Header image: Episode 6, The Adventures of Nat and Joey, graphic novel; (c) Joey SL 2021

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Episode 6 – The More You Know

It stared me right in the eye. Big, greenish eyes, unblinking, with only one thought behind them, ›FOOOD!‹

»Do not move,« said Nat. »They are deaf and almost blind. They react to movement alone.«

I could hear her trying to yank free from the contraption that her safety belt had become. The bug’s head tilted, the tentacles on the side of it’s bulk quivered as it took a noseful of our scent.

Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 1; (c) Joey SL 2021

»Well, then you sit tight yourself! I’ll manage alright—« But before I even finished my sentence, the monstrous insectoid pressed through the hatch—and got stuck. The lower part of its body was just too big.

I knew this bought us only so much time. We had nowhere to go, the glider was a pile of useless metal—and there were still those fight bots outside.

At this moment I would have traded them for our alien predator anytime, but in all true fact it was six of one and half a dozen of another. We were done in.

Keeping an eye on Bug Daddy (or was it a mommy?) I slowly edged closer to the pilot seat where Nat had managed to wriggle free her right arm. Fishing for the release latch she both strained her muscles and tried to brace herself for the drop.

I reached her just in time for the clicking sound of the loosened latch. Before I knew it I was literally swept off my feet and found myself kissing the ground. Thanks to all the stars in the universe this was the ceiling tilted upside down, not the floor. No telling who or what had been trampling on that before.

Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 2; (c) Joey SL 2021

»Uh, I am very sorry,« Nat said.

»You’re welcome, partner,« I huffed. »Just let’s not get in the habit, okay?«

She helped me get up, and we both turned for our enemy at hand. Thumping, hissing and rattling the insectoid at the airlock grew wild.

»I think it does smell us,« she said.

»Well, then let’s give it something else to think about!«

We opened fire almost instantaneously. I aimed for the eyes as I remembered vividly the ricocheting of bullets not too long ago and the armor of this giant bug didn’t seem any less thorough than that of our late friend the SEAfie. I sure as hell didn’t want to get us killed by stray bullets.

Nat’s sonic blaster went off.

Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 3; (c) Joey SL 2021

In a spray of greenish, reeking alien slime the monster’s head exploded like a price winning pumpkin and sploshed us head to toe.

»Uhhh…« I was at a loss for words.

Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 4; (c) Joey SL 2021

»I think… the exit is free now,« said Nat, seeming maybe a bit less her usual resolute self. Then she shrugged, and started pushing bits and pieces of the crushed skull out of the way with the butt of her gun. I rushed to help with the gory task, but as soon as we got out of the wreck we were greeted by another burst of laser fire.

Nat threw herself behind the insectoid carcass and answered in the same manner. Hugging the sides of the air lock I fired blindly over her head. No telling if I even hit close to those blasted bots!

A roaring and massive turbulence from above made me squint into the sky. Another glider! Much bigger and definitely not here to help us. One shot near the cockpit of our now useless vessel made that more than clear.

We ceased fire and so did the bots. An amplified metallic voice called out to us, »Weapons to the ground! Get out, hands up where I can see them. This charade is over.«

Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 5; (c) Joey SL 2021

»It’s not over till the bot lady sings,« I muttered between clenched teeth. Nevertheless, I followed Nat’s example, threw my gun out and stepped out into the spotlights.

»Now, who might this be?« Nat said quietly as we watched the glider land. The doors slid open and—


Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 6; (c) Joey SL 2021

»The squirrels!« I blurted.

»The what?«

Chattering, bouncing and grinning the treacherous little bastards surrounded us, blasters in hand, snapping a warning shot over our heads now and then. »Yeah, your partner can’t even tell otters from squirrels. How do you even—«

»QUIET!« bellowed the initial voice over the speakers.

At last the commotion died down. The squirrels or otters or whatever scrambled to cordon on both sides of the gliders ramp. All I could see in the shadows behind the blinding headlights were an extravagant pair of boots stepping down to greet us.

»You two are such a pain in the neck.«

Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 7; (c) Joey SL 2021

»Madam Mayor.« I lost heart.

The mayor aimed her blaster at my head. »How many times have I told you to call me Mom

And the last sound I heard was »Plopp!« when she pulled the trigger.

Chapter 6 of 'The Adventures of Nat and Joey', image 8; (c) Joey SL 2021

~ to be continued ~

In this episode Natascha Randt showcased her vast acting abilities by making appearances as Nat, Giant Bug Monster, Squirrel Otter, and The Mayor.

“By the way… partner. How come you get to wear a helmet in that scene, and I don’t?” — “Uhhh…”

Be all that you can be!

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