This is the third part of the 6-part event on He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2010's TV series).
When He-Man awakens, he is still in a sunless underground cavern. Around him are thousands of Reptons in chains and collars. The clatter of mining work is all around him in the dark caves, and a big human male stands before him. “You’re awake already? Good. Most take a full day to recover from the Gargons. Not that you’ll get much rest time around here.” He-Man shakes his head, unable to rid himself of a haze dulling his senses. “Who . . . am I,” he asks. “Ah,” says the big man, “they’ve hit you with the Obliterator. You must have been quite a challenge for them then. You’re in Targa, young man. I am Garn, Slaver Prime of the Mines. I answer directly to Lodar. You are fortunate—I am in need of a Second. You’ll have to prove yourself in the Fighting Arena, but you look fit enough. Keep that pretty face of yours intact and you’ll be Queen Balina’s favorite.” “I don’t understand. Am I a slave?” “Keep asking questions and you could be. Fight well in the Arena, and you’ll be an overseer like me. Come, you’ll be going up soon.” Garn takes He-Man to a subterranean arena where the slaves and overseers train to be gladiators for the Circus of Targa. Garn tests He-Man’s strength and is impressed, but He-Man’s head remains clouded and he has trouble focusing on his opponent. When he survives several head on strikes by the battle clubs, strikes that would have killed any other man, Garn is amazed. He-Man lifts Garn’s gladiators over his head to stop their attacks. “By the Elders’ brows, you have power! No wonder they cast the Obliterator on you so fast. You are more than ready for the Great Arena!” He-Man witnesses the cruelty of Targa’s slave pits first hand as Garn leads him through the mines. Hideous, misshapen creatures called Kobolds are the primary enforcers. They appear mindless, possibly controlled by a strange substance that He-Man sees them ingesting. To his surprise, Garn seems no less revolted by the Kobolds and their treatment of the Reptons, yet he does nothing. As Garn take He-Man to the upper levels of the Mines, they pass the recaptured Lizard Man. The Repton recognizes He-Man and tries to remind him of his true identity, but He-Man does not recognize his own name. “How is it you remember while I do not,” he asks Lizard Man. “They say the Obliterator only works once, but that is usually enough,” Lizard Man explains as the Targans pull him away. “The others will help us, He-Man! I escaped once, I can do it again!” “He’s a fool if he thinks that,” Garn laughs. “No one escapes Targa. Even those who escape the pits are recaptured or killed.” “Why,” asks He-Man. “Why are you all living like this? Why are these people in chains?” Garn blinks, as if the answer was obvious. “Because they were captured, that’s why! If they escape, they know they’ll be caught again and beaten and then put back in the chains anyway, so they stay where they are. And you’ll stop asking questions if you don’t want to end up like them.” He-Man did as Garn ordered, but he did not understand why the Reptons were slaves and he was to be something else. In the larger arena on the surface, He-Man is pitted against more gladiators for the amusement of Geldor and Balina. Geldor is especially pleased with He-Man’s strength, and wishes to see him fight greater and greater opponents until at last He-Man has only Garn left to defeat. They clash, and He-Man realizes that Garn is afraid of him for the first time. He asks Garn, “What will happen to you if I win?” Garn says nothing, but the fear in his eyes answers the question. He-Man disarms him and Geldor applauds. “Excellent, gladiator! Finish him off!” He-Man lets Garn get back up and throws down his weapon. “I won’t take his life—not for your pleasure of anyone’s.” Geldor is furious and orders the other Gladiators to kill him, but He-Man has already defeated them and there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that he could do it again. “Magnificent,” Balina says with glee. Geldor ignores her. “Very well then,” he says to He-Man with a cold smile. “If Garn’s life matters so much to you, then he can be your Second. You are now Slaver Prime. Report to Lodar at once!” “Coward,” Balina scoffs quietly after Geldor leaves. “He backs down and disguises it badly as generosity. These men will rebel against him before they follow him.” She watches the gladiators rallying around He-Man, impressed by his strength and moved by his mercy. She snaps for her wizard Drakka to come to her. “I must know who this man is. Bring him to me, Drakka, before he lands in Lodar’s clutches.” Drakka obeys, intercepting He-Man as the guards escort him back to the mines. He leads He-Man to Balina’s private chambers, where she welcomes him with a sensual smile.
“I saw you in the Arena. You fight well. Tell me of yourself . . . or do you remember anything?” “I think they called me . . . He-Man.” “He-Man? I’ve heard that name before. They say he is the reincarnation of the Grayskull legend from long ago. But that is folk lore, and you are very real.” She draws herself close to him. “Your power is great, and best of all you have fire. The others look to you already like they look to no man…they see a leader in you. I have been looking for a man such as you. Targa needs strength now. The forces of Darkness are growing, and Targa will be lost if it has no one strong like you to protect it. Torgul is an old man, Geldor is a coward, and I do not trust that foreign King Randor or his alliance of alien kingdoms. Targa is on its own, as it has always been. But you . . . you could make Targa strong.” He-Man rejects her. “A city built on the backs of slaves doesn’t have the strength to stand on its own.” Balina laughs. “Bless the Elders, they took your name but left pretty little adages like that in your head? Mighty one, I have no desire to keep slaves. Free them if you like. It is Geldor who amuses himself with the slaves. But that too could be solved if you joined me. With you, we would not need an alliance with Eternos! Eternia could be ours by our own hands.” He-Man thinks he hears a distant voice calling him, another woman—this one with wings like a falcon. But her voice is very faint and he cannot concentrate long enough to hear her clearly. Balina demands back his attention with a slap. “Do you think the Queen of Targa assigns her affections to just anyone? I offer you the envy of a kingdom, and you stare at the floor!” “Can you restore my memory,” he ask her suddenly and Balina is caught off guard. She questions Drakka, but the wizard shakes his head. “The spell used was the Obliterator. It comes from Lodar, and only he knows how it might be undone.” “Then I must speak to Lodar,” He-Man concludes and turns to leave. “He will not give you what you want, champion,” she calls after him. “You will spoil your life chasing memories that will never return. I offer you the chance to make new memories…better memories. Consider my offer. The Slavery in Targa can end with you.”
To be continued.