Year 206 of the Second Era
I flex my large, spidersilk-enhanced wings made of BioSteel and look down at my sharp, black claws that are also made of BioSteel — which is a black type of metal that is living. I have these enhancements added to me, but not of my own volition. I'm simply a machine, a Glitch.
The alarm sounds, and the gate before me slides open to reveal the maze in the massive arena. The Glitch Games happen once every two years, and I was chosen this year to participate. Fifteen girls, fifteen boys, and only one boy and one girl can walk out of this arena. I intend for that girl to be me.
We have no choice in the matter, the government calls for random citizens of Ektrantik to be chosen for this "honor" — where we are chosen from the ages 16 to 27. It is entirely random, no one knows who will get picked for the Games, but I was the first contestant picked for this year's Game. Why? Well, because I was a BioTech graduate, or rather, a survivor of the horrors of experimentation. I was chosen because I am one of many who survived the Enhancement Project.
Most of the people who they experimented on died. But somehow, I lived. Somehow, my powers kept me alive. I have two Glitches, aside from being Enhanced. I can manipulate energies and use them to my advantage. I can also manipulate fire. Aside from that, my Enhancements are my wings that were changed from regular, bird-like wings that have an eighteen-foot wingspan, retractable fangs and claws, into the black steel that BioTech perfected into living metal. What I mean is, my wings aren't lifeless. They have feeling to them, I can use them to fly and move them around.
My wings also retract into my spine, but they fold up into my back with a strange, pinching sensation.
Because of my Enhancements, and my being chosen for the Games, my family is currently being kept somewhere in the Ivory City Prisons, where they will watch a live feed of me through VidCams, that will capture everything, from my struggles to my survival or death. And if I do die, my family will be sent to Kalvacula, a prison up north where they will live forever until they die. The government puts them there so they can't try to start a rebellion. They learned that lesson the hard way, ten years ago.
Someone died in the Glitch Games, and his family then tried to rebel against the government of the Ivory City. They publicly killed those people, one by one in front of their homes. A live feed with mandatory viewing was issued, so all of Ektrantik saw the rebels die.
But if I live, we get to move from the Stacks, an industrial area full of toxic air and workers too drunk or high to even move, and then we will live in the Ivory City. We will be celebrities. My victory will be shown throughout the ages, to distract the people from the real problem....
We, as a race, are slowly dying. Because of the Glitch Wars, or the Thousands-Years-War, we are all dying. Killing ourselves and each other because of stupid things. The war has been going on for so long that most people cannot agree upon why it started in the first place. Some say it started because most people who were gifted their Glitches wanted even more power. Then, some say it was because some people didn't have a Glitch. Some even say that the war isn't real, that it's a control tactic.
Whatever the truth is, I hope I live long enough to see it end.
The Glitch Games are set up to have seven trials before the actual games themselves begin. I am getting ready to enter the seventh trial. They are built and designed to train us for anything that the Fatedealers have made for us in the real arena. Fatedealers are what they call the people who make and control the arena and Games.
Each of us has an Advisor, a person that the government chose to teach us all about the ins and outs of the Games. None of the past victors are ever allowed in here again. I don't really know why. But they prefer that the Advisors are government people, all of them have something to lose if they decide to rebel.
Lydia is my Advisor, and I wonder what it is they're holding over her head. If I rebel, she and my family will all go to that death camp I mentioned earlier, Kalvacula.
Lydia approaches me from the side, and places a hand on my shoulder. I look at her through my sheet of black hair, and she looks at me with a sad expression on her face. She knows I'm likely to die. She knows that I don't want to, I want to survive and help my family out.
"I've secured you three sponsors," she says. "BioTech, Apex Center Industries, and Stacks Incorporated."
Of course it's the people I despise the most. BioTech is the company who turned me into a freak, even among the Glitches. ACI is the people who funded the whole experiment I was in. And Stacks Incorporated is the people who my family works for.
"Great, so I can die with sponsors," I say dryly.
Lydia sighs. A different alarm goes off, and we both look up as the announcer's voice comes through the overhead speakers.
"Contestants, please enter the maze now."
"Gotta go," I say to Lydia.
"Good luck, my friend."
I nod and walk out into the maze. Let this circus begin.