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The alien probe changed tack, went a fair distance out over water in order to evade detection, before circling around to move back in on its quarry.

The quarry, in this case, was the being whose movements appeared to be hampered, making it the easiest target. In the past few weeks, the mobility-impaired being had eschewed the use of wheels in favour of a more clumsy contrivance that allowed it to locomote itself in upright position. This made no sense whatever to the probe. What was the purpose of this type of locomotion if it only served to make movement more difficult, precarious and awkward?

At this moment, its quarry appeared to be sitting alone on the rocky, sandstone beach, lobbing pebbles out into the water.

The probe scanned its quarry, the pebbles, the beach, the water, attempted to make sense of this activity. What was the strange being’s intended target?

That gave the probe pause- the possibility that something was there, but was invisible to its sensors. The probe moved in closer, all sensors on-line now, searching for the invisible.



‘Hey, Boomers,’ Yelina said as Boom-Boom Kitty joined her. Boom-Boom Kitty went straight to her lap, but began scanning the open water, intently, pupils wide, ears tracking any little sound.

‘What is it, Boomers?’ Yelina asked worriedly, holding her kitty to her now, ready to try to escape this place, which until now had seemed peaceful and inviting.

All at once, Boom-Boom Kitty’s senses locked on to something, and he hissed in response.

Instinctively, Yelina reacted by tossing a pebble where Boom-Boom Kitty’s attention was directed- and gaped as it clanked against something metallic!





Impossible! The probe ran a diagnostic of its protective shield, found it to be fully functional. How had its quarry managed to detect it?

The small animal perched on its quarry’s shoulder now faced backwards, staring right at the probe, even as the damaged being it rode upon began moving off, with difficulty.

So! The small animal was somehow able to see through the probe’s defences! That would soon be remedied. The probe fired up its weapons systems and took aim.



Boomers!’


Boom-Boom Kitty lit off his mistress’ shoulder at the last possible instant, sensing that he, not his mistress, was the target of that frying blast of energy that just missed him, intending to burn him to cinders.

Fine! That “mean-to-kitties” thing wanted to play Chase? He could play Chase, too!

Like a small, furry will-o’-the-wisp, he ran straight towards his mistress’ tormenter, dodging frying bursts of energy that blasted all it touched to smoking ruin.

You leave my kitty alone!’ With a cry, Yelina hurled her left crutch at the deadly thing-

Guided by Fate or by Chance, her metal crutch hooked itself over a cluster of sensory apparatus on the probe’s grotesque head in a shower of sparks and hung there. The probe, not understanding what had happened, began blasting away at this tormenter which was inexplicably there one instant, then moved out of the way the instant before it had a chance to turn, sight and fire . . .

Yikes! C’mon, Boomer’s! Let’s get out of here!’

Switching her remaining crutch to her good left arm, Yelina collected her kitty and began hobbling away as quickly as possible, ignoring the agonising pain of doing so.



Suddenly, the probe found itself able to move only with great difficulty! The reason became apparent as two-dozen black-clad beings threw themselves bodily upon the net they’d cast over the probe, and using their weight, managed to drag it to earth. The probe tried sighting one of its weapons . . . only to have one of the beings lock both hands on the emitter, forcing it to fire wide of its target. The probe felt plates on its protective armoured body being forced open . . .

And then-

------
You are the alien.


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