8162 A.D. The world's orbit has moved closer to the sun. Gladitorial combat (The Game) is initiated by the World Development Council (W.D.C.) to distract the masses. Following the death of 153 civilians in a playoff game, the Game was cancelled in 8158. the W.D.C. formed N.U.R.S.E. (National Union of Retired Sports Experts) to provide the former gladiators with work. N.U.R.S.E. proved corrupt, however, and eventually the longest-running champion team of the Game, Dragon's Claws, was recruited as a mercenary force to hunt down rogue gladiators.