Say what you want about Madripoor, it’s all fair because Madripoor is a horrible place, but what’s also true is that it’s a literal land of opportunity. Anyone from anywhere can come to Madripoor and make it to the top if they’re enough of a soulless monster. And being lucky helps too. Also you have to no get killed.
An old man once told me that chasing money to buy your life back is a fool’s errand. He might have just said that because he was about to die though. That’s the kind of thing people say to assassins who are about to kill them. I don’t know if they think saying some arcane shit will stop you from killing them or if it feels good to get in some last words before you die.
I never bought that, because what else can get your life back if not money, but I understand what he meant now, don’t be so busy trying to get back what you lost that you don’t live the life you have. Problem being by the time that you realize you’re in that trap you’re in that trap. Duh.
The Golden Daggers isn’t a superpowers only type of fighting joint but it’s not a boring vanilla MMA outfit either. I can fight as well as I need to, but I’m not Elektra or Echo fight superpowered people with pure kungfu skill level either, which is where I needed to be to get the Golden Daggers gig. The good news is the day I can’t find super-drugs in Madripoor is the day I retire to Indiana, get a job as a claim adjuster, marry some dweed and crap out a couple of ugly screaming kids.
When you’re starting at the bottom of the trash-heap what you need to do is make sure you don’t die from bad junk before you start making enough money to get the good stuff. I cozied up to a Cuban spy who claimed he could test my super-drugs for purity before I took them but he turned out to be full of crap.
I learned that the hard way when I almost died after taking a “super serum” the seller claimed to have made from a drop of Venom symbiotic goo. It would have been a nice boost to have taken over his drug network after I killed him too but the Shadowlords told me that was not in the cards.
Despite that misstep it wasn’t long before I was in the groove, making enough money trading punches at the Golden Daggers with the never ending parade of failed super-soldiers that plague Madripoor like fleas on an old hound dog, to buy my super-juice and have some left over to start building up funds for my next project.
It was slow but steady progress. Infuriatingly slow.
Then I saw that my next opponent was Benny. I knew that name. Once I remembered who he was I thought “okay, now here’s a chance to do something”.
Malligator was fine once we got settled in Madripoor. Not fine, fine but on the mend. He doesn’t heal like me, but he’s a lizard guy and they all heal up without needing hospitals or anything it seems. I think I saw three other lizard guys just walking to our hotel one day. Madripoor, you can’t beat it. It’s like that space bar in Star Wars, you might see any kind of super guy hanging around.
My plan was to help him convalesce but Malligator told me he thought it would be better if we went our separate ways at that point. He was thankful that I got him to Madripoor but he thought that he would be safer without me around. I was hurt and surprised.
When I asked him why he said that he thinks I might be cursed because everything I get involved with seems to go to hell. When I asked him what he meant by that he said that everything was going fine for him in the UCFW until I showed up and then pointed out that I chose to run away from trouble with the Power Broker to Madripoor, which is where the Power Broker famously operates out of.
I don’t think that’s true, that his is where the PB hangs out anymore, but he had a point. Nothing seems to work out when I’m around. He probably is better off on his own. Good guy that Malligator.
The good thing about Madripoor, if you can call anything about it good, is there are always people willing to pay good money to see blood. That Mr. X Bloodsport thing that started my downfall with Helen in the first place, that’s just the tip of a very ugly and dirty iceberg. The first day I showed up in town I had a fight down at the docks for a handful of bright pink and purple bills that turned out to be work about $6 American. But you have to start somewhere.
This probably goes without saying but the cash and carry street fighting world is a hard row to hoe. Unless you’re a meatbag out there to get hammered repeatedly until you die you have about three fights before word gets around that you’re a “ringer” and no one will fight you anymore unless you move up in the world.
That’s good right? Moving up means more money doesn’t it? Yes, but nope, not really. What it really means is that you draw the attention of the people that are making the real money off the blood of others. People want a piece of you and they don’t like being told no. After a couple of wins all sort of managers and agents and hustlers come out of the woodwork and they want you to take a dive or pull a job or do whatever other than just fight a fair fight with someone you’re well matched against.
Which would be fine, I’ll take a dive or do whatever, except they’re also trying to screw you over. My goal was to try and stay in the middle lane as much as possible and work my way up to the Golden Dagger club. That place has a rep as being square, as square as these things ever are.
I made it. I got mind controlled into ripping off a pirate by an alien babe in a bikini and I had to change names and move around a couple times but I made it. I got a fight at the Golden Dagger. And my first opponent was Helen. I couldn’t believe it.
What a fucking world.