Strange company

Davie hauled himself back onto his board and frowned as Jay unnecessarily flexed his muscles. He followed Jay's gaze back to the beach. "I don't think she's impressed with the whole life guard thing, dude."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
Davie laughed. "Right...."
They paddled off towards a very large [wave] heading towards them.

Cassandra, lounging with Phi on a blanket beneath the spreading shade of the towering fern-trees, glanced up from the hand-held terminal she was reading from, in time to see Jay strike a pose and flex his biceps, before exchanging a few words with Davie, making the other man burst into laughter
"That was very homoerotic" she murmured, slowly shaking her head as she gazed over the top of her sunglasses, watching the two men frolicking together in the surf
"I'm not entirely sure that was for Davie's benefit" Phi smiled "Maybe he likes you too?"
"Ha!" Cass snorted derisively "You reckon!?"
"Well, you're a pretty good catch, and you like him too, don't you?"
Cass frowned and pushed the sunglasses back up her nose as she shot Phi something of a sulky sideways glance
"Didn't think I was being that obvious..."
"Probably not to anyone else" Phi soothed "You know what guys are like; chances are: None of them are even vaguely aware you even like him"
"Huh" Cass shrugged "Probably just as well"
"Oh?" Phi raised her eyebrows "Why would you say that?"
Cass wrinkled her nose and fiddled with her terminal in silence for a bit as Phi regarded her expectantly
"It's just..." Cass started before lapsing back into silence
"Just what?" Phi asked softly after a moment
"It's just..."
Cass frowned unhappily; she wanted to say that it was none of anybody's smegging business, and that she'd rather not talk about something so personal - or give anyone else the kind of ammunition that that could so easily be used against her, but the likely consequences of her doing so would probably mean loosing valuable friends
Phi smiled sympathetically
"It's just that we're only a few days out of stasis" Cass blurted lamely "It seems a bit quick..."
"Ah, of course" Phi nodded sagely "Although I'll bet this has been going on a little longer than these last few days, right?"
Damn. She was good.
"Yeah, maybe" Cass scowled, hauling herself to her feet and scooping up her boots and terminal before turning and looking back down at Phi, her eyes glittering darkly behind her sunglasses
"Not that it matters anyway" she continued, a hint of bitterness edging into her voice as she moved to leave "He's probably still mourning his long dead wife after six hundred smegging years!"
Phi watched Cassandra stalk away down the beach, her long black hair billowing around her in the brisk sea breeze
"Maybe you should ask him!?" she called, but she gave no indication of having heard her


"Smegging stupid" Cass hissed to herself as she stomped across the sand, angry at having been lured so easily into opening up and (kind of) discussing her feelings "Stupid. Stupid"
She irritably kicked at a little pebble with her bare toes, sending it spinning across the wet sand into the waves of the morning high tide, and adjusted her course on a whim to follow it; paddling into the briny surf, which surged up past her ankles and back out again with each breaker that hit the shoreline
Walking on in peevish silence, she slowly calmed down over the next half hour or so, eventually allowing herself to be lulled into quiescence by the the beautiful views and the ebb and flow of the waves around her feet
It really was lovely here, she mused; the peace and beauty of the place making a welcome change to the decay and horror she had woken to on the 'Dwarf; and truth be told, she was feeling more than a little apprehensive about even going back there, when she could so easily see herself enjoying a life of sun and sea down here on this tropical paradise
With her feet trailing though the surf, splashing water up around her calves, she ambled along with little purpose other than just enjoying the fresh air and her first walk like this since... when!?
Japan would be her best guess; some five - no, three million and five - years earlier with Yori; and she remembered only too well how badly that had all turned out!
Frowning, she turned from her memories and walked away up the beach, tracking wet footprints for the first few strides across the warm sand, as she headed towards the islands interior and away from painful memories of betrayal and love lost

The jungle covering the island, wasn't so dense once you had managed to push your way through the long grasses and ferns that proliferated around the perimeter of the beach, and work your way through into the cool shade of the undergrowth; although the occasional sharp twig or thorn underfoot made Cass thankful that she had bought her boots along with her
With the heat of the day slowly building, she was already beginning to bead with perspiration and so decided against an impromptu expedition to the top of the island's half collapsed caldera, choosing instead to roam the lowlands, revelling in the unfamiliar sights and sounds of the flora and fauna all around her

After about an hour, when she had seen enough and was covered in scratches and sheathed in sweat, she elected to loop back towards the beach, looking forward to a lazy afternoon of drinking, lounging around and perhaps a and a dip in the sea
It was only after she had been walking for another twenty minutes, with her hand-held estimating her distance from the edge of the jungle at about three quarters of a kilometre, that she noticed the silence surrounding her; the jungle was completely still, blanketed by an eerie hush that was unpunctuated by even the whine of insects or the rustle of the tree-ferns
Unnerved Cass slipped her pistol out from its holster and checking her hand-held, pressed onwards, taking the most direct route back towards the beach and her companions
Worryingly the air temperature began becoming noticeably colder as she walked
"What the smeg?" she shivered, frowning at her breath steaming in the air and the rapidly cooling sweat on her skin puckering her bare flesh into goosebumps
Glancing around, her pistol at the ready, Cass noted that the plant life ahead appeared sickly and withered; there was also something else there too, mostly concealed from her view by a stunted looking tree-fern; some masonry, or something that looked ...manufactured?
Nervously advancing forward a few paces and wishing she had bought her psi-scanner with her, she moved around the tree-fern in a wide arc to get a better view of the object
What she saw was perplexing, to say the least
Standing at about three metres high and fifty centimetres wide on each side was a single black column, with the Union Flag traced in faintly glowing blue at the top on each of its sides
“Brittany?” Cass frowned, advancing forward a couple of steps “How?”
She moved forward another few metres and tentatively raised a hand to touch the column with her fingertips, snatching them away from it's icy cold surface when blue lights blossomed and faded around where she had touched
“Weird” she frowned as something, obscured by the canopy above her, shattered the silence by screaming overhead, a sonic boom following close in its wake
Cass had no idea what was was going on, but she knew she urgently needed to be with her companions and began a frantic dash through the jungle, back towards the beach; breathlessly emerging a few hundred metres down from where the others were gathered, nervously watching something looping low around behind one of the neighbouring islands, and emerging from around the other side a few seconds later to make a bee-line directly towards them

We've company, who (or what) is it? - Nothing Brittany related if you please (I've a bit more exposition of my own to go there), but beyond that, go wild with alien slavers, strange wildlife or whatever else you can think of :)

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