Chapter 33

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Flenson passed the flask back to Chek, cocked his head to the side and listened intently. "It's gone very quiet out there."

Chek drained the flask, before stashing it in one of the pockets lining the inside of their jacket shelter. "Yep. Which should be good, but could also be really bad. Let's see which it is." In response to a tug on one of its lapels, the shelter rapidly softened and shrank back to the texture and proportions of a seemingly ordinary jacket, which Chek casually slung over his shoulder, as they both got to their feet.

Slowly, Flenson spun around. "Whoa..." On all sides, they were greeted by cataclysmic scenes of destruction, with every visible surface -walls, floors and ceiling- scorched, scuffed and scarred. The reason some surfaces weren't visible was because they were covered by groaning, twitching, and not infrequently, smoking Rigellian soldiers. They lay in heaps and windrows, scattered in all directions but increasing in concentration toward the centre of the room, where they were piled into a great mound. Sitting on top, a little out of breath but apparently unharmed, were Pok and the baristas. Cam gave them a cheery wave.

"Hey guys."

Waving back, Flenson whispered to Chek, from the corner of his mouth. "Uh, why do you think they're naked?"

"Rigel-dude, who knows why Earthlings do what they do? Maybe nuding up is one of their ancient battle traditions? Maybe they got hot? Look on the bright side, at least Pok's still got his gear on. I don't think any of us are quite prepared for the sight of an elderly Flame Monk in the buff."

Nodding absently, Flenson continued to take in the scenes of battle that lay all around. He looked at the birthday-suited baristas. Then back to the fallen Rigellians. And then back to the baristas once again. Slowly, his eyes widened. "Of course. That's why they're naked."

Chek had put his jacket back on, and was industriously checking it for any signs of lint. "Oh yeah? Why's that?"

"It's so they could defeat all these soldiers."

Pausing in his fashion maintenance, Check frowned at the captain. "Huh? What's being naked got to do with kicking Rigellian butts?"

Flenson leaned in, conspiratorially. "It's so they could use their secret weapon."

Heir to an arms company, Chek's attention was now full engaged. "They have a secret weapon? Cool. What kind of secret weapon?"

Flenson leaned in even closer. "Penises."

"Penises?"

"Penises. Gravitationally anomalous ones."

Chek nodded, slowly. "Right. I'd forgotten about them." It was his turn to look around at the carnage on all sides, and then, with a frown, back at the baristas. "Hmm, perhaps we'd better find the Earth-dudes some clothes. The last thing is we want is a friendly fire type situation."

"

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