ENTRY 025: Cockfighters
In the low-gravity mooncrete wells of Luna and the chicken-wire cage-tubes of orbital habitats, feathers and blood fly, the droplets playing out their strange fluid mechanics before splattering the walls. Avian biomorphs and even trained animals that could not fly in Earth gravity fight with ankle-spurs and wing-tip blades, circling and sparring in blood matches for dominance, honor, and money.
Most contemporary cockfights involve a vast range of contestants, from the purebred baseline chicken-matches on Luna to the neupenguin “blood in the water” matches on Ganymede. Enthusiasts spend considerable time and research designing, training, and augmenting their fighting animals, and prized champions are worth considerably more than most basic morphs.
The most common cockfight format involves small, aggressive, low-maintenance domesticated birds that are normally flightless except in low gravity, locked in a small open chain mesh cage or other arena-space to keep them from going after the audience. Specific rules and the legality of the matches—and the inevitable betting—varies from habitat to habitat, but the matches enjoy a widespread social appeal that brings large crowds from across the population spectra of the habitats.
Pod Cockfights are generally held separately from trained animals, as the addition of a transhuman intellect adds yet another dimension to the bloody spectacle, and avian pod fighters are respected martial artists within their own leagues. The most elaborate and expensive of all cockfights are pod matches between augmented bipedal flightless birds resurrected from relic DNA. While too large to be capable of flight even in low gravity, the modified emus, ostriches, and thunderbirds are capable of incredible feats of jumping and agility.
- The latest fad in Extropia is the Dodo Club, an entry-level, mostly bloodless cockfighting social event aimed at less mature egos, with supplementary programs to help the young transhumans design and modify their birds and plan their strategies. However, a rogue group using cruel training techniques and vicious implanted weapons is cutting a swathe through the league. Someone needs to stand up to these bullies…will it be the player characters?
- Social approbation against cockfights in the Jovian Republic has been growing—spurring the increase of illicit matches underground and in neighboring habitats. Legitimate enthusiasts are upset against the restrictions being put in place, and the shady characters running the matches. Suspicion rests on the most vocal opponent of cockfighters, Chair Yeungling. If the player characters can prove a link between Yeungling and the criminals running the matches, the fans would be very grateful
- A major pod cockfight is scheduled in the habitat the characters are in—the morphs are ready, but egos with combat experience are scarce. If the player characters are game, they can temporarily resleeve into bitching military-grade avian biomorphs and engage in bloody gladiatorial contests for rep and credits.