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The Flutterby

Excerpts from Starfighter Pete Simmons' personal log.

He ran for 23 days from one of the most vicious insects known. The Kelgarons called it a Flutterby. Part butterfly, part grasshopper, part wasp, part termite/ant, condensed into a single bug and then super-sized. When angered the flutterby has been known to track an enemy for over three months before killing and eating their prey.


   Personal log: I have been running for three days now. As a Starfighter it galls me to think I have to run in the face of danger, but I have no choice. I'd rather face a hundred bugs unarmed than my relentless pursuers. Oddly enough, my current enemies are real bugs, oversized butterflies to be exact. They are as deadly as they are beautiful with a wing the size of my hand or bigger.

   I crashed on this planet three days ago, and I never should have gotten out of my cockpit. I tore up a lot of trees setting my fighter down after a Kelgaron fighter blew a hole in my left engine. I did what anyone would have done, I got out. It seemed like I came down in the middle of a flock of butterflies, and in fact I did. I landed on their hive.

   The first sign I was in trouble was when one of them landed on my arm. Close-up they were scary looking. Imagine your worst bug nightmare and then put beautiful butterfly wings on it. I guarantee it doesn't come close to these things. The bug sunk a half inch stinger into my left arm. I smacked that bug even as fire started to race through my arm. That mangled the wings but did not even come close to killing the bug. It came after me again jumping nearly three feet through the air. I smacked it down again and ground it into the ground with my boot. The damn bug still got back up and came after me again. I shot it point blank, end of bug.

   I thought that was it until fire started rushing through my right shoulder. I found myself the center of attention of several hundred of these butterflies. I did the only thing I could do, I ran. I picked up my backpack and ran for my life. That was three days ago. How was I to know that they would stay angry for as long as they have?

   That first day I was stung more than a dozen times and it nearly killed me. My only salvation was that these bugs stop for the night. My whole body went numb. I got some feeling back by morning. I saw my pursuers covering several large bushes not far from where I was lying. It took every ounce of will I had to make my body move. I managed to stay just ahead of the cloud of shifting colors never far behind me.

   The second day I got more feeling back and was able to out distance the bugs. That night I figured I out ran them. So instead of keep running like I should have done, I slowed to a walk. They caught up to me by the middle of the next day. I got stung a couple more times as a reminder of how stupid I was.

   The only thing I can do now is head for the nearest settlement and hope for a warm reception.


   Personal log: I've lost track of how long I have been running now. Days, weeks, it has all become a blur. A few days back the wind shifted. The damn bugs ride the wind and were able to catch up with me. I got stung four more times before I was able to get away. Now when the wind changes direction so do I.

   I never knew a bug could be so tenacious. Just when I began to think I lost them they find me again. At this point I'm not sure if I will ever reach a settlement.

   I can't help but wonder how the invasion of this planet is going. We would not have even bothered with this world if it weren't for a rather large military presence here. I'm sure we won, but it would be nice to know for sure in case I do find a settlement.


   Personal log: I can't go on much longer. I'm getting slower and I think the bugs are getting faster. If I don't find a settlement soon...


   Personal log: The damn butterflies caught up to me again when I over slept. Half my body is numb from being stung so much. I tried to get away. Only blind luck saved me. I fell off a cliff into a river of ice cold water which helped to revive me or I'd be dead right now. It is only a matter of time now before they find me again and finish me off.


   Personal log: My food is all gone but the river affords me all the water I can drink. I can't run any more. The butterflies from hell are never far away. Relentless pursuers with a single-minded task of trying to kill me. I'd go down fighting if there was any fight left in me. I'm almost done for.


   Personal log: I stay by the river in the hope it will lead me to a settlement. I will never make it I fear


   Personal log: Just one more step. I can't let them beat me. I got to keep going.


   Personal log: Salvation at last. I came across an abandon farmhouse. I locked all the doors and windows just in the nick of time. The entire house is covered with the winged monsters that have been chasing me. There is some food in the house, and for now I am safe. I pray there is no other way in except through the doors and windows. I don't know how long I will be able to stay here. I have a feeling that sooner or later they will get in.


   Personal log: It turned out that I was not alone. I found two Kelgarons in the basement hiding, a female and her child. Her husband was in town when the invasion began. That was twenty-three days ago. I was told that some soldiers, most likely mercenaries, made a quick search of the house but did not find the Kelgarons. As it turned out I could have lost the butterflies if I would have taken a bath and drowned myself with perfume to hide my scent. That knowledge would have been useful before I trapped myself inside the house. The Kelgaron female confirmed my worst fear. The butterflies will get in sooner or later and kill every living thing inside the house. By stopping here I have not only killed myself but two other innocent bystanders as well. I need a miracle if I am to survive.


   Personal log: Somebody up there must like me. I got my miracle in the form of a rain storm. The butterflies don't like to get wet. They took cover in a small barn not far from the house. That was the break I needed. I went out in the rain and shut the barn door locking all the bugs inside the barn. When the rain stopped I burned the barn down. I missed a few of the bugs, but I got most of them. I got stung a few more times before I was able to kill the rest of the bugs. I just knocked them down out of the air, stomped on them, and put a bullet in their little bug brains.

  

 Pete was able to find the Kelgaron female's husband for her. He was taken as a prisoner of war. Pete got him released and returned him to his home.

   

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