3-8: Here Be Dragons

“I’d rather get out of here,” Laurie said. “These little buggers are getting on my nerves.” She worked her way through them, out of their makeshift arena, them still chattering behind her.

“Where should we go, then?” The Bartender broke free of the small, chattering bunch. “It’s getting dark and we have no idea where Scorch is. There’s too much metal and static to be able to perform any kind of scan.”

She sighed, scanning the horizon at the descending sun and fading shadows. She took a few steps, then yelled in frustration, sending a piece of metal flying with a kick.

The ground rumbled, or rather, the rusted metal decking they stood upon did, and something like a low growl came from the distance.

“I don’t like the sound of that,” the Bartender said.

The Scrappers appeared, running in a panic past them, back in the direction of their cave. The Bartender drew his weapon, spinning in a slow circle and looking for the source of the noise. Laurie did the same, tapping a button on her patch, turning the world around to shades of green in the low light.

“You’re going to like the look of it even less,” she said as she found the source of the noise, a giant reptilian figure, crawling over the top of one of the scrap piles on short legs. It raised its head and growled, shaking the metal again, creating small slides on the larger piles. Its massive tongue flicked out, testing the air, and it turned to watch the running Scrappers.

“Maybe if we hold still…” the Bartender said.

“What about them?” She nodded in the direction the Scrappers had gone.

“They live here. I’m guessing they know how to survive.”

She nodded slowly, gaze not leaving the monster, which had began to crawl down the near side of the metal mountain, leaving a wake of sliding metal.

“Maybe we should find some cover?”

“From that thing? Where?”

“The canyon we came through?”

She nodded. “Let’s move cautiously.” She walked sideways, keeping her body facing the lizard. The boxy canyon was visible, if only just, several hundred meters away yet. They covered the ground as swiftly as they dared, working to remain silent and not disturb the garbage and make noise.

The reached the entrance of the canyon even as the lizard came to the bottom of the pile, tongue still gathering scents, tracking potential prey. From the canyon entrance, she could see its head turn to them.

“I think our time is up,” she said apprehensively. The Bartender flicked the safety off his rifle.

“Ready when you are.”

She looked around, trying to find another cave, or place to hide.

“Back to the ship?”

“If we would make it. We can hide, or fight.”


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