Straining Zener's systems slowly came back online. The visual feed from his optics was distorted and several lesser systems didn't seem to be functioning properly. A pair of faint voices could be heard in the distance, just through a doorway. Trying to stand and investigate he found a heavy metal cable fastened to his ankle. Fear gripped his core processor as he recognized debris in the darkened corner behind him; a pile of inopperative Type II frames. What was this place?
In the doorway stood a stranger, dressed in the official robes of a New Republic Senator. With a sneer he spat at Zener, scrutinizing the timid Type II before him. "Hardly worth 250 Regals, honestly." The stranger carried himself with the air of conceit, pacing before Zener. "You, monstrous abomination," he hissed with lips curled, "are to fight to the death in the Arena. My name is Cassius Rudari, and this arena is my own. Your destruction will provide my patrons with amusement, and be a fitting end for scrap like you. But I am not without sympathy. You will have a sporting chance. You have one hour to repair yourself, salvage any parts you can from that trash behind you." Cassius began a slow walk to the doorway, pausing to gesture at a different exit. "Make no mistake, your creation is an atrocity we will rectify. In one hour that door will open, a blade will be waiting you, and Nox of Uraor awaits you. One will die, and should you survive, you will only live to face the next. Die well, it's what I payed for." With that, Cassius passed through the doorway and it sealed.
The first few minutes seemed an eternity to Zener. Terror raced through his circuits, gripping him. How could he possibly survive? Survive. Without repair his current damage would degrade his systems, and then he'd have no chance at all. With a shudder he resigned himself and turned to begin evaluating the dead lifeless remains behind him. It teared at his insides to dismantle components from what he could only imagine was his kin. Before long he managed to salvage enough parts to repair his optics and most of his other damaged systems.
While making repairs he stumbled upon a non standard component implanted in one of the Type II torsos. He recognized it immediately and found a sense of comfort in the little treasure; a cyberdeck. Zener had used one every day in his job, and the sight of this find lit him up inside. Checking it he quickly found it functional. If he was to die, he decided, then he was going to die with this piece of his old life inside him.
By the hour's end Zener had managed to complete his repairs and run a few quick system checks. Everything seemed in order. And then he heard the booming amplified voice of Cassius. "My friends and patrons." The crowd's roar was audible even without amplification. "Today I bring before you a sight to behold, from the Core systems comes a criminal abomination, on the run seeking to join those vile betrayers bent on overthrowing our glorious Republic. A villainous creation made to mimic us that as you are all aware seek to replace us, will meet it's execution ad gladeum before you against the Uraor beast Nox!" With the utterance of that name Zener recoiled at the deafening explosion from the crowd. Why did the scream so?
The cable retracted from Zener's ankle and the door ground open spilling harsh light into the dark chamber. A lone pedestal protruded from the wall behind the door holding a long curved knife. "I don't want to die." Zener muttered to him self. Hesitating he picked up the weapon and awkwardly walked up to the arena. With one look back at the remains of Type II's who had come before him he clutched at his new component. "I'm not scrap, I just run Nodes for Info-Regulation." Desperation filled his voice and he gripped the weapon tighter.
"I give you blood and scrap, gladiators to the arena," Cassius bellowed.
To be continued.