"Well, this is nice, isn't it?"
Jay regarded Cass with no little scepticism
"You sure about that?" he asked
"No! I feel like shit! Are we any nearer the fucking shore?"
The constant bobbing up and down on the waves in the command module had made Cass feel seasick and she was proving to be a terrible patient.
Jay eyed her. She looked pale and pasty in the emergency lighting.
"I'll go check"
The greater weight of the heat shielding in the nose of the module had pulled the whole thing downward in the water, so that the door to the rear of the bridge was now directly overhead. Cass was splayed miserably across the pilots console and one of the main monitors.
Scrambling up over the science console and its idly rotating chair, Jay pulled himself up to gaze out of the open door, across the waves.
"We're about five or six hundred metres away" he called down. This was a lie. It was probably nearer double that, but he doubted the news would do much to improve Cassandra's mood.
"Oh, thank fuck" Cass groaned and rolled over, trying to make herself comfortable "I don't know how shark boy's managing to move this thing, but I'm thrilled that he is"
"You could probably swim it if you liked?"
"If I didn't feel as sick as this, I might just take my chances with the sea creatures. Whose fucking stupid idea was it to ditch in the sea?"
"Well, if we had gone in hard and fast like I suggested..." Jay grumbled defensively
Cass burped and, closing her eyes, slumped back against the pilots console.
"I feel so awful" she said after a moment, in a weak voice
"You don't look too hot" Jay was inclined to agree with her.
"Thanks for the sympathy" she gave him a wan smile "Are we nearly there yet?"
"We're getting closer"
"Fucking hell. This can't end soon enough"
"Deep breaths..."
"I am not giving birth!" Cass snapped before flopping limply back against the console with an anguished groan
"You do realise we're stranded here?" she said after a moment "Again"
Jay grunted noncomittally. He had been hoping that she might not have spotted that; but even in her current state, it seemed that little got past her.
"We should have given it a couple of weeks like I suggested" Cass sighed and wrinkled her nose. She was talking more to herself than to Jay "We could have fitted another few Starbugs out with E-M shielding - You know, just in case we needed rescuing..."
His head still poking outside, out of the fuselage, unobserved by by Cass, Jay scowled. The bloody woman was right there, he realised, but he wasn't about to concede the point, else he'd never hear the end of it
"I'm right aren't I?" Cass called weakly up to him, without much enthusiasm for a fight.
"Hey..." Jay frowned as he gazed around the verdantly craggy peaks rising ahead of them "These mountains seem real familiar"
"Stop trying to change the subject"
In spite of himself, Jay smiled
"No I mean it" he said "Come up here and see"
"Mate, if you get me up there with you, chances are you're going to be wearing my breakfast"
"Yeah, okay - Probably best you stay where you are, eh?"
"So they're familiar?" Cass said after a moment of miserable silence "What of it?"
"Well..." Jay squinted up at the mountains against the bright sunlight "By my reckoning, we've come down maybe seventy five, a hundred kay from where we need to be. Right now, we're heading away from there, towards where we crashed the last time"
"So Jaxx is swimming the wrong way?"
"You want him to turn around?"
"Fuck no. Just get me onto dry fucking land"
Jay grinned down at her "Thought so"
"So go on then" Cass shifted her weight again, her arms gingerly coiling around her midrift in supine misery "What's the brilliant plan?"
"There's always a brilliant plan. What is it?"
"Huh" Jay grunted, feeling somewhat deflated and at the same time surprised - It turned out that she had been paying attention to him all those times "I was thinking that it might be a good idea to head back to our old crash site" he said after a moment "We never really got the chance to salvage the old drive room after Plisken crash-landed it"
"That man's nothing but trouble" Cass grumbled, bitterly
"All the same, there might be something useful that we can salvage from the site. All our supplies were in the other two sections of the starbug and it'll only be about a days trek"
"Two days"
"Do you really have to be so negative?"
"I'm a bona-fide ray of fucking sunshine normally. I'm just sick right - Oh..." Cass groaned and rolled over onto her side, clutching her stomach
Jay glanced down at her "You okay?" he asked, knowing full well what the answer would be.
Her eyes when they met his were two pools of anguish "I feel so awful, Jay... Make it stop"
"It won't be long Cass..."

In actual fact, it took another twenty minutes of almost constant carping and moaning before the nose of command module scraped the bed rock in the shallows of the beach and a relieved Cass and Jay emerged to wade the last few metres through the surf to join an exhausted Jaxx on the golden sands.
"So, like, what's the plan dudes?" Jaxx asked between gasping breaths
"I think we should make our way back to the old crash site" Jay said "We need supplies, we know where it is and, chances are, it'll probably be closer than treking back around the bay towards where we need to be"
"It seems nonsensical to head in the opposite direction to both where we need to be and where everyone else is" Cass grumbled "but we do need supplies - We haven't even got a first aid kit here" she wrinkled her nose and absently stirred her fingers around in the warm sand "I don't know why I even bothered packing"
"Because you're an optimist" Jay teased "It's one of the things I like about you"
"Damn right" Cass settled back and took a deep breath of the hot, humid air; her nausea slow to subside "Don't you forget it"
She paused to glance at him out of the corner of her eyes "I've loads of other good points too..."
"Uh, I, like, hate to break up whatever it is you're on about..." Jaxx started, somewhat perplexed at the cut and thrust of their verbal sparring
"Oh, is that right Ms. Jones?" Jay raised his eyebrows "So what good points would these be?"
"Charm, wit, poise, elegance" Cass tossed her short hair as well as she was able as she smoothed her hands down over her cargo pants "Not letting you get away with having your own way all the time..."
"No, really" Jaxx insisted "Guys..."
"What?" Cass and Jay both demanded in unison
"There's a really big... thing over there in the bushes..."

What is the thing?

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