A work from the (odd) mind of Sandy87. The first chapter is being drafted as a Creative Writing assignment in Spring 2012, but no word on when or if the rest will ever emerge in tangible form.
Set in 3025, the story follows fifteen-year-old Satia, a fighter for one of the nations of the world. Picks up just before Satia's final tournament and continues after discharge from the program.
- After the End: Five hundred years ago (approx. 2500), the third world war broke out and shattered many world governments, cutting the human population from 100 billion to 10 billion (carpet bombing densely populated cities is extremely effective), not to mention crippling technological research. One hundred years ago (approx. 2900), the fourth world war broke out, further dropping human populations to only around 4 or 5 billion, only half of which are "civilized" (since pockets of tribes in rainforests tend to get overlooked in wars between first-world nations, they had a much better survival rate).
- Ambiguous Gender: The combatants have their reproductive systems removed at birth and thus never pass through puberty, making it impossible to tell visually if they are male or female. They're all female.
- Arcadia: Fighters are Put on a Bus to a halfway house here when they retire, where they can adjust to not constantly training and fighting before being expected to integrate with society.
- Combat by Champion: After WWIV, humanity finally decided that this whole "mass war" thing is for the birds and decided to go to an annual (mostly) non-lethal championship format. Anyone who wants to settle a score is expected to settle it there; those nations who choose to invade or otherwise attack en mass can expect the rest of the world to come flatten them, even if they don't like the victim, because letting long-term, full-scale war break out again is likely to end the human race entirely. Most nations do maintain a small army and (sometimes small, sometimes quite large) stockpile of weapons for this purpose.
- Future Food Is Artificial: Not all of it, as most people can still get most common foods, but the gruel fed to combatants tends to be some mush of potatoes and textured vegetable protein, with added vitamins.
- Gladiator Games: In addition to the inherent stake that countries have in the outcome of fights, many people watch them simply for amusement. Unlike many forms of the trope, most (if not all) of the combatants survive.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Chapter titles all begin with "The Truth of..." Chapter 1 is either "The Truth of Waiting" or "The Truth of Anticipation", depending on what the author decides she likes better.
- "It" Is Dehumanizing: Satia and other combatants are referred to using "it". This serves to highlight the fact that they are both not part of the rest of "normal", civilized society and the fact that they have a completely Ambiguous Gender.
- Thou Shalt Not Kill:
- Tyke Bomb: Most combatants enter the arena at 12 and leave at 15, though some may start as young as 10 and/or go until 17.
- We Will Have Euthanasia in the Future: Averted. The mass casualties of World Wars III and IV have convinced humanity that any human life, no matter its length or quality, is sacred.
The Fights and Fighters:
- Awesome, but Impractical: The strongest electrical hand blasts. As all electricity must be discharged before the beginning of a match, only those movements after a battle begins generate electrical buildup. It can take a while to build up a large charge, even when running and jumping at high speed, and so feet and hands tend to take on a greater role in the fights. Using the electricity for an Intimidation Demonstration or failing to land a hit tends to mean that the strongest, most lethal blasts never get used.
- Cute Bruiser: Many of the fighters, being only in their young teens, count.
- Fragile Speedster: Combatants in general are light and limber and tend to make excellent use of their dodging capabilities, rather than taking direct hits. This is part of the appeal in watching them fight.
- Hand Blast: Every combatant wears an insulated suit with wires and conductive gel hidden in it which allows them to produce electric shocks from their hands. The insulating nature of the suits means an electric blast is only good for a head shot, but due to electricity's effects on the human body, one clean lightning hit is usually all that is needed.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: The combatants. Though the "magic" is limited to electrical bursts generated by the suits they wear, it tends to function much the same.
- One-Hit Kill: Electricity to your face. It's a rare combatant who can even remain conscious after such an attack; almost none can continue, several wind up crippled, and a few die.
- Hit-and-Run Tactics: Combatants are trained to hit fast and get away faster.
- Intimidation Demonstration: Sometimes combatants generate electricity in their hands for show purposes rather than an actual attack. While wasteful, it can unnerve some.
- Let's Fight Like Gentlemen
- Restraining Bolt: All combatants wear a headset that can deliver a shock if the scientists feel they are in danger. This can be anything from a mild, painful aversive to rendering the recipient unconscious or even killing them, though of course the later is only for extreme self-defense.
- The Thunderdome: Fights take place in a circular White Void Room with walls made of one-way mirrors (of unbreakable glass, of course, as combatants have been known to jump on and off them as well as get thrown into them, and tossing a fighter into the lap of its diplomat would be rather rude).
- Victory by Endurance: Type 3. Some combatants, gifted with extraordinary endurance, choose to simply drag the fight out until their suit has built up a large electrical charge and their opponent is too tired to dodge a Hand Blast. This does require that they are fast enough to dodge most hits and that their opponent tires first, however.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Combatants' headsets have a com link to Mission Control. Most often, this is only a single, young assistant, as too many voices could distract the fighter, but older scientists will join in if they feel they must.