Players: Jess, Rich, Skylar, Tim
Experience points: 2
Alutunnius manages to sneak their way into the control room, where all information related to betting in the arena is processed. They learn that Chaz has not actually placed one of the larger bets; it is suspected that crime syndicates might be responsible for the larger flow of credits.
During the first undercard fight, Koko endears itself to some of the surrounding Ctarl-Ctarl in the crowd by vociferously cheering on the Ctarl-Ctarl contestant, but when that contestant loses, Koko begins to spread rumors about potential sabotage.
The party notices that as spectators become particularly unruly, they are accosted by mysterious shadowmen, who appear from the shadows and are able to instantly pacify an opponent and remove them from the stadium.
Chaz Zabrak is joined by a powerful underworld figure, the infamous “Crabfingers” Kobayashi, and his [[formidable robotic bodyguard Mr. Wall]]. Chaz is startled by Crabfingers’ presence, but he maintains a gregarious façade. Crabfingers proposes a two million credit bet on the main event off the record, betting against Chaz’s champion, Vekna Fang-Fang. Sharna overhears this exchange.
During the second undercard fight between a group of Blue Sun mercenaries and a vicious swarm-mind, Koko specifically encourages the Ctarl-Ctarl mercenary with loud cheers, further ingratiating itself to most of the surrounding Ctarl-Ctarl, specifically one particularly large Ctarl-Ctarl with the surname Smash-Smash. When only the human member of the Blue Sun mercenaries survives the fight, Koko implies foul play against the Ctarl-Ctarl contestants, beginning to pique the concern of other Ctarl-Ctarl spectators.
When the main event begins, Vekna Fang-Fang and Hippolyta face off. Though Hipyra is enormous and exceptionally dangerous, Vekna is tiny but seems unfazed by the sheer bulk of his opponent, but is certainly rattled when he notices Sharna watching him from the crowd. As Sharna makes her way closer to Chaz and Crabfingers, she notices a mysterious figure in the rafters.
Alutunnius, frustrated with the difficulty encountered in trying to glean the identities of the betters without revealing their presence in the system, decides instead to randomize the bets, before making their way out of the arena entirely.
Viridian, noticing that something is amiss on the big screens and realizing that his own bets might have been sabotaged, corresponds with Ziggy, pleading with him to do something to call off the fight. Zig grudgingly agrees.
Sharna introduces herself to Chaz, who is charmed with her. Crabfingers disregards her presence at first. As Sharna corresponds with Viridian related to the unusual circumstances of the fight over the comms-link, Crabfingers manages to overhear and is…displeased. He demands Viridian join them, and when Viridian obliges, Crabfingers nearly crushes his head with his mechanical hand.
Crabfingers orders Sharna to sabotage the fight, recognizing that Vekna behaves unusually when he sees her. He sends Mr. Wall to lead her right up to the ring, keeping Viridian as a hostage under the specific condition that “Vekna lose the fight.”
Outside of Elttab, Alutunnius meets with Matt, and proceeds to blow his fragile little human mind. Alutunnius convinces Matt to bring her to a security outpost, making another request that makes him supremely anxious.
While held hostage by Crabfingers, Viridian attracts the attention of Chaz’s mysterious bodyguard, who seems to recognize him and is fixated on him.
As the fight goes on, it is clear that Vekna has a natural advantage of speed and agility, seemingly having the upper hand. However, Sharna’s taunts and efforts to distract Vekna are effective, allowing Hipyra to land a series of brutal hits.
Koko, noticing Vekna’s unusual behavior and sudden downward spiral, insists that someone is sabotaging Ctarl-Ctarl fighters, demanding that the Ctarl-Ctarl must defend their honor, whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The Ctarl-Ctarl begin throwing themselves at the cage, demanding that Vekna transform to reassert his advantage in the fight. The shadowmen begin showing up in force to bring order. Koko manages to convince Smash-Smash to rush the stage, riding atop his shoulders. When shadowmen accost Smash-Smash and disappear him, Koko is let off with a very stern warning, as Koko has technically not broken any Elttab rules.
Vekna is reluctant to transform, but is obviously distressed by both the presence of Sharna and his body getting bad things done to it. Sharna, in an effort to distract Vekna further, throws herself at the ring. This goads Vekna into snapping and transforming, startling Hipyra and causing him to back off. The combined assault of the Ctarl-Ctarl hordes and Vekna’s own formidable power destroys the ring, and Vekna leaps out of the ring and into the now riotous crowd.
Viridian exchanges some tense words with Chaz’s sinister bodyguard, and it is implied strongly that the two share a close and unpleasant history. Crabfingers becomes irritated with the events unfolding, while Chaz nervously tries to maintain the illusion of confident bravado.
Alutunnius convinces Matt to bring her to meet the shadowmen in their “office”. Claiming to be a covert ally of Chaz, she talks the mysterious force into teleporting the crew – as well as Chaz – out of the unstable situation in the arena before harm can come to them. The shadowmen agree, but also insist on teleporting the rest of Chaz’s entourage with him, over the protests of Alutunnius.
Koko, atop the shoulders of another large Ctarl-Ctarl and awash with bloodlust, encourages the Ctarl-Ctarl to defend their honor in the face of this obvious foul play and purge all non Ctarl-Ctarl from the arena. Many spectators flee as the Ctarl-Ctarl mob goes berserk, attacking everything around them, including Hipyra, Crabfingers, Chaz, and Viridian. Shadowmen attempt to pacify the crowd, but they have limited numbers and thus choose to instead form protective perimeters around valuable targets.
Viridian watches as Crabfingers holds his own with little difficulty against the advancing Ctarl-Ctarl, noticing that the shadowmen do not move against him even when he brutally executes several Ctarl-Ctarl in defiance of Elttab rules. Chaz’s bodyguard is able to keep Chaz protected as well, demonstrating a frightening ability to cripple opponents with fear. Sharna manages to get one last taunt in at a confused and furious Vekna, heading towards Viridian in an effort to extricate him in the chaos.
As the situation becomes truly bonkers, Ziggy sets off the sprinkler systems in the arena, ending the fight and further confusing the crowd. The shadowmen converge on Viridian, Koko, Sharna, and Chaz, seizing them and teleporting them away…alongside Chaz’s mysterious bodyguard and the yet-unseen third member of Chaz’s entourage. Viridian, as he is teleported away by the shadowmen, makes eye contact with Chaz’s mysterious bodyguard and pledges to fight…