Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer

There we are, minding our own business, watching our quarters, when some maniac breaks cover and sprint towards us. Charlie Four – John – knocks him down and sits on him.
“Heads up!”
A mob of ragged soldiers burst from the trees. Not a weapon in sight, but they sure look motivated. That much snarling can’t be good for your facial muscles.
Charlie Four cold-cocks the one he sat on and rises into a smooth uppercut that flips the next one arse over apex. Charlies Two through Six are similarly playing human skittles.
I’ve knocked two down when a third drops from a branch above me. How did she get up there without anyone seeing her?
She bites my ear! I yell, toss her off me, and draw steel. Instead of coming back at me, she moves off into the fight. I take one step to follow, then my world goes fuzzy-dizzy. I drop into a big black puddle of not-awake-anymore.

I come round when she bites my ear again. I try and swat her, but Godzilla’s big brother is sitting on my chest. Somebody spits.
“Easy, boss. Just first aid.”
That’s Charlie Three – Charity; misname of the century – muttering by my ear. She fastens on my ear again and sucks.
“What the everloving f-”
“The unarmed kung fu crazies came with ninja snake women, boss.”
I look up at Charlie Four, who’s getting off now I’m not a danger to myself or those trying to fix me.
Charlie Three spits again.
“Fecking stuff tastes nasty.”
She lets me go, sits up, and grabs the hip flask offered by Charlie Two – Alex.
I sit up slowly and look about. All five members of Charlie Team, looking a bit ruffled but otherwise intact. Charlie Five – Lira – is resting on a cot bed like me. She gives me a wave.
“Got bitten by two of them.” She gestures to a bandaged breast. “Second one bit me on the nipple, the vicious cow.”
I swing about to take a look out at the encampment. Local troops are guarding our prisoners. All of them have their mouths taped.
“What fresh hell is this?”
Charlie Six – Fred – shrugs.
“Got chatting with one of the girls after I let her get a good tug on a whisky bottle. They all used to be university students. When our lot rolled into the country to help the local junta, one of their professors asked for volunteers. Apparently all humans have the biological components to make our saliva venomous. Some ancient leftover. This professor worked out how to switch it on. It’s not always lethal, but it makes for a good guerrilla warfare tactic when you top it off with something to bring the angry out.”
I’ll say.
“Somebody get hold of our agent. ‘Poison’ comes under the biological weapons clause, and that’s a premium rate hike. Two weeks backdated and danger rates for every sortie, or we are on the next transport to a warzone without venomfreaks.”
There are five nods. Never had all of them agree so quick.