by Courtney Kraft

A few hours later, Psylocke had become familiar with the layout of
the barrack.  There was a large 'fresher that had three showers.
There always seemed to be a line in there too.  The windows were
sealed shut, and the air vents had steel grates over them. She also
realized that she didn't know anyone on the room.   She looked out
the window and spotted the edge of what looked like another barrack,
but she wasn't sure.

At about three o'clock, the door to the balcony opened again.  The
same man returned with a piece of paper in his hands.  The room
instantly quieted.  They had all been through the routine a few times
now.  A name would be read aloud, and someone would leave the
barrack.  A blond man named Michael returned, but Psylocke was
napping when the others returned if they even had.  The Twi'lek
unfolded the paper and read it aloud.  "The next competitor will be
Psylocke Lammashta.  You will come to the barrack entrance at this
time or instructions."

Psylocke couldn't hear the sighs of relief that came from the other
people in the room.  All she could hear was a roaring in her ears as
blood rushed to her face. She had no one to get information from
about what was about to happen.  No idea as to what she was about to
step into.  She took in a deep breath, pushing down all fear past her
stomach, and headed for the door.

She could feel all the eyes of her roommates watching her, but she
didn't look at them.  She kept her eyes focused on the door.  As she
approached it, the door opened and two guards stepped in.  They lead
her out into the hallway and down the long corridor, instructing her
as she walked.

"The battle you are about to fight is to the death.  There is no time
limit.  If you are victorious, you will return to this entrance and
cooperate with the guards."

At the end of the corridor was a single door.  It had a small, barred
window that was letting in bright light from the outside.  The guards
stopped her at the door.  One pulled out a transmitter.

"Gee one one three, we're ready at station 1."

"Copy that."

"Ladies and gentlemen,"  a voice suddenly blared from behind the
door.  "Welcome to day five of the Annual Mass Gladiatorial Games!"

A roar of thousands of voices boomed out from behind the door.
Psylocke blanched slightly.

"This year's event is sponsored by Spencer's chocolates and
Britermiester's soaps.   And now for our next match, we have two
champions from either end of the galaxy.  At the west end of the
arena^" the door before her opened, and the guards pushed her out.
The bright sunlight stung her eyes at first, but then she opened them
again to find herself in the largest coliseum she had ever seen.
Humans and non-humans alike filled in the seats by the thousands,
reaching a hundred feet up into the air.  At each end of the stadium
was a jumbo-tron, each displaying a picture of her staring up at the
screen.  The announcer continued, "the three time intragalactic
Kagura champion herself, Miss Psylocke Lammashta!"

She looked up into the crowd to see thousands on tiny faces smiling
and waving at her.  This is just like old times, she thought.  She
smiled and waved her hand in the air.

"And at the east end of the arena, the heavy weight Sodo wrestling
champion of Urslin, Hannibaaaaaaal Tomoe!"

Psylocke's smile faded as her opponent entered the arena.  He was the
largest humanoid she had ever seen.  He had to have been at least
seven feet tall, weighing somewhere near four hundred pounds, she
guessed.  She watched as he shook his fists at the crowd, soaking in
the attention.

The announcer started up again.  "The gladiators will now choose their
weapons, and meet in the middle of the arena.  Then, the fighting shall

Hannibal quickly turned to the table next to him, but Psylocke
paused, watching him.  She saw him study the table, then pick up a
large wooden club that fit well in is oversized hand.

She then turned to the table next to her.  There were at least
fifteen weapons to choose from.  Most she recognized, and some she
didn't.  She briefly considered picking up the steel rings.  She'd
had some experience with chakrams before, but figured it best to use
a weapon that she could keep in her hands.  She almost picked up the
sword, but calculated the amount of damage it could take from a club
strike.  She was too short to use the club effectively.  At the far
end of the table, she found a smooth, wooden, straight staff.  She
picked it up and held it vertically next to her.  The top ended right
at her eye level.  Perfect.

"They want a show?" she said to herself.  "I'll give them a show."

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