Each crew member took quick turns looking around the corner to see that indeed the aliens were in some kind of alien cafeteria. The slop on the trays they aliens were eating looked like recycled garbage and easily offended most of the crews stomachs. Now they had a problem as they debated on how to sneak by the cafeteria without being noticed by over a hundred aliens.

Crouched in the shadows further back down the narrow corridor with the rest of the crew, Cass shifted her weight uncomfortably and fanned her face with her hand. The heat inside the base was almost unbearable.
"I don't see how we can get past without one of those stealth fields" she whispered.
"Even then," Jay murmured "will it be good enough?"
There was no way she could answer this, so instead Cass shook her head and gave him something between a grimace and a half-smile "There's only one way to find out"
"I don't like it; It's too damn risky" Plisken grunted, prompting Cass to roll her eyes.
"Really!?" she sneered
"That's not helpful" Jay cut sharply across the exchange before it could escalate "We need to find a way past, so we can get to the control room and neutralise those missiles"
"Oh, I'm sorry" Cass sighed "I'm just tired and this heat really isn't helping"
"Yeah, why is it so hot?" Eve grumbled, her face flushed red like almost everyone else's in the stifling heat
"The aliens must like hot environments" Jamie interjected
It was Jay's turn to roll his eyes "Can we please just get back to the matter in hand?" he said peevishly.
"No need to raise your voice!" Cass whispered back with an impish smirk "They might hear us"
Shaking his head and sighing, Jay shot her a black look, tempered somewhat by the knowledge that she was right.
"How about we back up a bit and see if we can find a service hatch?" Artemis suggested, bobbing away above everyone's heads "We might be able to make use of a maintenance crawl way"
"There aren't any" Jamie said said morosely "I've been looking out for them; the base might not even offer access for technicians if it's self-repairing"
"It'd explain why it's still functional after all these millions of years," Cass shrugged "but it doesn't help us"
Jay blew out his cheeks "All I can think of is staging a diversion"
"Too risky" Cass shot back before even Plisken could raise any objections "There are too many aliens and we don't know what else is in this base"
"So have you got any better ideas?"
Cass was silent for a moment as she contemplated the options "Back out, seal the base, and then see if we can detonate those missiles outside - Maybe a chain reaction will destroy the whole place?"
"That's got to be worth a shot" Jay nodded
“Failing that we’ll try to find a stealth field”
“We should have tried that to begin with” Jamie grunted
“You will stop!” a strange rasping voice echoed down the gloomy corridor, making everyone start and glance down the passageway to see another couple of the human-things standing hunched near the intersection towards the end, ahead of a small group of the tripedal aliens.
For a few seconds there was complete and utter silence before Cass broke the spell with a succinct and extremely accurate "Fuck"
"Cass cover our retreat!" Jay roared, rising to open fire with his pistol and killing, or at least disabling, the two cyborgs before charging down the corridor, shooting wildly at the aliens who scattered for cover around the corners of the intersection.
"Company!" Cass shouted above the sound of a sudden commotion from down the passageway behind them "Everyone move!"
As the other Dwarfer’s hurried after him, Jay hurtled down the corridor to drop to the floor at the very last moment and slide through into the intersection on his back, firing left and right.
Three of the aliens died in rapid succession, before Jay was bathed in a sudden, shockingly red light and his consciousness exploded in a fierce flurry of rapidly fading stars.
Seeing his body spasm and go limp, the other members of the crew skittered to a halt; Jamie bringing his pistol up to warily train on the intersection.
As she fired a couple of warning shots down the corridor behind them, Cass chanced a glance back over her shoulder "Keep moving!" she shouted.
Jade’s face was aghast as she turned to look back at her “It’s Jay...” she cried.
“... No” Cass wavered for just a second too long at the wrong time.
Her world exploded into stars as the aliens surged down the corridor behind them, subduing the rest of the Dwarfer's with their psychic weapons.

<tbc />

< Prev : Around the Bend Next > : Ancients