by Jill Weber (MFCarpet at aol.com)
Characters owned by Dark Horse and Sony
Hunter woke up in the dark (in more ways than one) with a raging
headache and ringing ears. When his eyes focused, he recognized his
surroundings. Heíd spent more time in Big Guyís cockpit than any one
other place. "I thought the idea behind joining the army was to not
spend all day in an office," he muttered. Then he sighed. "C'mon,
Dwayne, you've got the consciousness part. How 'bout working on the
He shook his head and decided that was a bad idea. He leaned back and
studied the snowy picture on his viewscreens as he tried to remember
what the devil had been going on. He could feel blood trickling from
his nose and instinctively reached up to wipe it away, only to bang his
wrist against his faceplate.
Hunter swore to himself and pushed his faceplate up so he could dab
at his nose. He tried to move his seat back to give himself some room
to work on his communications panel, only to find himself firmly mired
in some sticky substance....
"Oh, yeah, you," he grumbled to the gel that had oozed into the
cockpit. "Now I remember." Trying to ignore the ankle-deep gunk, he
tweaked what controls he could reach and managed to restored external
"Big Guy, answer me?" Rustyís plaintive voice seemed faint or far
"....Donít tell me my men canít follow orders!" Thortonís enraged
bellow was farther, but a lot clearer. "The bloody thing fired by
itself! Even with the so-called safety locks still on!" Hunter tuned
out Thorton and concentrated on his radio.
"Gotta tell them I'm still alive before Thorton has to use something
really powerful on this thing," he told himself. "Then it'll be too
late... not to mention inaccurate." The sound of his words startled
him. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. "Coherent... work on
After a few deep breaths to steady himself, he went to work. He worked
until he managed to produce some static, pausing only now and then to
wipe sweat or blood from his face. He rested a few minutes, then some
fine tuning brought success.
"VTOL to Hunter, do you read?" Joís voice, almost unrecognizable with
"Hunter, here," he managed. "Whatís my status?"
Sighs of relief from the radio.
"You got nailed by friendly fire, Iím afraid," Joís voice, still tight
"Yeah, I gathered that much... where am I? Iíve got no visual."
"The blast threw you smack in the middle of that thing, Lieutenant,"
Mack rasped. "Now itís dragging you down the road towards the concert
"Lovely," sighed Hunter. "Is Slate there?"
"Slate and Garth are trying an experiment," Jo said, her voice
beginning to sound more normal.
"Good, let me know how it comes out," Hunter said. He leaned back in
his seat to consider his next move, and fell asleep instead.
On to Part 2!
Back to part 1
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