Context: So I started a new campaign with some friends, and one of the players made a character named Scruffy, who’s literally just a janitor, with Talent sets for stealth, using his mop as a weapon, and sassing opponents. The party gets sent to an allied country to help take care of a Hive threat, and during their free time before heading out, they find an arena called the Prison of Elders. Scruffy decides to enter, and faces off against a career gladiator.
Scruffy (OOC): Alright, I’m going to spend a Fate Chip and activate MM-HMM at the Ultimate level. I call four. *rolls 1d6 and gets a 4* He takes -2 to all stats he has points in.
Me (GM): *exasperated sigh* alright, you successfully MM-HMM him. This twelve-foot Eliksni beast seems to shrink by half a foot. What else are you doing?
Scruffy (OOC): I’m charging at him, and rolling Fitness to get as close as possible.
Me: You make it about 50 feet, and that’s your turn. The gladiator also charges forwards and is now right in front of you. He’s trying to shove his shotgun in your belly. Roll Initiative.
Scruffy (OOC): I notice… I got a crit to dodge.
Me: Not only do you successfully dodge, you plant your mop in the metal floor and pole-dance to avoid the shotgun blast. He is very confused. Your turn.
Scruffy (OOC): I’m smacking him with my mop. *rolls* HOLY SHIT THAT’S A TRUE CRIT!
He then shows me his dice, he indeed gets a true crit.
Me: Fucking okay, let me paint this word picture in everyone’s heads. These two come out on either side of the arena. They bow, and then Scruffy MM-HMMs at his opponent and charges forward. The gladiator also charges forward and tries to shove his shotgun in Scruffy’s belly, but Scruffy plops down his mop in the metal floor and pole-dances on it, making the shotgun blast miss. Scruffy then gets off his mop, brings it around in a hammer-swing and smacks this poor gladiator upside the head so hard that his helmet shatters and he hits the ground dead. This gladiator had a 5 armor and 35 HP, and you literally did exactly enough damage to one-tap him in less than 10 seconds. I need to fucking retire I’m so done right now.
Scruffy: I know better than to bring a knife to a gunfight. That’s why I bring my mop.
Helmet of a Thracian Gladiator, decorated with a Gorgon’s and a griffin’s head, probably
used by Thracian gladiators during the parades preceding the games in
the amphitheater at Pompeii, just before Vesuvius erupted in 79 AD
Lance squawks as he’s startled. His hesitation creates an opening that the gladiator seizes. The robot rushes forwards. Lance stumbles. His ass hits the training room floor with a loud thud.
There’s a hiss and a groan, but Lance manages to roll out of the way before the gladiator’s next strike.
“Off! Off! Simulation off!” He roars. The gladiator lights dim with a gentle whir. Lance stands and takes off his helmet. His sweat soaked hair stands in all directions, and he rubs at the bruise forming on his cheek. It doesn’t hurt as much as his bruised ego.
His eyes pick up to glare at the person in the corner who had rudely startled him. He was sure that no one would be awake at this time, or at least, wouldn’t come looking for him.
“How long have you been standing there?” He spits. He peels off his armour aggressively and it clatters to the floor. Keith runs over to help Lance by picking it up. His face looks worried… and apologetic. Lance softens. Without the adrenalin coursing through him, he feels his joints begin to stiffen. He groans as he steps out of his boots.
“You okay?” Keith places a steadying hand on his shoulder.
“Yeah, yeah.” Lance pulls himself away. “I’m fine.”
Keith looks at the scrapes on Lance’s knuckles. He eyes the way he shuffles his weight from foot to foot as his thighs start to ache.
“Have you been coming her in secret a lot?” Keith’s brows crinkle together. He dares to step forward again, and places his hand on Lance’s arm.
“Yeah, yeah,” Lance sighs. He knows he’s been caught. He combs his fingers through his hair and tries to avoid Keith’s eyes.
“Just trying to get better, you know? I don’t wanna drag down the team.” He laughs humourlessly. “I thought it might be helping, but no one’s really noticed so…”
“I noticed.” Keith abruptly cuts him off. Lance raises his gaze to stare at his friend with shock. Nerves start to swell in Keith’s chest, but he feels the words wanting to spring off of his tongue. He lets his hand slip from lance’s arm.
“I noticed… that you were really improving…” He rubs his arm nervously. “I notice… lots of things about you.”
Keith can feel his own blush warming his cheeks. He’s said too much. He knows he has.
“Yeah?” Lance steps closer. His voice is low and inviting. It makes Keith’s pulse jump in his throat.
“Y…yeah.” He awkwardly laughs. “Like you’ve gotten…”
He looks up into Lance’s face, flushed red and gleaming with sweat. It’s a mistake.
“Taller!” Keith blurts out. “And uh… uh… I noticed that your legs must be a lot stronger because your kicks really hurt…”
Lance laughs. It encourages Keith to go on. Anything to keep that sad, defeated expression off of this boy’s face.
“And and… your shots are really amazing now. You almost never miss. And you definitely don’t miss if you’re able to plant your feet for two seconds. And your arms…”
“My arms?” Lance smirks. Keith cuts himself off with a small squeak. When had the two of them gotten so close?
“I…I… was just going to say…”
“Keith,” Lance smiles. He places his hands on Keith’s shoulders. His thumbs rub at the thin fabric.
“Thank you.” He chuckles. “It’s uh… hard for me… sometimes.”
Keith melts. Easiness returns and he reassuringly places his hand on lance’s side.
“I know. But I notice how hard you’re working. And I’m sure the others do too.”
“Do the others check me out like you do?” Lance smirks and winks. keith stands in front of him aghast. He turns red up to his ears and gapes. Lance’s laughter booms around the training deck.
“Don’t be embarrassed, I’m flattered really. Also…” Lance moves in close. He mumbles against Keith’s ear.
“I notice you too.”
He brings his hand down and it smacks against Keith’s ass with a sharp “thwack!”. Lance leaves the training deck laughing.
Keith stands frozen. Opening and closing his mouth, waiting for the enraged words that refuse to come.
A while back you did some meet cute stories, and for Shiro you had him meet a helmeted buddy in the gladiator ring, and I was wondering if you would do a continuation of that? Like they got separated before Shiro managed to escape to Earth, and his helmeted buddy later got shipped to a planet. Several other rebels join with them to fight the Galra off-planet. Team Voltron gets a distress signal when the Galra try to reclaim the planet, and when the team makes contact Shiro recognizes his friend?
May have gone a little bit over the top for this one?? who knows??
When the distress signal patched through, in all honesty, Shiro thought nothing more of it than it was. It was yet another planet caught in the web of the galra and it was up to the paladins to save it. He was trying not to make it sound like a routine to himself - only because of the sheer frequency of the distress calls they had been receiving did they begin to seem a little repetitive. But this was what being a paladin was; freeing the innocent. It only takes a glance at Shiro’s arm to remember why the team does what they do. No one should have to suffer in the way the galra make their prisoners do.
The original species on this particular planet were kind and extremely peaceful in nature, yet despite their natural strength they refused to fight. Almost body-builder like in form, they were a species seemingly made from stone with the ability to shape materials easily with their brute strength. The planet’s inhabitants had been captured once in the past and forced to convert their city into a makeshift prison for innocents captured - once the galra invaded the surrounding system. They had refused to fight out of honor and in name of peace but the galra obviously didn’t care. It took a few years before the prison was set up and eventually prisoners from nearby ships and galra stations were sent to the planet. But that was where the problem would eventually lay. During a shipment of prisoners, a fraction of an internal resistance group had been taken from an experimental prison and been transferred for confinement. They managed to take over the facility without detection by other galra settlements, until now.
“I’ve managed to secure a channel with the rebel leader, bringing the feed up now,” Coran announced, snapping Shiro from his internal thoughts. After a second of static, the screen showed two aliens of different species in the frame, red lights blinked and the feed shook lowly, threatening to cut out completely. The sound was cut and from the looks of things, the aliens were trying frantically to restore it. A third figure rushed into the frame, obviously fresh from battle with a gun still in hand. It took them a moment to notice the feed from beneath their hooded figure, giving the console a good bang of their fist. The sound sprung to life and suddenly the room was filled with alarms blaring.
“Hello?” The figure didn’t look up from under their cloak but still was assertive and urgent in tone. “Can you hear me?”
“Loud and clear, what is your situation?” Allura asked in a similar vein.
“We have galra attacking our base, we have them under control but it’s the incoming warship we are worried about. We can’t open our hangar bay doors without letting the glara troops in-.” Mid-sentence the figure finally looked up the from the control panel, hood falling back. They stopped, took a moment to squint at the screen before their mouth parted a little in shock.
Almost simultaneously, Shiro and the figure inhaled sharply.
Shiro’s arm extended out, palms sweaty, dirty and bloody. His helmeted partner turned to face him fully, extending one hand whilst removing their helmet with the other. A small but firm shake was exchanged as the person turned to face Shiro but when they did their lips fell apart in shock, almost as if they realized something.
His mind was buzzing - practically frying at what he was seeing in front of him. A human. Another human par from himself and Matt. A living breathing reminder of home stood dead ahead, holding his hand. The crowd surrounding the two was still living off the high of the battle just before, all too distracted to notice the two humans frozen in the arena.
“Oh.” The person before Shiro mumbled, slowly coming back to their senses. “You’re…”
“Human?” He finished. A warm feeling of relief and affection waved over Shiro momentarily as they mumbled something he would come to understand later - once he had learned that they had come from the Garrison to find him and Matt.
Shiro let go of the breath he was holding heavily, a familiar wave passing over him. After he had been separated from them, he thought he would never see them again. But part of him never gave up looking and like they had, just by whatever divine powers that be, he had come to find them. Shiro broke out in a smile, deciding it was only fitting to mirror the words he had heard so long ago.
~ Relief with Gladiators.
Date: ca. A.D. 2nd century
From the source: Gladiatorial games originated as funerary rites in which the deceased was celebrated through physical competitions. For this reason, relief depictions of gladiatorial combat were sometimes used as grave markers—probably not for gladiators themselves, but for those whose lives such games may have commemorated. The games were particularly popular during the Roman Empire; in fact, most of the known funerary depictions of gladiators are Imperial in date. As government sponsorship grew in the Empire, the games took on political overtones. By staging massive and elaborate series of combats that often lasted for months and involved the slaughter of scores of men and wild animals in arenas throughout the empire, the Romans culturally unified their territory and affirmed their power, both to create such dramatic spectacles, and over life and death themselves.
Gladiators fought in armor and with weapons specific to different types of warriors. The two figures on this relief, which is probably from a funeral stele, are each armed with a short sword and equipped with a helmet; a long, rectangular shield; a manica (arm guard) on the right arm; and an ocrea (leg guard) on the left leg. The helmet styles differentiate the gladiators: the one with the crested, fish-like helmet is a murmillio (from a Greek word for fish); the other figure, with a large, rounded helmet is a provocator, a type of gladiator also armed with a gladius, but with a shorter shield. On the relief the same pair of figures appears four times in three registers, each time in a different position of combat. Presumably, this represents the progression of a contest, and would have originally ended with one of the figures—most likely the provocator—admitting defeat and submitting to the judgement of the crowd. Roman depictions of gladiators often showed the combatants poised at the instant where combat stopped for the crowd to decide whether or not to spare the loser, emphasizing the spectators’ active control over life and death.
Bronze gladiator’s helmet. Roman, 1st century. Excavated at Pompeii, said to have been found in the gladiator’s barracks at Pompeii.
Helmet has a grille of linked circles to protect the face, and a broad brim to protect the back and the sides of the head. At the front of the helmet is a medallion of Hercules. Height: 48.26 centimeters.