Lockdown - 10 by Alexander Shaw

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SUMMARY: The more of this that gets done... the more I think this needs a serious re-write....

Chapter 10 – Level 7-170 ‘Party Central'.

--/Day 3 19:25/--
--/Level 11-108 Fighting Pits Entrance Hall/--

There was nearly a pandemonium out here. It seemed that a few people had won heavily on the unknown fighter, whereas most had placed reasonable bets on the known competitor, who was now the dead competitor. People were either furious or shocked out of all belief or, in the minority of cases, suddenly discovering that they were filthy rich.

Farn collected the credit stick from the slightly bewildered looking betting-clerk, flashing her a winning smile. A few thousand credits went a long way, it seemed. Behind him Davan and Tenzanin were eagerly awaiting their turn to collect, their betting slips held tightly. Farn looked at the small flashing number on the credit stick. He felt like he was in love.

"Come on man, our turn!" Davan said, pushing past the immensely happy looking pilot and handing over his slip. The poor clerk looked slightly more bewildered, then started rooting around for another credit stick with the correct amount on it. Behind the winners another figure stood waiting. Torn was clutching his own betting slip. He'd never doubted the outcome of the fight for a second. He felt immensely ashamed as he recalled what his teachers had always said.

"Remember, little soldiers, always remember," The instructor had droned monotonously, "That the Nethrek are invincible. Always we are victorious."

--/+0 minutes 0 seconds/--
--/Fighting Pit Kappa Competitor B Waiting Chamber/--

Grissom closed the locker door behind him. Then he turned and pulled on the rest of his combat armour. He felt naked without it, especially in the fighting pit. But he didn't worry over it. A shiver of exultation ran across him then, this was why he had come here. It was either that or start a fight in a bar somewhere. There was something in him that needed the thrill of combat, he needed to feel like he could still fight. He wondered what Jursk would say if she could see him now. Then, with a vicious scowl he banished the thought.

The door to the waiting chamber opened behind him. Grissom half turned to see that it was the fight organiser, a towering blond Nethrek known as ‘Jaguar'. Grissom knew Nethrek well enough to know that was his former callsign from when he had been a Legionary. He had all the tattoos. This one was Legion born and bred.

"There's no killing in my bouts." Jaguar began, his powerful face furrowed in a frown.

"You never said that when I signed up." Grissom replied, pulling on his arm guards.

"It's generally assumed." Jaguar said forcefully. "Normally the fighter's get a percentage of the bets. You won't for this bout." Grissom nodded. He barely cared either way. Jaguar continued. "Matchstick was a regular here. Just so happens that a slot's opened up. Give it some thought." He finished, reaching out and handing Grissom one of his contact cards. Then he turned and stalked out of the waiting chamber.

--/+1 minute 32 seconds/--
--/Level 11-108 Fighting Pits Entrance Hall/--

Grissom stepped out of the waiting chamber and began to head out of the establishment.

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