Space Oddity

Plisken woke in a small dank room. This time it was he was awake before Alex, Alex still sleeping peacefully. Plisken felt strange. Not strange as in "Should I have eaten that?" or strange as in "Are you sure you didn't piss in this?" but strange. Like he was not older. Or at least not a lot older like he had been before. Then the memories of the day before came floating in the foreground of his mind's eye. A hulking Harpy , or whatever, dressed in a riduculous get up (a disturbingly tight nurses outfit) carried a sharp needle. Plisken tried to make the image go away but in his mind's eye he saw how they had cured him. He crossed his legs very quickly and imagined a little pain that made him whimper slightly.

Alex must have been a light sleeper as he woke to the sound of the whimper. Or perhaps Plisken was more of a coward than he thought.

"Uh," groaned Alex he rose from the thread bare carpet that had been laid down on the ground. "That music is doing my head in."

Music? Plisken took in his surrondings. It was a small cage room, made of a soft dark wood. Beyond the cage was a large yellow sand area cricled by stands of Cherokee, or whatever, cheering at the action below. A well dressed Heineken, or whatever, was speaking loudly to the crowds, getting them excited. But he was speaking English, how could that be? Then another memory surfaced from the murky depths. A fish. A small yellow fish. A Babylon Fish? No, a Babel Fish. Plisken felt a cold shiver go down his spine as he remembered where the babel fish was.

Before he could think anymore the cage was lifted up and the well dressed Harpoon, or whatever, walked towards them with a huge 'grin'.

"These are our contestants!" cried The Well-Dressed Harper, "And this is Gladiators!" The crowd cheered. "These people will face the Gladiators in a bid to save themselves!" Another cheer. "The first round is Atlaspheres!"

Plisken and Alex were pushed into two large spherical metal cages armed with spikes and saws. From the other side of the arena were two similar cages only they were piloted by massive Harkers, one with a Wolf printed on his leather armour, the other a Hawk. From the centre of the arena appeared a pit of boiling lava and sharp spikes. At least the rules were easy to guess. On a pedestle above the arena, a burly Hark-The-Herald-Angels-Sing, or whatever, was dressed in a black and white stripped shirt.

"Contenders, Ready?" he shouted.

"Seriously?" said Alex.

"Gladiators, Ready?"

"Seriously?" said Plisken.

"3...2...1!" A whistle was blown.

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