tagSci-Fi & FantasyMinx Ep. 04: The Sphere, Mesozoic Zone

Minx Ep. 04: The Sphere, Mesozoic Zone

bynicecthulhu©

Minx Episode 4: The Sphere, Mesozoic Zone

My thanks to searchingforperfection for his editing and suggestions for this story. Any remaining mistakes are my responsibility.

Trapped in the hollow world that hurtles between the stars, Dragon continues with his search for the woman who he now realizes has captured his heart. After doggedly chasing the killer of her hominid friend Butler, Minx awakens to find the storm has cleared and she is now alone with her enemies!


1

"Come on, Miguel! Hold her down!"

Minx awoke, and was immediately surprised at the fact that she had remained sleeping for as long as she had. Paul was holding her wrists painfully tight, while pushing his way between her legs with his lower body. She was on her back with her arms flat against the ground over her head and her knees bent.

"Get the Hell off me!" she screamed.

Paul put more of his weight against her legs, forcing himself between her knees.

"Maybe we shouldn't do this..." said Miguel, from somewhere out of sight.

"Put a gag in her mouth! Do something useful!" shouted Paul.

Minx felt adrenaline rush through her system. She rolled her bottom off the ground, lifted her arms despite Paul's weight, tucked her legs between her and her attacker, and then kicked out as hard as she could.

Her would-be rapist lifted off the ground, sailed through the air for about four metres while waving his arms wildly, then splashed into water.

Minx rolled over and shot one hard look at Miguel, who blanched and looked away.

"We have to help him!" he exclaimed.

"Bullshit!" Minx stood and then brushed herself off. She was surprised to see that the two men hadn't bothered to strip off what was left of her white guild uniform, and it still covered as much of her as a two-piece swimsuit. Or perhaps they just hadn't had the opportunity before she awoke. She glanced off to her right to see Paul splashing around in the water, panic-stricken.

"Something could eat him! Oh, God! There's a fin!" Miguel pointed out into the water beyond Paul.

Minx put her fists on her hips. "So there is," she noted icily. "Although, whatever it is looks to be swimming parallel to shore and not after Paul."

Miguel ran to the water's edge and stood atop the intertwined mangrove roots, one hand around a thick branch to maintain his balance. The ground seemed to sway gently underfoot. "Swim Paul! You'll make it!"

"Help me!" the man in the water called out.

Minx walked over and stood beside Miguel, keeping her balance on the roots easily despite the slight undulation of the ground beneath her feet. She couldn't see the shore! She remembered this grove of trees had appeared to jut out from the land not too far from the hominids camp, but the whole mass of vegetation and soil appeared to now be floating somewhere in a broad sea.

"We have to help him!" Miguel repeated desperately.

Minx turned to face him. "You killed Butler," she stated, as the memory of the killing jumped into her mind.

Miguel's eyes went round as he caught the look on her face. He turned to run, but she simply grabbed his arm, then swung him around and out over the water. He splashed in atop Paul. The fin in the water turned toward the pair. The shark's fin accelerated toward the men, and then rose as the beast below the waves swam closer to the surface. That's one big fish, thought Minx.

"Dinner! Come and get it!" she called out to it.

The bounty hunter then turned and walked deeper into the forest. It took her less than a minute to make her way through the tightly interwoven roots and trunks. There was no sign of shore from the other side of the vegetation island either.

"Ship?"

There was no response from her intelligent vessel through the telepathic link they shared. Minx chewed her lip. It was possible that Ship was resting, but she had a bad feeling about the whole situation. Miguel had talked about a hyperman named Mahar being present in this hollow world. Had this person discovered her means of communication with her vessel and put a stop to it?

She recalled the terrible lightning storm, and chasing two figures through the torrential rains. She'd been exhausted and had fallen asleep in this grove. Paul and Miguel had left her clothing unmolested, two tattered fragments of her former white bounty hunter's uniform - one across her breasts and the other around her hips - but she didn't seem to have any useful tools at hand. Her hair was dishevelled, but she'd become accustomed to that while making her way through this hollow world. Her stomach rumbled. She spotted some fruit, picked it and began eating.

Why hadn't she awoken when Paul first laid hands on her? She put the fruit down, and then began feeling around for dried blood in her dark brown hair. Not finding any, she began feeling over her skull for any bumps. When her fingers touched the area where the subcutaneous communicator was hidden she flinched. The whole area was very sensitive, but she could feel no cuts or bumps.

"Ship?"

There was still no answer from the faithful, yet quirky, A. I.

Minx picked up the fruit and resumed her meal. She'd lost communication with her friend once before, after a bear-man had struck her a lucky blow right over the communicator while she was on the planet Anima. It seemed as if something similar had happened.

Through the trees, she could hear Paul and Miguel screaming obscenities and threats at her. Minx knew she could handle those two, and Miguel would be too timid to be a real danger to her anyway.

She was more concerned about Ship. Her vessel had been in contact with Dragon, so he should be taking care of her. At least, Minx hoped he would. How much could she actually trust that hyperman?

Well, she realized, once they hit land she'd build a boat and find her way back to Butler's people. From there she could follow through on her original plan of trying to find an escape route near the enormous airlock through which she and her vessel had entered this artificial world. She hoped Arachne was okay.

2

A struggling Dragon dragged the massive tree trunk across the beach, right to the water's edge. Several of the hominids watched him, but offered no help. He'd thought about engaging them in building a dugout boat, but doubted they had any skills for the task and didn't want to take the extra time to train them.

The hyperman pulled out his steel knife from the sheath on his belt and began chipping away at one side of the log. He had rolled his sleeves up and opened the seam on his top so he would not get too warm while working.

"What are you doing, Captain?" asked a woman.

"Building a boat." He'd long ago given up believing humans were capable of thinking through questions before opening their mouths, no matter how obvious the answer was.

"I mean why are you building a boat, Captain?"

"To go across the sea."

The only sounds heard for a few minutes was a repetitive 'chok' of his knife striking the wood and the splash of the waves upon the shore. He did not even consider it worth his while to look at his speaker and see which pirate was asking him these questions. It sounded like Alice, the First Mate aboard the pirate vessel he had commandeered, but the speaker was far enough away relative to the background noise that he couldn't be sure.

"Captain?"

"Hmm?" He considered his progress, meagre as it was. Dragon wondered if it would be more effective to burn the wood with his laser first and then chip the charred material away with the blade. Would these hominids, or the humans that had enslaved them and tried to kill Minx, have axes?

"More of us would fit in a raft, Captain." The suggestion was quiet, and very tentative.

He turned to find Alice standing several metres away, the waves rolling across her pale bare feet and her long red hair blowing in the breeze. Her black pants were tight, and her top was loose fitting and open to almost her navel. So she thought she was invited? Ship believed that the natural raft that was carrying Minx across the sea, and away from him, was taking her to a land filled with dinosaurs and other creatures from the Mesozoic era. Extra hands would speed his work, and offer more protection should he encounter some of the nastier predators that had existed throughout Earth's history.

"You're correct, Alice. Good thinking."

She smiled. It reminded him of the response of a loyal dog being patted on its head. He knew it would be easy enough to bring some of the greedier pirates with him, as all he had to do was suggest he was leaving to recover alien treasures for himself. The pirates had only followed him to this hollow world in the hopes of recovering valuable alien artefacts. The remaining humans could simply be told they were coming. They feared him enough to do what he said without too much hesitation.

"Alice, alert the crew that we're going on an expedition. We'll be travelling across this sea and then into the land beyond. There's only one treasure I want, and the rest of you can keep whatever else you find. Fair enough?"

"Aye, Captain!" He was surprised to see her actually salute him; she'd never done that before. "And what if some of the crew want to stay behind?"

"They're welcome to. We've had a dangerous time in this place, and I suspect that we'll see some even more deadly creatures across this water."

"We've got our laser pistols, Captain. We'll kill whatever gets in our way!"

"That's a good girl!" He said it without thinking, being distracted while mentally drawing up plans for a larger boat.

Alice gave him a big smile in response. Evidently, he reasoned, she had not taken the comment as an insult. Once again his pheromones were keeping the First Mate completely under his control. He felt the light breeze shift in direction so that it was now blowing from him to her. The response in Alice as more of his pheromones washed over her was dramatic. She swallowed, and one of her hands began working its way up her hips very slowly.

"I've never been on a real boat before, Captain. It will be very romantic, won't it?"

"I suppose. No nightfall and no stars inside this hollow world, but I guess the roll of the deck and the threats from sea monsters should be enough to..."

"Sea monsters?"

"Ancient creatures from Earth's past. I would expect plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, giant crocodiles, megalodon and the like. Who knows what's out there? How many species in Earth's past left no trace of their existence?"

Alice looked a little troubled, and Dragon recalled her fear of being devoured. He gave her a calming smile.

"We still have our laser pistols, my dear. And I'll be sure to keep you near so you'll be safe."

"So, it will be pretty safe then?"

"As safe as being a space pirate, Alice." He gave her another smile and she licked her lips and took a step toward him. "Now, I need you to go alert the crew," he reminded her.

"The crew?"

"And tell those useless layabouts who had enslaved these hominids that they're coming along. We may need someone to row."

"So they'll be near the edges of the boat?"

"I suppose..."

"I'll be back soon, Captain!" She turned and ran off.

He watched her go, enjoying the shifting of her bottom as she ran. She was a lovely young woman, but she was no Minx. The bounty hunter, whom he had only recently discovered he loved, would never have thought it a good idea to put others between her and hungry predators. Provided she was spared, Alice wasn't concerned at all if others were killed and eaten.

Dragon picked up a stick and drew some designs in the sand. Would a raft be better than a boat with a prow, he wondered? A raft would look natural and might not draw attention from large predators. Also, it was more likely to follow the same currents that had taken Minx away from him. A prowed ship would have speed, though, which could end up meaning the difference between life and death if something came after them.

It was an intriguing choice.

"Ship."

"Yes, Captain Bligh?" answered Minx's vessel through the telepathic link.

"You think that highly of me?"

"He was a rogue, and an overly-harsh taskmaster, Dragon."

"Try reading through some historical documents from that period instead of relying on slightly-historical entertainments from later dates." The hyperman took a quick look around. He knew it made the humans nervous to listen to his one-sided conversations. "I'm not sure whether a raft or a ship is the best choice for crossing this sea. The raft offers camouflage but sacrifices speed, while the ship draws attention but has the advantage of a fast escape."

"Go with speed. It's more your style, Dragon. Besides, I think you'd look very sexy as a buccaneer sailing the seas of this world, fighting off sea monsters, and ravishing imperilled bounty hunters who've found themselves in way over their heads."

"Is this logic, or libido?"

"Why, my good hyperman," answered Ship in as innocent a voice as she could muster, "you know that as a mere artificial intelligence I have no libido."

"There's nothing mere about you, my saucy, psychic wench."

"Ooo, you say the sweetest things!" she squealed.

3

"Are you two going to behave yourselves, or do I toss you back out into the water?" called out Minx.

"How did she know we were here?" asked Miguel.

"Shut up!" barked Paul. "We should throw you out there for that shark to eat, you bitch!"

"Such language!" Minx turned slowly and faced back into the trees. She'd heard the two men making their way through the forest in her direction, and had a good idea where each was. The forest was thick enough to conceal them and, if the need arose, she was confident that she could vanish into it quickly. "Miguel, I think that you might prove useful for the time being. You hang back while Paul comes and tries to murder me. After I throw him back into the sea we can sit down and talk."

"Miguel! Move in on her flank! I'll come in from the other side!" shouted Paul.

There were no sounds of movement on her left, but she could hear Paul making his way through the trees on her right. She spied his shadowy form slip behind a gnarled trunk.

"Good boy, Miguel!" she said. "Don't worry, Paul will be quicker to deal with than that giant lizard he threw me to."

"Miguel?" called out Paul, his fading confidence evident in his voice.

"I think we should listen to her, Paul. We're floating aimlessly in this sea and we'll need to work together to survive."

"You're a God-damned coward, Miguel!"

"Of course he is!" interjected Minx. "It takes a real brave man to plan to rape a woman while she's drugged or sleeping!"

"You were asking for it!"

"Look, you two work out your difficulties first and then come looking for me." Minx walked into the woods, making sure to keep Paul well off to her right. There were no sounds of pursuit, so she hoped the two were taking her advice.

4

Several hours later, Minx could hear the two men making their way through the forest below her. She was perched high in the canopy, out of sight from below, watching a distant, dark figure in the sky.

"I don't understand it. Where could she have gone?" asked Paul.

"I'm telling you there's something strange about her!" responded Miguel, in an almost whisper. "I think she might be a robot."

She almost giggled out loud. The figure in the sky was coming closer, and now appeared to be heading directly for their tiny floating island.

From the size of the place, she figured a good third of the entire grove had been ripped from shore during the storm and then carried out to sea. What bothered her was that they'd drifted so far from land in so short a time. It seemed to indicate a current was pushing them, and if one was pushing them away from one land, then it was likely pushing them towards another. Or so she hoped. What had Miguel said when she'd first met that bunch of losers? Three lands, one she'd already explored, another of dinosaurs, and a last of some even stranger time period in Earth's history? So which one were they headed for?

Paul and Miguel came to the water's edge, although they were out of Minx's sight.

"Maybe she fell off?" suggested Paul, hopefully.

"Who knows where she could be? She could be anywhere! Maybe she's swimming to shore right now!"

"Don't be an ass! Those things out there would get her. Jesus! Look at the long neck on that one!"

Minx was looking too, as what was obviously a plesiosaur lifted its head and neck out of the water and then submerged beneath the waves. The creature had been a stone's throw from the edge of the trees. Minx wondered if the two men had realized the beast could easily come to the surface right beside their floating home, stretch out its neck and grab one of them.

"I'm telling you she's too strong and too fast! She's a robot and she's swimming to shore. Those things won't touch her because they know they can't eat her."

Minx directed her attention back to the dark object in the sky. It looked a little like a bat...or a flying dinosaur. Well at least know I know to which land we're headed now, she thought. Why wasn't the thing flapping its wings?

"A robot? Really?" she called out to the two men. "The correct term would be android, as I would be an artificial being who appeared perfectly human. Or a replicant," she added, recalling some ancient historical tape she'd once viewed. "I'm human, you idiots. And I'm above you."

She parted the branches below her and waited until the two men came into her view. They looked up at her, Paul with hatred and Miguel in amazement.

"We'll have to delay our talk for a bit. Something's coming towards us."

"What are you talking about?" demanded Paul. Miguel looked about anxiously.

"Go back where you were a few seconds ago and look up."

She watched them disappear from her view.

"A pterodactyl!" called out Paul.

"No, it's not," stated Miguel.

"Why do you say that, Miguel?" asked Minx, slipping down the tree. He was silent as the two men watched the creature fly closer. She approached them until she was close enough to see the dinosaur, but stayed out of arm's reach of both.

"Miguel?" urged Minx.

"It's Mahar."

"That fairy tale! There are no such things as hypermen!" Although, immediately after Paul made that statement he glanced at Minx curiously.

"Yes there are, Paul. I know one," she stated. He continued to give her a strange look.

Minx watched the creature. It still had not flapped its wings, and now that it was closer she could see that its wings seemed small in proportion to its body size. The trio watched as the creature pitched an arm back and then looked to throw something in their direction. A couple of seconds later there was a bright burst of light.

"What the hell?" asked Paul.

"I've never seen him do that before!" exclaimed Miguel.

Minx watched carefully. The being hovered for several seconds, as if watching them and their floating island. Then, she thought she spied a twinkling in the air, or a shimmering, between them and the flying figure.

"Oh, crap!" Minx exclaimed. "He's thrown some type of weapon at us!"

She turned and ran through the forest. She could hear the two men behind her moving as well, and bouncing off trunks and tripping on roots in their panic. Minx wasn't sure where to go. She had no idea what the hyperman was trying to do, but she was pretty sure it wouldn't be good. Dragon had been very clear that all the stories about the cruelty of his own people had not been exaggerated.

Suddenly, the noises behind her stopped. Minx froze and looked back over her shoulder. There was no sign of either man. She was about to take another step forward when she felt something alight on her left arm. There was no pain. Her eyelids fluttered and then she collapsed to the ground.

5

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