Steel jaws on pink flesh.

The gladiators wheeled their massive reptilian steeds about to face each other and raised their lances in mutual salutes. It was fitting, in this ancient sport, to use ancient beasts in such a way. Shining titantium scales covered their steel bodies, and simulated roars erupted from their hydraulic jaws.

Golden sunlight covered this day’s contest. Fibrous cables laid down centuries ago piped the images all over the world to vidscreens tinted blue with decay. No one knew how to make vidscreens anymore, but they made do. Spectators admired the tableau from the relative comfort of their underground shelters.

One gladiator wore a helmet with an airbrushed dragon’s head, the other did not wear a helmet, though fully a quarter of his head was metal, dented and starting to rust. The invisible crowd cheered through loudspeakers when he shook his lance in the air and goaded his mount to charge.

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