Blind Eye Comics: You Only Die Once -- --- The mastermind and his assistant glared down from the balcony of the converted Koneswaram Temple to the arena below. Choked by sand and the dried blood of previous combatants, two figures charged each other. Both were once men, but now lobotomized and reconditioned into things less than human.

The first, a lithe shape outfitted in a Frumentarii-derived tan polymer-knit uniform, wove in and out of the fray. With subdermal electrodes and drugs keeping him on edge and a hydraulic assisted limb suit, he moved nimbly around his larger opponent's clumsy blows with a sledgehammer. His cyclopean head was engulfed in a helmet with a circular red lamp above where the visor would be, bathing the arena in an eerie glow.

The second one, a larger figure in bulbous prototype Omar-series metal armor, moved with a slower but more devastating fury. The wild blows of his hammer fell with the fury of Thor, swinging in wide arcs against the nimble skirmisher. Eventually, one of the blows caught the shin of the fast target, dislocating and shattering it in a way nature never intended. The Omar raised the hammer to perform the coup de grace on his prone opponent, when a harpoon smashed through his faceplate. The Omar Enhancile dropped dead.

The first attacker yanked the harpoon from his opponent's head, reloading his wrist mounted crossbow. He hobbled towards the edge of the arena, where waiting medics took him away.

A lean, bespectacled man holding a camera set down the recording device. His shaved head superior sat in a small swivel chair, making eye contact with the scientist.

"Well, Dr. Clarke, I must confess, I was afraid Zero Seven would have lost for a moment," Ian Fleming folded his hands as if he was praying. "But I believe this test shows that the design is sound enough for our customers."

"If not for the Omar's rendezvous with Rama's speargun, it would be back to the drawing board," Dr. Arthur C. Clarke replied. "I would hate to delay designing the Double Naught series again."

"Look alive, Doctor," Fleming reached for a cigar. "Seven may die another day. In these bouts, one must live and let die."

"I may go scuba diving later," Clarke examined the temple. "Perhaps I my find another temple such as this, or more sunken artifacts from it. I believe I found some old carvings near the coast, showing some of the nine billion names of God."

"Suit yourself, Doctor," Fleming mused. "I came to Ceylon for more reasons than bird-watching. This temple has a view to kill for."

Dr. Clarke looked out the window, wondering for an instant how the temple appeared before he and Fleming had restored it. The sun showed through the window, bathing the arena with the light of other days. At night, the only light came from the city and the stars, distant glowing embers across a background of black, so he would enjoy the day. Dr. Clarke took his leave, and took a personal odyssey to the coast. A warm breeze went past his face, as if it was a wind from the sun. Behind him, he could hear his superior cackling to himself again, undoubtedly thinking up some more machinations. Above him, he saw pigeons heading for the island that was their namesake, and eventually swam into the deep range off the coastal shelf. He knew it would end, but for now, Dr. Clarke enjoyed his quantum of solace.