Stinkin' Feelin'


Stinkin' Feelin'

by Jill Weber

Rated: Unrated

A barrage of stun bolts sliced around the 'Zanquil trader'. Several of them clipping the flowing blue sleeves or one of them knocking free the brown stetson, revealing equally brown hair. The blue and brown clad figure darted down another side street and the next barrage hit only walls. The 'Zanqwil' fingered a metallic circle under his tunic, then took his hand away and kept running. "There are too many to make a stand," he gasped to himself.

A dark brown scarf covered his lower face, interfering with his breathing. He yanked it away, revealing a squarish face with high cheek bones. *No point in concealing my identity now,* Galaxy Ranger Zachary Foxx thought ironically. 'I think they've figured out who I am.'

He sprinted onto a main street, scattering bystanders (innocent and otherwise) and further blackening the reputation of those he was imitating. He hoped he remembered the directions that Geezy the Pedulont gave him. He didn't have time to look at a map, and he doubted any of the bystanders would stop ducking long enough to give him directions.

"Now... second alley on the left or second alley to the right?" he muttered. "I think left..."

The choice was taken from his hands when another patrol of the robots known as Crown Agents poured out of the mouth of the left-hand alley.

"I hope I was wrong," he muttered as he darted down the right hand alley.

It was a dead end.

"Damn, it was left!" he growled, touching his badge.

Black and gold patterns began to glow on his left arm just as the first patrol of Crown Agents crowded into the alley. Zachary skidded to a halt, wheeled, and fired...much too late.

One of the bolts clipped him and he went down, instinctively putting out his hands to stop his fall. The thunderbolt blazed from his arm and tore through the pavement. The alley cracked open and dumped it's contents... Galaxy Ranger, Crown Agents and all... into the bowels of Tortuna City.


Zachary woke up in the dark, damp debris and concluded that getting up that morning had been a mistake. He tentatively stood up and took inventory. There was a cut on his forehead that insisted on bleeding into his eyes. His human leg hurt, but held. His bionic leg made odd creaking noises, but likewise held. His right arm was bleeding from several gashes and the black and gold components peeked out from his left.

"Where am I?" A deep breath gave him the answer to that... the sewer.

He blinked and looked around. The opening in the roof allowed some light in from above, but that wasn't the only source of light. There were some sort of lamps set into the walls. They gave off dim, reddish light which reminded Zachary of the artsy movies Eliza was always dragging him to.

The thought of his wife tightened his throat. He'd failed her again! He took a deep breath. Well, this plan bit the dust, but the war was hardly over.

A look to his right showed what remained of the river that had once run through the city. It was now a more pollution than water. No place to go swimming, if one had a choice.

A rattle from his left brought Zachary's thoughts to more practical matters. He swung around, reaching for his blaster as he did so. It was gone, obviously buried in the rubble.

Zachary found himself confronting the battered and ticked off Crown Agents with no weapon. He touched his badge again, but this time got no reaction.

There was only one way out, so he jumped into the river of sludge.

"Oh, gross!" exclaimed one of the robotic Crown Agents. They could not bring themselves to follow. So they went back to pay the price of failure.

Many miles down-polluted-stream, the filthy Ranger dragged himself out of the gunk.

He spent several minutes coughing and retching before he could call for help.

"How did it go?" Galaxy Ranger Shane Gooseman asked over the line.

"I had to scratch," Zachary said.


"It was a sewer-side mission," Zachary replied.