Alisandra clambered through the cramped and hot vehicle to where Ara Mercator sat. A small pebble in Alisandra's hand projected a delicate map of the surrounding terrain and the ground below. She closed her hand around it and the image disappeared.

"Why have we stopped?" Alisandra's singsong voice sounded tired. The dry heat was affecting everyone, even the Lazloi.

Ara pointed to her console. "We're down to fifty percent on our fuel. If we don't turn around now, we won't make it back."

Alisandra slumped down and looked thoughtfully at the blue sphere secured at the back of the vehicle. "We must go further. Our target is somewhere in the mountains."

"Listen, sister. We burned a lot of precious fuel to get you here. It takes a lot of crops we should be using for food to make this stuff." Ara slapped a hand hard on the side of the passenger compartment. "If you can make a hundred gallons of ethanol and stick it in our tanks, we can keep going. I'm not leaving a valuable vehicle out in the country without gas and walking home."

Alisandra nodded. "Then I must go on without you."

Ara pointed a discrete finger towards the other Lazloi. "Isn't Zenya coming with you?"

"There is no need to endanger more lives than necessary. What I plan is dangerous and likely to be fatal." Alisandra stole another glance at the enigmatic ball.

"Some kind of bomb, isn't it?" said Ara nervously. "I never saw a nuke that small before."

Alisandra waved a hand in dismissal. "It is far more powerful than that." She faced Ara earnestly. "I want you to be safe. You must make your way back to the promontory as soon as you can. Stay under cover and wait. Believe me, you will know when it is done."

Ara looked back at her console, tapping the side of the screen thoughtfully. "The plan doesn't work if you show yourself. This enemy of yours has to think us humans are just mooching around."

"What are you suggesting?"

"We go out on foot from here. We find the caves or sink holes where these frakkers are hiding. We let you peel off while we pretend to look somewhere else and you stick that nuke up their ass and blow them the hell off this rock." Ara held out a helmet to Alisandra. "You just gotta promise to give us enough time, time to get back to the vehicle and drive home before you light the fuse."

-- Recon Team Alpha, in the southern mountains near Calton's Bluff.


Bobcat APC is an original model created in Hexagon and Cinema 4D. SP3 figure in the FAS-M outfit, also created in Hexagon.

Scene assembly and final rendering in Vue 8 Complete. Post processed in Photoshop CS2

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Updated: 30 March 2012

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