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Pandora

If the NJO happened to Earth...

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Pandora

...well, obviously, we'd all die, but that's beside the point.

I got really really really really bored one day (so what else is new, right?) and came up with an Earth-based sci-fi "universe" that's basically about the destruction of the planet. (yes, I'm my normal, happy, chipper, bright, sunny self... *rolls eyes sarcastically*). *clears throat* Anywho. I'm in the middle of another Creative Writing assignment, this one is a short story.

But it's got me just ever so slightly miffed. See, my teacher assigned the rough draft to be typed Friday, due Monday (today), however, she'd been absent all week, so we had only a handout to rely on for guidelines. So, I spend all weekend typing up my story (part of that Earth-based NJO-thingy-deal) and came up with a nice, brief, double-spaced, eleven page paper. I get to class, and my teacher reassigns it, explains what it was she meant, and so on. Then, almost as an afterthought, adds, "Oh, it should be 2-3 pages long."

Yeah, I'm spending my afternoon hacking eight friggin' pages off my poor story... *sniffs sadly and shakes her head* My poor, poor story.... My locker now has a bit of a dent in it where I was banging my on it after class.

BUT! Before I finish taking the chainsaw--er, red pen-- to my story, I thought you might like to read the original. I'll put it in the next post, so, those of you on, tremble with anticipation whilst I copy/paste it over!

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Pandora

Rescue

Captain Natalee Alzon? pulled her long-blade from the throat of the alien warrior and moved to the next one, not even stopping to watch him fall. A guttural growl came from the wounded Czulknek she came upon. He tried to charge Natalee, but his legs had been shot off at the knees by a volley from the elevated machine guns on either end of the field. Alzon? silenced the reptile by thrusting her long-blade through the weak point in his armor under the chin.

“Natalee, behind you!” Caryn, her friend and fellow freedom fighter called.

Natalee whirled around, bringing her long-blade up to a defensive position, as Caryn snapped off a few quick shots on the back of the attacking Czulknek. The bullets struck home, but were embedded in the warrior’s body armor.

Though the Czulknek was unharmed, the impact startled him enough that Natalee could slice through his legs with her long-blade. In a fluid motion, she shifted her weight and side-kicked the alien to the ground, and Caryn shot him twice in the throat with her assault rifle.

Moving to the next alien, Alzon? heard a shift in the commotion over her radio. “This is the south field. Six Czulknek warriors have broken into the bunker and captured General Cantil!”

“Caryn,” Natalee called over her shoulder, “the general—“

“I know, I heard,” she answered over the battle cry of a wounded warrior.

“Take charge here, I’m going after him!” Natalee began a dash for the south field, yelling into her radio as she ran. “This is Alzon?, do you know where the general is being taken?”

“Looks like the Czulkneks’ new compound a few clicks south of here, Captain.”

“Good, I’m going after him.”

Tokyn Belarephon’s voice came over the radio, his slight Russian accent barely noticeable. “Captain, you can’t handle this by yourself.”

Alzon? kept running, now almost out of the south field. “I can handle it better than a full squadron, which we can’t spare, I should remind you.”

Tokyn ignored her. “Send a squad to help her.”

“Tokyn, no,” Natalee corrected. “We can’t afford to loose that much defense around the camp. The Aero-Space Fighter project is our number one priority, and our only hope at winning this war.”

The communications officer risked a question. “Are we sending a squad or not?”

“No!” Natalee shot back. “I’m about halfway to the compound. I’m shutting off my radio so I can sneak in. I’ll make contact when I find the general. Alzon?, out.” She switched off her radio and ran full tilt through the light sprinkling of trees that separated the London resistance camp safe-zone from the Czulknek compound.

The low barking sound of the Czulkneks’ native tongue brought Natalee to an abrupt halt. Silently, she climbed ten feet up the nearest tree. Below her, six alien figures stomped through the undergrowth, surrounding a bound and bloodied—but conscious—human.

General Cantil held his head in as dignified a posture as possible as he stumbled through the foliage, his wrists tied securely behind him and blood soaking the ropes. The aliens would treat that potentially fatal wound at the compound, Natalee knew. They wanted him alive.

Her heart skipped a beat. Had they found out about the ASF project? Was that the information they planned to torture the general to gain? When the project had been transferred to London after years of research was lost when Houston was destroyed, General Cantil had taken it upon himself to assure that that would never happen again. He spent hours and hours on end every day for over a full year memorizing the databanks. That was why he stayed in the southern bunker during every attack. If the camp was destroyed, at least he could get that information to another one.

Natalee also knew the incredible amount of mental discipline it had taken him to store so much in his head. If the Czulkneks planned to torture him to make him talk, at least they had their work cut out for them.

Alzon? gripped the hilt of her sheathed long-blade with growing anger. Perhaps if she surprised the warriors now she could get the general and escape. She took a slow breath. No, these warriors carried armorswords: weapons made of virtually indestructible wood from the Czulknek home world that could slice through almost any material with their razor-sharp edge. Though her long-blade could counter a blow from an armorsword, she herself could not take six skilled warriors on her own. One Czulknek alone out-matched any human in both strength and size, though not brains. And six….

The Czulkneks leading Cantil tramped out of sight, and Natalee waited until their voices and heavy footfalls diminished before she climbed back down the tree to follow them. When she caught up to the group, they had already crossed the clearing around the Czulknek compound, and were entering the building.

Natalee turned on her radio and whispered into it. “This is Alzon?. I’ve found the general. They’re taking him into the northern entrance of the compound now. As soon as the coast is clear I’m going in.” She shut off the radio before a reply could come and sprinted across the clearing, keeping alert should she be spotted.

Reaching the building, Natalee pressed her back against the wall beside the entrance and listened for voices beyond. Hearing none she stole a glance around the corner, and proceeded inside. A door several yards down the hall clicked shut behind General Cantil and four of the warriors she had been following. The other two stood guard on either side of the door.

Natalee ducked behind a crate of what she guessed to be food rations. She drew her gun from its holster at her hip, and pulled the silencer out of her jumpsuit pocket. She had one chance to kill both warriors. Taking careful aim at the throat of the alien on the left, Natalee fired once, and the warrior fell to the quiet zip of the bullet.

The second Czulknek drew his armorsword and crouched into a guard position, protecting his throat. Natalee fired a shot that sailed wide and struck a wall. The warrior turned abruptly at the sound. Taking advantage of his confusion, Natalee charged him, long-blade drawn and gun abandoned.

He heard her combat boots strike the alien wood flooring and turned to parry. She rolled under his armorsword and struck his legs with her long-blade. He collapsed and Natalee batted away his weak attack and plunged her weapon through the alien’s throat, but not before he could loose a deep growl.

Muttering a curse through clenched teeth, Natalee retreated to the crate once more. The other four Czulkneks leapt through the door and looked around the bodies of their fallen comrades. One kneeled to examine the corpses, and two spoke to each other in their own language.

Natalee recovered her gun from where she’d left it on the floor and aimed at the fourth warrior walking cautiously towards her hiding place. She fired a fatal shot at his throat. The two warriors stopped talking and stared open-mouthed at the new kill.

For a hunting party, Natalee mused; they certainly weren’t the brightest beings this species had to offer. She snapped off several shots at each of the three remaining warriors, and they fell easily enough.

Alzon? suppressed a groan as she realized that, besides her long-blade, she was now unarmed. Oh well, she shrugged; she didn’t really like using that gun anyway. She holstered her now useless weapon in a vague attempt to keep the technology out of enemy hands. She whispered into her radio again. “Alzon? here. I’m in the compound and I’ve found where they’ve put the general. I’ll make contact again when I have him safe.”

Switching off her radio, Natalee advanced down the hallway. She swept her long dark hair over her shoulder and pressing an ear to the door, she heard two voices, a Czulknek—speaking English, she realized with a start—and General Cantil.

Alzon? took a step back and kicked the door open, flooding light into the dimly lit—but very large—room. As she had hoped, the only figures inside were the Czulknek she’d heard and the general. Only the former turned to look at her. Cantil—whose wrists had been treated as she’d guessed but were still behind his back—was suspended face-down from the high ceiling by a set of ropes running under his arms and another around his ankles, pulling his probably dislocated joints in odd angles. Fresh blood ran down the side of his face and an eye was beginning to swell.

The Czulknek spoke in deep, broken English. “What have we here?”

Natalee crossed the threshold to glare evenly at the warrior. “Release him.”

The warrior laughed, a dry, grating sound. Natalee noted that he was taller and even more well-built than the other aliens she’d faced in the hallway. And his fluency of English suggested uncharacteristic intelligence. “Are all members of your species so ignorant?”

She took another step towards the alien and repeated herself, ignoring his remark. “Release him.”

The warrior cackled again. “Perhaps you do not know who you are addressing. I am Tsenario. But I believe your culture would consider me an admiral.”

“No, I believe we would consider you the lizard-faced scum that’s destroying our planet.” For the first time Natalee recognized the muscular tail Tsenario possessed, and wondered if it was a mark of rank. “Now release him.” She nodded towards Cantil, still hanging limply from the ceiling, but breathing.

Tsenario sneered. “Why would I release him? I have more reason to keep him here than I do to turn him back over to you.”

Alzon? drew her long-blade and narrowed her eyes threateningly. “Is this reason enough?”

Smiling, Tsenario slid a long, double-bladed armorsword from the sheath across his back. “Ah, a duel? Pity though.” He twirled his weapon in elegant circles. “You will be little challenge to dispense of. No matter. I should be able to return to your general’s interrogation soon.”

Natalee charged the alien, intending to summersault in the last instant and cut his legs from under him, but he swung his armorsword low to block her long-blade. In the same motion, he pivoted and swung his tail at his assailant, knocking her aside.

Alzon? shoulder-rolled through the hit and came up in time to parry a swing from Tsenario’s armorsword, leapt over his tail as he swung it again, and ducked under the second blade as he brought it around to complete the arch. Natalee swung her long-blade like a club against the side of Tsenario’s body armor, but only succeeded in creating a loud clang and sparks as the blade glanced off.

Tsenario thrust his armorsword at Natalee’s chest, which she spun away from, and using the momentum from the spin brought her blade around in a high cut towards his neck. The alien ducked and side kicked her in the stomach, knocking the breath from her lungs and sending her to the ground, skidding to a stop against a wall.

Gritting her teeth, Alzon? brought her now very heavy long-blade up to a weak defensive position as Tsenario stood over her, armorsword poised for the kill. “Pathetic human,” he growled.

Natalee met his yellow, reptilian eyes, felt the pang of failure, and closed her eyes against the feeling. When she had expected to feel the armorsword penetrate her chest, she opened her eyes again in time to see a human figure rush Tsenario and wrestle him to the ground.

“Tokyn?” Natalee breathed quietly, and pulled herself painfully to her feet, coughing. She steadied herself against the disoriented sensation with a hand against the wall, catching her breath and staring in awe at Tokyn—the young man who had been orphaned and had raised himself on the streets of Moscow—battling Tsenario.

After a clang from his blade against Tsenario’s armor-plated tail, Tokyn shouted, “Natalee, get the general and go!”

As if suddenly awakened, Natalee remembered Cantil hanging in his contorted position from the ceiling, and ran to his side. “General, can you hear me?” She wiped away a drop of blood that threatened to fall into his eye. Cantil flinched slightly but made no other indication he was aware of her.

Stepping to the ropes that held his ankles, she examined the damage. The ropes had cut through his jumpsuit and had begun making their way through his flesh, but besides that, his legs were fine. He’d be able to move, not run, but move.

Supporting both legs with her right arm, Natalee sliced through the ropes with her long-blade in her left hand, and lowered his feet gently to the ground. She quickly broke the ropes around his wrists and helped him stand upright so she could slip the ropes off of his arms.

General Cantil leaned heavily on Natalee, who led him to sit with his back against the wall farthest from the duel. Alzon? tore a portion of her sleeve and pressed it to the bleeding wound near the general’s temple.

A pained cry from Tokyn brought Natalee’s attention back to the battle behind her. She turned her head in time to see him take a glancing thrust to his arm and stagger backwards. Replacing the general’s hand for her own to hold the cloth in place, Alzon? took up her long-blade and hurried to Tokyn’s aid.

Long-blade held high in attack, Natalee charged the alien again. Rather than deflect the slash, Tsenario batted her aside with a muscular, claw-tipped arm, and turned his attention back to Tokyn.

Alzon? hit the wood flooring hard on her shoulder and winced in pain. Nevertheless, she gritted her teeth, stood, and raised her long-blade once again, but didn’t dart back into the fray.

She could tell Tokyn was tiring. One hand was covering the wound on his arm, blood trickling between his fingers to drip on the floor. He blocked Tsenario’s few, mocking blows weakly.

“Natalee, get the general out of here!” His voice was breaking with fatigue and pain.

But she wouldn’t leave him, couldn’t leave him.

Suddenly, he was on the floor, and Tsenario was standing over him, speaking to him in growls inaudible to Natalee, and poised for the kill. Forgetting Cantil, she attacked the alien full force.

Alzon? feinted a cut at Tsenario’s legs, which he moved to deflect. In the last instant, she kicked the warrior’s armorsword from his hand and across the room with a clonk.

Tsenario loosed a roar that was part surprise, part rage, and swung his tail at her. Natalee sprung over it and ducked another strike from his clawed hand. When he whirled back around, Alzon? caught his throat with her long-blade, and at last the warrior fell.

Natalee sheathed her weapon and ran to Tokyn, and slid to the floor next to him. Seeing the blood pour from his arm, she gasped and ripped the other sleeve off her green jumpsuit. “Here,” she said, “hold this on there.” She pressed her own hand firmly over his to emphasize her point.

She tried to haul him to his feet, but he protested. “I’m fine, take care of Cantil.”

Alzon? nodded and knelt next to the general. “General Cantil, are you alright? Can you stand?”

At last the general found his voice. “Yes, I’ll be fine.” He let Natalee help him to his feet, then put his hand on her shoulder proudly. “Thank you, Captain. That was a commendable act of bravery. And I’ve never seen anyone fight so well. You’ve certainly earned my respect here today.”

“Thank you sir,” Natalee said simply—though inside she was fit to burst—as Tokyn strode up beside them. “General, we have to get you back to the camp, and all of us are in need of medical attention.”

Natalee poked her head out of the still-open door and looked down both ends of the hallway, making sure it was safe before they made their dash back to the resistance camp. When they reached the trees safely, she marveled at the Czulkneks’ apparent disregard for security. Hopefully the humans could use that arrogance to their advantage.

Once a safe distance from the Czulknek compound, Natalee thumbed her radio back on. “Alzon? here. Belarephon, General Cantil, and myself are on our way back to the camp. We’ll be there shortly. Do you copy?”

The communications officer sounded relieved. “Copy that.”

Cantil took the radio from her. “This is Cantil. Give me a general status report.”

“The attack is over. I believe we can classify this one as a victory, sir.”

The trio arrived at the resistance camp free of further alien encounters, and reported immediately to the medical wing. “I’m afraid we’ll have to treat you out here in the anteroom,” a low-ranking nurse informed them. “So many were wounded from that attack, we don’t have enough room anywhere else.”

The general nodded. “That’s fine. We aren’t dying yet.” He took a seat another patient vacated for him near the outer door, and nodded his thanks.

Tokyn and Natalee stood in the far corner of the room. He leaned against the wall, tired.

Natalee pressed the bit of cloth against his arm for him. “How’s your arm feeling?”

He laughed lightly. “Feels like I was just stabbed by a giant lizard.”

She smiled. “You’re lucky it only glanced you.”

“I’m lucky I wasn’t killed.” With his free hand he tilted her chin up to look her in the eyes. “I’m lucky you weren’t killed.”

When a nurse came to dress Tokyn’s wound, Natalee smiled. As long as he was with her, there would always be hope.

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Andy

Wow...

I wish I could write stories...

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Bad furday

That's wonderful Pod! Pity the teacher wanted only 2-3 pages....to the evil theread she goes!

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Pandora

No, I like the teacher, she's cool. It's her limitations I positively LOATHE!

But, I did it! With a lot of red ink... and a little cheating (11 point font, 0.9" margins, no header/footer room, 1.5 space instead of double). But she'll never really know! *cakcles evilly*

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Bad furday

That's good!

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Drake

That was a great story! I think that you should hand this copy in too and see if you can get extra marks.

Oh...we haven't met before, I'm Drake. *holds out hand to Pod*

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GI_Admiral

How can I hurt the Vong Today?

If i can't How can I make my side get stronger?

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Master MJade

Pod if i have essays can i get you to write them?

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^Hal^

I think... th NJO happning to Earth would make a good film... Either, it would end with us all dying (my prefered ending), or it would end with some other than the americans saving the world... for once... please?

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GI_Admiral

Maybe some small country that many consider backwards.

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^Hal^

That'd be cool... I mean, how good would it be if the lithuanians come up with thetech that saves the world. Oh, my only other request is that any Brits in th film don's sound ridiculous.

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GI_Admiral

But that's a classic...you can't get rid of the funny sounding Brits...

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^Hal^

spose... You guys musta seen independenc day right? Great film. But the bit near the end when the guys hav come up with th plan to dfat th aliens, and they morse it out to those Brits in the gulf, and the guy says "It's about bloody time," makes everyone I know crack up. No-one talks like that...

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GI_Admiral

lol really? darn...

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Andy

Yeah, that bit always makes me laugh.

It's the same with any film that has the RAF in it.

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Sticks

Wow, that was a totally awesome story, Pod! I can't imagine how much you would have to cut out! Every little detail in there is needed! Wish I could write like that...

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Ana

That is a great story Pod! You are totally gifted when it comes to writing. It's really too bad that you had to cut it down.

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Pandora

Pod if i have essays can i get you to write them?

*cracks up*

Thanks guys! glad y'all liked it! I'll put the butchered--er, shortened version up if you'd like...

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Andy

Is it worth the trouble putting up so few words in a post? ;)

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Pandora

*crasses her arms* well, fine then, if you don't want to see it, I don' want to show it to you... :p

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Bad furday

*laughs* :p

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Andy

lol, Pod, I was just kidding :D

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Pandora

*still pouting* Well, you hurt my feelings! :p

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Master MJade

uh oh...

where's the nearst bomb shelter?

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