He passes through a cave and moves into the dense colorful jungle.
At first he tries to navigate the rough terrain in the droid but upon looking around he realizes that no one is watching him…at least no one he can
Starting to get out of the droid the old man tries to force the lid off but finds it stuck.
Apparently the droid had fit it into place better than whoever had before. But thinking quickly the old man finds an easy escape. He simply tips the
droid over and climbs out.
As he gets out and takes a better look around but sees that the SS is nowhere to be found. Instead all he sees around him is the jungle, a jungle that
looks all too easy to become disoriented and lost in.
Looking closer at the terrain he notices that it looks difficult to traverse at all, much less in a straight line. But instead of despair this
actually brings the old man hope. He starts wondering if the SS had been surprised by the transformation as well. If the SS was this might mean the
Colonel could still be able to beat him to the cocoons.
But before he has time to consider what to do next three droids appear.
Droid: “Surrender your weapon.”
Studious: “You mean my cane?” He lifts it up.
The three droids move back slightly as if afraid of it.
Studious smiles and sets the cane down.
Droid: “Back away.”
The old man starts backing away, far away.
Droid: “Not that far!”
He keeps backing away.
Seeing the droids deadly turrets twitchingly trained on him the Colonel stops.
One of the droids moves closer and picks up the cane with a grabber arm as the others surround the old man and force him to walk with them.
They walk only a short distance before Studious sees the Shapeshifter ahead of them in his regular form.
The droid that had Studious’ cane approaches the SS and tells him “He was armed only with this.”
The Shapeshifter motions toward the hallowed out droid “I see you have constructed a disguise of your own Studious.”
The old man takes a better look at the three droids around him and notices that their heads are crooked.
Regaining the old man's attention the Shapeshifter says “Studious what do you gain from fighting me? Don’t you understand that when they find
you, they will kill you? You must help me!”
Studious: “Do you expect me to help you build a monster? What do I look like…Igor!?”
Shapeshifter: “You do realize I’m giving you your only chance to escape?”
Shapeshifter: “And you’re willing to throw it away?”
Studious begins to mouth “Of course” when suddenly small furry creatures surround the group.
In that moment of confusion the old man grabs his cane and is surprised when, instead of fighting him for it, the droid lets go and runs away yelling
“Help! Help! He’s a maniac, maniac on the loose. And he’s killing like he’s never killled before!”
The old man looks back at the shelled out droid he had used as a disguise and realizes what the droid’s afraid of.
The furry creatures attack the droids and tip them over continuing to beat them.
Studious thinks “Wow I might just win thi…”
Suddenly several of the furry creatures tackle him and start beating the hope out of him.
Through the blur of paws, fur and claws the Colonel sees Delia.
Studious: “Don’t just stand there help me!”
Delia pleads with the creatures “But he’s my friend!”
They continue to beat him…but now harder.
Studious: “Somehow I get the feeling…that didn’t help very much!”
She stands helpless watching them beat the old man senseless.
Studious: “Tell them if they don’t do as you wish you’ll become angry and do something!”
Delia: “What could I do? I couldn’t possibly.”
Studious: “You have a better idea!? Just tell them!”
Delia says trying to sound frightening “Stop or I’ll, I’ll do something!”
The furry creatures stop and look at her for a moment. But they turn back to the old man and start beating him again.
Delia: “I knew they wouldn’t believe me.”
Luckily for Studious Delia gets an idea. As she lifts up a finger in a Eureka pose the ground shakes violently causing the furry creatures to run away
The old man struggles to his feet, black and blue from the beating and stumbles toward Delia.
Studious: “What the heck were those things!?”
Delia: “This swamp holds many secrets.”
Studious: “Oh a wise guy eh?”
Delia: “Stop acting like a stooge.”
Studious wipes the blood off his face as he says “Woo, woo, woo, woo, woo!”
Delia rolls her eyes and asks Studious “Are they going to kill you?”
Studious: “Who the furry things, the Shapeshifter or Neno?”
Delia: “I meant your people, the ones from your ship?”
Studious: “Not sure but I don’t intend on sticking around to find out.”
Delia: “They’re watching everything. How will you escape?”
Studious: “Uh…with your help.”
The old man notices the furry creatures have returned and are watching him.
One of them approaches and tugs at his clothes.
Studious: “What the beating wasn’t good enough?”
Delia: “No, wait! I think he wants us to follow him.”
Studious: “So they can ambush me out there in the jungle?”
Delia: “You’re already in the jungle…er…swamp!”
The furry creature takes the old man’s hand and starts leading him and Delia further into the wilderness.
As the little furry creature is pulling him along the Colonel looks back to make sure Delia is keeping up. When he looks forward again he sees a large
tree branch a split second before being pulled into it.
The short creature doesn’t quite understand that when he leads the much taller Studious forward, he’s leading him straight into branches and other
After getting pulled into several more trees, scraped past sharp twigs and tangled in vines he reaches a clearing.
Delia arrives unscathed after not being pulled by the hand headlong into the Swamp.
In the clearing Studious notices his insertion pod, now overgrown with plants and covered in dirt. The furry creatures stand around it looking at it
Delia: “Great now you can call for help.”
Studious: “Not exactly.”
Delia: “What do you mean?”
Studious: “I would have called for help long before this, but I didn’t want to endanger an entire ship.”
Studious: “That’s not all. Since that arrest warrant was issued if I call for help they might not even assist me at all. They might come to take
me down too.”
Delia: “Isn’t there someone you trust that you could contact? Like those guys you were with earlier.”
Studious: “No I was ready to die to get them out of harm’s way. I don’t intend on risking their lives again just to get me out of here.”
Delia: “What are you saying?”
Studious: “I’m saying I don’t think that there’s a way out of this.”
Delia: “What!? You got off Ship with nothing more than makeup, zipper shavings and ice and you can’t figure a way out of this one!? You used to be
a Studdly fuddy-duddy. She looks at his mud stained clothes and his bleeding cuts. “Now you’re muddy, bloody and cruddy!”
Studious: “Wait what did you just say!?”
Delia takes a step closer and says “You heard me.”
Studious: “That’s it! Ha Ha you’re a genius!”
Studious tips over the insertion pod and begins wiping the dirt and plant life off of it.
After cleaning it off a bit he steps inside and crosses his arms.
Studious: “I’m dead.”
Delia: “What did I just say! You can give up like tha…”
Studious: “No! I mean I’ll pretend I’m dead. After all I look half dead anyway.”
Delia: “Oh no the furry things beat you back into the stone age didn’t they? Me Delia. You not Dead.”
Studious: “Stop that!”
You don’t think they’ll make sure you’re not faking it?”
Studious: “But you guys jettison people into space when their dead right?”
Delia: “Yeah everybody does.”
Studious: “Great then this will be my ‘coffin.’ If worst comes to worst and I can’t be picked up hopefully this thing’s heat shield will
still work and I’ll be able to land on the planet.”
Delia: “That’s just crazy enough to work!”
Studious climbs inside the coffin and starts to close the lid.
The old man stops holding the lid open.
Studious: “Be careful.”
The Colonel gives a warm smile and says “When am I not?”
He closes the lid and as if understanding, the furry creatures pick up the heavy “coffin” and carry it toward an airlock.
They set it down in a small chamber with an airlock leading to space and another to Ship’s Center. One of the furry creatures moves toward the
button to open the outer doors and expel the pod into space.
Studious imagined the furry creatures saying a few kind words as they launched his “coffin” but in reality they enthusiastically mashed the
button, wanting to see the old man launched into space.
As he is blasted out he spies the console and notices something. It looks like a small faint light surrounded by blackness. It is so faint it appears
to be in the distance.
Seeing the light he becomes lightheaded and fears he might be dying. Due to his dizzyness he almost feels as if he's somehow heading toward the faint
But he quickly realizes with terror that the light is red not white.
He refocuses and to his relief sees that the light is only a....warning light.
Looking at it with renewed horror he sees that somehow the pod is losing pressure.
The old man finds it strange that the light he thought meant he was dying might actually mean he's dying.
[edit on 26-11-2009 by Studious]