Dusty’s Pub, Australian Outback
Dusty poked his head up, looking over the bar top. Samantha stood in the centre of the room, her fingertips dripping with blood, her eyes steaming with green smoke. Most of the patrons had fled when the carnage had started, those who hadn’t hugged the walls as not to be hit by the cyclone known as Samantha. Lying on the floor were four dead Iron soldiers at her feet as their blood seeped into the hard clay floor.
“What have you done?” gasped Dusty as he emerged from his cover.
“I stood up for myself! I stood up for you, for all mutantkind!” said Samantha proudly.
“You’ve totally starked me!” cried Dusty. He clicked his watch which turned off his 4-D holographic image inducer revealing his true form. Dusty was in fact a cloud collective of intelligent radioactive sand.
“It’s about time someone stood up to the…”
“You stupid girl!” Dusty projected his arm across the bar, slamming into Samantha and pinning her to the wall in a vice-like grip "You walk into MY BAR and RUIN MY LIVELIHOOD?”
“Bhu Dhully” she mumbled as the sand clogged her mouth and tightened around her neck.
“I get to stay open because I DON’T MAKE WAVES! Now you’ve gone and starked it by trying to prove a stupid point!” Dusty flew over the bar to stand eye to eye with Samantha “Don’t you think I haven’t thought about killing them, throwing them out each time they swagger in here telling us…ME what to do? Didn’t think about that, did you? And you know why? Because YOU’RE A KID! You don’t think of the consequences! They’ll be back now and not just with four, it’ll be forty! And they’ll have scanner that’ll override Charlie’s jammer” He pointed to an old black and white TV with a colander and a wire coat hanger through it on top “I’ll have to leave and probably worst of all; you’ve annoyed all the locals who’ll now have NOWHERE to drink!”
Samantha looked at remaining people in the bar; Charlie, old man Wombat, Billy, Johnno, Bluey, Sparky Jackson all glared at her. “Hi’m slory!” she muttered through the sand.
Dusty released his grip and reformed himself. He clicked his watch and turned back on his image of a short, rotund, balding stereotypical publican. “I know how you feel darlin’” he said kindly “But sometimes you kick; most days you get kicked!”
Samantha scraped sand off her tongue “I’m sorry Dusty”
“It’s okay kid” he said wearily “You really did a number on these guys. Righto! Listen up you lot! We’re all gonna clean this stark up and then the drinks are on me!”
The locals gave up a might cheer, tinged with sadness. Samantha looked around feeling uncomfortable and knowing that Brian was going to blow a gasket when he found out what she’d done…oh even worse when her dad found out.
Dusty pushed a mop into Samantha’s chest “Get to it”
Alice Springs Iron Hall, Alice Springs, Australia
“…and in summary; eighty four mutants have been killed this month at a loss of only five soldiers and one Sentinel” said General Steve Whitlam into the mirror. He tried to sound confident. He sighed and slumped, he didn’t believe in his speech. If he didn’t believe it then there was no way the Supreme Commander would buy it when it came to the monthly review in four days. He sighed again and hoped that he didn’t end up like General Manawatu or General Irwin; the General he replaced seven months ago.
General Whitlam snapped out of his thoughts and turned to his robo-valet “What is it?”
“Seems four soldiers didn’t return from a routine patrol last night” stated the hovering device “They are now nine hours overdue”
“Oh if they’ve been eaten by mutants that’ll stark my numbers up!” whined General Whitlam kicking his chair “What should I do?”
“Follow protocol” said the robo-valet
“Bugger!” he rubbed his temples as if trying to massage a brilliant idea from his brain…that never came “Fine! Okay…retry their comms. Still got two hours before it becomes an AWOL or…better be safe; place the Hall on alert! Notify the Darwin Hall as well, send out the Hunter Division to their last known coordinates…send four…no, SEVEN Iron Sentinels as a roving back up. Don’t want to get caught out if the Golden Hulk shows up”
“You’ve got that tone in your voice”
“General Whitlam, I am a robo-valet. I have neither emotions nor tone”
“Seven’s not enough is it?”
“Unable to speculate sir, I am simply your…”
“Send TWELVE!” yelled General Whitlam.
“Yes sir” it replied and hovered out of the room.
Mutant Camp, Outback Australia
“You did what?” screeched Brian
“I…I killed four Iro…”
“Forget that bit! The pub! You did what to the pub?!?”
“Ummm I got it shut down” said Samantha sheepishly
“You starking stark face!” Brian launched at her