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Trina, previously Trin Corina, is a human turned cyborg after a terrible injury during a mech arena match. Regency doctors were able to put Trina back together, but she is not the same person she once was.

Below is the complete story of her injuries.

"I have a bad feeling about this," Deon said.  He stood next to Trin's locker, adjusting and readjusting the straps on his black jumpsuit.  His pre-fight fidgeting didn't usually bother Trin, but today she wanted to slap his hands away from the straps and make him settle down.

"Don't worry." Trin put as much warmth and support into her voice as she could, but the words sounded icy to her own ears.  This was their way before each fight: Deon paced and played with the noisiest fasteners he could get his fingers into, and Trin would withdraw into the cold, focused center of herself, a coiled spring winding tighter and tighter until the tension could be released out on the field.

"This is a pro-tour qualifier.  How can I not worry?"

A half dozen reassurances danced across Trin's tongue, but they never made it past her teeth.  She swallowed them down.  Hollow words weren't going to get them through the next hour and a half.  They needed to focus.  Get their heads straight.  She wanted to slap Deon's face and tell him to get his act together, but she knew that would be counterproductive.  This was their way, and it had worked so far.  She trusted it would be enough.

A tinny speaker mounted in the corner of the locker room crackled to life. "Trina, report to your mech for pre-fight operations."

"You're up," Deon said.

"I wish they'd use my actual name.  Corina.  Trin Corina.  How hard is that?"

"You know why," Deon said without enthusiasm.  This, too, was a conversation they had many times.  Not before every fight, but close.

"I know, but--"

"Terr Corina is an established S-Class pilot in the upper division.  He--"

"I know who my brother is."

Deon sighed and pulled a particularly loud arm strap open, then smoothed it closed again.  The leagues didn't like the ambiguity and Terr was the more established pilot.  They both knew this, but it galled Trin that she couldn't keep her own name.  It was hers.

"If it's any consolation," Deon said, "you've got fans in the stands holding 'Trina' signs."

"I don't want fans," Trin snapped. "I want access to mil-tech.  And when we're on the other side of this match, we'll have it.  See you up top."

Trin closed her locker and turned away from her partner.  Before every match, she honed a cold center of confidence and focus.  As she marched up the steps leading to the arena battleground, she didn't feel her usual icy determination.  Stepping into the daylight, all she carried with her was a growing sense of impatience and frustration.  Maybe that would do just as well.

At the edge of the arena, she stopped and stood in front of her mech.  Five meters tall, it stood a head above many of the other vehicles in her league, but well short of the 10 and 15 meter beasts her brother piloted.  Yet this mech had served her well, with its broad stance on blocky legs, its retractable mecha-blade mounted to its right arm, and its durasteel round shield mounted on the left.  The way it stood in front of her with both arms extended and its chest cavity cockpit open, it seemed to invite her to become its heart once again.  In answer to this silent request, Trin mounted the ladder to take her rightful place.

Strapped in, Trin keyed the sequence to bring the mech to life.  The chest cavity closed around her as lights and displays electrified and illuminated the darkened cockpit.  Trin's hands slipped into the controls and her feet found the pedals.  One moment, the tall armored vehicle stood inert and vulnerable, an empty vessel to be filled.  Under Trin's control, it came alive and moved with grace and purpose.  Made complete by its pilot, humming with mechanical vibrance, it had a name: Dawn Splitter.

"Corina." Even through the static and fuzz of the Dawn Splitter's weak comm system, Trin could hear the venom poured into her name.  She recognized the voice, too.  Her opponent today, Hollis Miner.

"Hollis," Trin responded.  Some pilots liked to banter before a match.  Her brother was especially known for it, tearing apart his opponents verbally before destroying their mechs on the field.  Trin didn't care for it.  They were about to fight, sure, but it didn't need to be personal.

"I've waited a long time for this," Hollis said.

"Inspections are almost over, so you won't have to wait much longer."

"You have no idea who I am, do you, Corina?"

Something about Hollis's tone gave Trin pause.  This didn't sound like the usual pre-fight sparring that made Trin roll her eyes.  The anger in Hollis's voice hinted at a greater reserve of rage, barely held in check. "I don't think we've met."

"Five years," Hollis growled. "Your brother destroyed my mech.  It's taken five years, but now I'm going to do to you what he did to me."

"I'm not my brother!" Trin heard her own voice as feedback.  It sounded almost as angry as Hollis's.  She took a deep breath before continuing. "Let's just have a clean fight, okay?"

The comm channel clicked into silence.  Unusual.  While the pilots weren't required to communicate with each other during a fight, an unspoken rule meant keeping the channel open in case of an emergency.  As heated as the competition could get, this was a sporting event, not war.  Pilots weren't really trying to kill each other, and safety was always a concern.

Trin turned an eye towards the match display.  Thirty seconds left on the countdown.  One tap, and she could call for a delay of game.  All pilots were allowed one delay per match without penalty.  Maybe she could stall and try to get the situation with Hollis under control before they brought literal tons of mechanical warfare against each other.

No.  To Hell with Hollis.  If he wanted to throw one flimsy safety measure out, so be it.  Trin could fight without hearing her opponent breathing and swearing.  She could sink further into that professional, dispassionate calm that saw her through so many matches.  More importantly, she could beat this Hollis Miner into the ground the way her brother did, and prove that she deserved to be called by her own name.

The league didn't think there was room for two Corina's.  She'd prove them wrong and make room.

The buzzer sounded.  The match display went green, and the gates opened.  Gritting her teeth, moving the Dawn Splitter forward as if by force of will alone, Trin "Trina" Corina launched into arena ready to fight the match of her life.

The engines roared and the Dawn Splitter's feet pounded thunder on the asphalt of the battlefield.  Between steps, Trin could hear the crowd screaming and cheering.  For a split second, she wondered how much bigger and louder the audience would be in the upper leagues.  With such a crowd, would she be able to hear them chant her name over the rumble of the mech's power drive?

The momentary distraction nearly cost Trin the match.  Blaster fire whizzed by turning Trin's whole world into flashes of red.  Some of the blasts hit the ground near the Dawn Splitter's feet, melting the asphalt into craters and molten slag.  Just outside the gate on the opposite side of the arena, Hollis's mech stood braced with one arm lifted firing volley after volley.

Melee versus ranged.  Not Trin's favorite matchup, but she knew what to do.  Speed got her out the gate and threw off Hollis's aim, but it wouldn't be enough.  She pivoted, ducked, turned again, and vaulted.  Blaster fire exploded all around her, missing her armor by centimeters.  A temperature panel ticket up a degree, more from the maneuvers than from the heat of the blaster bolts.  For Trin to win, she would have to close the distance between her and her opponent before the armor ablated and the coolant went into the red.

Trin stopped consciously thinking about operating the mech.  The distinction between Dawn Splitter and Trin grew thin.  Trin hoisted her shield, squaring it between her and her opponent as she made her first charge.  She raised her right hand behind her and the sword extended, locking into place and adding its own vibrating hum to the cocaphony of the heavy mech's feet pounding the pavement.

Hollis reacted.  Abandoning the braced position, he wheeled left, laying a pattern of blaster fire in front of Trin's path.  More holes to catch the mech's footing.  More bolts meant to tear through the Dawn Splitter's metallic flesh.  Hollis fired and moved, fired and moved.

Trin persisted.  She moved nimbly around the craters, her footing firm and sure.  She pivoted the heavy shield on her left side, catching blaster bolts before they could reach critical systems.  Radiant energy moved up the Dawn Splitter's left arm and the temperature panel climbed several degrees, from green to orange.  If it reached red, the fight would be over.  Sweat beaded on Trin's forehead, but she paid it no mind.  She was the Dawn Splitter, and the Dawn Splitter did not concern itself over mortal discomfort.

The blaster fire became more desperate.  Hollis continued moving backwards, but he could not match Trin's speed without abandoning his attack.  He planted one massive foot behind him in another brace, leveled the blaster, and increased his rate of fire.

Trin adjusted the angle of her shield and pushed the mech into a sprint.  Only a few dozen meters left between her and Hollis, and the shield was about to break.  Her corporal hands moved over the controls and her mechanical body reacted.  The mechanism binding the shield to her arm disengaged.  As it began to fall away, her knees buckled into a momentary crouch.  Metal feet slid a meter across concrete.  Her legs extended.  The mech leapt. No jump jets on The Dawn Splitter, yet it took flight just the same, a graceful arc that ended where Hollis stood braced.

The Dawn Splitter's sword slashed.  Hollis abandoned the blaster and extended his own sword to parry.  Vibroblade met vibroblade in a shower of sparks and screaming electrodes.  Trin and Hollis collided, momentum braking Hollis's stance and sending both mech's rolling.

Trin regained her footing first, and she knew the fight was won.  She closed the distance between her and Hollis and rained blows upon her foe.  Hollis rolled to dodge, brought up his sword to parry.  Trin slipped past Hollis's defense.  The blade sliced through the elbow joint.  Hollis's blade and part of his arm slid across the asphalt, coming to a halt against an arena wall next a section of cheering fans.  Trin brought the blade down and placed it against the exposed cockpit of Hollis's mech.

She won.  Her eyes flicked to the match control panel.  Still green.  The fight didn't end until the panel went red, the indicator that one of the pilot's tapped out.  If Hollis didn't concede, she would be forced to do more damage to the mech.  Expensive.  It could take years to recover from that kind of damage.  It must have been what her brother afflicted on Hollis when they fought all those years ago.

"Come on, Hollis," Trin said.  With the comm channel closed, she knew her opponent couldn't hear her, but the words needed to be said. "Don't make me do this."

Another handful of heartbeats passed.  Trin had no choice.  She raised the sword over the Dawn Splitter's head, preparing to cleave the rest of Hollis's damaged arm.

The match panel went red.

Trin released a breath she didn't know she'd been holding.  The Dawn Splitter took a step back and she disengaged her weapon.  It retracted back into her arm.  She won, just as she knew she would win.  She turned and as one with the Dawn Splitter, raised her arms in victory, celebrating with the cheering crowd.

Her legs went out from under her.  The moment of connection, where she controlled the Dawn Splitter as if it were an extension of her body, fractured.  She was just Trin again, trapped inside an out-of-control vehicle. The display shifted from a cheering crowd to a cloud-filled sky.

The Dawn Splitter landed hard on its back.  Trin hit her head on the back of her control harness and her vision blurred.  Above her stood Hollis's mech.  It raised its damaged arm as if the mech were examining its injury.

"What are you--"

Hollis raised his foot and stomped on the Dawn Splitter's chest.  The lights of the controls went out.  The cockpit compressed under the weight of Hollis's mech.

"Don't do this!  Hollis, no!"

The enemy mech brought its foot down again.  And again.  The armor failed.  Pain tore through Trin's body and she screamed.  No escape. No way to protect herself. Hollis stomped once again, then darkness overwhelmed her.


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