Serial Fiction | Bug Out: A NuSpace Misfits Adventure by Ollie Rossman – Episode 9

Our intrepid crew make it to their future home, Courage Town, and make some new friends. 

BUG OUT

A NuSpace Misfits Adventure

by Ollie Rossman

Episode 9

If this is your first time reading, click here for Episode 1. Click here for all the Episodes.

“Careful guys,” said Dad but no one paid him any attention. He walked over to Spike and tapped her on the shoulder. When she turned to him he winked. After a second Spike nodded, shoving the rest of the vege-jerky, another of Herb’s inventions, she was eating into her mouth. She pulled out her laser rifle and scanned the area. Doc rapped his knuckles on the body.

“Empty,” he said. “Assuming there was biomass inside the exoskeleton, it has long since degraded.”

. “Take a sample,” said Edwina. “See what you can find out,”

Doc scraped a small sample of the exoskeleton using a nanoscalpel and ran analysis through the bioarray “It looks like some sort of inert skeletal structure. As far as I can tell it’s just a uniform protective layer. It’s super strong and lightweight, I bet if I could get some DNA I could recode my bones using this formula and they’d never break.”

“I can see that going so well,” said Victoria.

“Can we shoot through it?” asked Spike.

Doc cut a piece out and turned it around in his hard, it was surprisingly thin and flexible, just a few millimetres thick. “At this this thickness, sure. But if it was thicker, like the armour on a Cruiser, then you wouldn’t stand a chance..” He passed the piece around.

They saw more bug skeletons scattered around as they walked. Some were smashed up but most were intact, empty dead shells. Victoria looked at each skeleton with concern. She knew there was no mention of giant bugs in any file on NuEarth D23; she had read them all. Where had they come from?

After a few hours they could see the colony in the distance. There was no movement, only a collection of prefab shacks with skirts of dirt blown sand. The crew started to chatter excitedly, this was what they had been training for their whole lives.

Close up, the town wasn’t much to look at. The shacks looked worse close up. There were twenty of them arranged in two rough rows with a well worn cement road running between them.

“Dormitories,” said Victoria.

A much larger building loomed at the far end of town.

“And that must be the headquarters,” said Edwina.

At the centre of the Headquarters was the ship that had brought the original colonists to NuEarth D23. Prefab modules had sprouted out of the ship like a parasites. This included the mess, equipment storage, lounge, comms centre and offices. On one edge stood a markedly newer ship which seemed to be in the process of being taken over by the prefab infection. These ships had completed their mission, a one way journey to the end of the galaxy, and now functioned as a housing for the AI that ran the colony and a source of building materials.

Courage Town was about what the group had been taught to expect. Except it was empty.

No one appeared to greet the new arrivals. They called out hellos, and inspected some of the closest shacks. Empty.

Suddenly there was a screech and out of nowhere a giant bug appeared. It looked just like it’s fallen brothers, but there in front of them it seemed much bigger. Alive, they could see the bug had a clump of antennae on the top of it’s head and a long green tongue that it constantly stuck out of it’s mouth. The bug was a mottled red and green colour, like a half ripened apple.

“Stand back kids,” said Father, holding up his hand. Suddenly a bright blue laser burst out of his palm and sliced the bug in half vertically up through the bottom of the body and head and out the top. The bug stopped for a second and then fell apart, two exact halves splitting away from each other and landing with a thud, its insides steaming from the laser blast.

Spike had finally got her laser rifle up and was scanning the area. “I don’t see any more of them… I mean area secured,” she said, transitioning from her normal voice to her authoritarian soldier voice.

“Whoa Dad, you never told us you could do that,” said Ed.

“Yeah what else can you do? How about making us some pancakes?” laughed Jules.

“I could have taken it out,” boasted Spike.

“Yeah right,” said Doc, laughing at her.

“Oh yeah?” said Spike turning to Doc and grabbing him in a headlock. He started tickling her.

Meanwhile Daemon had programmed his holo comm array to project a bug behind Victoria and yelled, “Victoria behind you!” She started screaming. She turned around and fell over. Daemon keeled over with laughter as Victoria shouted at him. Ed had Dad’s hand in hers and was tracing his palm with her finger trying to figure out where the laser had come from. Herb told Jet what happened over the comm link and Jet was saying, “You know if I was there I would have blasted that bug. Pow pow pow.”

“Everyone stop. Everyone. Kids listen to me.” Father was shouting but no one was paying him any attention. Suddenly he pulled his hand back out of Ed’s clutches and said, “I’ve had enough. I need a break. Seventeen years of dealing with you kids twenty four seven has driven me crazy. I’m taking some me time.” And with that he stormed off out of town.

Next week on Bugout

We meet the citizens of Courage Town. Maybe. 

Tune in next Wednesday for the next episode.

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