The ground trembles, almost imperceptibly. You are instantly alert, senses keen, poised and ready for action. You'd thought that your location was a secret; perhaps you were wrong. Hypersensitive, you wait for the next warning of somebody approaching your refuge - but not for long. Ground tremors are, this time, accompanied by muted banging sounds.

Others of your comrades are similarly vigilant, and you silently organise a party of yourselves to leave the shelter to reconnoitre.

You leave by the back way, aware that if you are seen leaving by the main entrance you'll give your location away for sure. You maintain formation as you approach the area from which the disturbance emanates, spreading out slightly to cover more ground, and remain in cover as much as possible. Survival and protection are uppermost in your mind as you get nearer and nearer, the discovery of your location could have dreadful consequences.

A pre-emptive strike may be your only option.

You see a figure in the distance, next to a large transportation structure into which another figure has just disappeared. You wait for a few seconds to assess the situation; the figure seems oblivious to the attention it is drawing to itself but continues blundering around in the undergrowth. You make a snap decision and alert your colleagues to the imminent attack. It's you or them.

Slowly, carefully, silently, you move in to attack position. You are aware of the others following your lead, parts of a precise machine moving through its well-rehearsed motions. You maintain stealth and the element of surprise right up to the moment of attack; at an imperceptible signal you all move in simultaneously.

You hover into position over one of the being's long limbs, and landing on the stubby portion of the limb at the point where it splits into five appendages, you attach the suckers of your six legs, raise your yellow and black ringed abdomen and use your ovipositor to sting. And sting. And sting.


- pStan Batcow, 1999 -