Sandy and I popped our heads out the iron door to a sight! The Guard was there arguing with a man carrying a navy hold-all. Surprisingly they were making such a racket that even Johnston and his mistress had stopped rowing for a second to see what all the fuss was about.
“No bags allowed in The Bunker,” The Guard continued as if there was nobody else there. He made to take the bag but the man would not let go.
“It’s important,” was all he said. I frowned and was about to interrupt when Sandy extended a hand.
“Hang on, I’ll deal with this,” she said with an air of authority. Then marched over to the newcomer.
“I’m sorry sir, but everyone here-all five of us-has entered that room without luggage.”
Five? But that must mean…? I looked up at The Guard, but he was too busy with the scenario to see me. He’s staying in The Bunker too?
Sandy, by then, had gently put her hand on the bag and attempted to pull it away; unfortunately the newcomer had a firm grip.
The man pulled as Sandy pulled back, so I came to her side and grabbed the bag too. With a couple of grunts we managed to even out the weight; both us ladies were equal to the new man. Seeing that this was going nowhere, fast, The Guard grabbed the bag from all our hands in an instant.
“Hey!” Cried out the man. He made one more swipe at it and managed to reclaim it, but not before the bag had split open, spilling some of its contents onto the floor-including a strange, metal contraption.
“What on Earth is that?” I exclaimed. Is that an arm? EW?!
The man shrugged, “Cybernetic arm. My ticket to get in there.” He nodded towards The Bunker then extended an arm, “Torren Chrome. Robotics designer.”
Sandy made her sudden decision and helped Torren to collect the rest of his stuff up before accepting his hand and walking with him into The Bunker.
“I’m Sandy Beech. Now, don’t laugh…”
Robotics, huh? Never really my cup of black coffee. And all that Man Vs. Machine stuff-it’s too worrying. I understand that we’ll need a mechanic after the asteroid hits, but…robots? Maybe to build equipment, yes, but I can’t risk them getting out of control and taking my position of top scientist.
I jerked out of my thoughts and found that I was being watched curiously by The Guard.
“I knew there was something not right about him. Robots, huh?” He gloated.
I nodded then smiled. There was more than meets the eye in this man. Then I remembered Sandy’s words before.
“I never asked: Why are you here with our raggle-taggle bunch?”
“I’m Griff, the strongest man in The World.”
Griff didn’t reply, he just stared at me.
“There’s more to you, Ashley Bondé. Yes, everybody’s heard of that fateful name, but what is your story? Start from the very beginning.”
I sighed and motioned for Griff to sit down with me. Then I took a deep breath and began.