Chapter 32

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"I love your jacket," said Flenson.

"I know, right?" replied Chek.  "One-size-fits-all, virtually indestructible, and it totally goes with these shoes.  I knew it was a good choice."

"Yeah well, it's the indestructible part that I like the most."

Chek grinned.  "At the moment, me too."

They were currently huddled under the jacket in question, which with some rapid adjustments, Chek had stretched to entirely cover them both.  All around them, the sounds of ferocious fighting could be heard, but apart from the occasional jostle, their makeshift shelter appeared to be quite safe.  Stuffy, cramped and dark, but safe.  "Yep, stretchable, electrostatically activated, nano-rod reinforced fabric, machine-washable and suitable for casual or evening wear.  Courtesy of Wandoo Industries R&D."

"Do you think maybe we should go out and help?" asked Flenson, hesitantly.

"Listen, Rigel-dude.  The way I see it, we all have our strengths.  Me, I can drink pretty much anybody less than three times my body-weight under the table, and my fashion-sense is so sharp that in some star-systems it's registered as a weapon.  You, you, wear big hats and shout, or whatever it is you guys are good at.  Pok, he's your man when you want philosophising and/or butt-kicking.  As for the Earth-dudes, I'm still trying to get an angle on them, but they seem pretty handy in the beating-the-crap-out-of-Rigellians and being indestructible departments.  So, when it comes to fighting, I say we leave it to the Gacruxian Flame Monk and the super-powered peeps.  Sounds to me like they're doing just fine."

What it actually sounded like, to Flenson, was that all hell had broken loose.  Energy weapons sizzled, meaty sounding thumps were accompanied by guttural grunts and groans, impacts and crashes reverberated on all sides, and most disturbingly of all, just barely audible under the deafening cacophony of violence, somebody was giggling.

Chek shook his head.  "Man, that Pokster.  Meek and mild most of the time, but sometimes I think he's just saving up for days like today.  What the hell he was like when he was a young monk-dude, I have no idea.  Which I'm actually kinda glad about."

Flenson flinched as what he could only assume was a body bounced off the side of their shelter, with a disturbingly crunchy sound.  "Surely this can't go on for too much longer?"

Chek shrugged.  Some five minutes later, with the sounds of violence showing no indications of lessening, he extracted a flask from somewhere on his person, took a long pull, and then offered it to Flenson.  "Ah, well.  At least we have supplies."

Scoop didn't actually have the capability to feel pain, for which he was currently profoundly grateful

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Scoop didn't actually have the capability to feel pain, for which he was currently profoundly grateful.  He was however, equipped with an extensive range of state-of-the-art, highly sensitive damage sensors, and at the moment, what they were sensing was damage by the shed-load.

He knew that his operational status, and indeed his sentience, were on borrowed time.  He knew that he should be worried about this.  But he wasn't.  All Scoop could think about was one thing.  He had revealed a source.  He had broken the code.  That hack Fabulon was right; he was no journalist.

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