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demon.local meet report #3

demon.local / 25 March 1994
By Paola Kathuria

While strapped into my seat, pulling on my gloves and adjusting my head-mounted display, I waited for the signal from the mother ship to leave the docking area and looked out for my comrades. From my small 'A' class fighter ship, I could make out the shapes of Chills in his dark green metallic ship 'Black', Cyclops in his soft white ship 'Knight', Blodwen in his striped blue and green ship 'Gnu' and, my namesake, ArcGlade in a royal blue ship called 'AntiAlias'. My own ship 'PootPot' vibrated a soft hum around me and I tweaked the controls in front of me even though the ship was looking after itself. Sitting there, waiting for the final signal, my heart pounded at the same pace as the voice giving the constant updates in the mother ship.

We were headed toward the portal in an instant. As I was thrust back in my seat; the lights on my control panel fell into a frenzy of red flashes whilst the ship adjusted itself to the new surroundings and then settled down into a murmur of quiet importance as it automatically sent messages to the mother ship and began our journey to Galaxian.

After loosening my straps, the first few minutes were spent checking the readouts. It would probably be my ship's last journey. If we were unsuccessful, there would be no one left on Earth to make any journeys at all.

As we passed a small moon, a spike of fire shot out before us and two unusual ships emerged from the orange glow. One was struggling and was barely held together; my hand quickly moved to cover my eyes from the flash when it exploded in front of me. I messaged to Chills and found out that he had successfully transported the survivors, Drink and Keris. I was told that Keris was clutching parts from his ship when he arrived.

I only knew that a new black sleek ship had arrived when my control panel beeped a proximity warning to me. Keris transported to this ship, 'The Unattended' and disappeared in a quiet commotion of thrusters.

We engaged a small fleet of Galaxians a few minutes after picking up Drink and Keris. Our standard firing pattern took out most of the enemy ships and left the rest harmless. We sped past the floating wreckage and headed towards a growing blue cloud in the distance. I reached for my torpedo firing button as soon as I first saw the two dark forms of small ships emerge from the cloud. I could hear shouts of surprise in my ear-piece as I recognised the markings of Wonder and Aegypt. They circled the group for a few minutes as Wonder uploaded a file from the mother ship called modem.txt and then they left, with as much ceremony as they arrived, toward another adventure.

Blodwen used the Intership Radio Communicator to type out his concern at the disappearance of Tecc and the non-appearance of the four engineers from the mother ship. Working on a hunch, I activated my dimensional device, took a reading then shook my head sadly as I typed the results to Blodwen, that our comrades were lost as they had fallen into an alternate dimension and were probably now engaging alternate enemies in alternate ships.

Halfway to our destination we joined the group of Cuillin, Wuzz and Arcangel. Arcangel was having problems with his engine and was trying to rewire the control panel. When ArcGlade heard what Arcangel was doing he screamed "If you switch two and three over it blows the chip!". Ignoring ArcGlade, Arcangel completed his patching in twelve point while I tried to tell him that ten point would be sufficient and he tested the new set-up. He momentarily disappeared for a few seconds and then returned. After waiting for the hot orange glow of the resulting flames to subside we heard him yell triumphantly "Three times the speed and only 3.3 volts!".

Hundreds of fighter ships appeared from nowhere. Green ones fired their cannons at us whilst pink ones opened up to reveal purple missiles. For the next few minutes I blasted at the ships with everything I had and I could only think aim - shoot - shoot - aim. I heard Cuillin count the number of enemy ships blown up by our torpedoes "One ... Two ... Three ... Six!". Checking my shields I manoeuvred around and shot the pink ships from view and, when it was all over, my hands were still shaking when I released the firing rod. We left behind a graveyard of spattering ships and a quick check on IRC revealed that there were only minor injuries but there had been heavy damage to our shields.

Over a red planet we encountered green monoliths with yellow anvil heads of cannons and I believed this to be our last battle as the frenzy of aiming and firing and manoeuvring started again. I spread our guns wide, but the blue tumbling energy balls took out most of my shields and we started to retreat whilst a swarm of the purple enemy ships pursued us. Just as I began to really despair, the ships of Warlock, Finkel, Junkpile and Granta screamed from the sky and laid waste the metal monsters on the red planet. Drink, keeping track of our own losses, communicated the news that because of our new multi-synch transponder units, we need "only pay 5%".

Taking the enemy by surprise, the purple ships were soon destroyed and we headed towards the enemy home planet. As we broke through their shields and headed towards the heart of this hollow planet, I kept a look out for lone scouts as the rest blasted at everything in front of them. We finally made it to the source of the lethal energy and we blasted at it with our special number weapons. With all the noise, sparks and explosions it was hard to tell if we were having any effect on the power source that was warming up to blast the Earth. Then I realised that the shouting in my ear-piece from the other ships had fallen silent as I saw that the last sentinel had been destroyed and that we had saved the Earth. The quiet voice of Junkpile said "It only deals with numbers under 32 bits".

We headed for home.

Paola

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Paola Kathuria  -*-  ArcGlade Services Ltd  -*-  paola@arcglade.demon.co.uk