Adam dreams of leaving the mines of a distant planet, and is willing to do anything to make that happen. Even if it means entering a brutal world where people are killed for sport.

The streets were crowded with people from every corner of the Lemuria providence. The number of people had been increasing exponentially since synthetic crops had negated the value of Lemuria’s primary export. Naturally as the citizen’s situation became more desperate, their methods of survival followed suite.

Adam was just old enough to tryout this year. For him the prize money meant a lot more than just a way to feed himself for a few years. It was a way to escape this barren planet. In fact he was daydreaming about what kind of ship he would buy when he reached the front of the line.

Adam was torn away from his daydream.

“What?” Adam asked.

“Identification.” the giant behind the table said, gesturing towards an opening in the front of the table.

Adam placed his hand in the square opening and rested it on the bottom surface. Instantly a data screen popped up above the table surface. “Adam Deror,” it read in big letters. Below his name was a long list of information about him.

Age: 14

Gender: Male

Height, weight, race, etc..

At the very bottom of the list was what concerned him most, Odds: 1.618%

“Okay, let’s see what you’ve got.”

Adam walked into the fighting sim. A small disk in the center would project the simulation around him. He moved to one side of the circle, a blue sword was projected into his hand. He grew nervous as he waited for the simulation to start.

When his opponent finally materialized on the opposite side of the ring his hands were already damp with sweat. Numbers began to appear, floating in the center of the ring, counting down to the fight. Until finally the word “Begin” appeared.

Since he had never been in a fight before, Adam froze up. A million questions ran through his head. Should he attack? Should he wait for his opponent to attack? If he did attack, should he go for one side or the other? Or just attack straight on?

He was quickly brought back into the moment. His opponent was already within striking distance, and he was winding up for a swing. Adam quickly moved his sword to block. Adam instinctually deflected several more attacks and was starting to feel pretty good about his chances of winning.

Adam deflected the next attack with such force that it knocked his opponent’s sword out of his hand. The virtual player dove for his sword, barely missing Adam’s first attack. Adam ran towards him, winding up for the final blow. Just as Adam was ready to give his final swing, the virtual player rolled onto his back and ran his sword through Adam’s chest, then he disappeared.

The simulation was over. Adam hadn’t made the cut. He hung his head and started walking back towards the mine that he worked in, knowing that he would spend the rest of his life there.

* * *

As Adam was leaving his duty cycle in the mine he saw Simeon.

“I heard you got your ass handed to you at tryouts.” Simeon said through his annoying grin.

“I did okay,” Adam responded, “I’ll know better next year.”

“If you don’t forget.”

“How could I forget?”

“It’s a year away. Besides, they update the entrance exam every year.”

“I wish I could practice with a simulator for a while.”

“I know someone in the underground market, if you have the money...”

“If I had that much money I wouldn’t be trying out.”

“No joke. Seriously though, no amount of money could get me to go into that arena. I worked in disposal for a while, the way some of those people get shredded is just unnatural.”

“Yeah, I know.”

With that Adam turned and walked away towards the edge of the city. He climbed up to the roof of his favorite building, sat down and watched the stars. He had the next week off so he would need to hunt if he wanted to eat. Manasseh was barely visible on the horizon, that meant he would be hunting stag.

The End

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