combat, with a rifle.
The way she had torn apart his squad was way too clear in mind for him to believe anything else...
Just a few minutes ago, they were all alive. Living, breathing scum of the world, the worst that mother earth had brought up,
rounded together in a squad led by the single most despicable and dangerous of them all. Ryn didn't know what the sergeant had done,
but to be a leader amongst madmen and psychopaths, it had to be pretty twisted!
When Gabe, Ryn's only remaining friend in the unit, had spotted the fallen gladiator, the sergeant had elbowed his way through the ten men
gathering around her.
Even from behind the emotionless grey of the facemask, Ryn knew he was grinning from ear to ear.
The sergeant had had the joy of deflowering a gladiator before, that one as dead as they thought Crimson to have been.
"You don't know sex until you have one of those things!" he had bragged, voice full of rasping mucus.
"I've had my fair share of women over the years, but not even the wildest one of them even come close to a Gladiator...
A DEAD one at that!"
Ryn had almost envied him, even if he was a necrophiliac madman. To get the honor...
He had felt his mouth run dry and tasted the bile, as the sergeant intended to take Crimson's innocence as well.
To take the virginity of a Gladiator had been ranked as one of the utmost luxuries, and noone ever did it more than once,
not even the richest men or women could afford making it a habit. Nor did they have to. An ex-Gladiator was nothing if not eager to please, after all...
And to think this slimeball was about to have his second, when he dropped his dirty brown pants and started slipping his hands up
Crimson's sides, gently tugging the elaborate pants down her hips, inch after inch as he barked at his men to stay on guard...
Dirty, thick fingers brushing through succulent, silky fur...
That's when she woke up, and even if Ryn was struck with fear as her eyes bolted open, those slit black pupillae tightening into
slim lines between a brightly lit emerald iris... His mind was just a tiny bit grateful that she would at least get the bastard sergeant first of them all.
The first thing she had done, was to headbutt the sergeant. The impact between her reinforced skull and his mediocre helmet was so hard, that the headgear cracked and the glass viewpieces in his mask shattered.
It was if in slow motion, the sergeant arching back with the sheer momentum, glass glittering around them, as Crimson grabbed a hold of his collar
and leapt onto him, her other hand back to gather momentum for a lethal strike. Ryn had seen the sergeants eyes light up as he knew life was ending fast,
and only a split second later, a silver monomolecular clawed gauntlet dug into his ribs, and tore out a plate-sized chunk with a wet tearing sound.
Before the sergeant's organs spilled out and hit the ground in a reeking, steaming mess, Crimson had redirected her momentum, running up the sergeants chest and kicking off at his shoulder.
Things resumed to normal speed as the initial shock of her reawakening passed, and Ryn tried to bring his rifle off his shoulder to open fire.
Before he had, clumsily, gotten a grip on the stock of the gun, another man was clutching the remains of a torn out throat, and Gabe's torso came off from the legs, his waist torn to strips
before he could even raise his voice and scream.
Ryn pumped round after round after her, as did all the others, but the vast majority just punched through thin air.
He could see she was bleeding though, from her arm, thigh and a cut on her cheek, as she slipped her free hand to her belt and pulled out a knife.
Before anyone could pull out their close combat weapons, she had plunged it into one mans neck, and hurled it into the chest of another.
Ryn had enjoyed her work tremendously when he saw it on TV.
Up close, it was horrifying. How a monster such as her could even exist, bent the laws of biology. NOTHING should be able to kill five men that fast.
That's when he decided to run instead, to increase his chances. Him and Tarvel.
Tarvel was a dick, he really was, but right now Ryn was just glad he had SOMEONE to run with.
Even if it was the lanky form of the man who'd shot Ryn's predecessor through the back of the skull for giggles.
"Fucking SHIT she's fast!" Ryn had hollered, hoping the other three men would delay her at least a little.
"You dont FUCKING say!" Tarvel had barked back, his usually cool and aloft self completely reduced to frenzied survival instinct.
Tarvel had split off shortly after, heading for the high ground while Ryn preferred to stay low profile.
It had become apparent that Ryn did the right thing later, when he caught Tarvel's incredibly messy demise in the corner of his eye.
Complete with snarling fangs and all, Crimson had caught up to him on the rooftops, leaping from building to building as if she had wings.
She had ran him down, and nothing short of twisted his head 180 degrees backwards with a quick move best described as flamboyant.
She had not waited for Tarvel's last second of life to pass before she slipped her finger through the hoops on his grenade-pins, and kicked his lame body off the building .
Even as she darted out of sight, halfway down the building, Tarvel the Asshole was reduced to elaborate wallpaint.
Ryn however, knew Crimsons ability had taken a hit.
She was bleeding from multiple wounds, probably also internally. As dangerous as she was, she was operating on a
concoction of adrenaline and combat stimulants pumping from mechanical vessels implanted into her spine.
When that ran out, she'd be weakened by blood loss, internal bleeding, possibly also fractures. Nothing she wouldnt survive,
but that was Ryn's only chance. A chance that grew steadily slimmer as the high pitched whistle of the bullethole in the angelic gladiator's ear closed in.
He rounded a corner, and found his way blocked. A building had fallen out and collapsed, blocking his way through the narrow alley.
Seconds later, with his breath heaving, he heard a loud thump from down the street. Sparing a split second, he saw her.
Crimson. Only a stone's throw away from him now, having landed hard on the ground.
Her breath was rasping with blood in her lungs, some of it dripping from her lip, and bright red was splattered all over the left side of her where the armored gauntlet, her signature weapon,
gleamed in the fake, pallid grey sunlight of the Dome.
She rose shakily to her feet, emerald eyes glaring coldly at him as he turned to face her, drawing his pistol.
She took a step towards him, swaying dangerously as she mustered energy for one last ditch effort.
Might as well die like a man, Ryn said to himself and tore his mask off.
He spat on the ground, and could see the determination in the Gladiator's eyes.
As the grey gasmask hit the ground, Crimson crunched gravel underfoot as she kicked off towards him.
In a short moment, everything seemed like it was in slow motion. Ryn hefted his gun, and fired. Crimson spun around, the bullet grazing her arm, leaving a short red cut in her skin.
but as she came around, her hand caressed across the pistol. In the few tenths of a second she touched the gun, she had done enough.
Time resumed, as the magazine clattered to the ground. Rynk was dumbstruck. Not only had she managed to push the magazine release, she had also snatched the shell casing from the air as the gun spat it out, pried the ejector open and lodged
the casing there, jamming the pistol from firing another round until it was cleared.
He had blown his last shot, and was effectively disarmed. he still had his knife, but that was no use to him against her.
He felt a refreshingly cold wind brush his hair, as he stood there looking at Crimson. She was panting and heaving, blood trickling down her arm.
It wouldn't even leave much of a scar, thanks to her regeneration.
"Well, i guess this is it then..." he spoke, mainly to himself. he knew cameras and microphones, hidden everywhere, would record his final words.
The world would see them, or at least the pay-per-view part of the world, and it would make great television.
Crimson put a finger up to his chin. Her gauntlet barely touched the skin. Nevertheless, it caused a drop of blood to trickle down her finger.
For a few seconds they stood there, looking at eachother. His eyes locked to hers, unable to slip away under her emerald gaze. Predator and prey, all the way
to the end.
He was grateful that she gave him the courtesy of muttering some last words, even though she didn't even speak his language, before
she swiped his throat apart.
And as final words go, "I love you" were probably not the worst that had been aired on the live broadcast.
So i've had this laying around a while, figured i would open my Weasyl account with a bit of a bang.
So yeah....here it is.... Bang!
Hope you enjoy the read, i appreciate all feedback and criticism, hopefully I will take a few otherwise dull minutes of your day and make them sortof amusing!