From Jamie's perspective, the Starbug had exploded, and the resulting force threw him into the air, smashing into the roof of his wooden hut. The sound of the shattering wood could have been heard by everyone, and Jamie landed on the other side, an arm full of large splinters. He lay there, unmoving on the sand.
Pistol drawn, Cass flashed it and her terminal around in a wide arc, scanning for anything unusual, as Jade and Eve hurried through the shadowy darkness towards where Jamie lay, just past the ruins of his beach hut.
Everything seemed worryingly quiet, but after a minute or two of tense silence with her terminal reading precisely nothing, Cass hurried over to join the others who were crowding around their stricken compatriot, who was just beginning to stir
“Hold still Jamie” Jade was working quickly to remove as many of the larger splinters from his arm as she could, before Jamie fully regained consciousness. Eve was helping as best as she was able, passing bandages and other supplies from Jades bag
“How’s he doing?” Cass asked
“He’ll live” Jade murmured, distractedly “Cut that one to length” she said to Eve “Pass me another gauze pad as well”
“Anything I can do?”
“I’m going to need some more antiseptic and some wide spectrum antibiotics,” Jade didn’t bother looking up “they should be in the Starbug’s emergency medical pack; can you get them for me?”
“Sure thing” Cass turned and hurried away through the trees towards the Starbug, alert for any movement and angry at this turn of events
Why can’t we have just one night off? she wondered; after all their recent travails, all she had wanted to do was relax and get pissed with everyone in this idyllic tropical paradise
Idyllic paradise!? her lip curled at the thought as a twig snapped out in the undergrowth to her right
Diving forward to dodge the anticipated attack, Cass bought her pistol up to take aim and fire at the dark shape moving between the trees in the distance. The shot missed, but tore a chunk out of the branches to the figure’s left, making it duck back behind one of the trees
“Oy!” a voice yelled angrily “Pack it in!”
It was Jay
Cass ruefully put up her weapon “Shit, sorry” she called back, her mind reeling at what she would have done if she had just killed him by accident
Jay cautiously emerged from behind the tree a moment later “What the fuck was that about?” he demanded as he approached
“Sorry” Cass shook her head “I’m so sorry. I'm just a bit jumpy”
“You reckon?” Jay retorted incredulously, before his features creased into a concerned frown “Why?” he asked “What’s happening?”
“I tried to let everyone know on the communicators, but they’re maybe being jammed
“I think we’re being attacked by aliens; we’ve seen some tripedal creatures which seem to be equipped with camouflage fields and some sort of psychic weapon
“Jamie’s been hurt, but he’ll live” Cass continued “I’m heading back to the Starbug for medical supplies”
“Have you seen any sign of these aliens since?”
“No, it’s been quiet –almost too quiet...”

Who: Plisken and Phi
Where: The pyramid in the ruined city
When: Same time
Plisken spun round but only found Phi standing there, wide eyed and a question begging on her lips, “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, yeah,” Plisken sayed, his metal hand trying to take away some on the sweat of his brow, “We’d better go.”
“Yeah, it’s way too creepy out here for my liking” Phi hugged her arms around herself “We should regroup with the others”
“Agreed” Plisken grunted, fiddling with his communicator “Damn thing” he gave up after a moment “Can’t seem to get a fix on anyone’s location”
“Even more reason to get back to the Starbug”
“Damn right” Plisken turned and nodded at the moonlit path back into the jungle “We should move”
Something lit the trees up behind the pyramid, a dull whump reaching their ears a second later
“What the!?” Phi frowned in the darkness
“Missile launch!” Plisken tensed, his old eyes scanning the skies “Look!” he pointed up at a trio of white lights rocketing skyward, trailing black smoke across the early evening stars

Who: Artemis and Artemis junior
Where: Out in the jungle
When: Moments earlier
"Well, well, Dr. Pritchard, you seem to have spawned a won't be around to watch him grow up" Artemis looked towards the woods to see toast* standing in the bushes.
"AAAHH! I BURNED YOU!" Artemis said.
"Oh, you have to try harder than that dear boy...."
Artemis took off, the super-GELF in pursuit.
Blundering blindly through the undergrowth with branches whipping past and bouncing off the tank housing his brain, Artemis darted this way and that, in an attempt to evade the GELF, but to his dismay, his efforts seemed to have little effect; the sounds of pursuit were, if anything, getting closer
Rounding a dense thicket, he emerged out into a wide clearing, the silvery moonlight revealing the vegetation to have been flattened in concentric circles
“The fu...?” Artemis caught himself just in time; it wouldn’t do to start swearing in front of the children
For a breathless moment, the only sounds reaching his auditory sensors were the gentle hiss and whir of the pumps circulating his brain suspension fluid, and the irritating whining noise being made by the partially dissembled Artemis Junior, cradled in his arms
“Shush” he hissed to his troublesome offspring as he anxiously scanned the undergrowth, wondering where that thrice cursed GELF had got to
Everything was still until Boyd suddenly burst from the trees on the other side of the clearing
“I like the foods!” he yelled
“Shut up you fucking cretin!”
“...” Boyd whimpered and couched down to tearfully wrap his arms around his head and cover his ears “There’s no need to shout”
Softening slightly, Artemis drifted over towards the childlike idiot “That was unnecessary,” he conceded “I’m sorry my dear boy; only I’d rather not attract the attention of any pursuers. Strange things seem to be happening out in the jungle tonight – That GELF, for example, can’t possibly be here”
Boyd looked up at him and uncoiled his arms from around his head
“That might explain a few things” he muttered “I was wondering what it was up with McRevice”
“I beg your pardon?”
“McRevice – Phil McRevice”
“I shall do no such thing!” Artemis bridled “And I’ll thank you for not mentioning that kind of filth in front of my son!”
“Oh, no, no, no” Boyd waved his hands frantically “I mean Philip McRevice, the CEO of the C-F-T-C-O-A-H”
Had he had any, Artemis would probably have pursed his lips “Whatever” he sighed and shook his tank “We seem to have escaped whatever was chasing us, so we should see if we can find the others and maybe formulate a plan”
He was about to say something else, but a terrified scream suddenly rent the warm night air
“What’s that?” Boyd gibbered
“That’s a brattish and irritatingly annoying scream if ever I head one!” Artemis slowly floated around on the spot, trying to pinpoint the source of the high pitched cries as they came again “That’s Herbie; he’s this way – Come on!”
He darted away across the clearing, leaving Body to scramble to his feet and run after him

Following the sound of Herbie’s anguished wails and cries, the found him curled in a ball on the ground, some distance away
"I thought they were going to execute me," he moaned as they approached, his voice full of anguish “but it was worse... so much worse. That shark-man was huge”
“What?” Boyd was confused “Was Jaxx here? What did he do?”
Herbie scrambled upright, his eyes widening as he pointed out into the darkness “Look!”
Following the direction he was pointing, Artemis and Boyd saw the jungle shimmering not far from them
“What in the name of science!?” Artemis murmured, drifting forward a little to scrutinise the phenomena, only to dart back again as the ground erupted in front of him, exploding upwards in a blast of energy “Whoa!”
A harsh voice barked something and the air in front of them twisted and warped to reveal three horrific looking, tripedal creatures armed with what were unmistakably weapons of some kind
“Fucksocks” Boyd wailed as the aliens all levelled their weapons on the three Dwarfer’s while, with a hissing roar, the three missiles streaked high overhead

Who: Cass and Jay
Where: Near the Starbug
When: Same time

“So Jamie’s going to be okay?” Jay asked, the concern apparent in his voice
“Yeah” Cass nodded and turned towards the Starbug “C’mon, let’s go get some medical supplies, then we’ll go see him”
Jay frowned at this, weighing up the pros and cons of leaving Jade and Eve at the mercy of whatever was out there or leaving Cass here to fend for herself. Caught between an almost impossible choice, he sighed and motioned towards the ‘bug
“Yeah sure” he said wearily “Let’s go”
Walking towards the ‘bug, the air was suddenly split with the howl of three missiles as they arced overhead on a downward trajectory towards the Starbug
Acting purely on instinct, Jay leaped onto Cass, dragging her roughly down to the ground a heartbeat before the missiles detonated ahead of them

We have hostile aliens in battle dress
Communicators appear to have been jammed – can we figure a way to circumvent this?
Plisken saw the missile launch out in the jungle – do you go and investigate the launch site – what do you find?
Artemis, Boyd and Herbie – you’ve encountered a few heavily armed aliens who’re pointing guns at you – what do you do? – do you kill them, do you get captured, or do you somehow get away?
Jade, Eve, Jamie and Jay – the Starbug has just been attacked, but has it been hit? – do we encounter any aliens, or are there any more missile strikes?
If I've missed anyone else who wants to join in, feel free to write yourself in however you like :-)

We’ve had a pretty quiet month so far, so let’s try and pick things up a bit shall we?


< Prev : Perils of Fear Next > : Shadow Hunters