CHAPTER 17.6

Approx. 6500 words

All Rights Reserved

Copyright 2015   SJ

 

The Ork Situation:

Mekboyz II

 

written by  SJ

 

 

    Lana had set her silent alarm to wake her two hours before daylight. They got up, had a short breakfast, then started their trek to the last bio-fuel dump under cover of darkness, reaching it twenty minutes before morning.
    As Lana looked through her sniper rifle scope, she saw this dump was much like the first one they tagged, alpha. It had a lot of Gretchen crew, two wartowers, and a few Nob guards, but most of them were sleeping, even the warbike and warbuggy crews. She fired her tag into the side of one of the wartowers, then continued on with Gannon until they reached the edge of some woods that would give them cover all the way to the lower foothills. However, in the morning, if this was one of the last bio-fuel dumps left, she wanted to wait and see if the Mekboss showed up.
    The dump was now about eight hundred meters away to the west of them, but they saw everything clearly with their high-powered Scout binoculars. She called Corporate HQ expecting to get Sergeant Snyder, but the receptionist answered:
    "Hello, Commissar Ross' office." Her voice was formal. "Who may I say is calling?"
    Lana sighed. She had no time for delays like this. "This is Officer LaFong--"
    "Oh, my God." The receptionist was startled. "Sergeant Snyder is in the bathroom." She called to someone. "Take this phone to Sergeant Snyder. He's in the bathroom. Tell him it's Officer LaFong."
    There was the sound of someone taking the phone, then footsteps, a door, then a knock, then a male voice, "Sergeant Snyder, LaFong's on the phone."
    "Slide it under." Then the sound of the phone sliding over tiles. Then, "LaFong?"
    "Yes. I've tagged the last bio-fuel dump and have activated it. Target the dump with your Bombards, but, don't fire until I give the word, okay?" Lana was specific.
    "What's up?"
    Lana thought a second. "Are sitting on--"
    "Yes...the porcelain throne. I do my best work from here." He seemed to joke, but was serious.
    "Okay." Lana started. "Right now I'm about eight hundred meters east of the dump. I have it under observation. Once you have your Bombards ready, wait for my word to fire. Since this is almost the last dump left, it's possible--"
    "The Mekboss may show up!" The sergeant was excited; having his artillery kill the Mekboss would mean a promotion. There was a flush, then movement as he spoke. "Let me put you on hold while I analyze the data from the tag and get my people ready."
    The line clicked off, and stayed off for almost fifteen minutes, then Snyder came back on line. "LaFong...anything like a Mekboss show up?"
    "Not, yet." She answered calmly. "How long can your gun crews wait?"
    "They can wait as long I tell them...all day."
    "Okay..I'm going to stay here for a couple hours. I'll call you as soon as I see something. LaFong out.
    ******
    The two Space Marines watched the dump for almost three hours, and by that time it was obvious there was no Mekboss showing up, at least, not here. She wanted to allocate enough time to make it to the hill she had pointed out to Gannon yesterday. They walked eastward until they found the lower foothills, a high place they could observe the dump from at a distance of two kilometers.
    When she called Snyder, he sounded excited again, but Lana had to let him down. He told her it was a good try, then ordered his artillery to fire, blasting the dump and surrounding area to pieces as Lana and Gannon made their way further into the foothills, then traveled north, stopping to rest before proceeding.
    From their current position, they could see a trail that led further east, up and down the foothills, then logically through some kind of mountain pass. They spotted a small dirt cloud behind the closest foothill, then as an Ork bike came over the hill, a scout, less than fifty meters away.
    Lana and Gannon flattened themselves on the ground to hide. But, it soon became apparent they were spotted. The Ork biker immediately made a call on his com, then dismounted and began firing a smaller, scout version of the slugga pistol. Lana quickly aimed her sniper rifle and fired two shots, watching as the Ork slumped over dead. They then ran up to the top of the hill in the direction the bike came from.
    In the distance, they saw more Ork vehicles coming up over the rise of the next foothill, most of them warbikes and a couple warbuggies, speeding up, roaring toward them. Lana had not expected so many Mekboyz to come from that direction. There was no chance they could run for it. They had to fight.
    Gannon took a position next to a large rock. Lana took a position next to a tree. Then they began firing:
    Two of the warbikes began circling around, one on each flank. Lana took them out one at a time. Gannon waited until the lead warbuggy was a little closer, then opened up with his heavy bolter. By the time they were done, four flanking warbikes lay still, while six Mekboy vehicles lay ruined on the trail, smoking, their crews dead. It was a successful defense, but Gannon had to report he was out of ammunition. Lana had used up two of her clips, and had only one left.
    However, it was not over. In the distance, further down, behind the rolling hills, they saw the dust from many vehicles--a larger force coming fast!
    Gannon dumped his heavy bolter in a ravine and ran to catch up with Lana, who had run down to the Ork scout bike, looking it over, her sniper rifle back into its original position, over her shoulder and across her back.
    When Gannon reached her he had to mention. "LuLu, that bike's way too big for you to ride...if, that's what your thinking. I think it's too big for me...even if I knew how to ride it."
    Lana quickly mounted the bike, sitting on the overly-large seat, her feet dangling, a little short of reaching the pedals. It looked rather comical, but Gannon was in no mood to laugh.
    The woman sat looking for something on the bike itself, in front of her, as she spoke, explaining, "Gretchen maintenance these bikes. They have to be able to ride them for testing." She leaned forward and found a small lever with her right hand, which she struggled to pull back, holding it as she found a small, pedal-like, lever with her left foot, pressing down on it with all her might, grunting, then turning to look at Gannon. "Help me press this pedal down."
    He immediately stepped up and began pressing, after which Lana let out a painful yell. "Wait until I get my foot off it first!"
    She shook her foot, reached forward again, pulled and held back the lever, then told Gannon to press, which he did with minimal effort. Then with a slight, metallic, grinding, sound, the handle bars came back, the seat slid forward, and the main pedals clicked upward, all locking into position, an action that almost threw Lana forward off the bike, landing her on top the handle bars, where she trashed around a bit before regaining her original position, seated. Rubbing her left breast, she looked at Gannon and remarked with a embarrassed, "ouch."
    "You can drive that thing?" Gannon had to ask.
    "I've done it in the simulators many times." She widened her eyes and sighed. "If this was a warbike, we'd probably be screwed. Now, get on."
    Just before he did, he walked over and grabbed the dead Ork's pistol as she started the engine, revving it. Once he was seated, he spotted a holster for the pistol, which he used. Almost at the same time, she tested the gears, lunging forward a bit, to which, Gannon almost fell off, grabbing Lana around the chest to prevent it.
    With his hands firmly holding onto her breasts, she needed to mention, "those babies aren't going to hold you very well once we get going. There are some bars along the side of the bike."
    Once Gannon was ready, she gunned the engine, then took off, much to Gannon's surprise as he let out an, "ohh, LuLu." He let out a couple more when it looked like she was going to crash a couple times...that was until she got the feel of the bike.
    Looking behind him, the hill they had made their defense on was about a hundred meters away. That's when he spotted the first several warbikes coming, then as they began speeding up, firing, big shoota bullets zipping over their heads. He managed one more, "oh, LuLu...they're coming."
    "Tell me something I don't know. I'm more worried about what we're going to run into than what's behind us."
    Lana immediately sped up, then slowed down to go over a hill. Gannon agreed, "that's good, LuLu...take it easy."
    As more bullets zipped over their heads, she knew she was going to have to drive a little less conservatively. She sped up, this time not slowing down on the next hill as Gannon wailed an, "ohh, LuLu," during which the bike flew through the air, jumping, but then coming down, much to their surprise, smoothly.
    The trail they were following led into a large section of forest, the very forest she had planned to hide in as they made their way to the high hill. However, that plan was now void as she continued down the trail, zooming past trees that were on both sides, slowly down only a little so she could make the turns.
    Then she spotted a column of warbuggies coming down the trail right for them, collision course.
    "Oh, Lulu." Gannon cried out, then again as she swerved into the trees.
    Using reflexes alone, Lana avoided the trees, slowing down only because of the soft earth as branches and leaves smacked both of them about the head and shoulders. Eventually, she almost came to a stop, listening behind, where she just came from, as the warbuggies coming east and the warbikes pursuing her west crashed into each other.
    "Did you plan that?" Gannon had to wonder.
    "I don't have time to plan anything!"
    "We should head straight for our own lines? Gannon suggested.
    "Yeah...that's a good idea," Lana mocked seriously, then explained. "I don't think we should head for our own lines driving an Ork bike until we have time to call and announce our arrival first...unless you want us to get our butts shot off by our own people."
    Lana carefully exited the forest and spotted Mekboy vehicles to the north and south. She gunned the engine and headed toward the high hill; next to it, there was a small gap between the edge of the hill and a patch of dense woods. She sped up going northwest and headed for that gap, unfortunately being fired on as she did,  the sound of large-caliber bullets missing them overhead and nearby.
    However, even though she wasn't fired on while in the gap, she soon came out and spotted more vehicles coming toward her. She turned sharply as Ork bullets zipped past and kicked up dirt around them, making her way southwest through the gap in between the end of the high hill on her left and a much smaller hill on her right.
    Then she decided to double back, heading southeast along the west side of the high hill, revving the bike up to almost top speed. If she traveled south, she's run into a stream, where on the other side was another large section of forest. And if she found a way over the stream, it was possible the Orks might not follow her.
    When she reached the end of the hill, she almost collided with three warbikes and two warbuggies all traveling southwest. As she drove between the surprised Mekboyz, Gannon fired the Ork pistol, thinking he might've taken out the driver of one of the warbuggies. But, it didn't matter, most of the vehicles either flipped over or spun out trying to avoid her, the others continuing on, slowing down to make a wider turn to come back.
    Lana was now heading straight for the stream. If she hit it straight on, she'd crash into the water. Gannon took a couple more shots with the pistol, then looked forward, only to see what Lana was doing, letting out an, oh, LuLu...you're not going to--"
    She had lined her bike up for a small mound. When she hit it, the bike became airborne for a only a second then dropped down safely on the other side, the bike and its riders bouncing up then down on the seat, Lana quickly regaining control, but being forced to come to a stop.
    Behind her, most of the Orks had stopped at the stream, some of them stopping to fire, others looking for a shallow place to cross. But, two warbikes and one warbuggy continued on, trying to match Lana's jump. One of the warbikes crashed into the water, the second found the mound and jumped, but then flipped the bike when he landed. The warbuggy apparently hit a smaller mound, then skimmed across the water making it to the other side safely, coming to rest only ten meters away from Lana and Gannon.
    The two Terrans and two Orks stared at each other, surprised. Then Lana acted first, swinging her sniper rifle around under her arm so she was able to fire from the hip, full automatic. The warbuggy driver was hit in the head, the twin-linked big shoota gunner was riddled with 9.1 millimeter bullets before he could fire.
    A little further away, the warbike driver had recovered his bike and was heading their way. Lana used up the last of her clip taking him down before he got any further, then slid her sniper rifle back into its normal carrying position.
    There was a trail coming down from the northeast, where there was a bridge. When she spotted many Orks vehicles coming fast down that trail, she took off, surprising Gannon, who had to grab Lana's breasts again before finding the holding bars. But, she was way to busy to notice.
    The Mekboyz closed in fast using the trail, then spread out in a line, getting ready to fire. There were more vehicles west of her, but a little further away. When the vehicles behind her began firing, she was force to swerve, evasive maneuvers, just before she drove into the forest next to her, using her reflexes to avoid collisions as Gannon let out a couple more, oh, Lulu's.
    Out in the open, the risk of being hit by the amount of Ork firepower directed against her was high. In the cover of the trees, all she needed was good reflexes, something she was beginning to trust.
    Inside the forest, the trees became more dense until she found a trail going north south. The last position of the two groups of Mekboy vehicles, were northeast and west. This time she had a plan. She revved the engine, then headed south down the trail until she exited the forest, out in the open, knowing she'd be spotted.
    The northeastern vehicles had grouped up and came right for her, the western group did the same. However, neither group could see each other because of the forest. She then swerved wide to the right and made a tight U-turn as bullets began zipping past them. Undeterred, she drove around making a figure-eight, bidding time so the two groups would speed up; then she took the trail back into the forest and eventually put on the brakes, stopping, looking back so she could observe the Mekboy collision and pile up safely out of the way.
    Most of the Orks had either crashed head on with an oncoming vehicle or spun out trying to avoid a crash. Either way, Lana gunned the engine and made her way west through the woods, already getting the hang of dodging trees. But, behind her, one of the surviving warbikes was already making chase.
    As she drove, she pulled open her shirt then struggled to get her arms out. Before Gannon could ask what she was up to, she passed the shirt back to him, telling him, "use it!"
    The warbike was only about ten meters behind them, and off to the right. That's when Gannon threw the shirt, watching as it wrapped around the Ork's head, blinding him, causing him to swerve then hit a tree and crash.
    Gannon liked Lana's idea and quickly removed his own shirt. Both of them now only wore their Cheyenne Ranger blue-grey tank tops. Behind them, as Lana left the forest, and after they had traveled out in the open for awhile, Gannon spotted a warbuggy hot on their trail. It lined itself up and fired its five-barreled rokkit launchas, only one rocket coming even close. But, the warbuggy continued to make chase, the crew determined to make use of the ram on the front of their vehicle, the gunner finding a slugga pistol to fire.
    Gannon was getting ready to toss his shirt when Lana made a sudden turn right, heading north for a narrow bridge across the stream. The sudden move made him fumble his shirt, causing it to wrap around his own head, where, in a few seconds, he got it off, embarrassed, until he saw the shirt had landed on the front of the warbuggy, where the driver slowed down a little to remove it. Gannon then drew the Ork pistol and fired behind him until Lana reached the bridge, slowing down as she crossed, then speeding up.
    The warbuggy continued barreling toward the bridge at full speed; it had to turn a little at the last moment, which caused its front left wheel to clip the bridge railing. The warbuggy then flipped, cartwheeling across the open terrain until it came to rest next to some trees, smoking.
    The trail past the bridge continued northeast to another bridge, where she knew it turned northwest and went through a long, concealing, forested area for about five kilometers, where it crossed yet another bridge, then traveled west to a section of woods. From there, if she wasn't spotted, she could call Eridani HQ and get clearance to approach the Guardsmen's front lines without being shot at.
    But, as soon as she headed in that direction she spotted more vehicles coming her way, two of them at first, both of them warbuggies, or rather wartraks, with one wheel in front and a pair of treads making up the rear wheels. The two vehicles spotted Lana immediately as they lined up facing her, their twin-linked big shootas ready.
    Once she spotted them, she knew these were not just some regular Mekboy Orks. The wartraks and their crew members were all marked as high ranking Nobz. She sped up and began evasive maneuvers heading at full speed to get behind a nearby forest to the northwest as bullets zipped close to them, a couple hitting the bike, feeling several of them just miss her head and body, one bullet striking the stock of her sniper rifle, shattering the wood to pieces stinging the back of her shoulders and neck.
    She had to think fast now. If she traveled west, she would eventually get too close to the Guardsmen's positions and get shot from that direction. If she went back, the Orks would shoot her. So she traveled northwest toward the stream. If she could find a way to jump it like she did before, she might be able to make it to the location she had planned. But, as soon as she neared the stream, she began taking fire from Ork infantry, shoota boyz, about twenty of them, located on the other side of the stream. She had to quickly turn back the way she came so she could use the forest for cover. Then she spotted the two wartraks coming into view at the end of the forest. When they spotted her, she had no other option but to go into the forest, the shoota boy firing not letting up as they fired blindly into the forest.
    This forest had a lot of dense foliage as well as trees. She almost got stuck twice, moving slowly, until she made it to the other side, where she had to ask. "Gannon, are you alright. Have you been hit?"
    "I'm fine...keep going."
    She breathed a sigh of relief, then gunned the engine, Gannon briefly grabbing her breasts again, before repositioning his hands on the bike's holding bars.
    The wartraks would have to turn around and go back the way they came to follow her, assuming they had guessed the place where she had exited the forest. The bridge she had wanted to reach earlier seemed clear, so she started for there.
    That's when she spotted a warbike emerge onto the bridge. This warbike was painted elaborately in all the Nob colors. It was a fancy, wide, heavy, warbike with numerous emblems sticking up from the back part of the seat depicting a high rank--the Mekboss!
    His warbike didn't appear to have the usual twin-linked big shoota in front. However, the one thing Lana noticed the most was that his right hand was covered by a large, power claw, with three bladed fingers and a sharp, pointed thumb. He had his top hair wrapped up so it protruded high off his head and waved glamourously behind him as he rode. When he spotted Lana, his warbike pealed out, burning rubber as he shot out from the bridge like a rocket, heading straight for her, eager to tear her to pieces with that power claw.
    She had no choice but to turn south along the forest, heading for the very place where the two wartraks would be waiting. The Mekboss covered the distance quickly, his warbike obviously faster that any Ork bike of any type. When Lana reached the wartraks, she couldn't have been anymore than ten meters away from them, but planned to get closer as she maneuvered right between them, figuring they wouldn't fire when she was in front because of the Mekboss coming up behind her. However, as she passed between, the wartrak gunner on the right fired, taking out the gunner on the other wartrak. At the same time, the Mekboss arrived, swinging his power claw wildly, a move that missed Lana but took out the wartrak on the right, where the claw became entangled bringing his warbike to a stop.
    Lana literally put the pedal to the metal, speeding up as fast as the bike would go. The Mekboss, made short work untangling himself, then sped up, pursuing, closing the gap quickly.
    "Oh, Lulu," Gannon looked back at the Mekboss. "He's coming in fast. Can we make it?"
    Technically, Lana's Ork scout bike was more maneuverable that the Mekboss'. She headed toward a large stone building in the distance as the Mekboss got closer. As she passed the building on the north side, she let out a warning to Gannon, "HOLD ON," then turned sharply to the south, almost spinning out, Gannon's longer, stronger, legs helping to keep the bike upright as the Mekboss roared past her to the west.
    However, the Mekboss recovered quickly, his anger doubling, then tripling as he came at her again. She slowed down, swung around and stopped right behind the building, out of sight of the Mekboss. Soon he came by at medium speed, passing the building on the north, the direction she thought he would since his power claw was on his right hand. Lana took off south as the Mekboss used his power claw to take out one side of the stone building, obviously hoping he'd hit her with some debris, which missed.
    Lana then turned sharply and went north, surprised Gannon didn't grab her breasts this time, apparently getting used to her sudden direction changes and accelerations. When she looked back, she saw him pointing the Ork pistol at the Mekboss; he fired twice, missing, then dropped the weapon since it was out of bullets.
    The Mekboss made his u-turn to the east, making a wider turn, but then speeding up. When he got closer, she made another u-turn and headed south straight for the area where the small swamp was, speeding up.
    She remembered the place where she and Gannon had swam across the stream; there was a sizeable mound there...a ramp. When Gannon realized what she was going to do, he had to exclaim, "oh, LuLu, your not going to...not again..."
    Their enemy came right for them, closing fast. But, just before she hit the mound, she slowed down a little...to just the right speed, doing a quick calculation in her head. Then she was airborne, flying over the stream and landing hard just on the other side, the bike bouncing twice before she spun out to the left, coming to a halt in a pile of dust and dirt.
    However, the Mekboss didn't slow down. When he hit the mound, he and his warbike went sailing through the air high off the ground. When he came down, he slammed into the large formation of four rocks, crashing head on, his warbike ruined as it lay in a tangled heap at the base of the rock formation.
    Lana and Gannon watched from their location as the Mekboss' bike began smoking. They thought it was over, then they spotted movement in the wreckage, the power claw moving, the Mekboss trying to get up. Then they spotted the top rock, the one that had looked balanced upright on top of the other three as it began to topple over, knocked loose by the crash. The Mekboss had only one chance to look up before the massive stone crashed down on top of him, his power claw sticking out, quivering several times before becoming still.
    The two Space Marines slowly looked at each other, then sighed deeply with relief. Gannon then began walking off the pain of their landing and subsequent bounces, hunched over and waddling like a duck, moaning.
    Lana was in no better condition as she remained slightly hunched over holding her lower abdomen. "I think I busted an ovary."
    Gannon looked at her, feeling much the same way. "Ditto..." When he stood up to look around, he saw dust clouds in the distance. He couldn't help but utter another, oh, LuLu...I think we've got more company."
    But, Lana was ahead of him, already struggling to get the Ork bike upright. When he helped, they both got into position again, then she started the engine, hearing it sputtering and belching smoke.
    The gears of the bike grinded and complained loudly as she drove south between the two sections of swamp. But, the bike moved slowly, obviously badly damaged. Once they reached a trail that went west into the swamp, the bike gave out and stopped, Gannon hopping off the bike quickly as it began expelling more smoke. Lana was a little slower and remained seated until fire began licking up between her legs, then she jumped off, doing a little dance as she quickly put out the fire between her legs.
    Gannon was still sore as walked around then stopped, during which he muttered a couple more, oh, Lulu's.
    Lana was standing next to the bike, and not in the best of moods. She looked at him and shouted, "okay...OKAY..I think you used up all your, oh, LuLu's for the year!"
    As she leaned over to put her hands on her knees, there was a small fiery explosion on the bike. It set the seat of her pants on fire and sent her forward, head butting Gannon in the groin, where he let out one final, "oh, LuLu."
    Lana sat down on the grass and scooted around, eventually putting out the fire, where afterwards, she looked up at him and breathed deeply to make one long, beleaguered, sigh.
    He made a short sigh himself before helping her up.
    Afterwards she began searching under her shirt, then finding her torn bra around her waist, which she removed and tossed down on the ground.
    He looked at it and apologized. "Sorry, LuLu."
    She looked back at him like it wasn't necessary. Then they stared at each other and almost laughed: They were both so dirty and covered with soot, they looked like a pair of overworked chimney sweeps.
    However, as they paced around, they began spotting more Ork vehicles coming from the east, north, and south. They had nothing left and no where to run, even if they still had a vehicle to do it with.
    The two Space Marines stood watching as the Ork vehicles positioned themselves on all sides of them, their weapons ready to fire. Finally Gannon had to joke, "okay, you take the twenty on the left and I'll take on the twenty on the right."
    Before Lana had time to answer, one of the more fancier warbuggies slowly pulled forward and stopped in front of them. She began recognizing that these vehicles were not painted the same way as the others, different colors, with different markings. An Ork stepped down from the warbuggy, obviously dressed fancier than the others, wearing the emblems of a high ranking leader.
    He wore two holstered slugga pistols on each leg, like an old western gun fighter. The plume of hair fixed on top of his head wasn't very high, put flowed outward and hung down like a fountain. He walked up to Lana and stared down at her, looked at Gannon, back at her, then asked, "you Space Marines?"
    They answered at the same time. "Yes."
    He stared a Lana a moment, then mentioned, "you really little for Space Marine."
    She took a deep breath, then responded, "so, I've been told--"
    The big Ork frowned, like she wasn't supposed to answer. He then looked around at his Mekboy clan just before smiling. Slowly he raised his hands and began clapping, his clan joining in...
    When the clapping stopped, he pointed his finger at Lana, grinning, then smiling again as he tapped her on the chest causing her to grunt each time, almost knocking her backwards. "You guys put on really good show. We all watch from hills. You almost as good as Mekboyz."
    He paused, then became serious, frowning...
    Neither Space Marine had any idea what was going to happen next, their lives literally at the mercy of almost fifty Mekboyz.
    He spoke again, remaining serious, again pointing at Lana as he leaned closer to her, his breath affecting her worse than his finger pointing. "You killed Mekboss!" He smiled. "Now, I Mekboss..."
     Looking around at his clan, they began clapping again. When they stopped, he addressed both Space Marines, explaining, "old Mekboss crazy!" He held out what looked like a large, green, cigar giving it to Lana. "He make his clan smoke crazy weed. He BAD Mekboss. He even put crazy weed in fuel, make Orks even more crazy. Glad he dead!" He grinned, gesturing to his clan. "We not smoke that crap. And, now I Mekboss, I make sure it not get put in fuel."
    The new Mekboss gave Lana and Gannon a deadly look. "Since you kill old Mekboss...I let you live. You got rest of daylight to get back to Terra trenches." He waved at someone in his clan and a Gretchen rode up on a looted Space Marine Scout bike, after which he hopped off, set the kick-stand, then ran back the way he came, leaving the bike idling.
    He pointed northwest. "You take Terra bike and leave. If we see you again later today--we not be as nice."
    Lana wanted to say, "okay, thanks a lot," but, decided against it. As the Mekboss walked away and entered his warbuggy, the rest of his clan got ready to leave with him. The two Space Marines watched as they drove off, kicking up mounds of dust.
    "Maybe I'd better drive this time." Gannon took a step toward the bike.
    But, Lana stopped him. "I don't want to sit behind you where I can't see. Anyway, I'm smaller and I think I stink less." She got on the bike and waited for him to get on behind her, this time forced to sit a lot closer to her because of the smaller seat. Once she saw him holding onto the bike's side bars, she took off, going west in between two large sections of swamp, crossing a stone bridge, then turning north toward Eridani Corporate lines.
    As she got closer, she slowed down cautiously sticking to cover. Using her com, she called, "this is Officer LaFong. I'm coming in from the south on a Space Marine Scout bike...I say again, this is--"
    Suddenly a large rock right next to them exploded, hit by a lascannon. She swerved the bike to the right and slid in behind a patch of trees and rocks, both of them diving for cover.
    She called again over her com. "DAMMIT...this is Officer LaFong...I'm coming in from the south. STOP SHOOTING AT ME!"
    They both crawled, staying low under the cover of the tall grass. She waited for someone to answer her com, then started lifting herself up to look above a rock. That's when a sniper bullet almost parted her hair, just missing. She swore loudly, then demanded, "STOP SHOOTING AT ME...this is Officer LaFong--"
    "LaFong?" The voice over her com sounded calm. "Shaw told me about you. I'm one of the men in his unit. Right now, I'm in command of the right flank here. Since I was wounded back on Cornucopia, I've been here with the Eridani Guard resting up, my leg still healing--"
    "I'm very happy for both you and your leg!" Lana interrupted. "LISTEN! I've been bruised, beaten, and burnt--and I'm already VERY pissed off. So tell your troops to STOP SHOOTING AT ME! That sniper almost blew my head off. What the hell did he think he was shooting at. Do I look like an Ork?"
    She heard over the com, in the background, his voice commanding, "okay, everyone stop firing. Lay down your weapons and DON'T pick them up again until I order it--UNDERSTAND? The next person that even touches his weapon will be on permanent latrine duty."
    Lana and Gannon sighed looking at each other. They slowly got up and recovered the Scout bike, but it wouldn't start. Pushing the bike in front of them, they stepped out in the open and walked toward the entrenched Guardsmen. Once they arrived, they walked past the trenches, then toward Eridani HQ where they were quickly met by Bull first, who welcomed them home, and took the bike off their hands, then by Commissar Ross and a group of officers.
    As Lana and Gannon proceeded wearily toward the HQ bunker, Commissar Ross started complementing them, like a coach with a winning team. "You guys really shook things up out there, I gotta tell you. You guys made one hell-of-a ruckus–-a pair of unholy terrors! We watched some of it though our telescopes. How many Mekboy vehicles did you destroy? What about the Mekboss?"
    "We got him." Gannon answered. "He crashed and then got squashed by a big rock."
    "So a confirmed kill?" Ross wanted to make sure.
    "Very confirmed." Gannon concluded.
    Once they had entered the Eridani Corporate HQ, then Ross' office, Lana began explaining, her voice as tired as she looked. "The Mekboss is dead. But, he's already been replaced by, I think, a much saner one." She looked at Gannon, then back at Ross. "He could've killed us, but he let is live." She pulled the green cigar out of her pocket and tossed it on the Commissar's desk. "The old Mekboss had his clan smoking that shit; it was even in their bio-fuel. They called it crazy weed. The new Mekboss won't be doing that...and neither will his clan. I think he's still going to be hostile toward us, but, he's not going to be crazy. That's the best way I can put it."
    Commissar Ross sat back in his large chair looking proudly at the two Space Marines like a coach who had just won a planetary super bowl. "Anything you two want, just name it."
    Lana sighed. "Look...I'm standing here covered with soot with a pair of bruised, parboiled, ovaries."
    Gannon agreed, the same with him.
    "All I want is a nice warm bath for right now." She almost smiled. "After that, we'll talk."
    ******
    Lana and her team soon became the recipients of many complements by all the military and political leaders of Epsilon Eridani 3. They decided to take advantage of the HQ's spa for the rest of the day, sleep there in nice beds, before packing their duffle bags for home.
    When they reached Camp Cheyenne, Major Taliaferro met them at Thunderhawk Airport. "Well, it seems you guys really shook the pillars of hell over there on Epsilon Eridani. It seems all of you have been given metals of some type or another."
    Gannon and Bull pointed at Lana, implying she got the most. She rolled her eyes like it wasn't necessary.
    "Well, all the Marines at Camp Cheyenne are going to thank you." The Major mentioned.
    Lana looked at him as to why, then thought, "you mean, just for bringing back that Scout bike?"
    He explained. "Well, not for the bike...even though I am going to allocate it for your personal use once it's repaired--"
    "I think I'm done riding bikes for awhile." Lana sighed.
    Gannon nodded, agreeing. "At least...not when I'm on the back, okay?"
    "No," the Major explained. "Not for the bike. Commissar Ross talked the Eridani Corporation into paying for the building of a small spa right here on the Base...located in the PT room." He smiled at Lana, adding, "just in case you need to soak your poor bruised ovaries again."
    She smiled, then grinned. "Thanks...but, I'm really hoping I won't have to do that too often."
    "I understand completely." He nodded, then walked with her until she reached her officer's quarters. "Anyway, welcome back. The CO's given all of you three days off."



 

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