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   Chapter 42 No.42

High Steaks By Christina Engela Characters: 5479

Updated: 2018-06-30 12:02


"Well, " Said the Corporal uneasily, "Better be careful, mister! Lucky fer you there's nothing on my list 'ere about plants – someone else might mistake you for a non-human alien! And I'm not an officer – I'm an NCO – I work for a living!"

"Yes sir!" Said Fred. "I'll be very careful, thanks for the advice!"

"Open the gate!" The Corporal shouted to a slightly confused-looking private, who jumped nervously and obeyed.

"Thanks!" Said Fred, cheekily waving a free branch tip in farewell, and just as the trooper raised the barrier again, Fred took the Jeepo smoothly past onto the open road.

* * *

At the newly opened 'Xanadu Re-education Facility', precisely halfway between Atro City and nothing but open space, a truck had arrived at the gate to offload another consignment of inmates. It backed up to the gate, and the rear loading door was dropped open. The guards inside hopped down to the ground and started shouting at the cargo to climb down.

Feeling afraid, bewildered and decidedly dehumanized, the passengers cautiously ventured out. None of them had any baggage or personal belongings left to speak of, and were left with basically just the clothes on their backs.

The sky was blue already, the day was already halfway done. Most of them were already past hungry. Their mouths were dry and they felt weak and tired. Danielle's feet ached as they landed on the hard ground. People jostled around her as they landed and turned to look at their surroundings. The meaning of the barbed wire topped fences, guard towers with spotlights and what looked like weapons mounted on them, seemed pretty clear.

There was

initiative and walked down the ramp towards a tall, erect figure standing in front of the formation.

"General Smythe, I presume?" Tim greeted, offering his right hand. "Timaset Skooch!"

"You presume right!" The old man replied, giving him a firm handshake. "Pleased to meet you! This your ship?"

"The Celeste! More or less!" Said Tim evasively. It was a long explanation, after all.

"Looks impressive!" Said Smythe, grinning at Tim. "Or rather, it doesn't! It's impressive that it's invisible!"

"Thanks! Is Beck still around?"

"He left a little while ago!" Smythe replied, "Said he had a few more things to do before this evening's pow-wow!"

"Okay. As soon as you're aboard, we can leave!"

"Great!" Smythe grinned excitedly, before turning to face the Club. They still seemed to be staring and pointing at the camouflaged loderunner – and the ramp, which seemed to lead into a floating, impossibly disembodied dark cave. Tim smiled. It was a weird sight, and some of the oldsters seemed at the moment to be arguing about the technical aspects of how it had been done.

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