How we think the fight will go
For weeks the English countryside had been noisy with the crashing footsteps of human refugees. This was agitating to the local fauna, but the rabbits had seen the likes of human intruders. Then came the shining machines towering on three legs, but from a rabbit’s-eye view there was little to distinguish these from the great tractors and threshers of the field. It wasn’t until the red weed began creeping across the hillocks that the wildlife began to sense something was dangerously amiss. The thick red tendrils seemed to grow and thrive before your very eyes, throttling trees and smothering the meadows under a carpet of insidious, inedible fibers.
One morning Woundwort woke to stale air and darkness, the entrance to his burrow paved over in red weed. Chewing through the vile stuff was quite a challenge — the bits reacted in a peculiar way to his saliva, squirming between his teeth as if desperate to get inside, eager for the moisture. He spat and retched as he tore his way out, furious at the intrusion, but upon emerging he froze in place, his lips curling back over his teeth in disgust and utter incomprehension. It was not just the weed which had closed him in: the entire sky was missing. directly his head was a vast silvery-shadowed expanse, extending for many meters on either side. One of the great machines had chosen his territory as its roost, its telescoping legs enfolded within itself. For a terrifying instant it seemed to Woundwort as if the entire world had been blotted out by the tripod’s smooth, blank underside.
Strange — there was no growling engine, no smell of exhaust. Emboldened by the absence of a recognizably human threat, Woundwort prowled cautiously through the red weed, his ears attuned to the slightest vibration. With his one good eye, he could see the point up ahead where the shade broke and gave way to morning sunlight. His haunches tensed and then fired like pistons as he bolted for daylight, intent upon the copse of yew trees that awaited just beyond.
Just as he felt the sun on his face, there was a flickering from one side that caused the rabbit to spin in his tracks defensively, lowering his body to the ground and baring his ragged teeth. Adder! And a large one at that, must’ve been stretched out in the tall grass — amazing that he hadn’t already been bitten. They were not terribly dangerous, avoiding conflict at all cost, but all the same you didn’t want to stumble right over them.
But as the thing flexed and uncoiled before him, Woundwort realized with amazement that it was no adder after all. Its long, segmented body ended not in a blunted snout, but in a sharp taper which gleamed metallic in the sun.
Something parted the grass behind him, and he whirled to see a second tentacle whickering toward him, cutting off his retreat. He bounded to meet it head-on, knowing better than to attack in the middle and leave the “head” free to snap back and bite. If he could lure it into striking at him, Woundwort knew he could seize it by the neck and snap its spine in his jaws.
He was interrupted mid-pounce by a strange constricting grip that around his belly that pulled hi, up, up and away from the ground. He twisted and bucked in the tentacle’s grip, disoriented and full of wrath. Doubling over, he sunk both front teeth into his assailant all the way to the gumline. There was no blood, no taste, no feeling of any kind — it was as indifferent to his teeth as the earth was was to being scooped by his claws. He heard a dreadful scraping noise as it drew him toward the belly of the strange craft, and then all was darkness.
Its tentacles fully regathered back into its body, the tripod rose on its telescopic columns. Earth’s lesser species were not a priority on this mission, but the more aggressive samples were always of interes. The funny long-eared thing now stored in the tripod’s bioducts would provide plenty of wonder and amusement to those back on Martian soil.
Predicted Winner: Tripods
NOTE: THIS MATCH ENDS ON WEDNESDAY, March 6th, 2013, AT 5 PM, EST
General Woundwort image courtesy of Warner Bros. Tripods image DalekMercy.
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