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Beyond the Metal Sky (Sci-Fi Smackdown)

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Grock jolted upright at the sound of the morning siren. The lights in his room flicked on preventing any chance of him returning to sleep. Placing his feet on the cold metallic floor he emerged from his bunk, one of the few comforts afforded to him in their metal "coffin".  After fitting his nearly disintegrated rags, he plodded across reluctantly to his assembly station.

Reaching its conveyor belt, he looked up to greet Elanna with a smile, only to realise she wasn't there to respond in kind. He wondered where she had gone, there was nowhere else to go, except outside he thought.

Upon that he realisation, he froze. If she was outside, she was probably already dead. If the Fydants hadn't got her the radiation surely would have finished the job. Grock remembered her fondly as if she had already passed. She was defiant to the core, she often went weeks without food as punishment except for the scraps Grock would slip her. It came to no surprise that she had disappeared in the night, she always hated this place and always said "I rather die in the open air than like a caged rat."

The conveyor belt started,  which meant for Grock that his working day had begun. His work involved a menial task or assembling various metallic parts. What all the parts combined to become, he didn't have the slightest. All he knew was, "You work, you eat."

He hated this place almost as much as her, the insurable heat and the stench of unwashed bodies made the air almost sickening. Whilst in the past he had always been able to endure it, he found it almost impossible without Elanna.

As the day drew on he rubbed the calluses and bumps on his radiation ravaged hands, they had ached for as long as he could remember, yet he could never remember much if anything about what existed outside the metallic tomb.

Sudden pain struck him, which nearly threw him backwards, followed by a female voice.

Don't take the pills, Grock. Trust me.

"Wha the f-! Elanna?"

He looked around to see her. She wasn't there.

He jostled Dinar, "Did you see Elanna?"

Dinar just threw him a puzzled expression, "The work gettin to ya' Grock?"

"Elanna, I heard her"

"Yeah sure you did," he patted him sympathetically.

Grock wondered if the madness had struck him already, no he was sure he would have at least ten more years before that would set in like the other elders. In an attempt to dismiss his doubts of sanity he continued his assembly work, justifying the random spout of madness as a heat generated delusion.  Hours passed, until another siren signified break time for the workers and their gnarled anguished hands. Grock queued behind the rest, ready to collect his daily gruel from the slop pipe and his next dose of meds to ease the pain. After collecting his rations he returned to his bunk to eat.

Don't take the pills Grock, Trust me

The same voice in his head repeated.

He found his hands playing with the 'meds' unsure what to do . He raised in his hand up to his mouth. When a sudden jolt of pain emanated from his arm forcing him to drop the pill, before he could move to pick it up, his foot through a will of its own stamped on the fallen contents.

The siren resumed and Grock returned to work, slightly dazed at what had happened. He was definitely feeling the 'Madness' he thought.  Hours passed as he continued his monotonous assembly with the others  until the next siren blared signifying the long awaited rest time.

Climbing back into his bunk, he tried to clear his mind and clamped his eyes shut. Gradually the murmurs of other residents' complaints faded as his consciousness surrendered to his sleep's calls.

Wake up! You have to leave now Grock! While its dark!

Grock slowly rose from his bed half with it. "Elanna, that you? And leave where?"

Look we haven't got time, you gotta trust me, but things aren't what they seem. This place. It's a prison built for us to stay in. Go outside with one of the Geiger counters and you'll see what I mean.

Hearing  Elanna's instructions, Grock promptly leapt from his bunk and headed for door and grabbed a measuring device en route.  He wasn't sure what was driving him to this insanity but a part of him felt exhilarated that he would finally leave this metallic tomb. The other part of him just wanted to see her again, one way or another.  If it was all just a hallucination and she was wrong, then he was good as dead, but after residing in the bunker, he was certain death would be nice release.

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