Heated discussion

In the Blue Dwarf's nose cone, which was embedded deeply into the STCP's base, hundreds of Carthaginian troops dressed in battle armour rode on horses onto the Blue Dwarf, followed by several battle elephants.

First to arrive at the area was Davie Jones, who watched behind a pile of rubble, awaiting backup as the army marched from the STCP onto the Blue Dwarf unhindered, led by a Tunisian-looking guy raising his sword above his head.

Back in the drive room, Cass sighed and momentarily closed her eyes as she briefly massaged her forehead with her fingers
"Seymour?" she asked, as patiently as she was able "Why did you ram the base?"
"I ah..."
"We were trying to get away from all those Hymenoptera" Efof interjected helpfully
"And you thought that embedding the ship in the base of a hostile organisation would help with that, did you?"
If Seymour had actually had any feet, he would have shuffled them nervously
"It was a risky manoeuvre..." he began lamely
"You utter smegging pillock!" Cass suddenly exploded "What the smeg were you even thinking!?"
"I... I..." Seymour quailed
"If we needed to go anywhere" Cass pulled the time drive she had seized from Monroe out of her pocket and slammed it down on the nearest desk "We have this!"
"I... You don’t even know how to use it!" Seymour protested indignantly "After all that talk of leaving Mister Chrysler to his own devices, you went and materialised us back here at the end of time!"
Cass took a deep, calming breath before replying
"Okay" she conceded after a moment "I accept that - I just need to figure out how to use it correctly; but was there really any need to ram the base?"
Stevens, still restrained by the massive robot, chuckled dryly
"You're all smegged" he smirked "There's n..."
"Oh, shut up" Cass cued the droid to pick him up and give him a brief but violent shake
Alex broke his silence to speak next
"You should have stopped to consider the consequences Seymour" he chided "We could have wound up in the crunch's event horizon! - We're lucky we're not all dead!"
"Well, if you hadn't deserted your post and Jones here hadn’t gone off with Stevens, maybe all this wouldn't have happened!" Seymour snapped peevishly "You're all just as much to blame as I am!"
"Oh, piss off" Cass sneered "I needed that time to..."
She trailed off
“What?” Justin snickered, his hands fumbling deep inside his / Jelena’s pockets "Pump him for information?"
"Why’s that happening? Cass frowned, suddenly pointing up at the monitors showing the Carthaginian army, fleeing in panic


Davie was in his element
Safely concealed both by the darkness afforded by the ruined lighting and the tangle of sundered deck plates around him, he had unslung his heavy assault rifle and was busy taking pot-shots at the increasingly terrified Carthaginian’s, cutting down the rank and file foot soldiers and leaders alike
“If you cut off the head...” he muttered to himself, sighting some Tunisian looking guy on horseback, who was bellowing loudly, desperately trying to rally his troops “the snake will die”
Davie’s finger twitched against the trigger, the rifle kicking back against his shoulder as the single shot blew the side of the man’s head out in an explosive shower of blood and brain, the surrounding soldiers turning tail to flee in panic in the face of an unseen and anonymous enemy with the ability to kill at will and without challenge


“By God, I think that’s Mister Jones’s” Seymour exclaimed excitedly “He’s repelling that army single-handedly!”
“He’s doing pretty well, isn’t he?” Jelena nodded
“He just killed Hannibal and changed history” Cass frowned “This isn’t right...”
“What!?” Seymour glared at her “You just brutalised Mister Stevens here during his interrogation – Where did this sudden morality come from!?”
“No... I mean this” Cass gestured at the monitors “Everything! - All this! - This isn’t right!”
“Whatever do you mean!?”
“Think about it!” Cass exclaimed “Where are the HK droids we saw the other month? Where are all the enforcer’s teleporting in? Why is the STCP pissing around with iron age troops when they’ve technology advanced enough to construct a base around the combined mass of umpteen quadrillion stars without it being torn apart? How the hell were you even able to park the ‘Dwarf in the damn thing without us being vaporised?”
Seymour grimaced
“Well, yes..." he conceded as the fleeing Carthaginian’s suddenly phased out existence and disappeared "Put it like that, it does seem a little implausible”
“Damn right!” Cass sneered “We need to get ourselves out of here as fast as we can!”
“But shouldn't we at least try to see if we can help Mister Chrysler?” Seymour wheedled
"Smeg him!" Cass rounded on him angrily "I'd have helped him if he'd have asked, but as I said earlier: He endangered all our lives without even so much as a warning while he went off on his stupid wild goose chase for his smegging son, who will probably turn out to be an STCP construct of some sort; so: Smeg him!"
“Well, you’ve certainly changed your tune” Alex muttered around the cigarette he was sparking up “What happened?”
“I don’t want to talk about it” Cass replied coldly and turned away to pick the time drive up, scrutinising the various unmarked buttons studding its surface
“Stevens, explain this thing’s operation!” she barked
“Smeg off!” Steve coughed, immediately regretting his choice of words as the droid’s actuators suddenly whined, and a metal hand was clamped tightly around his throat to haul him clean up off his feet towards the ceiling
“It wasn’t a request”
Stevens started making weird choking noises as the robot’s grip tightened around his neck
“Now wait just a minute!” Seymour protested “Do you mean to say that you intend to just abandon Chrysler and FeBuggure?”
“As soon as I extract the information I need from this dickwit” Cass nodded coldly “Yes”
“Don’t the rest of us get a choice in the matter?” Jelena demanded
Gritting her teeth, Cass closed her eyes for a few seconds and sighed
“Sure – Let’s have a vote” she said brightly after a moment “We can either hang around here and get killed, or we can escape while we have the chance and live a life of fun and adventure travelling through time”
She paused to look around the group; Stevens’ gasps for breath the only sound in the room
“Who’s up for what?”


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