So much for the easy solution.
Capt Tiberius crouched down to make himself a smaller target, but, stuck on the platform, he nonetheless made a tempting target. Fortunately, the terrorists seemed to think everyone in the gathering should be shot. Energy streams and projectiles flew at the GON dignitaries from all angles. The insectoid beings were dashing about, seeking cover, clinging to each other and generally panicking and getting in the way of the few security officers they’d brought, just in case. Both GONs and ammunition passed through the holographic image of Wylson, whose neck twisted about while all three heads tried to get a handle on the situation. Finally, he tossed six tentacles in the air, mouthed, “Stay on the platform!” and disappeared.
“Tiberius to Dour. Plan B!”
Lieutenant LaFuentes was in his element. As soon as he’d made his war cry, he had started taking out assailants, some of whom he’d already seen from the trees. (Later, he’d tell the captain he didn’t fire on them right away because it seemed undiplomatic.)
Moments after Jeb called for Plan B, several barriers materialized on the platform. Jeb wedged himself between two that gave him the best protection, while LaFuentes used them to dodge behind, jump over and shoot around. He’d tossed a weapon to Gel, who was also doing his share of damage.
Jeb was, too, of course. He couldn’t let his crew show him up, but his mind had to be on the real goal of the mission.
“LaFuentes!” he yelled to be heard over the zaps and ploiks and screeching and other sounds of pandemonium. (Use your imagination or recall Starship Troopers fight scenes.) “Make a hole in that shield and cover Gel!”
“On it, Captain! Dour, Gel, get ready for thrilling heroics. For Loreli!” La Fuentes spun to his left and fired at a small box that had been humming away, completely unmolested by the terrorists or the law enforcement. It went up in a shower of sparks. All around them, a wail rose, as if friend and foe (or in Jeb’s point of view – foe and more foe) screamed, “No!”
“Gel, move out! Dolfrick, count of fifteen!”
The Globbal coiled himself like a spring then bounded toward Loreli.
Jeb counted. One, two…
Gel’s body stretched then snapped back to its usual blobby shape, wiggling as it arched through the air.
A stray bullet smacked into Gel at a shallow angle, knocking off a bit of his ectoplasm. It spun away at an oblique angle. Almost in deep slow-motion, Jeb could hear a second scream, “Noooo!”
Jeb grabbed a piece of the platform that had been snapped off in the battle. He flung it toward the broken bit of Gel.
The piece of Gel smacked against the board, bounced off it and headed back toward the rest of his body. Gel reached out with a long pseudopod stretched to grab it and suck it back into himself.
LaFuentes yelled, “Dolfrick, ten more seconds!” as he shot the sharpshooter who had tried to injure his minion.
Gel smacked against Loreli’s chest, startling her conscious.
“Pardon me, Ma’am. Thrilling heroics. No time to explain. Just, uh, relax.”
Loreli squealed and giggled as he spread himself thin over her and oozed down her body.
Twenty three, twenty-four.
The world began to sparkle around them.
Jeb and LaFuentes rematerialized aboard the Impulsive next to the huge stinky vat. The barricades were around them, and Loreli was safely in the slop.
“You’re welcome,” Dolfrick said.
Weak as she was, Loreli still managed to complain that Gel was tickling her.
Beside her, the slop began to bubble, then a mound of sludge grew. Someone of the botany team gasped, then the sludge sloughed off and Minion First Class Gel O’Tin, Hero of the Day and the only creature known to get so intimate with their ship’s sexy, emerged and glopped out of the vat.
“Sorry for that,” he said. “We were in kind of a time crunch. Normally, I like to take things more slowly.”
“Ay!” LaFuentes snapped.
Loreli leaned against the vat. Already, her skin was starting to return to a healthier green. “Thank you. You saved me. Against all odds and any logic, you’ve come through again.” She gave each of them a weary, pale, yet completely stunning smile. A couple of the team, including the doctor, blushed. Enigo stuck out his chest.
But Jeb? He was just glad to have his Sprout back aboard.
Loreli is safe on board! Now all that’s left is the heartwarming conclusion. Tune in next week! If you need a reminder, sign up for the RSS Feed. And if you want to learn more about my other works, sign up for my monthly newsletter.