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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

iain_a_wilson

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Conscience? What is that?
I heard about it once. It's supposed to make you feel bad... So, I guess it's a virus or something?

Marius needs to get cured of it.
I think it's some kind of influenza.

H2N819992, I think.
You three have "issues"...

Must be why I like you :)

For one thing , the intro resounded in my head like some Monty Python narration in its hilariousness . Very well done XD Secondly , somehow the commentary on your narrative is also a veiled commentary on what you're parodying which is HILARIOUS . I love the manifold nuance which makes your comedic style an intelligent one and all the more enjoyable . Thank you for doing this :D
Thank you very much - your feedback, as always, is very much appreciated! It's always nice to know what you're doing right! And welcome back to AARLand! You've been gone for almost as long as me!

Hmm. Our villain is assailed by his conscience, almost as is he hasn't always been evil.....

After you've finished this AAR, lived off the huge royalties from These Oranges are not for eating action figures (etc, etc), and failed to write anything else for several years, you could do a sequel about how he became evil.....
That's a completely genius idea! The Lucas figure could come with a special "stumble switch" and Teeto's head could click as your turned it from side to side... Any other suggestions?

I get the feeling that if this strange tale were ever to be adapted to the new-fangled 'moving picture' format, Obayomi van Kenobi would not be played by kindly and aged Sir Alec Guinness, CH, CBE I think I fumbled with my own orange while reading the last update. :(
I hope "fumbling your orange" is NOT a euphimism!

;)

As for Sir Alec, I think I'd quite like to see him try the role!

Thanks to everyone for your feedback - your continuing readership and support is very much appreciated!
 

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Part 21


Thomas, John, Owen and Beru sat huddled and silent in a small copse of trees that provided a good, if somewhat distant, view of the Lars homestead. From where they were crouched they couldn't hear the roar of the flames that were consuming the house or the sound of the buildings collapsing in on themselves, but they could quite clearly see, even without the aid of field glasses, the plumes of smoke and the clouds of dust that were choking the air around the farm. If he were asked, Owen would have blamed the acrid, stinging smoke that he had endured fighting his way clear of the burning house for the tears that streaked his sooty face, but those that had known him for a long time would have guessed the truth. Owen Lars – like most Boers - had toiled relentlessly to make his farm what it was. He had poured hours of back-breaking labour into cultivating his own little patch of veldt into something he could be proud of, and which would provide for his family. Every time life had thrown an obstacle in his way - whether it had been poor weather, rapacious wildlife or angry natives - he had endured it, overcome it and bounced back stronger. But this time, with his whole world ablaze in front of him Owen felt as if he had finally been beaten. Like many Boers before him, this attack by the British had inflicted a wound on him that was as much spiritual as it was physical. He felt as if a very important part of him - that prideful, stubborn and fiercely independent Boer spirit that characterized most Afrikaaners - had withered and started to die.

As if sensing this, Beru turned to him. Owen opened his mouth to speak but nothing came out. The tears streamed more freely now from his bloodshot eyes; eyes that implored her to build him back up again - to reach out, comfort him, take his hand and lead him from the mire of despair into which he was slowly sinking and into a brighter, better future (1).

She scowled darkly and whacked his knee with one of her hands (2).

"Stop crying and be a man."

It was a statement, not a request.

"Those British have done me a favour - I wanted to redecorate the living room anyway."

Owen opened his mouth to speak, but all that came out was a spluttering, joyous sound that was half laughter and half joyful blubbing. He grabbed Beru in an affectionate bear hug and held her close, burying his face into her shoulder. Thomas went to say something but was cut off by John raising a hand and drawing him the sort of look that would have stopped a rhino dead in its tracks. Beru reached out and stroked Owen's hair tenderly before craning her neck downwards to whisper in his ear.

"Take your head off my shoulder - you're getting soot all over my dress."

Before Owen could reply, John crouched between them, smiled seriously and pointed in the direction of the farm.

"Come on guys - we've got to get out of here. It won't take them long to figure out that you're not in there. If we head north we can meet up with some friends of ours who will help."

Beru nodded and went to stand. Owen looked Connor up and down.

"Who are you son?"

Connor stood, shouldered his rifle, strapped on his helmet and looked down at Beru and Owen.

"We have been fighting for a long time. We are out numbered by our foes - ceaseless hordes of them that seem to be able to work around the clock, without quit. However, unlike them we have a strength that cannot be measured. I am John Connor and you? You are now part of the resistance. Let's move."

Owen and Beru smiled and picked themselves up – something in Connor’s words giving Owen back the strength that he had lost. Thomas sidled over to John as the other man was checking his pack.

"Er...John. That little speech?"

"Speech?"

"Yeah - the whole 'we are the resistance' thing."

"What about it?"

"Well, it's just that I don't remember signing up to anything. The whole beard and uniform business..."

"You mean when you joined up with the secret army to over throw British rule?"

"That's the thing - I kind of assumed it was more...you know...escapey in nature. Kind of 'get you out of the faux crocodile pit and back into the free world' sort of deal."

Connor did up the straps on his pack and slung it over his back.

“Can you stop doing that thing with your fingers?”

“What thing?”

“That ‘miming inverted commas’ thing you do every time you say something that you’re mentally putting in inverted commas.”

“You mean that thing you just did?”

“Yeah.”

“I do that?”

“A lot. It’s really annoying.”

“Oh. Ok. I never realised. I’ll bear that in mind.”

“Good.”

“Hang on – what I was saying before. I thought that by being given this beard and uniform that I was going to be given my freedom rather than joining any ‘resistance.’”

“You did it again.”

“Sorry! But do you take my point?”

"I have no idea why you got that impression."

He punched Thomas playfully on the shoulder and started to walk away.

"You're a foot soldier in the war against tyranny now."

Thomas scuttled after him like a puppy chasing a ball. His legs seemed to work comically fast as he tried to match John's purposeful strides.

"Look John, I'm not saying that (3) I'm a craven coward or anything..."

"Oh I know you're not. In fact, you're one of the bravest men I know."

Thomas stopped abruptly, the confusion and feeling of being taken for a fool clearly registering on his face.

"What do you mean? Because I clearly don’t believe you. No offence"

"I’m only basing my statement on facts. After all, I don't know many men that would trek into enemy territory leaving their rifle, provisions and helmet behind."

He pointed back to where they had been sitting a few moments ago. Thomas’ rifle, ammunition, backpack, field glasses and helmet were lazily strewn all over the ground. Panic creased Van Anders' face and he rushed back to hurriedly assemble his abandoned equipment. John smiled and called over his shoulder.

"Don't forget your beard!"

~~~​

1. Those of you familiar with Beru's basic personality will appreciate just how desperate Owen was feeling at the moment.

2. See what I mean?

3. Any statement that begins 'I'm not saying that...' generally indicates that the person making the statement IS in fact saying exactly what he is claiming that he’s not. This sort of phrase is the bastard child of 'I'm not an <insert objectionable noun> but...' wherein the person in question comes out with exactly the sort of filth that would be expected of an <insert objectionable noun> but believes that shielding himself with 'I'm not an <insert objectionable noun but...' will exonerate him of being accused of <insert objectionable noun>ism. We all know people like this. They also tend to pepper their speeches with phrases like "to be fair", “no offence” and "at the end of the day". I'm not a violent person, but at the end of the day I think, to be fair, that these people should be publically flayed. No offence.
 

morningSIDEr

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Excellent updates. Although I remain skeptical as to whether or not Van Moordenaar truly has a conscience. Beru is really growing on me. No sitting around feeling sorry for yourself when with this woman. Well, not unless you want her to leave you with a real reason to feel sorry for yourself...
 

Enewald

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Oh what the heck... I can imagine cuirassiers charging against terminators...
 

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Every resistance fighter needs an unkempt beard!

Is there a rouge telegraph cable system giving false murderous orders to the British garrison?

Now I'm just waiting for the British naval patrol ship commanded by a Captain Kirk to show up.
 

Alfredian

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"Now I'm not a racist, but I think Van Mordenaar and all our boys are doing a good job against them terrorist boors. All this talk of house burning is just propaganda by all them leftie types at the BBC. If I had my way I'd string the all up.... them at the BBC.... no the boors....no the BBC.

No offence..... Ehm some of my best friend are boors. Well I met one once and he seemed alright.

I had that Michael Caine in the back of my cab once."
 

iain_a_wilson

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Excellent updates. Although I remain skeptical as to whether or not Van Moordenaar truly has a conscience. Beru is really growing on me. No sitting around feeling sorry for yourself when with this woman. Well, not unless you want her to leave you with a real reason to feel sorry for yourself...
Beru is based on someone I know. She's a great lady :)

Oh what the heck... I can imagine cuirassiers charging against terminators...
Really! That would be silly...

*looks at rest of AAR*

Oh.

;)

Every resistance fighter needs an unkempt beard!

Is there a rouge telegraph cable system giving false murderous orders to the British garrison?

Now I'm just waiting for the British naval patrol ship commanded by a Captain Kirk to show up.
Don't give me ideas!

As for the telegraph system, there's a bonus point for anyone who can find a reference (in one of the previous updates) to what a 19th century "matrix" actually was.

"Now I'm not a racist, but I think Van Mordenaar and all our boys are doing a good job against them terrorist boors. All this talk of house burning is just propaganda by all them leftie types at the BBC. If I had my way I'd string the all up.... them at the BBC.... no the boors....no the BBC.

No offence..... Ehm some of my best friend are boors. Well I met one once and he seemed alright.

I had that Michael Caine in the back of my cab once."
Very good! I'm dreading to think what foreign tourists during the Olympics are going to make of London's cabbies.

Sorry about the delay in an update - real life was encroaching like Van Moordenar's red coats. However, I've now only got on AAR to update so entries on this one should be more frequent!

Speaking of which...

3...

2...

1...
 

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Part 22


In 1899 the Duchess of Argyll was a rather important person. Also known as the Princess Louise, she was the sixth child of Queen Victoria and wife of John, Marquess of Lorne - heir to the Duke of Argyll. She had served as Queen Victoria's private secretary, aided her husband in his role of Governor General of Canada, supported the burgeoning feminist movement and become a somewhat prolific sculptor and artist.

She was also 51, not yet a Duchess and bore little to no resemblance to the young lady whose photo Lucas was holding and who claimed to be the “Duchess of Argyll” (1). Obayomi snapped his fingers (2) sharply.

"Hey! Kid! Give that here!"

Lucas looked up from the photo which he had been staring at dumbly.

"What? This?"

Obayomi held has hand out and waggled his fingers.

"Yeah - hand it over."

Lucas sighed.

"She's beautiful isn't she? She reminds me a bit of Rina, but I just know that she would never try to convince me to try and grab a Cape Cobra's tail. She said that if you snatch it quickly enough you can immobilize the snake and pick it up without it biting you."

Obayomi blinked.

"Tell me you never tried that, fool!"

"Of course not! What do you take me for?"

"I ain't gonna answer that."

"'…cos EVERYONE knows that it's the Green Mamba that is stunned when you grab its tail - not the Cape Cobra (3). Imagine how stupid I would have looked if I had fallen for her trick! Everyone would have been laughing at me!"

Obayomi shook his head.

"You is the dumbest kid I ever met, sucker. I’m surprised you even lived this long without catching fire or something.”

“Well, there was that time that Juri got hold of some lamp oil…”

“Enough! Now gimmee that picture."

Lucas sagged and handed it over to Obayomi who started at it, and then held it out at arm's length, squinting as he did. Then he did something that he didn't do very often.

He smiled.

Lucas almost fell off his chair in shock and glanced around in a panic. Even the two slaves looked wary. Especially when Obayomi started to laugh - a deep, booming sound that echoed around the tiny dwelling and seemed to make the walls shake (4). He waved the photo in Lucas' direction.

"Man. Let me tell you this, little buddy. Beautiful she may be, but if you ran across this little lady when she wasn't inclined to play nice, your game of 'Catch the Cape Cobra' would seem real tame in comparison."

"So you know the Duchess of Argyll?"

Obayomi laughed again, his mirth clearly alien and unsettling to the others in the room.

"She ain't no Duchess - she's just calling herself that at the moment."

"But in the note she said..."

"She's called herself many things in the past - you get used to it. She is a spy after all (5)."

Inwardly Lucas melted (6).

"A spy", he breathed. "Wow."

A few moments passed as Obayomi and Lucas sat deep in thought (7). Suddenly, Lucas sprang to his feet like an excited puppy. Obayomi scowled.

"Whatever you're about to say, fool, I don't think I want to know it."

Lucas ignored this rebuff.

"When are we going to help her?"

"WE?"

"Yeah - we. She sounds like she's in a whole world of trouble and what with you being so old and all I thought..."

Obayomi growled - a noise like a bear gargling gravel.

"I'll say one thing about you, boy - you ain't got a healthy sense of self-preservation. Hell, you ain't got no sense of self preservation!"

Lucas tsked his finger at him.

"Aunt Beru taught me never to use double negatives. In fact..."

He paused and put his hands to his mouth in and expression of surprise that was probably far more camp than he had intended.

"Oh gosh! Oh no! I'm in SOOOOO much trouble!"

Before Obayomi could reply Lucas dashed to the door.

"I was meant to get the slaves out working on the farm - I've been gone for hours! Uncle Owen's going to be SO pissed off at me! It was great meeting you, I'll be back later!"

Obayomi went to speak but was cut off by Lucas slamming the door shut, and the sound of his hurried footsteps retreating from the hut. There was a moment of silence before Obayomi turned to Teeto and Seepo, a look of wry amusement playing on his face.

"How's that fool expecting you to be out working in the fields when you're sitting here?"

Seepo nodded.

"Master Lucas is under a lot of stress at the moment, sir. I expect he will be back for us shortly."

Obayomi nodded.

"Well, you boys are free to go if you want - I ain't keepin' no slaves!"

Teeto offered a low whistle and snickered. Obayomi cocked his head to one side.

"What's that, little brother?"

"I believe, sir" Seepo interjected, "that Teeto says he would rather not venture outside with all the Mensevanzand nearby. He prefers to wait for Master Lucas to return."

Obayomi's eyes boggled.

"What? You'd rather wait for him to lead you back to a life of slavery than risk a bid for freedom?"

Teeto shook his head and clicked loudly and slowly before giggling to himself. Seepo looked shocked.

"Really Teeto! I'm so sorry, sir. He can be most unkind. He says that he'd rather wait for Master Lucas because if the Mensevanzand started chasing us he needn't worry about being caught as he knows that he can outrun Master Lucas."

Obayomi chuckled.

"Very funny, little man."

He frowned.

"However, I’m kinda hopin’ your boy does come back for you. I'm gonna need some help - and I think that fool Lucas might be the only one I could rely on. He's a moron who's dumber than dumb stacked on stupid, but I think at this moment in time he's one of the few people who wouldn't betray me."

Slowly he stroked his chin and his frown deepened.

"Man – these odds ain’t lookin’ good."

~~~​

1. Other than the fact that she was a woman and sounded abnormally posh when she spoke.

2. Now free of orange juice and able to click imposingly once again. He had been busy wiping them on a dirty rag whilst Seepo had been speaking.

3. In the UK we are often heard to moan about our climate. Apparently it's too cold and we never get enough sunlight. However, when you reads about the sort of wildlife that live in warmer climes, you can't help but be grateful that the most dangerous wild animal that we have to contend with in our Green and Pleasant Land is the common adder; a snake so docile that there have only been 14 known fatalities caused by it. In fact, in the UK it is a criminal offence to harm an adder, making it the only snake ever to require police protection.

4. Bad guys everywhere - seriously, unhinged, off-the-chain, mental bad guys - try to cultivate laughs like this. Were it not for the fact that Obayomi's laugh was clearly one of amusement Lucas would have been expecting him to say something like "And now gaze on in fear as I demonstrate the awesome, destructive power of my secret weapon!", before shaking the room with more maniacal laughter.

5. The myth of female spies being sexy and gorgeous is continually perpetuated in fiction. In reality, it makes no sense to have a gaggle of stunning, seductive, leggy Mata Haris in the employee of national espionage services. If MI6 sent one of these lovelies over to Russia, you can be sure that word of her would spread amongst Moscow's militia in next to no time. They might not know her true vocation, but they'd probably spend a lot of their time following her and trying to get a glimpse of "that hot defense attaché from the British embassy". The truly wise spy-master would take the time to people his secret service with a horde of slightly dumpy, mousey, plain-Janes who have all the personal presence of rather shy moths.

6. He came from a community where you were considered glamorous if you owned more than three different pairs of shoes and had all your own teeth.

7. They were NOT sharing the same thoughts. Obayomi was concentrating on the contents of Teeto's letter and what it meant for him and the war, whilst Lucas was having adolescent fantasies about mysterious, female spies. Some of them involved being captured and interrogated. If you want a more graphic account there's this wonderful invention called 'the internet' - a quick search on it will doubtlessly throw up many videos that would roughly approximate what was soiling Lucas' mind at this moment.
 

Enewald

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Why would they help a British Imperialist that is a duchess-to-be also?
 

morningSIDEr

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"Man – these odds ain’t lookin’ good."
Quite an understatement! It seems when you have to rely on Lucas for anything you are going to struggle. He seems the type able to get into trouble after being told to sit quietly within a bare room! Still, I look forward to finding out what aid, if any, Lucas is able to supply.
 

AllmyJames

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Why would they help a British Imperialist that is a duchess-to-be also?
Because she's hot, obviously. That's the reason men do half the things they do! :)
 

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Why would they help a British Imperialist that is a duchess-to-be also?
Because she's hot, obviously. That's the reason men do half the things they do! :)
Points to Jamesy :)

Quite an understatement! It seems when you have to rely on Lucas for anything you are going to struggle. He seems the type able to get into trouble after being told to sit quietly within a bare room! Still, I look forward to finding out what aid, if any, Lucas is able to supply.
Well, your summing up seems to accuartely capture the dilemma the characters are going to be facing. Best to wait and see :)
 

iain_a_wilson

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Part 23


Groot Slaperig was a mess.

Van Moordenaar's men, after dealing with the Lars homestead, decided to turn their attention to the nearby township (1), and over the course of several hours had turned the small community into something resembling a funeral pyre. True, at the first sign of aggression many of the Boers had rushed home to gather their weapons and defend their property and families from the rampaging soldiers but, as the resultant skirmish proved, plucky determination and antique rifles were no match for the latest in military hardware, years of battle-won experience and sheer murderous ruthlessness (2).

Because of this, Groot Slaperig burned.

And because of this, four of Lucas' friends were trapped inside the post office's outbuilding (3); desperately trying to remain hidden from the British soldiers who were going from house to house, rounding up the survivors and herding them at bayonet-point onto the back of a cart that was drawn by two rather nervy horses (4). The look of shock and defeat on the Boers' crumpled faces scared the four teenagers, but the thing that seemed to worry them most was the fact that Big Piet appeared to have gone into complete meltdown. When the shooting had started he had been the first to suggest that they hide in the post office. The others, being used to Piet's normal assertiveness (and taking comfort in having such a huge hulking lug with them in what could potentially become quite a fighty situation), followed without question, but now that they were inside, Rina, Jurie and Susan were becoming more and more convinced that Piet's "plan" to hide in the post office wasn't so much of a tactical withdrawal but more a knee-jerk response of the oh-my-goodness-people-are-shooting-let's-get-to-the-nearest-hiding-place sort. Now that they were here nobody - let alone Piet - had any idea of what to do next. Indeed, Piet's answer to any question seemed to be a suppressed shudder and the muttering of "Mmmph" through clenched teeth.

From outside there was another volley of rifle fire that was swiftly followed by a series of screams and the derisory hooting laughter of some British soldiers. Rina stamped her foot in frustration.

"We've been here for ages! How are we going to get out? What are we going to do?"

"Mmmph."

"Shut up Piet - I wasn't asking you."

"Mmmph."

Jurie, who had been pacing the perimeter of the building like a restless, caged, animal nodded his head in the direction of the door.

"We could try and make a break for it I guess. Anything's better than staying in here."

Almost in response to this, there came from outside the sound of more rifle fire, more screaming and more sinister laughter. Jurie sagged.

"Ok. I take that back. What are we going to do?"

Susan, who had somehow managed to get ink all over her hands (5) and who was presently wiping them on the front of her dress, looked up with a mischievous glint in her eyes.

"Why don't you go and talk to them, Reen? Boys seem to like you. They're bound to let us go if you ask."

Rina briefly peeped out of the window. The only two "boys" she could see were a pair of overweight guardsmen, one of whom was wiping some blood off of his bayonet and the other who was investigating the contents of his nose with his index finger. Rina pulled a face.

"That's a horrible pla,n Susan."

"I think it would work though. Go on - how about it. Take one for the team!"

Rina placed both hands on her hips and pouted furiously.

"Have you seen what they look like? Urgh. I'd rather kiss you, Susan."

Susan grinned wickedly, fluttered her eyelashes and pirouetted over to where Rina stood. She clasped her hands demurely and tilted her head to one side.

"Do you mean that, darling? Really? Do you?"

Rina held up one hand to Susan's grimy face and turned her head away from her.

"You're gross! Get away!"

Jurie, who had been pacing moodily, brightened.

"Honestly, if you two want to kiss..." (6)

"Mmmph!"

Rina stamped her foot again, clenched both fists and yelled at the ceiling.

"SHUT UP ALL OF YOU!"

The other three teenagers look at Rina in slack-jawed, wide-eyed horror. Before she could say "What are you staring at?" the penny dropped. It dropped in a sort of oh-dear-that-was-really-loud-and-they-probably-know-we're-here-now way. From outside they could here the sound of running boots.

~~~​

1. The Colonel, unhappy that the letters weren't where he expected them to be, ordered his men to raze the entire town to the ground as a "warning to nearby insurgents". Given the fact that Groot Slaperig was surrounded by miles and miles of desolate veldt it’s probable that the real reason for his order was a simple, murderous tantrum. Van Moordenaar was a nightmare to be around when he was a child.

2. Sadly for the good burghers of Groot Slaperig, this is not a Hollywood production. You're not going to find any "Red Dawn" esque antics here where a tiny, rag-tag bunch of poorly armed civilians are able to beat back the might of the world's biggest military machine. Those who think they know how this story is going to end should bear this in mind.

3. How's that for a contradictory sentence?

4. Despite their years of experience, Van Moordenaar's men had yet to learn that animals do not respond well to explosions and gunfire. Biffo and Boffo (for these were the two horses) were by now suffering from the horsey equivalent of post-traumatic stress disorder and were very, very, VERY twitchy.

5. Grubby children everywhere have this natural ability to attract mess to themselves. They seem to exert a strange, gravitational pull on any and all substances that can stain, dye, dirty or otherwise befoul their clothes. You can put a grubby child in clean clothes, leave them in a completely empty room and come back five minutes later only to find that their clothes, face and skin have somehow become absolutely filthy. It's a complete mystery why, but it happens.

6. Proof, if any was needed, that teenage boys are not discerning - especially when it comes to anything involving "two girls". Although Rina was beautiful it was hard to tell Susan's gender never mind her relative beauty underneath the layers of grime that she was covered in. There are homeless guys who practice better grooming than Susan.
 

iain_a_wilson

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Something else I should have mentioned - go and vote on the ACAs now! I'll wait here. Off you go...

Obviously, this isn't me saying "Go and vote for Oranjes"; I merely think that the ACAs are an integral part of this community that deserve everyone's support.

What? You're still here - GO AND VOTE!

;)
 

morningSIDEr

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Tense stuff. Although surely Van Moordenaar's men will do little more than clip them around the ears if they do indeed manage to capture them. Uhm...well, okay, since this is Van Moordenaar it will likely be considerably more than a mere clip around the ears. I really hope they are not captured.

Very much liked the 'Mmmph' comments!
 

AllmyJames

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Cliffhanger! :eek:
 

Johan11

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Oh, damn! I completely forgot about this. So finally return and find that...

They're all going to die! Or be miserable.

Splendid!
 

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Clawing my way through this one, now. Up to page 13, will check back in once caught up. Generally excellent so far, I'm enjoying my 'Star Wars in South Africa' fix. :)