Darkness…it was all black, no light at all.

Internal lights switched on as various bits of machinery powered up and Astro groaned softly as he came to. Sitting up slowly, he put a hand to his head. He felt like Pluto and Atlas had decided to use his electronic brain to play table tennis with.

Forcing his eyes open, a sudden glare slammed into his optic sensors and he shut them straight away with another groan. Opening them again, much slower this time, Astro let his eyes adjust to the glare until it faded. Now that he could see properly, Astro took the opportunity to observe his surroundings.

"What the…?"

It was a strange landscape. It resembled an average urban area with gardens and parks scattered here and there, but it didn't look quite right. Everything…shined. Not in a metallic way either, in a way that denoted everything as being fake.

Rubbing his eyes in a futile gesture, Astro willed himself to wake up properly. 'I'm not somehow in Zoran's dreams again, am I?' he thought in dismay.

Taking another glance around, Astro realised he must have landed at the edge of the small city. Standing up, Astro wandered into the strange place as all that was behind him was a desert. Despite the clean streets, the neatly trimmed lawns and the well kept vehicles parked everywhere the place was as empty of life as the desert behind him.

Astro anxiously walked on, hoping to come across someone or even an animal of some kind, some sign to let him know that he was not alone. After a few minutes of searching, his worry grew. 'I have no idea where I am…and I don't think anyone knows I'm here, either! I'll have to see if I can find a way to get a message to Dr. O'Shay.'

Now armed with a plan, Astro ran into a large building that was sure to have a telephone if not a vid-phone. There was nobody on the ground floor, not even a secretary behind the front desk. He went over to the desk to check for a phone, but the desk had nothing on it at all. Not a couple of sheets of paper, an in-tray or a family photo. Frowning, Astro abandoned the desk and ran upstairs to the next floor.

He frantically searched every room on the second floor, but came up empty-handed. Not deterred yet, he continued checking every room until he found himself in the last room on the eighth floor. It was a large room that had one wall where the door was. The other three walls were large windows, allowing the sunlight to stream through.

Astro went over to one of the windows and looked out at the view. It only took him a couple of seconds to notice that something felt very wrong. Despite the bright light that was bathing him, Astro couldn't feel any warmth from it. A lot of people thought that robots couldn't feel sunlight at all, but they could. It simply didn't affect them the same way that it did humans. To Astro, sunlight felt like very light, muted warmth, a little like lukewarm compared to hot.

'Is everything in this place artificial?' Astro thought, tapping on the window. Whatever it was, it wasn't glass. Astro curled his right hand into a fist and smashed it through the window. Once he had created a hole big enough, he activated the jets in his feet and flew outside.

Flying a short way over the strange city, Astro landed near a tree that was in the sidewalk. Walking over to it, he placed an ear to its side and listened. Ever since he had communicated with the giant tree that was the heart of the underground city he had been able to tell if a tree was alive and healthy simply by listening to it.

Nothing.

Since the tree looked perfectly healthy, Astro concluded that it, too, was fake.

"What's up with this place?" he muttered to himself.

He plucked one of the green leaves from the tree and analysed it, hoping to get to the bottom of things. A moment later he dropped the leaf in surprise. Looking around again, he now saw everything for what it really was.

"Plastic!"

Well, now he knew why everything looked shiny and fake at least. If the whole place was made of plastic…then that meant his plan for a phone was worthless. Shaking his head, unwilling to believe he was stuck in this weird world, Astro ran in a random direction.

"Hello, is anyone here? If you can hear me, please answer!" he shouted, straining his ears for a reply beyond his hollow echoes.

He ran past clothing stores, restaurants and even a pet store. All the clothes, food and animals were plastic, fuelling Astro's despair. Feeling defeated, he stopped once he reached the centre of the city and fell to his hands and knees.

'Reno, the rest of the Sky Riders, Zoran, Dr. O'Shay and Yuko and Momo… I'll never see them again… I'll never see ANYONE again! What did I do to end up here?!'

His electronic heart felt heavy and a deep, bitter sadness enveloped his small form. He didn't breathe, but he started to sob all the same. His state of melancholy was so deep that he didn't register footsteps approaching him from behind.

Something touched his shoulder, jolting Astro out of his sadness and making him gasp. He whipped his head around, praying that someone had actually heard him and he was not alone as he had feared.

His startled gaze fell upon a young woman who looked to be in her early to mid twenties. She had long blonde hair that shone luxuriously and reached her tailbone. Her eyes were open and friendly and were a wonderful shade of forget-me-not blue. She was smiling as she offered him her hand. He gently took it and she helped him back to his feet.

"Oh, wow, you have no idea how great it is to see you!" Astro exclaimed, his despair instantly washed away to be replaced with hope. If there was a lady here then there must be a communication channel of some kind around.

"It's nice to see you, too," she happily replied.

Since they were still holding hands, Astro shook hers before letting go. "Hello, I'm Astro."

"Astro?" she repeated in confusion. "I thought you were the new Ken, but I should have known better. You're too short."

"Ken?"

She waved her hand and beamed brightly at him. "Hi, I'm Barbie!"

A world away in Metro City, the citizens swore they could hear their hero unleash a soul-rending scream.


Disclaimer: I do not own Astro Boy, however much I wish I did. I don't own Barbie or Ken, either. Nor do I want to!

A/N: What possessed me to write this? The evil spirit of the soul-sucking Barbie!

I actually don't know. I got an idea of Astro waking up in a fake world, but I had no way to make this plausible. (Despite the fact that it's a crackfic and is not really meant to make sense!) I wandered out to where my mum and nan were watching TV and a doll add came on. Suddenly it hit me! I remembered Aqua's old song 'Barbie Girl' and thought that the lyrics fit what I wanted quite nicely. A Barbie girl in a world that's wrapped in plastic. BANG! There was my fake world.

And of course the silly, ditzy idiot would mistake Astro for a new model of her 'beloved Ken'.

Review and let me know what you think!

~FantomoDrako