Escape to Victory?

Off the tremulous bridge, both Lesters breathed a sigh of relief as they led the small team of Jays towards what they could only think of as the launch bay of the ship. They were on a walkway far above the main deck, overlooking the activity of worker-drone Hymenoptera. They appeared to be prepping large, vaguely spherical red ships with black spots. Then the ship would crawl forward slowly until it was loaded into a giant intestinal tube. The tube would seal shut, then flex along its length, like an epileptic worm and Lester guessed the muscular contractions forced the ladybird ships out into space.
 "You need to get onboard one of those ships," Lester murmured to Jayne, "surely you mean we?" he squeaked, "no, I mean them," he replied.
 Jayne looked into his eyes, acutely aware she was looking at one of the bravest and one of the most terrified men she had ever met at the same time.
 "You have to lead them to safety," Lester told her. "I have to give you that chance, head that end of the bay, I'll lead them off back to the bridge. I'll meet you by time you've finished launch-prep."
 "Good luck, both of you," she said and he smiled, just once, then hoisted his Hymenoptera-limb-weapons, adjusted his supersoaker and sprinted off.
 Lester found a tendril, a long stem of twisting glooping tubes that extended from floor to ceiling. Holding his bug-claw between his teeth he shimmied down and came to rest on the deck. He unslung his last bandolier of alcohol, a set of eight bottles of something vaguely palatable. He began to shake them, aware of the clinking noise in the echoing hall. Above him, he could see Jayne and the Jays reaching the far side of the walkway and begin to climb down a perilous slope that would bring them near one of the Ladybird craft.
 Lester readied the only conventional weapon he'd brought: one of Dysarts tiny snub-nose laser pistols, which he held in his left hand. "Ready?" He murmured, "no," he whimpered back, "too late," he said and slung the bandolier of bottles as hard as he could at the biggest, meanest looking creature. Three of the bottles shattered and the Hymenoptera looked up, roaring angrily and dribbling ferociously. Lester passed the pistol to his right hand, took careful aim, blotting out the fear as hundreds of creatures came running at him. He squeezed the trigger.
 Super-heated by the laser, the remaining bottles exploded violently, soaking everything in deadly alcohol. The creatures roared and screeched and shrieked and many of them dissolved or exploded wetly. But not enough. Still more clambered over the carnage of their fellow beasts and came for them. Lester fired twice into the melee, then turned and ran.
 He emerged onto the large airshaft, stepping out onto another slender bridge. The sound of chittering, clicking claws was very close. He checked the tank of his Super-Soaker and, satisfied, began to empty its contents behind him as he ran. The bridge started to dissolve, fragmenting and bubbling and spitting. He reached the other side and stopped, turned and faced the creatures.
 The were like beetles, with large, broad bodies that struggled to find purchase on slippery surface. One of them tentatively put out a claw then snatched it back hissing angrily. Lester smirked, as man faced beast over the great chasm. Then the booming sound of something large with many legs echoed from the direction of the launch bay. Lester peered into the gloom as the beetle creatures pulled back from the entrance and something huge and spindly, easily twenty feet tall, stepped under the archway and raised itself to full height. A glistening, green mantis-thing chirrped and twittered, waving its feelers at him, its scythe-like claws drawn up close to its bulbous head. Lester stared it down.
 "W-we're going to die, aren't we?" Lester asked himself. "Yes, more than likely," he answered. "Any ch-chance of escape?" he queried. "No, they'll hunt us down in ten seconds if we flee, and that thing's getting ready to jump."
 The mantis flapped its stubby wings, testing its buoyancy, ready to leap over and land on Lester.
 "Sm-smash the bridge," Lester said and his left hand came up suddenly, waving the nearly empty Super-Soaker. "wh-when it jumps, l-let me smash the bridge." Lester smirked, "you've got a spine from somewhere?" Lester nodded, "w-we need to k-keep them away from J-Jayne." Lester's smirk transformed into a genuine smile. "You know, for a fake person who stole my body, you're not all bad. R-Really? Well y-you're not s-so bad y-yourself. I know, but don't go telling anyone, hmm?"
 The creature leaped, Lester stumbled backwards just enough to avoid being crushed by its enormous weight. Beneath it the bridge collapsed in the middle, leaving Lester and the Mantis on a peninsula. Lester raised the super-soaker by its barrel and stared into the creature's multi-faceted eyes.
 "YOU! SHALL! NOT! PASS!" Lester bellowed and smashed the gun hard on the bridge between the creature's legs. They fell, the bridge shattering and fizzing and bubbling into non-existence and Lester and the Mantis tumbled down.
 As they soared into blackness, Lester laughed: "You are such a geek!" He reached out for the Mantis' flailing limbs as they disappeared from all light.
 Jayne led the Jays across the launch bay. Dressed in their Hymenoptera smell and with Lester's distraction going on, they easily made it to a waiting Ladybird ship. Together, the alternate universe Jays pushed the strange looking cargo out of the ship, down the ramp, then found the bulbous nodule that closed the hatch. Jayne stepped into the pilot bay and was confronted by a small Hymenoptera pilot. It hiss, raised a gun and was hit in the face by a dose of Jack Daniels. Jayne lowered the tiny yellow water pistol she had used and pulled the now headless Hymenoptera out of its seat.
 "Jays, buckle up, we're on our way to Blue Dwarf Prime," she told them and fired up the engines. The bug-ship crawled inelegantly to the launch-tube and with a reflexive lurch they were expelled into space.
 "Holy Smeg! Look at that! It's like space turned blue!" One of the Jays gasped.
 "Which one is Blue Dwarf Prime?"
 "How are we supposed to avoid being..." There was a violent explosion and the Ladybird ship lurched as a Space Eagle soared past, battering them with laser fire. "...shot?"
 Lester grabbed onto the creature's head and it flailed its claws around trying to scrape him off. He turned and twisted, hands around its slender neck and sitting on its stubby wing cases. It wasn't really suited to flight anyway, but now it had no chance of guiding itself down. It tried to reach him, to pierce him with its long limbs but he kept shifting position and now, as the wings came out again to slow the thing's fall he stabbed down with his stolen insect-claw. The gossamer wing ripped, shredded and flapped uselessly and with a horrified shriek the Mantis forgot about dislodging Lester and tried to slow its fall. Legs waving around crazily it plunged onwards as Lester made a leap of faith for the wall. His metal hand scraped into the hard shell of the shaft's surface and frantically he scrabbled for a hand hold, finding soft fleshy mush underneath. He continued to fall, ripping a long gash in the side of the shaft as he began to slow. It hurt like hell and the other Lester whined in distress as their clothing was ripped and the tendons in their arm were strained to the point of snapping. Still they slowed, plunging into the darkness.
 Slower and slower and slower, until.
 He breathed hard, the air was stale here, but Lester's heart was hammering in his chest and he needed to keep filling his lungs. He trembled, his hand wedged in the side of the shaft and his eyes stinging with a mix of sweat and insect goo.
 "W-well? N-now what? I'm thinking. Th-think faster, I d-don't know how l-long we can hold on! Just relax, let me handle this. W-well? We let go. WHAT? We let go, see how much further it is to fall and if we need to, we grab on again. W-what if we fall to far? Then we won't be around to worry that I was wrong. B-but... Listen: we can't climb up; we have to go down. N-no... It's not like you have a say in this," Lester concluded and let go. His feet touched a surface, an extremely shear, curving surface that caused him to slip and he slid further down and down and then there was sickening moment of weightlessness as they shot out over the edge of some precipice and fell again.
 "W-we're alive!" Lester stood up, "we need some light," he said. "T-try the d-display screen," as Lester spoke a screen opened in his metal arm. It was cracked and scored, but the light was enough to illuminate the immediate area. It didn't show them much. "The ground is soft," he said and knelt down, "looks odd and veiny, almost alive." He stood up again, moving further in, "it must be something system critical, maybe an organic control center?" Other Lester considered this, "b-but you'd expect it t-to be b-better protected." They found the answer further on, the mangled remains of the Mantis, surrounded by chunks of some hard organic, chitinous substance. "M-must have shattered it on th-the way down." Lester grinned, "guess it's not virginal anymore..." Lester stepped over the Mantis corpse, pausing only to twist off the giant scythe-like claw. "D-did y-you hear that?" Lester didn't stop, but quietly he answered: "yes, we're being followed." His eyes darted left and right,  then he closed up the display screen plunging them into darkness again.Around them came the chittering and scraping of claws on the strange, slick surface that Lester was walking on. "I-I've got an idea," he said quietly. "I think I can hear it," he answered. "Nanites," Lester said together with himself, leaving a faint echo in the gloom. "Y-you think th-there's enough?" Lester shrugged, "we'll have to use them all. Can you program them?" There was a pause, "it'll have to be slap-dash, target all organic, n-no distinctions." Lester held up his metal hand, "send them all here." He opened the display screen again, shining its eerie green light around. Relfections glinted on carapace and multi-faceted eyes. They were very close. Lester stood his ground, "we won't be able to regenerate," he said. "I-it was a pain in the arse, anyway," he replied, "k-kept expecting to finally die, b-but j-just m-more trouble comes along." Lester smiled, "been nice knowing you." He shrugged, "y-you too, g-guess we'll never f-find out wh-what happened to you?" Lester raised his arm above his head, feeling the nanites forming in the channels around his fingers. The Hymenoptera in the dark braced themselves to leap...Lester plunged his hand down deep into the soft, veiny surface beneath him. The nanites surged from his hand into the gooey organic surface beneath. The Hymenoptera leapt...***"They've stopped firing," one of the Jays said. Jayne peered ahead. "What are they waiting for?"Suddenly, one of the Hymenoptera ships lurched forwards, collided with another standing in formation and the pair of them exploded. Jayne pulled their stolen vessel out of the way as other ships rammed into one another, spiralled out of control or simply exploded where they floated."Jayne Chrysler to Blue Dwarf Prime, this is the ... rest of us... we're on our way in!" She plunged their ship between the suddenly suicidal Hymenoptera.***Lester felt the creatures on top of him, knew he was seconds away from death, but under his palm he felt the squishiness subside and become hard. The surface under his body flaked and crumbled and an awful stench arose.***Without their controlling signal, the Hymenoptera soliders on the Blue Dwarfs began attacking again, but as the crews fired again to repel them, the insects turned tail and fled. The crews of the Blue Dwarfs began to push them back, off their ships.<tag Andy - time to save the day>Click here for FREE customisable desktop wallpapers. Get them Now!

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