The Circus Master: The Curse of the Robots: Part 5: The Survivors

 

The fire slammed the bubble Denika and the others were encased in back into the nearest wall of the mine, nearly smashing it.

Denika upped the power in the sphere as hard as she could, but the more she did, the more her connection with it became greater and she started to feel the fire herself.

The Jiang Shi had managed to clutch on, with it’s claws even penetrating the sphere somewhat. Ironically lesser Vampires would have been able to rip through the sphere no problem, but fortunately the Jiang Shi’s greater weaknesses to magic meant that it was actually struggling to get through.

The creature however didn’t give up even after it had been reduced to nothing but a skeleton, but fortunately the flames blasted it’s skeleton to pieces.

Denika screamed as her flesh began to sizzle, but she held on in spite of the agony until the flames had finally died down after which she then using the last of her power, blasted a space below among the rubble for them to land. The bubble instantly vanished after, and Denika and the others fell onto the scorching earth. Denika who had collapsed would have landed face first into the burning dirt had it not been for Keptis, who quickly jumped up and caught her.

Keptis tended to the witch, whilst Ashlei checked their surroundings. They were completely surrounded by large burning boulders on every side. Not only would they not have the strength to lift or push them, but they were scorching to the touch.

The mine looked largely blocked at both ends, though there appeared to be some space between some of the boulders. The only way up was to climb.  Ashlei tried to put her fingers on one of the rocks but it was so seering she had to pull away instantly.

She suddenly noticed a hand peeking out from underneath one of the boulders. Though badly burned, Ashlei could tell that it belonged to one of the Jiang Shi as it’s fingers were clawed.

The hand started to move. The Vampire had managed to survive the flames by shielding itself behind the boulder. It hadn’t intended to, it had essentially lucked out when the boulder was blown into the undead monster and threw it across the mine until it was trapped between two boulders and protected, though it’s body was still scorched.

The Vampire quickly managed to pushed the boulder off of it’s back, nearly hurling it on top of Ashlei in the process.

The Vampire’s entire body was badly scorched, and it’s left leg appeared to be broken. The monster limped after Ashlei very slowly.

Up above more rocks started to shake, as more and more of the Vampires that had survived started to crawl out of the rocks. One of the boulders from above was pushed on top of two of the surviving alien slaves, crushing them to death.

Another, female Vampire then jumped down, it’s body just as scorched, though it was otherwise undettered.

Ashlei lifted a large flaming rock despite it being burning to the touch, and managed to hit the female Vampire over the head from behind, but it did little to deter the Vampire who then grabbed Ashlei and prepared to sink her fangs into the time travellers neck.

Keptis however tripped the Vampire up from behind and then repeatedly hit it in the face with the rock Ashlei had used, the male Vampire meanwhile managed to creep up on Ashlei, but when it grabbed her, she was able to wrestle free by kicking the bloodsucker in it’s broken leg.

Some of the prisoners started to join in the fight, with three more alien slaves dogpiling on the male Vampire. One of them tried bludgeoning the beast over the head, whilst the other two hit the Vampire in it’s broken leg over and over.

Another three tried to hold down the female Vampire that Keptis was still trying to finish, but unfortunately the slaves ended up making things worse. The male Vampire was angered by the pain in it’s leg to such an extent that it reached out and tore it’s claws into the slaves stomach and pulled his guts out.

The bloodsucker, after quickly licking it’s victims long intenstines, then used them to strangle Ashlei. The other slave tried to pull the Vampire away and even tried to hit it’s leg again, but the Vampire with one slash of it’s claws cut his throat and sent him head first into the burning earth.

The female Vampire meanwhile managed to push the attacking aliens off, after which she grabbed Keptis and pinned him to the ground.

The Vampire’s face was burnt and broken beyond all recognition, and the monster lifted Keptis’ own rock to crush his face in, but Denika waking up blasted the Vampire through several more rocks.

“You need to get us out of here now.” Keptis said to Denika.

“I’m too weak.”

“I know I’m sorry, but there’s no way we can climb through this mess and there are Vampires all around. They’re like roaches.”

Sure enough several more Vampires were beginning to crawl their way out from between and under the rocks

“We’ve dug ourselves into a hole, we’ll just have to dig deeper” Denika said as she blasted a hole in the ground.

“Come on, we need to go now”

Denika, and Keptis jumped down the hole that was about 20 feet deep, with Ashlei and the suviving slaves following.

“What the hell are you doing?” Keptis asked?

“I don’t have the power to knock away all of those boulders, but we might be able to make our way down to somewhere safe, while I recharge.”

Denika placed another bubble around herself and the others before pushing it through the hole in the ground, though even that was taking it out of her after how spent she had been after the blast.

One of the slaves however had not made it down the pit, having decided to stay and hold off the Vampires. Unfortunately by the time one of the slaves warned Denika, she had already dragged the bubble 100 or so feet deeper into the ground.

Some of the Vampires had jumped down and landed on top of the bubble, Denika tried to push it back up to rescue the slave, but the Vampires were pushing against it, and worse this bubble was much weaker than the previous one, so the Vampires were able to rip their claws through the sphere and grab hold of one of the slaves. The Vampires then pulled the slaves arm out through the sphere and bit her.

In the middle of the commotion, the mutilated corpse of the slave who had been left behind fell on top of the sphere. Worse still the slave who been bitten instantly began to turn into a Jiang Shi and tried to attack the others. Ashlei and Keptis, aided by some of the slaves managed to push her back and through the sphere, which was getting weaker by the second.

In spite of her weakness, Denika managed to push the sphere through over another 200 feet of rock below until eventually she reached a gigantic cavern.

There cavern below was several hundred feet wide, and at the far end of the cavern was  a gigantic machine, connected to a long pipe that ran down a nearby massive tunnel.

As soon as the sphere hit the ground it shattered just as before, sending it’s occupants and the Vampires all over the room. One of the slaves was knocked straight between two Vampires who jumped on top of her, and mauled her to death before any of the others could help.

Up above in the Robot’s base Carlene and the alien had become lost in the maze like corridors. They had been spotted by two of the Robots, just as they were about to reach the control room and had only managed to barely escape them, thanks to Carlene’s fantastic speed.

They only hadn’t been caught, because the Robot’s time had been taken up trying to catch the other prisoners as well, just like Carlene had hoped.

“We’re lost alien. I’m afraid in our haste we.”

Carlene suddenly pushed him to the side and put her finger to her lips. Someone was coming around the corner. Carlene reached into her beehive for a weapon, not that it would do her any good, but still.

Fortunately she it was the robot she had earlier abandoned and The Circus Master.

After he had made his way into the base, the Circus Master had been swiftly captured by the Robots. Fortunately Carlene’s Robot after hearing that one of the aliens had been recaptured was able to rescue him, by blasting the two Robot guards from a distance.

“Thank god” Carlene said.

“Carlene I thought you were.”

“Thanks to your friend here” She said. “He fixed me up with some magics. Where are the others.”

“Florence I last saw tryng to escape out of the mine through the top with the blast. Denika, Keptis and Ashlei.”

“No, please”

“I’m sorry Carlene but they were trapped in the lower levels of the mine. It’s possible that Denika could have used her magics to escape but.”

“No it is not” The robot said coldly.

“The metal of the shutters that seal off the lower levels is designed to withstand any kind of magical blast. I’m sorry but there is no way they could have escaped. ”

Carlene started to cry.

“You know that Denika can create a forcefield around herself. Believe me Carlene we’ve been through worse.” The Circus Master said, not sure if he meant it or not.

“Even if they by a miracle survived the power of the blast, they will have been buried under thousands of tons of rock.

Carlene darted back down the hallway, forcing the Circus Master to run after her.

“She always does that.” The Robot said bitterly.

“What are you doing Carlene?” The Circus Master said as he tried to hold her back.

“Those metal bastards are going to pay. ”

“How do you think you are going to do that?”

“We’ve already lost, all that matters is taking as much of them down with me before I die.”

“You’ll be lucky to last against one.” The Robot said.

“Furthermore we haven’t lost. You just feel that way because the people most important to you will sadly not see the end of this fight.”

“He’s right Carlene we need to think of the bigger picture here. There are still millions of people on this planet who need our help.”

“The bigger picture” Carlene said derisively.

“That’s all you ever think about isn’t it?”

“Funny you didn’t seem to disagree with me when it was just the Rysteians and not Ashlei that was being sacrificed for the greater good. Besides I lost my friends too. I’ve travelled with Denika and Keptis for years.”

“You’re right I’m sorry, it’s just. That girl, she put her trust in me. I promised nothing was going to happen to her.”

“Well like I said, don’t write them off yet. I don’t care what that Robot says, but he is right that we need to do what we can for the people of this world, and a pointless sacrifice is not going to help anyone.”

Back in the lower levels of the cave, the aliens, Keptis and Ashlei did their best to try and fight off the Vampires, but the monsters were too strong, and their burnt flesh and broken bones had begun to heal. The only advantage the slaves and the time travellers had against the Jiang Shi was attacking their wounds.

Denika meanwhile was too weak to carry on in the fight and she crawled along the cave floor, to try and get somewhere safe to charge up.

As she got away from the Jiang Shi however she found herself drawn towards the pipe that ran through the cave. She didn’t know why, but she could sense something powerful in there.

The closer she got to it, the more she could feel her own power growing. Suddenly  just as she was getting stronger, she noticed one of the Jiang Shi had followed her. The beast slashed at her, but the Witch managed to dodge his attack and instead riped a hole in the pipe.

A massive blue energy fired from the pipe, striking the Vampire in the face and vaporising it into dust.

The energy soon began to spread throughout the room vaporising more Vampires and slaves.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

The Circus Master: The Curse of the Robots: Part 3: The Outbreak

 

“Oh that’s right I’m dying.” Carlene said to herself jokingly as she woke up.

The pain had knocked her out several times. Each time she dreamed she was back on earth in her Victorian mansion. Though she was still in agony in the dream, at least she was somewhere familiar.

As she could feel herself blacking out again for what would probably be the last time, one of the robots came in.

“Oh god what do you want, you metal wanker.” Carlene spat back at the robot that bent over her, chanting some kind of spell.

Within a few seconds the pain was gone, and Carlene felt her strength returning.

“All right what’s this? I don’t care actually, I won’t help you no matter what you do.”

“Relax alien I am not here to hurt you, the robot said.” As it spoke the fire around its face vanished, and it’s face took on a more human form.

“I am not like the others young lady.  I assume you are the female of your species?”

“Of course I am you cheeky bugger.”

“My apologies, but the potential for variation among different life forms is infinite. I am not possessed unlike the others. I don’t have time to explain, but you must follow me now.”

Suddenly the alarm went off.

“No, they must have discovered me. Come we don’t have time alien.”

“It’s Carlene love.”

Outside deep in the mine, the rest of the Circus Folk were still being pursued by the robot troops. The Robot’s had been chasing them for half an hour, and in all that time the Circus Folk hadn’t managed to help any of the slaves in the mine. They could barely help themselves.

Denika had tried to fire magical blasts back at them, whilst also trying to deflect their blasts at the Circus Folk. Whilst she did manage to knock a few of the monsters out of the sky, more and more would soon emerge in their place.

Up ahead in the far distance one of the humanoid slaves suddenly jumped out in front of the fleeing time travelers.

“What are you doing? Get out of the way you idiot or they’ll kill you.” The Circus Master shouted at the figure ahead.

Instead however the figure outstretched its arms and started to hop towards the Circus Folk.

The Circus Master halted instantly, and stopped the others in the process.

“It can’t be.” He said.

The figure continued to hop towards the Circus Folk, hissing and snarling.

The Circus Folk (except for Ashlei) knew that it was a Jiang Shi, which meant that the Strange Boy must have infected one of the workers. There was seemingly no going back for the boy now. The Circus Master didn’t think there was after his attack on the Rysteans, but at least that had been in self defence. Now it seemed he was just preying on the helpless slaves here. They certainly wouldn’t have been a threat to the small Vampire. It seemed as though everything the boy was, was now gone.

The Circus Folk tried to restrain the Jiang Shi. They had almost forgotten about the Robots chasing them.

Denika was able to quickly restrain the Vampire with a magical chain, but the beast then pulled her forward into the Circus Master and Florence, which caused the chain to vanish after the Witch’s concentration broke.

The Robots meanwhile turned their attention towards the Jiang Shi and fired on the monster.

Some of their dark magics appeared to hurt the Vampire. Despite their strength the Jiang Shi were more vulnerable to dark magics than some other breeds. Nevertheless the bloodsucker hopped through the air at one of the Robots and grabbed the flying machine in it’s talons.

The Vampire tore the machine into several pieces effortlessly with it’s inhuman strength. The Demon inside screamed as it’s metal body was torn open. The Jiang Shi didn’t just destroy it’s body however. It’s claws were able to shred the Demonic spirit inside too, destroying the monster completely. The other Robotic Demons quickly surrounded and overcame the Vampire with a barrage of magical blasts, until it was nothing but a charred corpse on the floor.

Unfortunately for the Demons five more Jiang Shi began to emerge from the mine. The Robot’s tried to hold them off, but this time the Vampires managed to overpower several of the Robots and temporarily drive them back, before more Robot soldiers arrived to take care of the Vampires.

During the fight the Circus Master and the others were able to take shelter behind a nearby rock.

“I can’t believe it.” The Circus Master said. “I thought, I hoped he could fight it, but.”

“I’m sorry.” Ashlei said.

“You should be.” Florence snapped.

“This is all your fault.”

“No it’s not her’s it’s mine.” The Circus Master interrupted.

“I should have never brought him on that last mission. Now he and all of his victims are suffering.”

“Perhaps, or perhaps this is what was meant to happen.” Denika said.

“What are you getting at?” Ashlei asked, not sure if she wanted to know the answer.

“Look around you. The Jiang Shi have probably killed more of these Robots in 2 minutes than the inhabitents of this planet have in decades. If we can take control of the Jiang Shi then we can use them to fight the Robots off.”

“You can’t be serious! You want to let those monsters infect others.”

“No of course not, but the Jiang Shi that have already been created we can use. I know magic’s that can tame them. We can use them to fight the Robots.”

“No, we can’t use these people like that.” Ashlei protested.

“People? There’s no people left in those husks anymore. They’re just Demons in the corpses of the people they murdered. Didn’t Carlene explain the different types of Vampires. At least this way those people won’t have died in vain.”

“No, Ashlei’s right.” The Circus Master interrupted, much to Denika’s surprise.

“For now at least. We might have to use the Jiang Shi later if there is no other choice, but right now, we have to try and get as many of the workers out of here as we can. The Vampires and the Robots can fight it out together, but we can’t let anymore people be caught in the crossfire. It’s the least we can do.”

The others agreed, though Denika was still reluctant.

More Vampires began to crawl out of the pits. It was obvious that the Strange Boy had jumped into the lower levels of the mine, as most of the workers were stationed there.

The Circus Master and Florence ran to the nearest group of alien workers who had all backed away towards a wall. In spite of everything they had been through the aliens clearly still had some self preservation instincts, and the Jiang Shi were quite unlike anything even they had seen before.

Some of the miners tried to approach the Jiang Shi, believing them to still be the people they once were, but the Vampires quickly turned on the hapless aliens just as soon as they had the Robots.

The crowd were somewhat taken a back at the sight of the Circus Master himself. His wild hair, colourful clothers and the massive talons at the end of his fingers made him look almost like a monster to these hairless aliens.

The Circus Master tried to reason with them, but the aliens still cowered.

“We don’t have time for this, Florence if you’ll use your voice, I’ll cover you.”

Denika, Ashlei and Keptis meanwhile headed down one of the pits. The Vampires and the Robots were engaging in an all out battle across the mines. More and more Robots were flying down from above, whilst more and more Vampires were emerging from the mine below.

The robots outnumbered the Vampires greatly, but it took several Robots to take down just one Vampire. The Vampires were also a lot faster than the Robots and could leap through the air and knock the Robot’s out of the sky.

The Robots fired frantically in all directions they were so terrified of the Vampires. It had been a long while since they had faced an enemy that could harm them. The Robots vaporised several alien workers, and destroyed massive pieces of machinery that the slaves had been working on for months, if not years.

The leader of the platoon tried to keep the Robots in control, but it was no use.

The aliens meanwhile having been completely entranced by Florence’s hypnotic voice, followed Florence, whilst covered them all from behind.

Most of the Vampires and the Robots were too busy fighting each other, though the Circus Master and Florence still had to push some of the aliens out of the way, of stray blasts from the robots and falling rubble. The Circus Master even got in the way of one blast, but sadly they couldn’t save them all.

Just as they had almost got out of reach, one of the Robots spotted them. (It had only done so because it was fleeing from a Jiang Shi.)

“ALERT, ALERT, PRISONERS ARE ESCAPING” It shouted.

A horde of Robots soon descended upon the Circus Master, Florence and the aliens.

The Circus Master jumped onto one of the robots, narrowly dodging it’s rays, he grabbed onto the Robot, and dug his claws in as deep as he could. He managed to pierce the metal, ableit only just. The Robot tried it’s best to shake him off, but the Circus Master not only held on, he pushed the Robot into the fleet above knocking 4 more of the monsters out of the air.

When the Circus Master tried to grab onto another one of the flying Robots however, they blasted the Vandal back into a large rock, causing it to collapse on top of him.

Florence meanwhile commanded the aliens to hide in a small cave, whilst she tried to hold the Robots off. Florence hurled several large boulders at the mechanical monsters and managed to smash two out of the sky, the monsters however bombarded her with so many blasts that she was forced to spend most of her time simply dodging them. At the very least she was able to draw the robots attention away from the aliens.

The Circus Master meanwhile struggled to push the boulder that had fallen on him away, but even his great Vandal strength could not shift the boulder.

Florence tried to help him, but she’d only moved it a quarter of an inch before one of the Robots fired at her again causing her to flee. Fortunately the blast destroyed a large section of the boulder, allowing the Circus Master to not only push it off, but with Florence’s help pick it up and hurl it at the Robot’s crushing 3 more of the Robots.

Several more Jiang Shi started to attack the Robots, though at least two of them went after the Aliens in the cave who they could sense.

Florence shouted at the Aliens to run away as they tried to help them, but the Vampires managed to catch several of the aliens and tear them apart.

The Circus Master air kicked one of the Jiang Shi from behind, knocking it over, whilst Florence was able to flip one of the monsters over her shoulder and into more of the robots behind.

They didn’t have time to stay and fight the Vampires however. The aliens were running blindly ahead, and though they had managed to get away from the immediate battle between the monsters.

In the mine meanwhile Denika, Ashlei and Keptis found nothing but the remains of several aliens, and robots’ Blood literally ran down the walls of the mind, whilst most of the bodies were mangled beyond recognition.

“I can’t believe The Strange Boy caused all of this.” Keptis said with utter revulsion and shock.

Suddenly the three time travellers heard the sound of something large and metallic close above. As Denika flew up to see she saw that the all of the entrances to the mine above had been closed off by metal hatches.

At the bottom of the bit meanwhile Ashlei and Keptis could see several figures begin to slowly emerge or rather hop from the darkness all around them.

To Be Continued

 

The Circus Master: The Curse of the Robots: Part 2:

 

“We haven’t heard any word back from them.”

“We have to open the portal. I’ll go, I.”

“I’m sorry but we can’t risk it. Any more magic and they’ll be able to trace where we are. And the chances are after that portal’s presence, they’ll be monitoring that area. You won’t be able to open anywhere without running into one of those mechanical freaks.”

“So that’s it? We just give up on our best chance?”

“I never said that. We’ve just got intel from our inside source that the robots have captured some strange creatures.. They seem to be terrified of these monsters as they called them, who apparently came here in a strange craft.”

“You don’t mean? Aliens? After all this time. I know I probably shouldn’t ask, but is it.”

“No. They’d never help us. Apparently these creatures were similar to us in some ways, but, there’s something about them that scares those robots. I don’t know if they’d want to help us, but at least it seems we share a common enemy.”

The Circus Folk had been placed in small cells next to one another. They could still speak to each other, but the cells were able to supress all of their magical powers, including even Denika’s.

The Robots had taken the paper off of the Strange Boy’s head meanwhile. The Strange Boy after his experience with the Kardons was still feral and bloodthirsty. He didn’t say it to his team mates, but the Circus Master was worried that the Vampire would never be himself again. Whilst he may have been angry with Ashlei, in truth he blamed himself. Had he not taken the Strange Boy with him then he would never have come into contact with the Kardons. From the start of their previous mission, the Circus Master knew there was a risk in bringing the Strange Boy near the Kardons, but he still did it because the Jiang Shi was the most powerful member of the team after Denika.

“What are they going to do to us.” Ashlei asked nervously.

“I’m sure they’ll just give us a nice box of chocolates and ask us to name our 10 desert island discs. What do you think? They’re Demons.” Florence snapped.

“Demons? They looked like robots to me.”

“They’re both. They’re Demonic souls that have possessed Robots.” The Circus Master interrupted.

“We’ve seen it happen on many worlds. Planets that don’t deal with their Demon problem, but advance in technology. It makes sense that the monsters hiding in the dark would use it to their own advantage. I’m most worried about what these Demons will do if they experiment on the Tent. If there is any magic in there and they let it out, well it could be dangerous.”

“We are more than equipped to deal with your vessel.” An electronic voice said through the communicator.

“Even we don’t know the full power of that ship you morons.” The Circus Master said back.

“We are not reckless. We never make a move unless we know what we are getting into. We have been scanning you all for the last few minutes, testing your powers against our replusers to see if you would be a threat to us.”

“And”

“Your powers are quite harmless. One of the female’s has a wide array of magics from another realm, but we have visited that realm and know how to counteract her power as well.”

“I’m impressed” Denika said, sincerely.

“If you have all of this power why are bothering messing around with these robots.”

“We cannot exist beyond the hellish realm unless we posses a host body from the natural world. Like your leader said for centuries we lived in the dark. We took over the frail bodies of a few of the pitiful creatures of this world, we made them fight amongst themselves for centuries for our own amusement. The fools had no idea we even existed during all the years we made them slaughter one another. As amusing as it was, we soon realised that we could use their ingenuity, and their intelligence for a far greater purpose. We pushed their race forward, took over the bodies of their greatest scientists, political figures until we had progressed to the point where they could build bodies for us that were indestructable, and spaceships that would take us beyond this miserable world. Each time we enter a world in the natural realm, or any other, we have to start from scratch. This time however we will be able to take multiple planets, even galaxies when the time is right.”

“Well I admire your ambition, but I think you’re going to need more than a few tin robot bodies to take on a galaxy.”

“We will strike when we are ready, and from the looks of things your vessel could help to accelerate the process.”

“Yes I was wondering when you’d get to that.”

“You will help us repair your vessel and then you will show us how it works. Its the only reason we didn’t dissect you as originally planned.”

“Yes well I’m afraid I can’t do that. Well I tell a lie, I can but I don’t want too. Trust me if you knew the burden of time travel you wouldn’t want me too either.”

Whilst the Circus Master was keeping the Robots distracted, Carlene reached into her beehive. The Robots hadn’t taken it from her. They must have assumed it was a part of her anatomy. (The aliens on this world didn’t have hair.) Though they could detect magic in her hair, they could detect unnatural forces throughout her entire body.

She reached in for a knife made from Lasterian, the strongest metal in the entire galaxy. (It had been given to her by the Circus Master.)

The doors to their prison were made of magic, but the magic was still channelled through cables and physical objects in the cell. The only problem however was that they were covered by the metal floors and walls of the cell. The metal used to make the cells was so strong that Carlene, The Circus Master and even the Strange Boy had been unable to make a dent in it with their great strength.

Carlene started to hack at the walls. She could sense where the magic was being chanelled through, and kept hacking away at the spot.

“What are you doing you fool. If you strike the cables you’ll be vaporized.” The voice came in.

“Thanks for the heads up darling, but I’m a lot tougher than I look.” Carlene said as she hacked through the wall with her kife.

It only took her a few seconds to reach the cable. As soon as she struck it a form of extremely dangerous dark magic flowed through her body. It was sheer agony and the force threw her back across the cell. Nevertheless cutting the cable caused the magic doors in the block of cells to vanish.

The Strange Boy was the first to run out. He not only left his cell, but the entire block and ran outside. Keptis and Florence attempted to stop the Vampire child, but he was too fast. (Even if they had caught him, he could have easily thrown them away.)

The Circus Master and Ashlei meanwhile instantly ran to help Carlene, whilst Denika started to power up her magics for defence.

“I’m not gonna lie that fucking hurt.” Carlene said as the Circus Master tried to help her up.

The Vampire tried to stand by herself but she was too weak. The Circus Master tried to carry her, but he soon had to drop her as the dark magic had permanently soaked Carlene’s body and anyone who came into contact with her would soon be infected with the magic too. Carlene’s incredible Vampire constitution had allowed her to survive the blast, which would have vaporised any natural creature to dust, but she was unable to fight off its lingering effects.

“Come on Carlene we don’t have the time.” The Circus Master said as he tried to help her up again despite the pain and the risk of infection.

“Quite right love, that’s why you got to leave me.” She replied as she pushed the Vandal away.

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“I can barely move. I’ll infect you if you try and carry me. Besides I don’t think I’ve got much longer anyway.”

“What are you saying” Ashlei said as tears began to well up in her eyes.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to go on without me love. We knew the risks when we signed up, just promise me you lot won’t be too hard on her eh. She’s a good girl underneath it all.”

“Nonsense if you give her time, Denika can come up with something to counteract the dark magic.”

“You don’t have time, now go before you make my death worthless.”

“She’s right” Denika said with regret.

“I can’t whip up anything now that would counteract those magics. Maybe if we were back in the ship, but I can’t.”

“You can’t just leave Carlene. Not after everything we’ve been through.”

“I’m sorry” Denika said gently. “I really am, but trust me on this. There is nothing we can do.”

“Just go now Ashlei. No need to draw this out. I’m already gonna die horribly and slowly. You need to find the Strange Boy. There are enough monsters on this planet.”

“I promise we will come back for you.” Ashlei said as she gave Carlene a final hug. Even hugging the Vampire for a few seconds was agony for Ashlei however, due to the dark magic in Carlene’s body. Ultimately Keptis was forced to pull Ashlei away from Carlene and out of the room before it was too late.

“I hope she doesn’t” Carlene said to herself as she struggled to even lift her arm.

Outside their cell block, the Circus Folk saw what looked like a gigantic mine, beneath a small cliff their cell block had been placed on.. It was filled with hundreds of human like aliens of all ages being forced to work constantly.

“HUMANOIDS SIGHTED, RECAPTURE ALIVE IF POSSIBLE!”

The Circus Folk were forced to jump straight off the cliff and into the mine to avoid the Robots lasers. The workers didn’t even notice the commotion around them, as the folk dodged the laser beams and headed off through the mine.

The Robots that were pursuing them were a different model those that had earlier captured the Circus Folk and their time machine. These Robots flew at tremendous speeds. They had a similar upper body to the earlier robots, but they had no legs, only a round base which glowed blue underneath.

“Those slaves they’re not doing anything.” Florence said dismissively as she ran past them.

“Well its not so surprising is it? Pick axes against death rays. Wouldn’t be much of a fight.” Keptis replied.

“Maybe I could sing, influence them to fight back, do something.”

“Again what are you going to influence them to do? Get slaughtered. Sorry Florence, but you’re thinking too far ahead. We need to get ourselves out of this mess before we can help anyone.”

“Like Carlene.” Ashlei interrupted.

Back in the cells, three standard Robot drones had cornered Carlene.

“Worthless creature. You were warned.”

“Yeah well” Carlene said as she started to cough up blood.

“You metal wankers would have killed me anyway, so I’d rather go out on my own terms.”

“If you had been useful to us, we would have spared you. We may still spare you. We can easily reverse the dark magics that are killing you, if you agree to help us.”

“No thanks. I don’t even know how that thing works. Besides I’ve had a good innings haven’t I? A life with you lot isn’t worth it.”

“You insolent.” One of the robots said before the other held it back.

“Leave her. She’s not worth it. You’d be doing her a favour if you killed her now. The dark magic she consumed will finish her in a couple of hours, but they will feel like years. The other humanoids will help us. This pathetic creature cleearly knows nothing about the vessel. Leave her to rot.”

To Be Continued