The Sudden Death Arena, Australia
The roar of the crowd was almost as loud as the blaring metal music, the combined cacophony deafening to any unaccustomed to the noise and stirring up the audience even more than it already was. The stands were full to the brim with all manner of miscreants, from armed robbers to costumed supervillains to big-money businessmen who had psychological issues almost as deep as their pockets. Bets, as always, were placed on who would die first, but they all knew not to go against the house. All around, cameras broadcast the fight across the internet and even on live TV, but of course with the detail that the fighting was real completely omitted. Most believed Sudden Death to be a theatrical production, akin to Sunday night wrestling; those in the stands knew the truth. Every melted face, every shattered skeleton...all of it was terribly real.
The arena itself was in the middle of the Outback, secluded despite the massive number of people who came to visit every week. The stadium sat 80,000 people, not quite as much as an American football game, but it was always full to capacity. Security was relatively lax; most of the budget went towards presentation and protection for the onlookers. Between the stands and the arena lay a second dome, this one made of translucent energy rather than a metallic bulkhead; it would be sufficient to stop any escape attempt from within. The killing field was adorned with spiked walls and crumbling pillars, carefully placed to provide the opportunity for environmental kills whilst not obstructing the audience's view of the carnage.
Sudden Death had started out humbly enough, but it had soon become more popular among the criminal element and general public alike. It was ironic, seeing toddlers wearing t-shirts displaying the likeness of the Titanium Terror, the champion of the arena who'd remained undefeated since the show's premiere; the 7'4 cybernetic warrior had become the face of the program despite never revealing his own, the bass-boosted speakers on his shoulders blaring his battle cries with volume that shook the entire venue, his legendary voice-over present in everything from commercials to the middle of the fight itself. And now? It was time for the season finale.
The One-Man-Pain-Train himself, the eponymous Sudden Death, rose from underneath the middle of the arena, raised high on a pillar beneath his silver feet. The legendary rocket hammer rested on his back, two enormous metal arms held high in the pose of victory. Suddenly, he pointed to a hovering camera drone, his voice echoing throughout the Outback.
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, BOYS AND GIRLS...PREPARE FOR THE GREATEST SEASON FINALE IN HUMAN HISTORY!"he cried, the amplifiers on his shoulders pulsating with every syllable. The yellow visor crackled with wicked power, the camera zooming in on his face as he spun to point at one corner of the arena.
"OUR FIRST CHALLENGER HAILS FROM THE STREETS OF NEW YORK, A SINGLE-MINDED MURDER ENTITY OF PURE SPEED AND DESTRUCTION! HE'S FREAKY! HE'S FEARSOME! AND HE'S FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAST! MEET...VELOCITY RUSH!"
Out of the ground rose another platform, prominently displaying the white-and-gold garbed monster they'd kidnapped from New York City, interrupting his "feeding" on an innocent woman. His sedative would've just worn off, as he was too dangerous to hold awake; secretly, the producers hoped the residual sedative would slow him down enough for the Champ to actually hit.
"OUR SECOND COMBATANT IS STRAIGHT OUT OF DC, FOLKS! THAT'S RIGHT, WE'RE TALKING NONE OTHER THAN THE AMERICAN NGOD HIMSELF, UNCLE SAM'S STAND-UP-MAN, PRESIDENT DONN'S PROVOCATIVE PROTECTOR, THE OKLAHOMAN ONSLAUGHT, THE GENERAL! ISSUE! GOOOOOOOOOOOOD!"
The shield-bearing nGod, too, had been sedated, but they'd nearly run out of needles; he seemed to burn through it faster than anyone else once awoken, even the speedster. His skin had also been harder to penetrate, and he'd been exposed to less dosage overall; no doubt he'd be feeling the most jumpy, and most enraged. Not that anyone back home would know it was him, of course, until it was too late. Most would presume it was just another metahuman taking his name and likeness. They'd been lucky to catch him in costume, too, or the effect would've been lost. The communicators had been destroyed, but they'd let him keep his signature shield.
"OUR THIRD GLADIATOR HAILS FROM TOKYO, JAPAN, BUT SHE MADE HERSELF KNOWN IN THE GOOD OL' U-S OF A AS THE TERRIFYING TADPOLE, THE JAMMIN'-JUMP-GIRL OF JUSTICE, THE ONE, THE ONLY...L-L-LITTLE G-G-GREEEEEEEN!"
The mutant girl was tricky, but they always seemed to pull big crowds. She hadn't needed as much sedation, but her camouflage trick had thrown their guards for a loop in the last 24 hours. She'd come closest to actual escape, and those who knew were more likely to bet on her. A few producers thought maybe she'd go feral, if exposed to the over-the-top bloodshed the show was known for. Even though people thought it was widely assumed to be WWE-esque baloney, the fact that none of the heroes would be back after tonight's season finale...
"OUR FOURTH COMPETITOR IS THE EGYPTIAN ENGINEER OF FATAL FURY, THE MIDDLE EASTERN MUTILATOR, THE WINGED WONDER...THE MACE-WIELDING MISTRESS OF MIGHT...HER NAME IS MUNOZ HAL, BUT YOU UNDOUBTEDLY KNOW HER AS...SENTINEL HAAAAAAAAAAWK!"
Talk about luck. Finding Hal alone and at night was a stroke of pure fortune, as was landing the shot that knocked her out. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the operation would've been botched, but somehow they were lucky enough to land the shot and put her to sleep before the fighting could begin. Twenty-four hours later, she was here in the arena. Her mace had been returned to her, but she'd been deprived of her helmet "for dramatic reasons."
"AND FINALLY, TONIGHT'S...MYSTEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERY COMBATAAAAAAAAAAAAAANT!"he yelled, pivoting to point to a spire on top of the arena. Chained to the top and slightly sedated, a black-clad fighter lay with his head bent, mask concealing his features. He was an enigma, a risk, a wild card; but after cursory evaluation of his skills, he was determined to be a big-time ratings booster. Still, he was a little strong to let into the arena right off the bat, so they injected him with another shot of needles and chained him to the mountain. He'd get out eventually, though...and when he did, he'd be a real game changer.
"ALRIGHT BOYS AND GIRLS, YOU KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS! WHEN THE CLOCK HITS HIGH NOON, WHEN THE BLOODLUST IS JUST TOO MUCH...WHEN THE BALLS-TO-THE-WALL INSANITY JUST ISN'T ENOUGH...IT'S TIME FOR SUDDEN DEATH!"
With a yell, the towering robotic warrior hefted his massive hammer, fire spewing from the exhaust vents on his back as pyrotechnics exploded above. The visor flashed, tracking each enemy, his hammer flashing with nuclear energy. He braced himself on the ground, chest-compartment opening to reveal the main attraction, the one the audience loved.
"MISSILE...CIRCUS!"he shouted, flexing as a dozen missiles erupted from the front of his body along with the roar of the crowd. They weren't meant to kill right away, programmed to explode next to each target and send them flying back...after all, it wouldn't do for the show to be over just as it began. These rockets would chase down every fighter save for the black-clad mystery man until they dramatically erupted with pure power either at their feet or above their heads. Heat-seeking and deadly, they spewed into the air, the crowd cheering around the world as the drones captured it all.
"THE CHAMP IS HERE!"