Previous: Prologue

20 Years After Humanity's Defeat

UBW-594244, once the final refuge for humankind, now the capital of the Kartinava race. Where one could come feel safe and ponder their thoughts, now in possession by the enemy. All human territory remaining are facilities called Human Farms, where man is monitored like cattle. Their choices are ultimately meaningless, for they all share the same fate--candidates for the Great Assignment, where their future is chosen by the authorities, may they become possessed by an individual parasitic worm, chosen to assist in human repopulation, or become a means of entertainment.

The Human Farm

Among the individuals who were merrily going about their days, one individual sat among some concrete steps, arms crossed and staring at the leveled floor below. 

"Sardec!" He heard a voice call. "Sardec!"

"What is it, Adon?" He answered.

"The guys and I were going to have a round of Fool's Ball. Would you like to join us?"

Sardec looked away.


"Don't call me that!"

"Well what should I call you? I don't recall the guards giving you any other name."

"I am Julian. Call me that."

Adon was taken aback, a shocked look on his face. "Please, keep it down. You know what will happen if they hear you denying your assigned name."

"I don't care! I hate the name 'Sardec'!"

"Please, listen to reason. I know you've never been enthusiastic about taking orders from the authorities, but what other choice do we have?"

"...There are blind spots in this facility. Where I can think."

"Well, Adon?" A voice beckoned.

"Go on without me, guys!" Adon replied. He let out a sigh. "Are you sure no one has noticed?"

"The more we discuss this, the higher chance one may overhear us and turn us in. All I'm saying is that we always have opportunities to let our ideas out."

"But... Julian", Adon whispered. "Let's say you DID manage to escape. Then what? They have this whole planet under their supervision. And you know of their other worlds. They'd hunt you down."

"Any chance I may get is a chance I'd be willing to take, my friend."

Their conversation was cut short by the sounding intercom. A low, harsh voice spoke. "All man to the outside entrance, now. The guards will escort you."

"Oh no. Sardec, this is it. I wish you a safe future..."

"It's been my pleasure of having you as a friend, Adon."

The Great Assignment

The large crowd of people were forced to the outside of the Human Farm. There they saw a crowd of persons with worms attached to their heads, whom man calls "The Possessed".

Among the guards, one outfitted in a strange white armor with a blue visor, spoke loudly. 

"Citizens, today is the day of the Great Assignment!" Where these fine humans will be chosen to join our society. What do you think of these fine specimens!?"

The Possessed crowd cheered.

"Excellent! Then let us begin with those at the front!"

67 minutes had passed. Every name called upon, and Sardec's heart pumped harder and harder.

"Quellton", the guard captain called. "This one has been confirmed to have fine genetic code! You shall be among the ranks to mate with your females, so we may gain greater humans!"

The women began whispering among each other, indicating disapproval for this decision.

"You shall be silent" the guard shouted.

"HELL YEAH!" Quellton hopped around. "See you in the bedrooms, ladies!" 

"I shall not need to repeat myself! Any further comments from you, and I shall see to it that your assignment be altered! You may take him away."  Quellton was escorted away as he banged his head like a famous musician.

"Moving on, Adon!"  Adon stood straight up, blood pumping. "We have noted your mortor skills. They are very impressive. Your hand-eye coordination has been top-notch, judging by your performances in your Fool's Ball sport. You shall be among our combat ranks. A soldier! With one of our finest worms as your new owner!"

Adon lowered his head, a tear running down his face. "I... I understand..." As the guards took him away, Adon took one last look at Sardec, waving goodbye.

Sardec's face was buried in his palms, feeling great sorrow for his friend. He raised his head, revealing his tear-covered red face as his name was called upon. He stared at the captain's white/blue armor--a true representation of the moment all humans dread.

"You have not done much that has impressed us! Quite frankly, we have found you to be depressing! But you're going to change that! You have potential to be a great fighter!"

Sardec closed his eyes, expecting to hear the word "soldier". He became so distracted by assuming the worst, he was shaken by one of the guards. He shook his head and looked at the captain.

"Excuse this individual, as he clearly seems to have drifted into his own world. Now your world shall be for our citizens' entertainment. A gladiator, you shall be!"

The other humans were shocked. Among them, there were whispers.

"Lucky him, not being a soldier."

"A gladiator? How humiliating!"

"Surely he will die!"

"Aww, I thought he'd be in reproduction. He's sooo handsome!"

"Enough", the captain shouted. "You shall begin your assignment immediately!"

The guards took Sardec away as the next person was called upon.

Stadium Arcadium

In the holding cell, Sardec awaited, listening to the crowd of Possessed cheering. 

"Sounds like they're enjoying themselves, those scum" said a nearby gladiator. "Our lives placed in danger every day for their amusement. I question whether or not an immediate death by soldier is any better."

"I can guarantee you that anything is better than death" Sardec replied. "Every chance I am given to live is a chance I'm willing to take." 

"Grev! Stauch marr!!" One of the guards opened Sardec's cell and pushed him along to the arena.

"Good luck, sir! The Call of Arena awaits!"

The blinding sunlight filled his vision as the sounds of the crowd became crisp and clear. To the center of the arena, he was directed. Faced with his equipment: a purple sword labeled "Passer"; a red, high-tech bow simply labeled "TheArrow"; a backpack labeled "X028-FREEDOM"; and his designated gladiator suit, called "Ruthless Operational Mortal Eradicator". 

As Sardec suited up, something strange about it all. As if the equipment was built without alien influence. He put on his helmet and a heads up display appeared. Some of the holding gates appeared blinking red, signaling danger. 

"Porlarrr meck" commanded the arena superintendent. 

The gates opened. and three green Panther creatures leapt out of them. Sardec held out his Passer and took a wide stance as they circled around him. All at once, they pounced, knocking him to the floor, pinned. The crowd cheered as they attacked all over him. He struggled to try to throw them off, but to no avail. He reached for the Passer laying on the floor, stabbed one of them through the head, and struck the other two with the hilt, forcing them off of his body. Sardec got back on his feet, observing the two Panthers staring at him, ready to attack again. He took a deep breath and raised his sword. One leapt at him, but he side stepped out of the way and swung the Passer, slicing through the second leaping Panther, killing it. He focused all of his attention on the final Panther, which took several steps back. He dashed towards it, swinging his sword, but it jumped out of the way. He tried again, but with the same result. The creature pounced, missing as Sardec ducked. He holstered the Passer and brought out TheArrow. He pulled his right arm closer to his face, tracking the Panther that was trotting around. He released and an orange plasma bolt launched at the creature, killing it in an explosion.

The crowd hissed as Sardec was catching his breath. The Superintendent called another command, and four gates slowly opened. Out from three, Acid Bombers crawled. But the fourth released a large pink creature with two mighty white tusks. Sardec readied his sword, attempting to strike one of the Bombers, but failed. The Bomber touched his red armor, splattering green corrosive acid over it. He screamed in pain and the crowd cheered. He switched to TheArrow and waited for the other two Bombers to come close to one another. He backpedaled in circles until the shot was clear. He fired an orange plasma bolt, destroying the Bombers simultaneously. He wiped the dirt off of his visor, directing his attention to the great creature. 

"Mambull, Mambull, Mambull!" The Possessed chanted. The Mambull took a wide stance and roared at the red contender. Sardec readied another plasma bolt and waited for the creature's first move. In a heartbeat, the mighty Mambull charged at him. He fired a bolt, but it only seemed to scratch the bare surface of its skin. He jumped to the side, but his left arm was struck, knocking TheArrow out of his grip. Sardec got back to his feet, watching the Mambull slow down and face towards him. He held his Passer firmly and became locked in a stare down with the creature. He then charged at it, only to be knocked back by its stomp attack. He got back up and the Mambull prepared to charge again. He squatted down and held his sword close. It dashed and he leapt out of the way, extending his sword outwards, slicing near its left eye. The Mambull cried out in pain, distracted. Sardec quickly ran behind it, picked up TheArrow, and fired several bolts in its back. Finally, the mighty creature fell down in death.

The crowd hissed and Sardec grew angry. As the Superintendent was about to call out the next creatures, he was struck in the face by a plasma bolt and dropped dead. The crowd fell silent, staring at Sardec, who had still been pointing his bow at the Superintendent's general direction. They booed as guards rushed into the arena to seize him. 

He struck them with the Passer, shoved others to the ground, and made a run for it.

The Escape

Out of the arena, into the city, Sardec ran. Sirens on the streets sounded, and Possessed law enforcement soon join the action. Sardec runs through the streets, firing bolts at the authorities, and shoving Possessed civilians aside. He turns to a dark alleyway, where few officers follow. He finds a sharp corner and turns to it. Focused on losing their tail, he becomes distracted and runs right into a garbage crate. He notices a manhole cover. He jabs his Passer through the small gaps, prying the cover open. He stands up, pulls the garbage crate backward, then slides it forward. He dashes in front of it, climbs down the manhole, as the crate slides over the cover, sealing it hidden.

Next: Chapter 2

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