Antares, Norman and I have known each other for about 3 weeks. I had left to go to the camp of a couple of cuties. How was I supposed to know they were raiders? I was doing a good job of distracting them when Antares interrupted us by zapping the one on top of me with his lightning-thing. That was an interesting feeling, let me tell you! Anyway, the cute raiders were in such a state of deshebille that they gave up with hardly any fight.
Antares, what a guy — he could tell I wasn’t with the raiders, despite being “with” the raiders at the present moment, and so after a bit of the ol’ jabber jabber he agreed to leave me there to guard the loot while he took the raiders back for the bounty. I agreed, not wanting to get on his bad side, but he was gone for a long time. After about 12 hours I got bored and started looking around, and behind camp, in the back of a rusted-out trailer, what do you think I found?
It was this big glass tube, like the old aquarium in the general store, but with some sort of dark liquid in it instead of pickling turnips. Curiosity got the better of me and I started poking at the buttons; they weren’t lit, I figured, so what’s the harm? But I must’ve triggered something, because the liquid began draining out of the tube! I took right off and flew back and forth a bit; these nice boots shouldn’t be mussed!
And that’s when I heard “Hey! What are you doing up there?” Antares was back, with some new gear, and boy was he upset when he saw the draining tube! I was just getting ready to bring out my patented “You would have done the same thing!” defense when we heard the noise. It sounded like a slithering, slimy something — a bowl full of eels maybe.
Long story, short, it was Norman, we let him out, helped him back to town, and Antares even spent some of his reward scrip getting the general store owner to clear the turnips out of the aquarium so that Norman could have a place to heal. I helped to make the humanitarian case, of course. Norman hasn’t told us how he got there; in fact, he hasn’t told us much. But he’s a decent sort. I can tell. He was pretty much healed after two weeks, but is still as quiet as a fish. Or an octopus, more like.
Then today the sheriff comes up and offers to fill the tank of the truck I won off of those traders last week if we’ll take care of some bugs. We gather some information and then head off. We planned to talk to the undertaker, but the bugs hit us as we drove through their territory on the way. Luckily, the men are good at taking orders; those bugs hit hard. One scorched my truck. That made me mad! Norman’s tentacles had until now been pretty unobtrusive, but now he broke out this killer move: he grabbed two bugs and held them still and unable to get close enough to attack, allowing us to pummel the others. I did a fair amount of running and shouting: turns out it’s really hard to get under a bug’s skin, literally and figuratively. Antares fried and zapped those chitinous villains until they were fishbait.