A month ago a stray bolt of lightning had burned down the trees and shrubby of a small patch of forest South of the Gapachu camp.
Nature was slowly reclaiming the burnt ashes but so far only the ferns were hearty enough, or more likely stubborn enough to cover the area.
Though he now was now on the run from two dozen Aztec panthers, Maverick did have one way out, which is why he had chosen this area.
Maverick tired eyes lay on the blinking light on his watch. He felt dumb just waiting for a call from a guy he just met a few days ago to contact him, but it was either this or land the snail in the middle of the Gapachu village and have them try to confiscate his ride out of there.
After a number of seconds the voice of Driver came through Maverick’s armband. “Coming through Grey.”
Reality, space, time, and sanity; these things and more went bat-shit crazy as the strange snail and its driver tore the Gapachu’s universe a new asshole.
Maverick’s head hurt as he tried to understand what he had just witnessed. His mind told him that the snail moved only a fraction of an eyelash, if at all. But at the same time the thing had leaped at the speed of thought and travelled at an impossible distance.
This was not teleportation, if it was Maverick would have blinked and missed the atoms of the snail resembling right in front of him.
What had happened would have caused every physicist on Earth to check into a mental ward with the attending examiner throwing away the key.
All Maverick could do to sum up the amazing way the snail appeared and the migraine it caused him into a single word. “Fuck.”
Maverick turned his head back to see two dozen Gapachu gawking at the truck sized snail that appeared out of nowhere. Maverick would have liked the idea that he made them piss themselves but he had other business to attend to.
The young Earthling in the alien meat suit banged on the snail’s shell. “Open up you son of a bitch. Ahhh.” Maverick screamed as a poisoned dart entered his thigh.
If Maverick had thought the Gapachu were either going to be phased or terrified by the snail’s appearance or that they were just going to let him get away he was quiet mistaken.
“Shit, shit, shit.” Already Maverick could feel the poison worming through his body. “Dude, open up.” He was tempted to spout out ‘Start the plane.’ but he doubted the slug would get the joke.
There was a sickening sound as the snail’s rear hatched opened. “In here, Grey.” the biker slug sounded worried and Maverick couldn’t blame him.
From out across the borders of the tree line Gapachu were dashing into the open area, some catapulted themselves from trees, others were on their hands and feet and raced towards this new object. On occasion one would stand and shoot a dart at Maverick.
“Crap.” Maverick screamed as he stumbled to one knee. Damn that poison was wicked. His heart daring itself to vomit out of his mouth, Maverick spared a look at the oncoming Aztec cats.
Who knew that something that spent most of its life in the trees would be that fast on open ground? Already they were about halfway to the snail and Maverick’s throat.
“Get in you” The next word that came from Driver’s orifice must have been a pretty cruel insult because not even Maverick’s translator could convert it.
With a yell Maverick scrambled to his feet and entered the snail’s rear. He was about ready to cry out tears of joy. “Thank you. Thank you.” Never had Maverick felt so grateful for anything in his life.
Behind him the snail’s hatch was put back up and there was a satisfying hiss as the pneumatic system signalled that they would not be opening again.
Maverick cared little for this, he pulled out the dart that some bugger cat sent into his leg. “When I get my hands on the bastard that gave me this souvenir…”
His vacant threat was not finished as a warm hand-claw dug its claws into his chest.
“Grey Thing will do what to Incisor?” Incisor asked, her claws digging into his skin, daring him to continue.
At about now Maverick was pondering the intricate and down right unfair will of the universes. He could not help but ask what exactly was his problem with women this week? At each and every turn every nice girl that looked ready to help him turned into a crazy bitch with some kind of grudge against him. Well now it was time to get some payback.
Through gritted teeth Maverick looked towards the front seat. “Step on it.”
Incisor narrowed her gaze. “Step on what?”
Having no other reason to not to, Driver hit whatever the snail counted as an accelerator.
To her credit Incisor had handled the transition considerably better than either Maverick or Scratch-Ear had their first time when being privileged to the sudden shock of inter-dimensional travel, she had merely fainted.
Maverick’s experience with the momentum, however, was not so well. On his hands and knees he vomited.
An expression of confusion covered Maverick’s face as he put his fingers on his chest. When he looked back, his fingers he noticed that not only were they covered in a layer of Driver’s mucous but there was no denying the sign of blood.
With her highly strung nerves and reflexes, Incisor had plundered a large amount of Maverick’s skin from his chest.
“I hate this job.” Maverick said before he fainted into the loving embrace of the Driver’s bodily fluids.
When Maverick awoke he appeared to be strapped into a chair with thick tubes going into his body delivering a delightful cocktail of unknown medications.
At first he thought that the whole Sydney thing was just an hallucination brought on by whatever drug the crazy bitch doctor had subjected him to.
Once again this delightful wish was shattered by Driver peering down on him.
“You awake yet?” The bastard snail offspring of a roadie and a mollusc asked. “Good. I wanna beat the fuck out of you for what you did to my ride.”
‘How about I get some salt and show you how we play with your kind pack home?” Maverick would have said if he wasn’t at the slug’s mercy.
A groan escaped Maverick as he tried to free himself. Right now he was strapped to a metal slab that was put into a vertical position, his eyes only found alien medical equipment including IV drips, pharmaceuticals, and some futuristic-like gadgets.
If there was an upside to any of this, it was that the wounds he had received in Bracëo were just vengeful memories.
As Maverick observed his surroundings his eyes caught a perverted sign on the wall. The sign displayed a multiple limbed tentacle monster in a lab coat looming over a Asian girl wearing a sailor school uniform.
The below were the words. ‘Turn your head and cough.’
Any other day Maverick would have laughed at the crude humour. Now, however, he just wished he never had to go through an alien cavity search or a prostate exam.
“Okay, you fixed me up. Can you get me off this thing now?” Maverick asked, not much enjoying the idea that there was a tube going into the hole he both shit and urinated through.
There was a clear smirk on Driver’s face. “Sorry, Grey. But you just woke up during the best part.” The slug reached over and picked up a long rod with a luminescent bulb on the end.
Maverick did not like the look in any of Driver’s eyes, he had been around enough spiteful and vengeful people in his life to know the look when it was right in front of him
As for the rod, he could only imagine it being some for of futuristic scalpel. “Um. Any chance for a second opinion?” Maverick asked.
“Fraid not. This is my favourite part. The anal probe. Better think warm thoughts.”
Put in this situation, Maverick did what any self-respecting male would do. He screamed like a little girl. “Ahhhhhh.”
A gurgling burst of coughing came from Driver as he rested the glowing tool back onto the table. As Maverick could figure it, the bastard slug was having a diabolical laugh.
“Just pulling your gorblox, Grey.” Driver said and flashed his claw over a sensor.
A sense of freedom came over Maverick as the tubes and restraints that held onto his flesh became intangible, a concept that was lost on the teenager who could still see the tubes and the restraints but had registered them as some form of alien hologram prank.
Naked and on the floor with his hands and knees a touch of vertigo caused Maverick to take a breather.
Eventually, like an infant gaining its first steps he began to raise from the ground while covering his non-existent genitals. “Don’t joke like that, mate.” Maverick coughed as he stood on what felt like stilts made of spaghetti. “Not cool.”
“You threw your guts up in my bloody trailer, you dirty bastard.” Driver argued, not happy with how Maverick treated himself inside his home and best friend.
Maverick had no idea what the slug’s problem was. The floor of the snail was coated in two inches of the Driver’s own snot. “So, so sorry I bled on your carpet.” Maverick was unsure if sarcasm could be translated but didn’t really care at the moment.
“By the way.” Maverick waved his finger at Driver. “You suck at parking. You tossed me right in the middle of nowhere. I got chased by fucking Godzilla.”
Exhausted with his own problems, Driver gestured to a stack of folded up clothes. “Get Dressed. The Boss ain’t getting any happier with you bumbling around. You’ve got two days to get one toy or he shoves you right back home.”
A deathly gleam was in the Driver’s one large eye. “And as I hear it. If you survive dying. Where you are going, anal probes are a daily occurrence.”
Well isn’t that the greatest motivator in the world? Thought Maverick. Do the job or you’re gonna get ass raped in prison.
In some way he hoped he would never get that far, he had faith that the insane bitch doctor had killed him before he got tried as an adult. But this situation with the Gapachu was bad.
It is often easy to fantasise being a jungle explorer on the desert island. That lone hero on the TV. The solider that got shrapnel in the ass and lived to joke about it. But it is easy to forget that pain sucks balls.
Of course Maverick never wanted to be these childish things. He wanted to be the guy who owned the island, who sued the hero for messing up his plans, and the guy who sold the grenade to the enemy solider. He didn’t want fame, he wanted money and all the fun thingsthat came with it.
The underwear Maverick held was both comfortable and clean, but no matter how much he wanted to smile all that could be expressed was a sneer. “Getting eaten by a fucking big cat is not part of the job description.”
Against the wall Driver was trying to finding something else to watch besides Maverick’s ass being squeezed through a piece of cloth. “Article B, Section 8. Read the bloody contract next time.”
The clothes reminded Maverick of those dags that went walkabout. Sturdy trousers, high grade hiking boots, and even a dorky slouch hat. All of these screamed Australian dropkick and would have been useful when Maverick was crack deep in woodland critters.
The sound of the medical door sliding open caught Maverick’s ear and he turned to what he thought would be the doctor who patched him up, what he instead encountered was Incisor.
The first reaction of Maverick’s was to cry out “Oh, shit.” before he dove for the tray of medical equipment. Unsure of what was what, he picked up a long rod and waved it like a kattana. “Don’t make me use this on you. Back, Simba, back.”
He swung the rod with the full intent to scream bloody murder in a brave manner but knew he was less frightening than a car ticket.
Ignoring the fool that was holding a suppository, Driver eyed the feline stowaway, “Do we have a problem?” he asked her.
Intimidated to the point where she would lash out, Incisor stayed at the entrance to the recovery room. Her eyes tried to go everywhere at once to soak in as much as the environment as possible; in search for possible ambushes, aliens, and weapons.
At first Maverick thought that the door behind the Gapachu had closed before he realised that something was taking up space behind Incisor.
“Get in there putty tat.” Came a young voice that was so distorted by cuteness and pronunciation that it was difficult to distinguish if it belonged to a boy or a girl.
A white boot shot straight towards Incisor’s ass and the panther was sent inside howling. When she landed the Gapachu swerved and bared her teeth. “Incisor will kill thing.”
From out of the door way the mass of shadow stepped into the room and flicked a switch.
Maverick was forced to cover his eyes as he was assaulted by the luminescence that could only be brought on by a fluorescence bulb.
To a human she or he had to be about nine years old, its sex was unknown as it’s body seemed to be made of pink jelly.
It’s face did look human, with a nose, a mouth, and even a long stack of dreadlocks that looked amazingly similar to raspberry licorice.
Looking at this over grown reject of a cereal box, Maverick once again had the distinct impression that he was dreaming. “Let me guess. You’re gonna say I should give you a good lick because you look so sweet.” Maverick said.
If it was possible, the pink of the jelly girl’s cheeks turned as red as strawberry jam. “Y.you shut up. You pervert.” She dove her hand into her white coat and pulled out a green lollipop, with her cheek still red she popped the whole thing in her mouth and averted her gaze.
A coughing laugh came from Driver. “Grey. This is Doctor Eida Tachibana. She is Sydney’s Emporium’s leading medical expert. Be nice now, she’s the one who patched you up.”
Maverick was still getting over the fact that he was looking at a living jelly baby that looked to be fresh out of an anime.
With a sigh, Driver stood between them. “I got to drop you back. The boss wants that stuff.”
The slug monster coming right for her, Incisor jumped out of the way and hid under a desk.
A shiver ran through Doctor Tachibana who viewed the disgusting trail of smile that Driver left. Maverick felt a ting of empathy for the small walking jelly baby.
Still keeping his eyes on the Gapachu, Maverick moved side ways as if he was a crab, never taking his eyes off the panther he accidentally bumped into his physician.
It had been nearly a week since Maverick had anything he would label as a meal, let alone a snack, and the small girl looked so tasty. A fragrance of fresh raspberries radiated from her hair and there had to be enough glucose in her arm to feed a kindergarten.
Hypnotised by the Japanese jelly doctor in front of him, Maverick leaned forward.
Not liking the look in his eyes Doctor Tachibana leaned back. “Ah, is Sydney sure he isn’t some kind of killer?”
“Grey. Incisor. Get your asses out here.” Driver shouted cutting through Maverick’s haze.
Maverick looked back down at the small girl in front of him and Nancy Harrington’s assembly announcement returned to him.
He was about ready to eat this little alien. Dear God, he was even contemplating ripping her arm off.
“I’m sorry.” It was all he could think off before he shamefully exited the room.
Unsure herself what had happened Doctor Tachibana’s cheeks bubbled from the heat. The drool on Maverick’s face, the look of want and desire in his eyes, that cheesy line about her being sweet.
Doctor Tachibana exaggerated a fainting motion. “Oh no. Eida-chan, how can boys keep falling for your beauty? Not even the beings of the stars can resist your mature body.”