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Part 5

Toyna O'Hooligan unrolled her word-processor and began typing;



“We are less than a day into our journey but these icy wastelands seem to stretch out forever. I can barely see Albion now and the coast of the EFS is a distant speck. There are several odd things about this disparate group. The pilot and his brother have already retired to his cabin. I cannot hear what they are saying but the \'Lady Jane\' is not going in the direction of the Colonies. We seem to be on a bearing that will take us into the marshlands area. There are also several boxes of supplies stored around the skidder that don't appear on the manifest provided by a friendly desk clerk when I crossed his palm with a ten Euro dollar note. I will find them and check their contents before sending my next communication. Msg ends; 28.06.2203

Jackson Brandy's journal

I sat on my bunk wondering what the hell to do about myself and Pixie. Starting up with her again was going to be a bit dangerous especially out here. It wasn't as if it was her fault though. Take the Hooligan/ O'Hare feud that started back in 2201. Two wrestlers, one referee and an ampitheatre filled with family and extended families and a cast of three hundred others and Pixie Malone. The last, Pixie, was the problem. The fight was in its third round and everybody had jumped to their feet as Grinder Hooligan kicked his opponent Cruncher O'Hare in the groin. The referee was about to prevent Hooligan from following up when fate took a hand. Fate in the diminutive shape of Pixie Malone who had decided to compensate for her lack of height by hopping onto her seat. As she jumped up and down to see what was happening the seat creaked then gave way and she fell forward. Her hands thumped the spectator before her in the back as he took another bite from his hot-dog. The impact of her hands made him spit out the piece of sausage which sailed over everybody's heads and landed in the ring. The referee stepped back, slipped on the sausage, this gave Hooligan the chance to continue kicking O'Hare. A low rumble started in the crowd, nobody knows who threw the first bottle, but the result was the same whichever side it came from. The rest as they say, is a bit confused. Here endeth the main reason I didn\t want to take another risk with Pixie.
Journal ends.

Jenny Cringe whistled softly as she examined the contents of the 'kitchen utensils' box,


“Stat 3000 semi-automatic, 30 rounds to the clip.” she murmured reverently, hefted one after checking the safety was engaged and jacked a round into the chamber, “Nice action.”


“Knows a lot for a pen-pusher.” said Joe Smith.


“I read certain magazines that deal with the subject.” she replied stiffly.


“Weapon Of Fortune' you mean?”


“S'right,” she muttered, “Effective kill range of half a mile, better accuracy with laser sights. Why are they not fitted out with those?”
Jack Smith grunted,


“Won't be a sec.” and left the cabin.


“What's his problem?”
Jenny wanted to know.


“Probably thinks a lass who knows about guns ain\'t feminine enough.” was Gillian's opinion.


“Nah, he loves a filly with spirit.” said Joe, then grinned at their shocked expressions and winked.
There was a shot, then another from the deck,


“What the hell?” muttered Smith, loaded another machine pistol threw it to Morgan and pulled out a weapon from his belt.


“Old school Glock,” whispered Jenny, “Fifteen rounds......”


“Jenny,” snapped Morgan, “Time and a place, y'know?”
Smith had already opened the door, indicated they should stay where they were. Looked around, nodded to Jenny who took off the safety and padded out, Gillian a few steps behind. They heard a shout of,


“Incoming frogs.” and ran to the steel ladder leading to the hatch. A rattle of gunfire greeted them as they climbed through the gap and flattened themselves on the deck. Teror was hiding behind a pallet of boxes. There was an expression of shocked incredulity on his face as he said,


“We\'re being attacked by bloody frogs.”


“Where are the others?” Sarge wanted to know.


“Squid and Trachun are digging out their Stats and I ain\'t seen anybody else.”
Before long the skidder was overrun with frog warriors and the crew that were armed were fighting for their lives. Sarge sent Gillian to locate and arm everyone else. Trachun and Squid had now joined them, twisting and shooting at anything green and moving. The frogs slowly retreated to their craft and made their escape. The deck was coated with green slime and three dead frogs. Gillian Morgan\'s \'filly with spirit\' side took a break while the biologist in her examined them.


“Fascinating.” she murmured, “Always wondered if it was possible. Genetic science took a back seat after the Freeze, but this kind of research must have been carried on elsewhere.”
She turned her back to examine another of the dead intruders when Sarge brought up his pistol and fired twice. She snapped,


“Do you mind? I\'ve gone deaf in one bloody ear now.”


“Better than dead.” replied Smith calmly.


She scowled,


“You mean he was recovering?”
Jack Smith came over and said,


“Gut them now, it\'s the only way to make sure they stay dead.”


“Good God, regeneration.” the biologist muttered, “But they all had massive tissue and organ damage.”


Smith shot another recovering warrior and she shouted,


“Will you stop doing that?”


“Get on with it then.”
Morgan pulled a hunting knife from a calf sheath and began the process of gutting the frogs.



“Where\'s Flack?” Popeye Smith demanded, “He can at least hold a frigging gun and look as if he\'s knows what he\'s doing.”
Jackson Brandy appeared on deck and said simply,


“Gone. He was with me and they grabbed him. I decked the twot who tried to take me. Then somebody cracked me on my head from behind.” He rubbed at a growing lump and his fingers came away covered in blood.


“What do they want with him?”


“They?” said Trachun, “Who the hell are they anyway?”
Jack Smith ignored the question and said,


“That wasn\'t an accident, they acted more like a snatch team than anything else.”


“Or a rescue team?”
This contribution came from Pixie Malone and they turned to stare at her. Brandy said,


“Rescue? What are you talking about Pix?”


------
In five hundred years time, most of us will be forgotten dust. But Hitler will still be remembered, God loves irony.


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by Ogg





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