The ground beneath Zener's feet was fine gritty sand, colored ugly shades of black and brown in places from blood and other things unknown to Zener. Above him a pair of moons reflected the light of a nearby star almost making Zener believe 3 suns were burning above this cruel place. The crowd roared at the site of him, slinging insults and debris as if they wished to encumber him by their hate alone.
Across from him stood a mountainous mix of slate colored flesh and cyberwear. The Uraor, Nox, towered above Zener at 7 feet tall and his bulk had to be around 245 pounds. Blackened tusks protruded from his maw glistening with saliva as he snarled at his fresh opponent. His arms buzzed and whirred as he swung a massive crude maul with casual ease measuring it's balance and feel. Zener quickly calculated probability was not on his side. Especially considering his weapon compared to the hulking brute meant to be his executioner.
With a thunderous shout Nox charged forward maul heaved back to deliver a forceful blow. It happened so suddenly Zener was left in shock, paralyzed, and defenseless. The blow landed squarely on Zener's hip, the impact wrenching him from the grounds embrace and into the arena's wall. Nox paraded in triumph as the crowd cheered and readied for another charge.
Shaken, Zener tried to be ready this time and as Nox closed in he rolled to the side, his size allowing him to narrowly avoid this attack and pulled his blade across his foe's ribs. With confusion he watched as the wound slowly knitted itself back together. Distracted, Zener was once again not on guard as a heavy foot launched up and struck his chest. A loud boom echoed from the blow and once more Zener sailed through the air, only to find the ground waiting to catch him.
Rising once more, with the damage adding up Zener was certain his death would come soon. Musing to himself he thought "Why couldn't I have met my end with at least the comforting feel of being at home, like I used to feel running Nodes." Without meaning to the thought brought the salvaged cyberdeck online, digital overlays springing to life filling his vision with a layer of information and highlighting detected Nodes.
Realization slammed home. Even cybernetic implants would require a neural network of Nodes to function and transmit basic neural impulses. Zener smiled as the equation began to shift. "Nodes," he remarked, "I know Nodes..."
To be continued.