Author : Julian Miles, Staff Writer

“At the sound of distant murder, there will be precisely three humans left.”

I used to find Dave hilarious. These days, after nineteen years surviving the end of an age in his company, he’s been bloody irritating for about the last eighteen. Of course, he’s oblivious to the fact that we’re being chased by a woman who hates him more than any other living being. You’d think that he’s just having a perpetual walk in the park; for all that he bothers with anything.

“Dave, your ex just killed Clint, and killed him brutally if the noises he made were anything to go by.”

“Oh, I’m sure he had it coming, Dmitri. She’s never been one to kill without good reason.”

See what I mean?

“What possible reason could she have for killing a quarter of the humans left in the universe?”

Dave stops and turns to face me: “Well, now.” His tone is one I haven’t heard before: “That would depend on how many can fit in the escape vessel that only I know the way to.”

I know the answer already.

“I see that you’ve guessed it. What you haven’t guessed is that we’ve made it. Right under our feet – under this grey rock that disguises the access hatch to the launch bay – lies a fully loaded Challenger Six Space Yacht.”

Not many snappy replies to that little revelation.

“So now I need to know, Dmitri. Are you with me?”

“Don’t be an idiot, Dave. I’ve been with you since the Eiffel went over.”

He nods, a look of relief appearing on his face: “Thank God for that. She’s insidious, that woman. I never understoo-”

Dave’s eyes bug out as an arrow goes in his left ear and out through his right temple. Without even a death rattle, he drops to the ground, stone dead before he started to fall.

As Shelley approaches, bow in hand, I nudge his body with my boot and idly comment: “She’s marvellous, that woman. We’d have abandoned you years ago, but the processor cores of our Challenger Five didn’t survive that last flare.”

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