The players from the Metal Hearts and Rusty Necks entered the stadium. The shouts of the crowd shook the venue as one by one the athletes came out from opposite sides of the rectangular field. Their team colors were easy to distinguish, although their outfits were different from what one would expect from a friendly match.
Players from both teams wore high leather boots and military clothing. Despite that, the grass on the playing field was a wrinkle-free green blanket.
In the middle of the field, the referee was the only one wearing shorts. Upon arrival, the participants seemed ready for a gladiatorial battle. The referee looked to his side, noticing that the players were ready.
The members from both teams wore full head helmets. Their armor looked ready for a battle, this didn’t seem like a sport for everyone.
On one side of the field, the Metal Hearts touched their helmets between them. While the referee held a metal ball the size of his hand―a shiny steel sphere. Letting everyone know that the game was about to begin.
The crowd became silent for an instant. Ready to watch their favorite teams give it all on the field. The expression of companionship couldn’t reach a higher level. Quietly waiting for the referee to drop the ball.
Waiting… lengthening everyone’s silence. The referee held the metal sphere over his palm, arm outstretched. He only had to turn his wrist to start a match that could take hours.
Players from both teams couldn’t stop staring at the sphere, that was their most important goal. But they couldn’t be distracted from the rest of the challenges that awaited them. With solid nerves, they were eager to start the match. Each and every one of players went through years of training before risking entering the field. Now they were just steps away from playing the most important game of their lives.
The referee, finally, dropped the steel ball. No one knew what was going to happen. The hearts of everyone present quickened, their gazes focused on the ground where the metal sphere would land.
A metal hand came out of the ground to catch the sphere and the Rusty Necks started running. Grumpy_Feet, their captain, was in front of her team when a series of metal plates rose up in front of them.
Hammer and Silver_Blade leaned against a metal plate to allow Grumpy_Feet to climb onto their backs. The battlefield was almost complete, a maze stood between them and the metal sphere.
Grumpy_Feet jumped down to offer strategy to the Rusty Necks. She signaled with her hands and everyone followed her. A giant screen on the edge of the stadium showed two countdowns. At that time, the rules of the game weren’t clear to anyone.
As they ran, the ground parted a few steps from Grumpy_Feet, exposing a dark tunnel. She stopped and raised her right arm to signal to the others. Before long, two robotic tigers emerged. Grumpy_Feet gave the signal with her arm raised and Marauder ran past her. On the other side of her, Hammer passed carrying a metal object.
Hammer and Marauder slammed their weapons onto the head of one of the robots. While the other creature jumped. Grumpy_Feet was about to take the full blow from the machine… Silver_Blade pushed her out of the way and was hit by the metal tiger.
Before they could react, Hammer and Marauder took out the second robots.
“Are you okay?” Grumpy_Feet asked once the robot was lifted off Silver_Blade.
“I’ll be fine,” he replied, getting up slowly.
There’s no time to waste, Grumpy_Feet thought as she looked up to see that her team’s timer had two more minutes than her opponents’. “We need to find more of those things.”
The Rusty Necks ran after her, while in the stadium bleachers the crowd went wild for the spectacle. Both teams overcame obstacles trying to increase their timers. Going through a constantly changing maze and finding surprises.
Another group of metal tigers appeared on the other side, the crowd watched the Metal Hearts defend themselves on the giant screen, but something was wrong. The color of the robots’ eyes was different than before―they were now bright red. Their attacks were almost impossible to evade.
In horror, the crowd saw one of the metal creatures grab the arm of one of the Metal Hearts’ members and dismember him… the referee saw the scene from one of his computers on the outer edge of the playing field and immediately stopped the game… but the system was not responding.
“What’s going on?” the referee asked as he turned to see his teammates. But they had also lost control of the stage.
The members of Metal Hearts were unable to defend themselves from the attack of the metal tigers. Soon they were all seriously injured on the ground, and the robots lost interest and turned around in search of the Rusty Necks.
“We have to stop this,” said the referee, when a red face with a serrated smile appeared in the middle of his screen. “We have been hacked.”
Having no idea what was happening—Grumpy_Feet continued to lead the Rusty Necks through the maze. “Come on guys. We have to hurry…”
Two metal tigers appeared on top of the wall to the left of the Rusty Necks. This was unusual as the robots were supposed to come out of the underground tunnels.
Grumpy_Feet immediately noticed that something was wrong. “Defense stance.”
The five members of the Rusty Necks banded together to defend themselves. Hammer and Marauder stood in front of the others. Their weapons would serve as shields in case of emergencies… no one imagined that another pair of robots would appear on the wall behind them.
Silver_Blade managed to cut one of the creatures with the lasser edge of his sword, while Blade kept hers raised.
“What’s going on?” Blade asked.
“We have to get out of here,” Grumpy_Feet said. “Something is not right.”
The three robots waited, staring at the Rusty Necks. For an instant they seemed to have been deactivated and then jumped at the same time.
Hammer supported the weight of one of them crashing into his shield. He with all his might held the robot, waiting for an opportunity to knock it down. When he saw the blue light from Blade’s sword pass by.
“Let’s move on,” said Grumpy_Feet.
The four robots lay motionless on the ground while sparkles came out of them
I have to get us out of here, Grumpy_Feet thought as she ran in front of her team. The monitor with the timers now only showed a happy face with a ragged smile.
The stadium floor began to vibrate.
“Help me up,” Grumpy_Feet said and climbed onto Marauder’s shoulders. She saw a twenty-foot robot walking and destroying the walls of the maze.
Grumpy_Feet caught a glimpse of the Metal Hearts. “Come up, we have to help them,” he said from the top of the wall.
One by one, members of the Rusty Necks clambered up the wall of the laverint. Then they started running after Grumpy_Feet.
The Metal Hearts seemed to be cornered by the giant robot.
As soon as the Rusty Necks arrived, Silver_Blade jumped and landed with his sword on the giant robot’s back. He then turned and extended his arm. Blade ran up to him and jumped, grabbed Silver_Blade’s hand and was pulled upwards. Falling on the robot, she used her laser-edged sword to cut off its head.
The Metal Hearts saw the robot fall in front of them.
“We better work together,” Grumpy_Feet said, as soon as she was close enough to the Metal Hearts.