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  • Orbitae Films

Pandora's last fight

Updated: Jun 21, 2023

It looked like the coin moved in slow motion. Sarah was holding her breath. Her life depended on it. Both her eyes and her opponents were glued to this obtuse decelerated two-sided piece of metal. One flip. Two flips… even three flips in the air, until it finally began to fall down. Sarah was ready. She had never lost at this game. As it touched the ground, the coin hesitated a bit, but then it fell flat with a deafening sound, like a bell from hell.


“Well, this will be interesting”, she thought.

An illustration of a woman in a wasteland holding a sword - AI generated

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She gazed at her opponent, who had already taken his gun out and was pointing it directly at her. But she was faster. In a split second, she backflipped and avoided the bullet by a mere millimeter. She felt the heat graze her cheek, leaving an itchy sensation. At the same time, she pulled out her weapon of choice for today’s battle. Not a gun. “Where’s the fun with that?”, she used to say, “one hit and you’re done!”. No, hers was a tad more dramatic. Personal. It was a Sica. A short sword bended at the end in an angle for maximum damage. It was used by the best warriors that ever existed: the gladiators. And that is exactly what she was. A gladiatrix.

Like in the old days, if you participated at these games, your life was at stake but if you won, you won big. And Sarah knew how to fight. Her somewhat frail but tattooed body was deceiving. She was actually very agile, slithering across the arena, playing and haunting her pray like a cobra. Her strength came from deep within her bowels. At first, most of her opponents underestimated her, but it took her just a few fights in the ring to build a name for herself and instill fear. She was baptized Pandora, as she always brought doom to every person who dared challenging her.

She ended her backflip in a theatrical pose: crouching with one leg stretched to the right, the Sica parallel to it, like a samurai. Six-shot - her opponent’s name - got a bit concerned. He never missed a shot. Although he had the upper hand winning the first move, she just ditched the shot and was now teasing him. Quietly observing him. Analyzing him, before launching her next attack. He imperceptibly pulled the hammer of his revolver and aimed. It was a clean shot or at least he thought. As soon as Sarah, AKA Pandora, heard the rattling of the gun, she threw a small dagger he had not seen, right into his predominant wrist, disabling his hand. The revolver fell heavily to the floor, with a splash of dirt and blood. At the same time, the shot missed Sarah yet again, but it hit a person in the audience. It passed through his beer, directly into his left nostril and exploded his brain. It was, indeed, a perfect shot. The people around him were covered with grey matter, though it did not bother them, some kept eating their hot dog, while a woman celebrated as she had found the bullet, displaying it high in the air, as if it were a baseball. The camera picked the action and showed it in the gigantic screens that surrounded the arena.

The crowd was euphoric. It was the danger of coming to the games. Even if you were not in the arena, you could still get hurt by a redirected, avoided or thrown piece of armory. Accidents did happen. In fact, rare were the games with zero casualties. But it was part of the excitement, almost like being part of the fight itself. A Russian roulette.

Just a few seconds later, a robotic stretcher arrived. It lifted the body with its metallic arm and proceeded to take it out of the stadium. Behind it, a mechanical table offered the splattered fans some beers. Simultaneously, the incident was put on replay on the big screens on each corner of the stadium, with a “WASTED” tag over it and a “#22”. The better and more unexpected your death as a spectator was, the higher the rank, which meant you went down for posterity. The top 10 of each year’s best deaths, being the most watched videos of the internet. Unfortunately for this reckless soul, he did not even make it to the Top 20.

In the arena, Sarah was focused. Six-shot growled as he took the blade out of his wrist, tearing muscle, tendons and bones. The little dagger was modified by Pandora herself: it had inverted indentations, like tiny snake’s fangs. He looked at her with such anger, the blood vessels in his eyes popped, transforming them in two grotesque rubies. She grinned.

Blinded with rage, he recklessly ran towards her, brandishing his second weapon of choice, a machete. The audience gasped. That move was a mistake. You could not just confront Pandora like that. The stadium went silent, waiting for what was inevitably going to happen. As he was approaching her, Pandora calmly got up and dodged the grotesque blade charging at her with a swift step to the side and rolled on Six-shot’s back. She then thrusted her Sica right between his lower back ribs with such force, it seemed his flesh was butter. With the help of her body weight, she slid the metal to his spinal cord, turned it and finally took it out, in a majestic movement. The loud snap that followed echoed in everyone’s head, making their toes curl.

An illustration of woman with short hair screaming - AI generated

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Six-shot’s back bended like a branch as he fell to the ground. The crowd burst with joy. That was the reason it came here tonight. It was an unprecedented moment, an epic culmination. Pandora lifted her arms and claimed her victory. She had just made history: it was her 100th win in a row. She was a goddess. Invincible. The fight was clean, quick, almost too easy, she thought as she smiled to the audience, her arms still in the air. But it will be remembered. She will be remembered.

“Pandora, Pandora”, chanted the crowd.

She took in all the energy from the place. The sound of the crowd, the smell of blood, the taste of sweat. The deed, as predictable, was broadcast worldwide, even across colonies in different planets. She did become a legend.

As soon as Sarah stepped out of the stadium, a heavy bag with her prize on her shoulder, she looked back at the place that had been her home for so many years and smiled. She then left, to never come back.

It was the last time she was ever seen.


Alex Iwanoff

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