Author: Christopher Aguiar
The door to the morgue bursts open. I hold my head against the desk in my office and hope it’s a bullet wound. The robots whir and beep, their usual custom, before lowering their brethren onto one of the tables. I eventually stroll out of my office and usher them away.
The worst thing about working in a morgue for these metallic creatures is that I previously worked in morgues for flesh-bound Marauders. Sure, it was nastier with Marauders but at least I knew what I was doing. Here there is no purplish-blue skin, no gashes longer than my arm, no stench, no amputated bodies, no freakishly long nails. All I have here are freezing cold heaps of metal. And I somehow have to figure out how they have gone from full-functioning robots to junk.
When they abducted me years ago, I didn’t think I would live this long. A Marauder diener working with the enemy. The ‘bots I answer to don’t seem to care much. They just want their comrades put back together immediately and sent to the frontlines. They always have the upper-hand. With Marauders, you can’t put us back together and resuscitate our bodies with nuts and bolts. We’re made of bone, muscle and tissue.
The room clears out. I hover over the robot and pull the cloth they had laid over its body. Noticing no bullet holes or shrapnel, I run my fingers over its faux-waist and legs. That’s when I feel it. Sticky and hot. My head immediately goes light, my heart marching to a beat I haven’t felt reverberate through my body in years. I continue to trace the heat until I find its source.
An exit-wound. It’s akin to a Marauder’s. I instinctively thumb the hole as hard as I can. Blood squirts out of it and all over me. Whatever it was that lay before me was not a robot.
I raise the dry, stained finger to my nose and inhale its stench. Definitely a Marauder.
I turn the thing over and trace its neck area for a release point. If a Marauder is inhabiting this body suit, it would have a head under the helmet. Or at least I hope. If not, those I answer to will accuse me of tampering with one of their men and I’ll certainly be doomed to an eternal sleep.
I press the button on its neck, gently, wait for the click and turn the helmet clockwise.
A chin, bound with hair. Lips devoid of colour. An oil-covered nose. Blackened cheekbones. I take one deep breath before pulling the entire thing off.
Its eyes are emerald green, skin olive-toned. Shaggy black hair, soaked with sweat, tops off the face.
This is my opportunity. I’ve been hoping a Marauder would be crazy enough to attempt this. I drag the body to the ground, the flimsy table crashing as it falls. I yank him, head first. Once I get under his armpit, my job is made easy. His sweaty body slips right out of the metallic shell he had taken his last breath in.
I drag him into my office, strip myself down and lock him in there. Naked, I return to the suit.
I find the suit’s opening point and lift it. It’s shaped like a casket. I put myself inside, legs first, then arms and nestle my head into position. A perfect fit. I slam the lid shut and fiddle with the lock until I hear a click.
I can finally return to my family in the Wastelands.
A fine slice of life piece. Well done.