Evalina, an engineer by trade but a woman on the run by night, looked like she was being stung by the cold wind of Pandora. Her whole body shivered like…well the only thing that I can compare it too was when one of the researchers accidentally dismembered his finger. The other researchers didn’t know what to do immediately, they just stood there with green faces as the dismembered man quickly turned white as my fur as the sticky crimson blood spilled out on to the bleach white floor. After a few seconds the man began shivering in an uncontrollable tremble. His knees gave out. He fell to the floor. He passed out before the medics could tended to him. He survived…but the rest of his friends always called him Nubs after that.
I couldn’t have anyone calling Evalina Nubs. Not after she was one of the reasons I was free.
“Evalina?” I began to ask hesitantly, “do you need something to keep you warm?”
‘’No, Gum ,’’ she answered sincerely, ’’I’ll be fine. I just need to get used to it. Thanks, though.’’ She turned up her collar to the wind.
I was carrying Mr. Trapperskins as we trudged through the tundra. Mr. Trapperskins also served a part in my freedom. But at the moment, he was somewhat sedated…apparently he can’t hold his curelom tranquillizer. We were being guided to a derlict city by a screw-loose service droid going by the name ClapTrap. This city had been built from the remains of a massive oil tanker frozen aground. I’m no genius, but I smelled something fishy…though it could have been Mr. Trapperskins’ l’eau de camouflage. The man reeked of bullymong dung and curelom piss.
As we came to an abandoned outpost, we were set upon by four bandits. Before we could act, we found ourselves at the ends of their crude rifles.
“We’ll take that bloke from off your hands, mate.” The one who must had been the leader said. “Betcha he’ll find a fair price at the slave markets. We’ll free your hands; and we’ll get a few creds…see? Everyone wins! Now hand ‘im over. We’ll take that pretty wristwatch of your’s too, lil’ lady.”
Evalina looked down at her special device she wore on her wrist. It was a high-powered computer she affectionately called Little Helper. It provided her a special encrypted access to Hyperion’s servers aboard their mothership. I am not sure of its complete abilities, but I did see how she used it to hyjack a few mech-drones.
“I’m not sure,” Evalina retorted, “You numbskulls would appreciate the intricacies of Little Helper.” She started typing furiously on the touch screen. The bandits didn’t take too kindly to her rebuke. They aimed all the guns at her. She did not even flinch, instead she gave a witty smirk. She knew something they didn’t. Heck, she knew something even I didn’t. I was a bit afraid for her.
I felt I needed to do something quick! I tossed Mr. Trapperskins on the snow-covered ground. Then before they cold muster off a shot at Evalina in a smash-and-grab, I roared with all the bullymong genes I had in me. It shook them up a bit, but contrary to freezing them where they stood all of them still pulled the trigger in sheer terror! My roar provoked their aim to be a bit off, nevertheless their bullets still flew towards the petite engineer. I was now terrified!
But, before the shots could hit her the air in front of her crackled and split open. For a brief moment a window with a frame of coursing blue-silvery light hung freely between her and the path of the bullets, like a weightless shield. All the bullets all entered and for a moment vanished. Then, in the blink of an eye, a second window opened up just in front of a wooden sign hanging on one of the two building’s eave. The bullets exited hitting one of the chains holding up the sign. And like a Rube Goldberg apparatus, the chain broke, sending it crashing on top a stack of logs, which tumbled out on to the snow behind the bandits. They all turned to see what fired the shot and caused the noise. One of the bandits, still terrified from a half- man-half-bullymong roar, flipped around and fired his rifle sending a bullet at his companion, and grazing his shoulder!
“What the hell, Rubbagard?!” The grazed bandit shouted. “You shot me!” His face went white from shock. He fell to his knees, just like Nubs, the dismembered scientist. He blacked out in the snow.
“No one shoots my bro but me!” Yelled another bandit at Rubbagard. The tension in their little band was getting high, and heated.
I gave another yell to get their attention again. It did more than get their attention, though. Instead of standing toe to toe with us, they simply abandoned the outpost and their fallen comrade, high-tailing it to the Northwest, well away from where we were headed. It was at that moment that we realized ClapTrap had abandoned us while we were occupied in the fray. Evalina honed in on his location, the used Little Helper to ‘jump’ there. While she was there waiting for us to catch up, see created a new program that she installed in ClapTrap’s software, and updated his hardware with a remote shut-off switch. These measure were to better control the toaster-oaf after we learned that he was a criminal at the Soaring Dragon, where we were headed.
Meanwhile, I rummaged around the abandoned bandit’s belongings, while we was still out cold. He had a radio receiver. When I turned it on, I heard Handsome Jack’s voice. He was announcing a worldwide manhunt for the three of us. Well, realy two of us and an unknown accomplice…who they didn’t know was still trying to metabolize the tranquilizers in his system.
As the bandit began coming to, I quickly smashed the radio, so that he would not suspect our involvement with Hyperion’s manhunt. I pulled him to his feet. Told him how his friends had abandoned him. I told him if he came with us, I would buy him a drink at the next town. He seemed genuinely hospitable to the idea, but then said he happened to be heading a different way.
“Thanks for the offer, though.” He said to me before about to leave.
I shook his hand. ’’I’m Gumeri, but you can call me Gum.’’
“Man, Gum!” He replied feeling less threatened by me. “I can definitely say, you are the most friendly and gentleman-like bullymong-halfbreed I had ever met…in fact, your the only bullymong-halfbree I have ever met. Name’s Scagbeeter.”
He returned the handshake. “Are you all this nice?”
“Nah, I wouldn’t know,” (I lied) “I’m one of a kind!”
“Really? No mum or dad?”
“Just me, brotha.”
“Well! It’s really been a pleasure, sorry about the whole ‘Hand over your wallet thing’. I hope you didn’t take it personal. I hope to see ya around?” He asked.
“Oh yeah, Scag, I hope to see you around too. And, don’t worry I didn’t take it personal. I know how rough it is out here.”
Scagbeeter went to turn to go his way. “So I hope you don’t take this personal…”
“What’s that?” He ask turning back towards me.
“This…” WHAM! I thumped him right on the top of his head. His eyes went cross, rolled back and his knees went limp. I caught him before he completely buckled in. “…like I said its a tough world out here. And I can’t have you spilling the beans about us to Hyperion.”
I hoisted Scagbeeter on one shoulder. Then went over to Mr. Trapperskins on the other shoulder. I followed ClapTrap’s tracks to catch up with Evalina. We had to hurry to make it to The Soaring Dragon before nightfall.
To Be Continued…