She felt a piercing headache as she slowly regained consciousness. Blinking her eyes rapidly, she reached up to touch the source of her pain, finding her fingers sticky with blood. "Ow! what happened?" She slowly recalled the events earlier.

"This is amazing!" She stared up at the crumbling moss covered tower. "There is actually an intelligent species here! Look at these markings!" She brushed away at the moss to reveal several scratches etched onto the walls. "Joe, look, I think these are their language."

"Come on, relax, Krist!" Joe grumbled as he set down his day pack on the floor. "These ruins aren't going to run away."

"Hey guys, over here. I think I found a way in!" Dan called. "I walked around the tower but the entrance seems to be totally caved in. But guess what? Look here!" He led the rest into a side building where the roof has collapsed partially. "That looks like the way in," Dan shone his flashlight at a small opening at a pile of collapsed stones.

"I don't know, it doesn't look very safe," Joe muttered. "We better get the marines to scout it out for us."

"Hahaha, what you think there's a giant wolf inside?" Kristine joked, "Come on, I studied this in university! Finally, I get to use what I learn!" She turned and smiled at the rest, her back towards the hole.

"Well, I think we should tell the marines first," Dan also cautioned. "We don't know what could be in there."

Suddenly Kristine heard something behind her as something scraped against the wall. She turned and from the light of Dan's torch, a hideous creature appeared out of the hole, grabbing her foot. She remembered falling face down on the floor before darkness consumed her.

"Hey, you awake?" A voice sounded next to her. Kristine tried to nod her head but gave up after a wave of giddiness made her gag. "Take it slow, you got a nasty bump."

"What happened? Where am I? WHY AM I NAKED!" She shrieked out the last part.

"Woah chill girl!" Karl backed off. "You got caught by those green skins thingies. You nearly became supper."

"What?" Confused with her surroundings, she glared around the hall. Seeing the spread of dead bodies all over the floor, her brain slowly caught up to her sense of smell and reason. "Urghhhhh..." She vomited over the side and wiped her mouth with the clothing draped around her. She realized that the clothing was what the marines usually wear. "Thanks," she said in a small voice.

"Ha, don't thank me," Karl smiled and jerked his head towards another person crouched over what looks like a huge pot. "Cpl James there rushed in to save you and gave you his shirt," Karl reached out with a hand to help Kristine up.

"Thank you," Kristine said to the marine poking around at the contents of the pot after she buttoned up the marine BDU, while Karl looks away.

"No problem, it's my job." The marine said before standing up. "You better? Let's go then."

"So what's inside that cooking pot?" Karl asked as they re-entered the passageway.

"Carr-ato, pieces of some kind of meat and bones, some kind of herbs and the liquid seems to be the blood of some animal. And of course, plus 1 human girl." He laughed along with Karl as he said the last part.

"Wait, you mean I was inside that pot?" Kristine asked in surprise.


"Yucks! That's ... that's disgusting!" Kristine suddenly felt her whole body was sticky.

"Hahahaha, if Mills was here," James grinned, "He probably has a joke or two for this kind of situation."

"Hey Corporal," Karl stopped suddenly, "You hear that?"

They all stopped and strained their ears, "I think it's some kind of rumbling? Kristine guessed.

"I don't know about you, but it kind of sounds like boots, marching boots," James said.

"No, not boots. It's drums." Karl turned and looked at them. "Lots of drums."

"Go!" James pulled Kristine along, "Go back to the surface!" And the trio starts running.

As they about to reach the intersection, Several glowing lights appeared in front of them, blocking their way out. "Shit! Must be the green skins!" Something struck the wall beside them, "An arrow?" James looked down in surprise, "Back to the hall."

They ran back, over the dead bodies and stood next to the overturned pot. "Where to now?" Kristine asked, looking at the other passageways leading out of the hall.

"We can't go in those, we don't know where they lead to." James said, "We make a stand here." He pointed to a door at the end of the hall. "I checked it out earlier. Seems like some kind of storeroom for the green skins."

They entered the room, finding it piled with stuff and without any other ways in or out. Karl tapped the double doors and whistled, "Some kind of metal. Pretty solid."

"Karl, on me, we move the pot into the room to help block the doors. Kristine, grab some torches from the walls to use as a light source and see if there is anything useful." James ordered.

Over the constant rolling sounds of the drums, Karl and James rolled the pot into the room. It barely fitted through the doorway and Kristine slotted a couple of torches onto the wall torch holders and dropped several unlit torches on the floor. Just as they closed the doors, they spotted dozens of screaming green skins bearing torches storming into the hall.

Lifting the heavy cauldron till it sat on its mouth, both Karl and James exhausted themselves. Just as they rest against it, the metal door clanked loudly as dozens of tiny hands slammed against it. "Quick! Push it to block the door!" The door swung inwards and several snarling green skins could be seen trying to squeeze their way into the narrow gap.

James pulled out a grenade from his pouch and lobbed it through the door gap while pulling Kristine into cover behind the pot. "Fire in the hole!" He yelled. A loud blast, followed by shrieks of pain and the pressure against the door ceased. "OK, PUSH!"

Finally, with the huge over turned pot acting as a door stopper, the doors were blocked, preventing the green skins from forcing the doors open, and the humans in the room, slumped down against the pot to catch their breath.


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neo Koh


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