Genster hissed and ducked, Gloed swished her tail and
the assailer backed off again. But how long would they be able to keep up
with this taunt and retract game? The Naga twins had travelled from their
native Zekiran desert to this horrid, humid planet and now they'd even
lost the person who was supposed to help them. Well, not that he'd ever
intended to help them anyway. Gloed hissed and her sister sent supportive
thoughts through their bond. Immediately Gloed released her caustic
thoughts and returned to the task at hand.
Cut off from all that they knew, their last decent meal 4 days ago, and
hunted like they were prey. Their situation was far from ideal. Genster
sent more supportive thoughts. Though she couldn't hear, she did smell the
pheromones their hunter gave off and the beast knew his prey was getting
tired. The last half day, Genster had picked up the scent of excitement
and with it came a scent of malice that gave Genster the realisation that
their hunter was smarter than they had originally thought. Indeed, they
hardly even knew what they were dealing with. Neither of the sisters had
had a clear view of it. Just flashes of dark skin, claws and teeth.
Genster put her back to the wall and used her camouflage ability to blend
in. She figured this was as good a place as any to test if it worked.
Gloed, understood her intentions and waited, spreading her scent over the
place to obscure her sister's presence even more.
They didn't have to wait long. Only 15 minutes later, the beast appeared
again, launching an attack from below. It went after Gloed as expected,
but changed direction halfway and went straight for Genster. Though she'd
been at the ready, the beast smashed into her tail and she felt the impact
all the way to her neck. Luckily Gloed also lashed at the beast and he let
go, but not before releasing a triumphant roar. They were at the end of
their strength and the beast relished in the excitement of tormenting
Grash put the spaceship down with the ease of having
done this thousands of times. He'd already had 10 years of service on this
ship and almost felt like she belonged to him. In truth she belonged to
the company they flew for, but Grash had been able to keep the ship in his
exclusive use. He lovingly called her "his girl" and almost
never referred to her by her true name, "WiRSS5-23".
"Touch down, anchored and secured." he announced.
Blad, or "Comms" turned toward him in his seat and said:
"Well done Captain. I'll start the refuelling and supply
"Very good." Grash nodded.
"How long will we be docked here?" Schub, the third member of
their crew asked.
The young officer in training was raring to go for a walk. They'd been
stuck in outer space for the past week and there was nothing like real
surface below his feet... and a nice swim in one of those large bodies of
water he'd seen from the air.
"About an hour." Grash said, "And forget about swimming,
there are some hostile creatures in the water."
Sighing, Schub nodded, "Just a walk then."
Comms laughed, "I'll be outside if you need me."
"I'll keep watch." Grash volunteered, as he didn't really care
for the wet climate.
Schub sighed happily when he felt the damp air touch his blue scales. The
spaceship was kept quite neutral as far as humidity went and Schub needed
to moisten his hide by hand. Having the air do it for you was easier. He
unfolded the fins on his arms and back and relished in the feeling of
freedom that gave him. If he couldn't swim, he could still walk along the
He kept the space ship in his sight as he walked toward a rocky hill that
stuck out from the water. The place looked like an amazing diving spot. It
was a pity that he wouldn't be able to get a swim. But just maybe,
venturing inside the rocky crevices would get him somewhere wet and safe.
As Schub descended into a crevice, he was suddenly met with a screech and
hiss. Startled he fell to the ground, which probably save him from a
massive headache as a very sturdy and long golden tail swished through the
air where his head had been. Scrambling, he tried to get up but wasn't
fast enough when the tail returned and caught his leg. Flailing he went
down and hit his head.
Grash was woken up by the soft alarm that signalled that the refuelling
had finished. Yawning and stretching, he chased the last of sleepiness
from his nap away and went to look for Blad. Grash found the
communications officer where he'd left him. Blad was also enjoying the
"Everything ready?" Grash asked.
"Almost." Blad reported, "I haven't seen Schub for a while
though. I last saw him near that rock. Maybe he also took a nap and forgot
to set an alarm?"
"Then it's best we go to kiss him awake." Grash grinned.
"Don't be too hard on him. I can understand the appeal of this
place." Blad pleaded.
"He needs to learn that the schedule comes first."
Blad shrugged, "It is his first offence."
"I'm aware of that. Which is why I'll be gentle."
Blad imagined their sturdy captain would probably give out a good lashing
anyway. Grash was a good leader and he got his crew in shape but for young
recruits his way of doing things often proved too much. The ones that did
put up with it were certain to rise up in the ranks though. Blad had seen
quite a few recruits in the 4 years he'd been serving on the ship. He felt
he could predict which ones were good by now. And Schub had potential. The
boy could be a bit dreamy, but he was fast and efficient.
Grash took the same road Schub had taken about an hour before. Keeping
more distance between him and the water. As captain he had a better idea
what was hiding in these waters and he didn't exactly fancy a meeting.
Apparently the native water dwellers were quite ferocious and intelligent.
Which is why the settlers that ran the refuelling station kept to the high
Genster hummed softly and out of tune as she stroked the face of the
blue-scaled youth. He was cool to the touch but his breathing was regular and his pulse was steady. She just hoped he'd wake up and be
able to tell them a bit about what they were facing.
"Well I'm sorry. I thought it was the beast." Gloed muttered.
Genster sent her more soothing thoughts. She knew her sister hadn't
intended on harming the unsuspecting salamander-man. Through their shared
bond she felt the fatigue that clung to both of them. Gloed's nerves were
strung to the max and Genster suspected even a bug could set her off.
Below her nimble hands, the salamander-man stirred and he groaned. Genster
alerted her sister that he was waking up. As she was deaf, she needed her
sister's ears to work for her and since she couldn't speak very well, it
was her sister that communicated with the world.
"Wake up." Gloed yelled, getting her an angry look from Genster.
"What? Are you sweet on him?"
Annoyed, Genster sent the universal idiom that honey catches more flies
"Fine." Gloed said and waited for Genster to coax the youth back
Clutching his head, Schub woke up in the company of the two identical naga
faces. Their beauty was somehow a bit frightening and the look in Gloed's
eyes told him quite plainly that he needed to watch himself.
Genster stroked the side of his head again and nodded to make him feel at
"My sister wants you to know our names." Gloed said. It took a
look from Genster for her to add: "My name is Gloed and she is
"I'm Schub." Schub said, "What happened?"
Gloed sighed, "We're being hunted by some crazy beast and you
wandered in at the wrong time."
Genster decided to not push her sister any harder. After all it didn't
matter who had injured the young man. He was in this with them now. Could
he tell them anything?
"Do you know anything about this? Have you a way to alert
someone?" Gloed asked.
"I'm sorry. I'm not from around here. We stopped to refuel and I went
for a walk." Schub said and then he sat up, causing a dizzy spell.
"What?" Gloed urged.
"My captain will come looking. I was only supposed to stay out for
half an hour."
"Is he a good fighter?"
"He's tough as nails and crazy as hell." Schub said without
Gloed smiled, "I like him already."
Grash wiggled through the opening that proved snug for his frame. The
footprints in the dust told him Schub had come this way. Other recent
markings told him the young recruit might not be in there alone. That was
a worrying thought.
"Blad, I'll need you for backup." Grash called help through the
communications bracelet he'd taken from the ship. A useful apparatus Schub
had failed to equip.
"Any specifics?" Blad asked.
"Heavy artillery? No, just bring the large animal
"I'll be right there."
Blad grabbed the bag with the dart gun, armed it and locked up the space
ship. Having Grash leave his little baby unattended meant the situation
was dire. Just in case, Blad made contact with the local space travel
agency and left a report that he was headed out to go look for his fellow
Blad joined Grash only 5 minutes later and handed over the dart gun. With
the understanding that came from living in close quarters for several
years, the two descended in silence. Each taking a side of the tunnel when
it opened up. As they waited to let their eyes adjust to the darkness, a
soft tremor shook the cave.
"We have company." Grash whispered and gestured to spread out.
Grash flicked his tongue out. The air tasted stale, but that was to be
expected in a cave like this.
"Damsel is in the back of the cave, "he took another sniff,
"and there's one... no two others with him."
"There are tremors all around us." Blad added, his sensitive
hearing picking up a whole lot of activity.
"This is starting to look like a nice trap."
"I'm sure it is."
"It's coming back." Gloed alerted as the rock around them
started to pulse and tremor.
"How can it appear like that?" Schub asked.
Genster knocked on the wall and Gloed translated: "It can somehow
move through these walls."
"That shouldn't be poss..." Schub started, but stopped saying as
a dark shadow seemed to crawl down the walls. Like water running down from
some previously unseen waterfall.
"Water." he said.
"What?" Gloed asked.
"It's using the water. Don't you see it?"
"Don't just stand there!"
Suddenly a roar sounded through the cave and a large, clawed leg slashed
through the air where Schub had been. Schub focused and saw the creatures
skulking right beside the wall, a dark mass of wet skin, claws and teeth.
Small tentacles writhed and several mouths opened and closed, shifting on
Schub screamed and instantly the creature turned it's attention toward
him. Slithering toward him, preceded by a small ripple of water, the
creature roared again. A sound of hunger, longing and excitement that
reverberated in the cave. But suddenly the roar was cut short and a whimper
"Schub!" Grash called, "Run toward me, I don't know how
long the sedative will hold."
Spurred into moving by his captain's voice, a voice he'd learned to obey
blindly, Schub darted toward him. Somehow he knew that the two naga women
were in close pursuit, taking the help that had been offered even if it
hadn't come for them.
"Save the two others too." he hollered, trying to make certain
Grash knew that they were friendlies.
Schub ran past Grash, relieved that the older officer had his back and
hurried to where Blad was guarding the entrance. But just when he thought
he'd gotten to safety, Schub saw the darkening of running water on the
wall closest to the way out.
"It's coming." he called, taking a turn away from the wall.
Blad heard the tremors right after Schub saw them and turned. He thrust
the cattle stick he carried forward and released the charge, happy he'd
thought to bring the damned thing. Hissing, the creature returned to the
walls and Blad took no time to try and figure out where he'd gone. He
turned to the exit and ran up, followed by Grash who'd reloaded the dart
Up top Schub and two brightly coloured reptilians were waiting.
"To the ship." Grash called and kept running.
So far the colonists on this planet thought the native predators were
confined to the waters. if they could move through the rocks the entire
settlement was in danger and Grash'd be crazy if he'd wait to see what
would happen next.
Blad unlocked the ship and had everyone inside in record time while he was
simultaneously starting up the engines. Surely the captain wouldn't be too
angry now that he'd found out the illegal extras the communications
officer had equipped on his baby. After all, Blad had also come to love
the little spaceship over the years he'd served on her. And he wanted to
make sure she could get through literally anything.
"Taking off in 3... 2... 1".
"So that quick start." Grash said ominously.
"What now?" Blad grinned, "I'll be making a report to the
colony officials. They need to know."
Grash relented and let his communications officer do his job. The ship
leapt up from the refuelling station in a way that shouldn't be possible
and the G-forces pressed the space captain in his seat. And then a shudder
went through the ship.
"What happened?" Grash called for a report.
"We were hit." Blad answered.
"No, the space port..." Blad said puzzled, "Why...?"
"They're in cahoots. Get us out of here before they feed us to those
"I've got us out of orbit." Blad reported, "But we took
"How bad is it?" the captain asked, meanwhile already pulling up
the damage reports that were coming in on the ship's communication system.
"We can travel, but we won't be fast. Hyperdrive is shot. We have
maybe a week before the atmosphere turns toxic with the two extra
Gloed who'd walked in when that last comment was made, snarled and got
ready to fight.
"Down." Grash said with absolute command in his voice,
"We're just stating a fact. Not saying we'll throw you out of the
Genster took her sister's hand and pulled her back. She shook her head and
looked back at captain with a question in her eyes.
"We'll look for a nearby planet where we can make repairs. You can
decide then and there whether you want to hire us to take you somewhere or
whether you want to look for transport on another ship."
"Fair enough." Gloed grumbled.
"Already looking at possible planets." Blad reported,
"Without hyperdrive, we only have two or three options. And I believe
only one of those is a viable option. The planet is called Erizon. Medium
level of development, No international space port, no rush delivery
options, so we'll be stuck there for a while but the reviews are
"They were decent on the last one too." Schub remarked dryly.
"Not the one I left." Blad grimaced.
Erizon proved just the backwater planet it had seemed in the
description. They'd landed on an ancient spaceport that probably saw no
more use than the half-yearly supply run.
"From what I can see, " Schub said, crawling in the ship's
maintenance ducts, "we can probably fix this ourselves but it will
take some time and parts. Do you think they might have the DX-521 tubes
and RASTER plates in stock?"
"I somehow doubt it." Blad retorted.
"We'll ask." Grash said.
"And now?" Gloed asked, her tail twitching.
"We wait to fix the ship. You're free to find other
transportation." Grash said.
At which point Genster nodded. She concentrated, emptied her head and sent
out a calling. She'd tried to use her dragon summon ability on the
previous planet, but no dragon had been present in the 10 mile radius that
she had power in. Probably dragons had known better than to stay on that
planet. This time however, she got lucky.
Gloed smiled, "Genster just found us transport. So we'll be taking
our leave.", which earned her another nudge from Genster. Gloed
sighed, "Genster says she'll ask them to help you out as
"That's very nice of her." Blad said.
"What kind of transportation can you call without comms?" Grash
"The dragon kind." Gloed said triumphantly as a dark shadow
appeared out of thin air above them.
Continuations on their individual stats pages:
Grash - Blad - Schub
Gloed and Genster to Balehome in
Home is where your Allies are
Credits: all background images and
reptilian pictures found with google.