Merc Rule 46

Written by J. D. Wiley --- Art by J. D. Wiley

Merc Rule 46: An eye for an eye is only good for the eyepatch salesman.

COYOTE JOE: There’s an old saying about an eye for an eye making everyone blind. It’s true, and it don’t work out so well for them that’s involved. Unless, o’ course, you’re in the business of selling eye-patches. But if you ain’t prepared to wear one yourself, you might not want to subscribe to that way of thinking.

You also may not want to put a fella’s eye out in Heliopolis Vault. The Draconian Regulators are an exacting bunch. If you’re caught and found guilty of a crime, it’s highly likely they’ll return it upon you. Sometimes ten fold. And the numerous forms of assault, battery, and murder garner very specific penalties.

Me and Spivey were fresh off the boat from Atlantica, and ready to find ourselves some trouble to get mixed up in. The kind that pays to put an end to it, mind you. Just needed a drink to take the edge off first. ‘Cause I’ll tell you what, nothing prepares you for the stink of Heliopolis Harbor. It’s much stronger than the piss and fish variety found at Atlantica. Yes sir, this was human refuse and rot. Miles of the coastline covered in trash and discarded goods. Damn near anything you could imagine.

If a man didn’t have a thing like pride in his way, he might make a living finding use for the waste. Repurposing it, finding gems, what have you. But not us. Me and Spivey much prefer getting our hands dirty in other ways. Like doling out well-deserved ass whoopings. Ain’t that right, Spivey?

SPIVEY: Yep.

COYOTE JOE: Where was I?

SPIVEY: Beer.

COYOTE JOE: Right. So we were on our way to grab some local hooch and settle in before looking for trouble. We traipse, through the Copperhead Hovels when we hear a thunderous roar. The sound of ten thousand raging civilian voices.

SPIVEY: The Coliseum.

COYOTE JOE: That’s right, the Coliseum. Operated by the Gladius Victura and led by Marcus Agrippa himself. It ain’t more’n a couple blocks from where we were, and it seemed like exactly the kind of trouble we were looking for, considering we didn’t have to get into it.

Me and Spivey climbed into the stands and watched as one o’ them big gladiators–one Goliath Gorski–proceeded to punch the living daylights out of some grubby criminal. My guess was he must have beaten some other sot after a game of cards. ‘Cause the penalty fits the crime in the arena, and ol’ Gorski was laying into him something fierce.

Wasn’t thirty seconds later the dry smacks turned to wet, pulpy ones, and Gorski’ quarry was limp and drug off by two other gladiators. That’s how they handle criminals in Heliopolis Vault. If you don’t learn the first time around, you may not be alive to get further “instruction.” And that’s why me and Spivey ain’t big fans of that “eye for an eye” stuff. ‘Specially not when we’re in the Vault.

-Coyote Joe, Memoirs of a Merc

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