I can say truthfully that I was too young to die.

Well, in a Creation like this, truth has a really mean way of creeping up on you and smacking you in the face. People out there, myself included, say that there's a heaven up there somewhere. But I soon learned - this God-forsaken place is a little bit outside God's kingdom. How I got here is anyone's guess, but I have had no time to contemplate. I have to move. Now. I have to keep running. Running. Running like I've run for the past millenia, an eternal marathon, to keep out of the grasp of my enemy. Perhaps I can dispatch him from a distance... I don't know, I haven't checked my ammo in a long time, I might need to pick some up... I try not to think, not to think but rather focus on the battle, the bloodsport, the maelstrom and chaos orbiting around me at any given moment. But still, the memories float back occaisionally, only to be chased away by a rattle of gunfire off in the distance. I have to battle, defend myself. It is the only way I can stop any more physical pain from being slapped onto me. But, still, a fleeting hope just kind of sits there.. while the portrait around it is disappearing...

With all this fighting, this action, I'm talking adrenaline capital of the entire fricking universe, you'd think a person like me to be happy. It was what I lived for, it was what kept me in line. But now I know what overdosing does to a person. I'm going mad, not a progressive type of insanity but rather sitting at the brink of it for as long as I could remember...

I feel myself dreaming again. The life is coming back again... maybe now I'll be able to understand it.

********

My friends and relatives knew me as a go-getter. Aggressive, the kind of person that would stand up for others and fight for right. From superhero games as a kid to my strange fascination for heavy weaponry as a teen, my mentality had me set out for my future occupation - Space Marine.

Boot camp, primary training, everything was flat-out brutal - but I still held on to myself, knowing full well I was the type the officials were looking for. I sat on reserves for what seemed like forever, before the bigwigs decided to take us out for a ride, forgoing the primary forces and giving the back-seaters some action to keep them from going rusty. Upon promotion to Master Corporal, the next dropship had me and thirty other special forces members on their way to the desolate moon of Phobos. Turns out several minor daemons back from the days of the Marines' first operations on Phobos were back, and causing hell. The place was already wasted when we got there, but that didn't stop us from raiding the joint and busting some heads. It was the first operation I'd ever been on, and we absolutely aced it, some of the members attaining only minor injuries. I had come out completely scarless, and having taken down three Imps using a handgun, I was on top of the world. I had a credit to my name.

Word came from power that we were ordered to remain on Phobos for the time being while the colony was reconstructed. As soon as many of the main facilities were set up, many of us joined in on the rebuilding of the colony. Soon enough, a small fraction of us had made the choice to remain and live off of the new colony, many of the forces eagerly accepting the free housing. I settled into my new domain for the next two years, participating repeatedly in training missions that occured at the colony frequently. At some point, I'd resigned from the forces altogether, and helped maintain the colony.

That's when it happened.

At some point, I was walking down the hall of a new wing on the colony, and I was crushed by a girder, dropped from a crane.

The great super-marine, bloodhungry, immortal, killed by a girder.

I remained in infirmary, helpless, while a good portion of me was tattered beyond recognition. While I'd only lived hours after the incident, with my dying breath I was announced the searing truth. One of my old marine-buddies, one rank below me, was behind the "accident". All my career, all of my accomplishments, all flushed down the crapper because some ignorant bastard wished to get promoted in front of me. That was it. Everything, bleh. I even had my eye on the navigation officer, damn, she was nice. I already had a ring picked out. But that was past tense for me.

And that's where the pain began. Life flashes before eyes, huge-ass light, yada yada.

Where I was standing was in a gigantic field of white. Blinding white. Apparently the searing light had seared a little too far. However, I was back in my old military uniform, the combat armor normally reserved for the grunts.

"Welcome."

I whipped around, checking myself. No one was there. "..hello?"

"We've been expecting you." the voice boomed.

"Hey, am I in heaven or something?"

"We know nothing of this 'heaven' place you speak of. You are beyond your realm. Do not be ashamed if you feel uninformed. Where you lie is beyond, beyond, beyond all interaction... allow us to introduce ourselves. We are the Vadrigar. Where you inhabit, your 'universe' is a breeding ground... a preemptive training arena..."

"...arena? Arena for what?"

I had no time left to think, as the light around me erupted into darkness, quickly replaced by tens, hundreds, thousands, millions, BILLIONS of different displays, all showing first-person views in different areas - where they were, I had no idea. "...what is this?!"

"This is the pride of the Vadrigar, our finest achievement. Where you stand, mortal, is in the heart of the Arena Eternal - the last bastion of reality's greatest combatants, after their primary training... what you see, experience is the sensory of every warrior deceased before you.. all thrust into forever-lasting combat. You are simply the latest to be added."

"Last.. to be.. added?! What kind of bullshit is this?!? Listen, I'm not going to sit around and be your little soldier! I am NOT going to be the butt of some sort of cosmic joke!"

"If that's how you insist describing it. You must fight. Fight. Combat is forever in this place. There is no escape. You have been chosen, you must join the ranks of the Eternal. Get ready to begin immortality, mortal."

That was it. Pow, I blink and I'm standing in a pool of blood. Ahead of me, on a stone passageway above the main floor of a castle, with the corpse in front of me, riddled mercilessly with bulletholes. There's a machine gun in my hand. And my crusade began.

********

That's when I knew I was damned. Every day, in and out, I shoot and get shot. This Vadrigar guy doesn't even let people have the luxury of dying, either - you get blown up, perferated, melted, disembowled, and you're immediately resurrected. The pain is incredible, and the bloodlust ferments on its own after a while.

Two years later, I saw him. The soldier. The betrayer. He was new here, alright - he was shriveled up in the corner of an embattlement, his armor torn to shreds, shivering in primal fear as he left his railgun on the ground. It was me who took the oversized cannon into my possession, holding the gleaming barrel in my two hands before staring down at his shattered psyche once again. He knew what was coming to him. One shot ripped his torso in half. I rubbed the blood between my fingers, sensing a lost part of his humility, before rubbing it off against my armor.

I know he's here again, somewhere, in this degenerated world, somewhere. I have that railgun strapped to my back, for the next time I meet up with him. He is going to get fragged, and fragged, and fragged, until he can't take it anymore. Then is when he will truly know my pain.

It's another day in the Arena Eternal.