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Death Fox

Death Fox: Chapter 1, All's Fair in Love and War
Author: crow t. (edited by Eagle of Austria)

It was a warm June day. The sun shone down on 14-year-old Paige Fox. The air was calm and quiet, almost too quiet. Her parents had gone on a two-day cheese tasting convention in Wisconsin, so she and her siblings had the weekend to themselves. As she lay in the family hammock, basking in the sun and reading the latest issue of Fourteen, Paige was alerted by a sound, a rustling in a nearby tree. She looked around, saw nothing, and figured it was just a bird or a squirrel. She figured wrong. Paige continued to read her magazine, and was quite captivated by an article called "Hot Hunks on the Beach Summer Calendar." She had an itch on her back and leaned forward to scratch it. As she did, she looked upward for a split second, just long enough to see the blue water balloon hurtling down toward her. KER-SPLASH!!!!! An ambush! She looked over and saw two figures, two trained snipers (as well as her 10-year-old brother and his friend) named Jason and Marcus, armed to the teeth with water balloons and suction darts, and arming a giant slingshot strapped between two trees. She got up and ran full speed at the two assailants, but she was nailed in the head before she could reach them. Splash! She was phased, but not down. She pressed forward to the perch and was hit 8 times by suction darts on the way. She was within 15 feet of their base, when she stepped on the first trip wire. *click* A large net hanging in the tree opened up and released its payload of 25 medium-sized water balloons. Just as she recovered from the barrage of water and plastic, she looked up and to her terror saw 4 HUGE water balloons sailing towards her. Three of them hit their mark dead center, the other impacting just to the left of her. She struggled forward, having to crawl through the dirt, being hit by wave after wave of balloons and darts. A lesser person would have called it quits and thrown in the towel. A lesser person would have had enough. As a matter of fact, a lesser person would have drowned from the deluge of water. But not Paige. She was determined, she was motivated, and she was a little bit crazy. She had almost reached her attackers, and when she did she would rip their arms out of their sockets and beat them over their heads with them. Paige was closing in. 8 feet , 7 feet, 6 feet, 5 feet... *click* Oh no, the second trip wire. She looked, waiting to see from where the booby trap would come. But nothing happened. "Ha!" exclaimed Paige. "Your stupid booby trap didn't work!" Casual smiles came to the faces of Jason and Marcus. "That wasn't a trip wire," said Jason. "That was us loading our weapon of choice." "A Rapid Fire B-Series Water Balloon Launcher with Optional Interchangeable High Pressure Water Nozzles," explained Marcus. "Prepare to eat H2O!" squealed Jason with delight. "FIRE!" Paige was hit by a stream of high pressure water and a barrage of balloons so strong that she was knocked backwards. As she was pushed backwards, she hit a trip wire *click* which opened a pit full of molasses and duck feathers, into which she fell. As she climbed out, she saw her enemies, laughing so hard you'd have figured they would explode, and muttered, "I didn't want to do this, but it looks like I have to." She walked over to her lawn chair and pulled out a flare gun from inside a gym bag, where she kept spare magazines, and fired a flare into the air. With that, her older brother Peter, age 16, dropped down from a nearby tree, carrying two Super Soaker XP 1500s full of Tommy Girl. "You rang?" said Peter. "Peter! How can you help Paige!" wailed Jason. "Anybody will be on your side if the price is right. Lucky for me Peter's price is $7.50 and two packages of baseball cards," Paige answered. Just then another figure walked around the corner. "Steve, not you too!" screeched Jason. "She paid me too," said Peter's friend, as he loaded darts into a semi-automatic dart gun. "But, but this isn't fair!" said Jason. "All's fair in love and war, Jason. You have to the count of zero to get out of here."

Death Fox: Chapter 2, Getting Ready for War
Author: crow t. (edited by Eagle of Austria)

The situation had turned grim for Jason and Marcus. No, beyond grim. The situation had turned deadly for Jason and Marcus. They were in DEEP trouble. Two water guns filled with perfume and one dart bazooka, held by a 16 year old, his friend, and what appeared to be a giant chicken, were all aimed at them. They were in trouble. Luckily, Jason and Marcus were strategists to the end, and had planned for every possible scenario, including thermonuclear counterattack. "Quick, Marcus!" said Jason. "Plan X-42!" "Affirmative!" yelled Marcus. For those of you who didn't happen to read the Jason and Marcus Secret Plan Code Book, Plan X-42 is retreat to tree house, which is just what they did, running as fast as their legs would carry them. They reached the tree house with Peter, Steve, and Chicken-Girl -- er -- Paige right on their heels. Marcus was first up the ladder and Jason was right behind him. Just before they could seal up the entrance to the tree house, Peter popped his head in and took aim at Jason. "I have you now!" he said. Just as he pulled the trigger, Marcus pulled out a single shot dart gun and shot it at Peter's head. This messed up his aim a little bit so that the deadly stream of perfume passed less than an inch from Jason's head and hit the back wall of the tree house. Jason then threw a water balloon at Peter's head which made him lose his grip and fall onto a branch of the tree beneath the tree house. As he aimed his weapon to shoot into his enemies' stronghold again, the branch snapped. Peter crashed to the ground. He landed on his Super Soaker, destroying it and covering him with perfume, but sparing him a few cracked ribs. "Quick, the ladder!" yelled Jason. Marcus quickly pulled up the ladder, closed the door to the tree house, and locked it up. After a few minutes of sitting around and catching their breath, Marcus remarked, "Jason, we need a plan. We're outnumbered 3 to 2 by people twice our size. Plus, we're running low on supplies." "You're right about the first two things, Marcus, but I have a secret to show you. Go get our Captain Picard Star Trek: First Contact Trading Card out of the safe." "Okay," said Marcus. After he got the card he asked, "Now what?" "Go to the back wall and feel for a loose spot on the baseboard base. When you find it, slide it out." Marcus did so, and when he took the board out he found a small slot with 2 lights beside it, one green, one red. Jason then told him, "Stick the card in and pull it out quickly." Marcus inserted the card and yanked it out. When he did, the green light flashed and a computerized voice said, "ID confirmed. Please stand clear of the doors." Marcus stepped back and, as what he previously thought was a wall opened up, stared in amazement. "Jason, what is all this stuff?" Marcus asked, looking at the 10 shelves in front and on either side of him that were stocked with all kinds of gadgets. "This," said Jason, standing up and walking towards Marcus, "is the most sophisticated water and dart weaponry known to man. The top shelf is your standard issue water balloons and single shot dart guns with spare darts. The next 2 levels are all automatic dart and balloon weapons with spare magazines and clips. The following three rows are all dart and balloon bazookas. The next three are water and dart missiles and rockets with launchers. Below that are all the hoses and high pressure nozzles you could ask for, and on the bottom row are spare darts and balloons." "Jason, this is great, but I think you've forgotten one tiny thing. We don't have any water or darts for all this!" "Wrong again, Marcus," said Jason. He stomped his foot twice on the ground and the panels on the opposite wall popped off to reveal water tanks, boxes of foam balls and suction darts, and even some canisters whose contents Jason refused to reveal. "Now, Marcus," said Jason. "Are you ready to fill some balloons and load some darts?" Meanwhile, down below the tree house, Paige had managed to get the feathers off. She and Peter and Steve had also constructed an elaborate system of (no pun intended) fox holes and canals. They too had stocked up on weapons and they too were ready for the battle of the century. Well, maybe not that big. More like the battle of the decade. Well, probably not that big either. The most appropriate term seemed to be the battle of the hour.

Death Fox: Chapter 3, Final Preparations
Author: Daniel Duterte (edited by Eagle of Austria)

Paige was pacing around. "As Commander-in-Chief of Operation Tommy Girl, I will now appoint your titles. You, brother Peter, will be named General of this operation. And Steve will be named Colonel. Now, let's put this attack together. Peter, I want you to get 20 more XP 1500s. Steve, you get 20 cases of Tommy Girl. I'll fill up our water balloon arsenal and load our dart guns. Those rodents will do anything to win, and we've got to be ready." "Yes, Commander," answered Peter and Steve, and they were off to the mall in Steve's car. Meanwhile, Paige ran to the house. "I've got those brats now!" she squealed as she reached for the balloons. Back in the treehouse, Marcus and Jason were filling up water guns and balloons. Jason had also changed the spring of the dart bazookas. Then a thought came over Marcus. "Hey Jason, do you think we should get some reinforcements before we go on?" "Automatic phone calling machine, behind the 'The X-Files Movie' poster. It already has the phone number of all the kids inour class programmed into it. Just say a message, and we'll be backed up," Jason said. Marcus smiled. Smile nothing. This was war! Down below, Paige had a sneaky idea. Jason had often bragged to her about how he had been able to power his treehouse by tapping the house's power. She ran over to the fuse box at the side of the house, and shut down all power. "That should have them confused for a while," she laughed. Peter and Steve drove down to the mall. Peter went to Toys 'R' Us, and Steve went to the department store. They paid with some money supplied by Paige, as well as their own money. They didn't really care how much they spent, since after they won they'd divide Jason and Marcus's savings among themselves. The store clerks wondered what the heck they were doing. They replied, "Birthday gift." The clerks gave them weird looks. Peter and Steve went back to the car. While his friend was stuffing most of the water weapons into the trunk, Steve loaded a few with perfume and put them in the front seat. He didn't want to be caught unarmed in a surprise attack when they returned to the battle zone. As soon as they finished loading up the car, Peter blasted out of the parking lot. Suddenly, Peter saw in the rear-view mirror (barely, with all the stuff that was crammed into the trunk and back seat of the station wagon) a police car. Its sirens were wailing. Oh, &%@#! He pulled over. The officer slowly approached the window. "Okay, Jeff Gordon. Why the heck were you going 90 mph in a 60 mph zone?" Peter gulped. "Well, uh, you see officer, uh..." "Magic show starts in 10 minutes and we're late," Steve said. Man, Steve could be slick when you needed it the most. The officer gave them a weird look. "Magic show? What's with the Super Soakers and the Tommy Girl?" Steve replied, "It's for the trick, stupid! Geez!" "Okay then, show me a trick." Steve was in deep water, Peter thought. But Steve said, "Okay, I have a bottle of Tommy Girl and an empty Super Soaker. I'll tap the Super Soaker with the Tommy Girl and..." He pointed the gun at the officer and let him have it. Just lightly. "Is it Tommy Girl?" The officer had a humiliated look. "Yeah, it's Tommy Girl. Okay, carry on." The officer walked away. And the car was back on the road. Peter was amazed. "Steve, how the heck did you do that?" Steve smiled. "A magician never reveals his secrets, pal." By the time they got back, Paige had filled up 6 boxes of water balloons, and loaded their other dart and water weapons. She was ready. The war was on, and she intended to come out alive.

Death Fox: Chapter 4, A Scout Named Jones, a Feeling Called Destiny
Author: crow t. (edited by Eagle of Austria)

It was 4:00 in the afternoon, an hour since Jason and his more than able sidekick Marcus had retreated to their not so secret tree hideout. All that time, they had been loading dart guns and filling up water balloons. Little did they know of the terror that waited for them down below. "Eagle 1," said Paige over a walkie-talkie, "do you and Eagle 2 have those water balloon land mines set? Over." "Paige, do we really have to talk over the walkie-talkies? I mean, we're only 10 feet away," said Peter. "Listen, I'm the one in charge. You do what I tell you to do. And I'm not Paige, I'm Eagle Leader." "That's another thing, do we really..." "OVER THE WALKIE-TALKIES!" yelled Paige into the receiver end of her communication device. "Fine," said Peter, taking much care to use his walkie-talkie. "Do we really need code names? Um, over." "YES!" said Paige. "Roger that, Eagle Leader. Over," Peter said, with a roll of his eyes. "Sometimes she makes me so..." "It's OK, Eagle 1," said Steve. "I know how she can be." Back up in the tree house, Jason and Marcus had finished loading their weapons, and were planning their assault. "We'll need a scout to go to the fuse box and power up the surveillance equipment, but who's it gonna be?" said Jason. "I've got an idea," said Marcus, as he popped a dart out of a gun and put it behind his back. "Pick a hand, the loser is the scout." Jason knew that this was an important moment. If he didn't get the dart, he could stay in the safety of the tree house, but if he picked the wrong hand, the hand with the dart in it, he would have to run the gauntlet set up by his maniac sister and her cronies. Jason took a deep breath and said, "I'll take your left hand." Marcus brought his clenched, trembling hand forward. He opened his fist, slowly revealing... an empty palm. "Well," said Marcus as he holstered his dart gun, "I guess that's that." He picked up a Stealth-Master 5000 Water Rifle and put the strap over his shoulder. "Marcus, you don't have to do this," said Jason. "I'll go." "No, Jason. This is my part in the war, my destiny. And I intend to fulfill it." As Marcus squeezed his head into an anti-perfume mask, Jason opened his mouth to say something, but he was short of words. He and his friend were beyond words. They had a bond, greater than Siskel and Ebert's, greater than Lassie and Timmy's. They were true friends, friends to the very end. Jason then told him all he could muster up to say: "You know your job, do it. I'll create a diversion to buy you some time." Marcus gave Jason a thumbs-up sign, and Jason flashed it right back. They then went about their business. Marcus slipped stealthily down to the ground and waited for a chance to make a run for the fuse box. He got that chance when Jason gave him that distraction he had promised. Jason had five rockets that had payloads full of water balloon cluster bombs. He had them aimed at the opposite end of the yard from where Marcus was positioned. He hoped that the missiles would distract the enemy long enough for Marcus to get in, get the job done, and get the heck back out. He then launched the first rocket into the air. It sailed up high, arcing at about 55 feet, and then it sailed down and down and down. 5... 4... 3... 2... 1... IMPACT! The projectile slammed into the ground, spilling its watery contents all over the yard. Marcus leaped into action, running full tilt towards the fuse box, all the while darts flying through the air, not at him, but at the non-existent assailant Paige thought was attacking. Jason kept shelling out the missiles to protect his friend, a scout named Jones.

Death Fox: Chapter 5, The Prisoner
Author: crow t. (edited by Eagle of Austria)

Marcus was almost there. Just a little bit further. A few more feet... he was there. He flung off the latch and pulled open the door on the rusty fuse box. He then opened a pouch on his belt and took out a folded piece of crumpled paper. The scout unfolded the paper, studied it for a few seconds, and then flipped a few switches. His job, for the most part, was done. He then began his hasty retreat back to the tree house. Back in the base, Jason was preparing to shoot off the last missile when he heard the base's computerized voice say, "Power restored. Functions back online." "Way to go, Marcus!" Jason yelled as he ran over to the computer console that was humming with electrical activity. He scrolled through the surveillance cameras, looking to find the current whereabouts of his friend. He found him with the help of External Camera 6. He was hiding in the bushes, not moving an inch. "What is he doing?" thought Jason. He toggled through the cameras until he saw what he was looking for on House Camera 2. Down below, Peter and Steve were firing their hearts out in the direction of what they thought was the enemy. But Paige was just standing there. "Cease fire!" yelled Paige over the roar of the semi-automatic dart guns launching their deadly payloads. "What is it, Eagle Leader?" said Denise. "There's no one over there," said Paige. "Then it must be Jason from the tree house." "No," said Paige. "Jason wouldn't miss that many times consecutively. He must be up to something. I'm gonna look around, you all keep watch on the tree house." Jason saw Paige looking around, walking, looking, walking. She was getting closer to where Marcus was hiding. He went to the Base Defense Gun and started shooting, but he had to retreat when a stream of perfume came within a foot of hitting him. Marcus was in trouble and he could do nothing. For the first time in this entire ordeal, he felt helpless. Marcus too felt helpless. Paige was closing in on his location. He took his Stealth-Master rifle and aimed it at Paige. If he could overwhelm Paige with a deluge of water, he might be able to make it back to the tree house. Marcus stuck the barrel of the rifle out of the bush, aimed, and... nothing. The gun was jammed! He took out his single-shot dart gun. He would have only one shot, only one chance. He took aim and fired. It sailed through the air, flying towards Paige, until a gust of wind altered its path at the last nanosecond. Not only did the arrow miss its target, but it also gave away his position. Marcus fumbled with the gun trying to reload, but Paige was too fast. She ran up, disarmed him, got him in a headlock, yanked off his gas mask, and shoved her Tommy Girl-equipped water gun in his face. "You'll be coming with me!" she said with all the kindness of a pit bull. Marcus walked at gunpoint, with Paige jabbing the barrel of her gun in his back. She walked him in front of the tree house and yelled up at Jason. "We have your little buddy. If you try anything funny he gets bucketed with perfume." Jason started to get panicky. He looked through his 123-page scenario book and all he found were 2 plans, neither of which would help him. He then decided to seek help from his friends. He got on the computer system and sent e-mails to everyone on his mailing list. His message said the following:

> In trouble. Marcus captured. 3 to one. Please advise. JF

He could only hope someone would help him in time.

Death Fox: Chapter 6, An Old Friend
Author: crow t. (edited by Eagle of Austria)

It had been nearly an hour since Jason sent out his plea. He sat in a corner, his arms wrapped around his knees, his head hanging. He had given up. There was nothing left to do but surrender. He stood up and began to walk towards the ladder. "Is this it?" he thought. "Is it all going to end like this?" But then he heard a message of hope, a message of renewed faith. It came from the laptop.


- You have mail.

He turned around and ran to the computer. One message. Who from?

- nightninja@technoweanie.net

"Hawkins!" Jason thought aloud. He quickly read the message:

- Jason, I got your message. I know how I can help you. Do you remember back in the 80's when President Reagan was developing the Star Wars anti-missile defense system? Well, as you know, the actual laser satellite never got up, but a secret prototype did. I found out about it when I was hacking into the Department of Defense's web site. The prototype, nicknamed "A New Hope" after the Star Wars movie, shoots not a laser beam, but a stream of water. It shoots it so quickly that it doesn't even boil off in the atmosphere. The water is in a circular form 5 yards across, and will spew 109 gallons of water on a selected target. To access it, go to the DOD web site server and enter the password "06sparky05". You can access the satellite from there, and to execute it, use the password "08black_dog07". The targeting system is fairly simple, and I know you'll figure it out. Also, you can only fire it once every 8 minutes, or once per orbit. Glad to be of service. Hawkins, the Night Ninja.

"OH MY WORD," said Jason, sounding out each word sharply. "An orbiting satellite?!" He was onto something, something big. He quickly accessed the page. 06sparky05, 08black_dog07. He was in! A box popped up that said, Enter latitude and longitude of target. He pulled out a map and selected a target 5 feet from where Peter was stationed. Target confirmed. Estimated time until arrival, 3 minutes and 46 seconds. Jason laughed with vengeance in his voice. They had his bishop, but he had them in check, and checkmate was only 2 minutes and 4 seconds away and counting. 3 seconds, 2 seconds, 1 second, 2 minutes. Hee-hee! 30 seconds until impact. He went to the window and screamed, "LISTEN TO ME! WATER FROM THE SKY SHALL COME DOWN AND CONSUME YOU! THERE IS NO ESCAPE! DOOMED ARE YOU, DOOMED! HA-HA-HA!" "What the... AAAHHHH!!!!!" yelled Peter as a stream of water enveloped him, Paige, and Steve. At that time, Jason had one thought on his mind: checkmate. But alas, he couldn't have been more wrong, for the true struggle, the struggle that would bring him to the edge and back, was just beginning.

Death Fox: Chapter 7, Panic and Devastation
Author: crow t. (edited by Eagle of Austria)

There was a great confusion. Water sprayed everywhere. Peter was completely engulfed in an aerial assault of water. Paige was screaming, and Steve could not figure out what was happening. This sudden flood was just what Marcus needed. He ran as fast as someone with his hands tied could. He jumped over a trench that was filling with water. He was almost to the tree house. He got to the ladder, splashing through water that was up to his shins. Marcus clenched his teeth on a rung of the ladder. His mouth would have to serve as hands for now. He climbed up the ladder, rung by rung, bite by bite. He was almost to the top when he was grabbed onto by a hand. It was Jason's. He was quickly pulled up, and found himself back in the safety of the tree house. Jason quickly untied him. "What the heck was that?" said Marcus, rubbing wrists. "No time to explain," said Jason. "We have 'em. Man the Base Defense Gun, I'll be getting rockets." Marcus had a puzzled look on his face as he ran to the gun. Darts sprayed the enemy. Paige ran for cover, jumping into a trench only to find her feet stuck in mud and water up to her knees. As she struggled to get out, close to 25 darts hit her. A rocket impacted just a foot from her, making her wetter than ever. She got out of the trench and rolled through the now-damp yard to a nearby tree. She hid behind it, hearing the darts strike the bark. She turned to fire, but saw her water gun was springing a leak. She took a bandanna that was wrapped around her head and tied it over the leaking canister. She sprayed some into her hand and smelled it. The perfume had been polluted by water. It was useless. She desperately looked around and found the dart gun Marcus had dropped. She popped in a dart and took aim at the tree house. Just then, a line of darts sprayed at her and hit her, clinging to her face. She tried to yank them off, but was hit by another volley of fire. She crawled on her hands and knees, barely able to see anything. Darts struck the moist ground beside her, sinking into the mud, while water balloons impacted all around her, adding to the swamp that just hours before was a typical suburban backyard, but now was a war torn battlefield. She struggled to get back to the makeshift shelter they had set up, out of the line of fire. Almost there. Almost, almost, almost, almost... Splash! She was hit right smack dab in the middle of her back. But this did little to dampen (ha-ha!) her spirits any more than they already were. She crawled into the hut and was immediately taken up by a friend. Not Peter, nor was it Steve, but her school friend Nicole. "We have to get these darts off you!" she said. "Nicole," Paige said, barely conscious. "What are you doing here?" "I got a call from Steve. He told me your situation," she said. "Nicole," said Paige, "you didn't have to." "Anything for a friend. Now be quiet and let me get these suction darts off your face." Nicole took some tweezers and tugged on the darts. They each gave off a satisfying, almost humorous, smack sound as they were pulled off. Peter, who had a strained arm from where water had hit it, was resting nearby, his arm in a makeshift sling. It would be better in the morning. Because he was injured, however, no more fighting could occur that day. Peter retired to his room for the night, and Steve went home. Paige and Nicole set up a tent. They would guard their arms cache during the night. Back in the tree house, Jason and Marcus had finished their dinner of Mountain Dew and Ho-Hos, arguing that they were high in energy-giving carbohydrates. Marcus told of the horrors that had been dealt to him, such as perfume-dipped Q-Tips shoved WAY up his nose, and having Paige read him excerpts from Fourteen magazine aloud. After more conversation of what had occurred, Jason decided that they needed to take turns on watch, and he would go first. All the power was turned off, except for the surveillance equipment, and Jason put on some night vision goggles and turned on his heat scope-equipped sniper dart rifle. It would be a long night.

Death Fox: Chapter 8, Through the Night
Author: crow t. (edited by Eagle of Austria)

Jason looked across the yard through his night vision goggles, which cast a pale green color over everything. Nothing was happening. He thought of the day's events. It had all started as a prank, but was now a war. Who knew what would be next! The weapons just got bigger and bigger. No limits or bans existed. All was fair in this war, at least. He let out a sigh and scanned the yard. His eyes were getting heavy. He needed sleep. How much longer? He checked his watch, fumbling around to find the "Indiglo" button in the dark. 12:56 AM. Only four more minutes. He could last. This was Jason's third turn at the thirty-minute shifts. He was desperately tired. His neck was sore from wearing the goggles. He took them off and closed his eyes. He rotated his neck in a circle, trying to loosen it up. He looked down at his watch. Two more agonizing minutes. He tried to ignore the time, and concentrate on the battle. They needed some kind of a way to travel from the yard to the house safely, and needed better defenses than the tree house walls. He thought about it for a while and then checked the time. 1:00 AM. Hallelujah for shift change. He walked over to Marcus' sleeping bag and woke him up. "Shift change, my boy," said Jason as he nudged Marcus with the butt of his gun. Marcus groggily rose, rubbing his eyes. "Here's a gun, and here's a pair of goggles." "Thanks," said Marcus. He let out a sigh. Another fun half hour of looking at nothing but darkness, looking out for enemies that weren't there, holding a gun that he wouldn't need. He walked over to the window and stared out. Nothing but darkness. Nothing out there but mud and a house. Back down in Paige and Nicole's camp, Paige was staring out into the warzone, with Nicole by her side. "I wonder what he's doing up there," said Paige. "Probably pigging out on Ho-Hos. I can't believe how far their little prank went!" "Look at the bright side," said Nicole. "If Jason writes a book about it, then maybe it'll be turned into a movie." "Yeah, but who would play me? No one's good enough!" The two girls started to laugh. They were definitely enjoying themselves more than Marcus was. Back in the tree house, Marcus heard them laughing, which made him very nervous. What were they up to? Since he couldn't see them from where he was standing, he went over to the computer and panned through the surveillance cameras until he saw them. Paige was walking around with a dart gun in her hands, and Nicole was saying something to her, but he couldn't tell what. He then saw Paige running forward, off camera. In reality, all that was happening was Paige's Diet Coke spewing and fizzing up everywhere, and she was running to dump it in a bush. But Marcus didn't know this, and in his sleepless state, he panicked, waking up Jason. "Jason! Paige is coming to attack! Come look at the camera!" he hissed. Jason jumped up and rushed to his friend's side, just in time to see Paige appear from behind the bushes. "An attempted sneak attack!" he growled. He seized one of their finest weapons, the Aqua-Obliterator 3000 - complete with three barrels and a water balloon launcher - and started loading it. He finished just as Paige, still unaware of the danger above her, walked under the tree fortress. "Cease fire's over!" he cried as he aimed out the window and fired...

Death Fox: Chapter 9, Home Sweet Home
Author: Eagle of Austria

Paige was suddenly bombarded by a barrage of water balloons and water. She didn't even have a weapon to protect herself. "Nicole, helpwf mee! Thofe wittle rats are at it agrain!" she gasped. Nicole rushed from the camp at the edge of the yard, holding two Tommy Girl-loaded Super Soakers. She tossed one to Paige, pumped up the other, and took aim at the tree house. Suddenly she too was clobbered by a weapon. It was not water, however, but a jumbo suction dart. Marcus and his rapid-fire bazooka had joined the fray. A second shot struck Nicole and sent her toppling head over heels into one of the trenches her side had dug yesterday morning. Paige herself was rendered immobile by the relentless shots from Jason's Aqua-Obliterator gun. Despite this, all was not well above in the treehouse. "Jason, we're gonna run out of ammo eventually. What do we do then?" Rather than answer, Jason asked Marcus (who still had his night vision goggles on), "How many enemies are still on their feet out there?" "None, why?" "Perfect! While you were on guard I thought of a way to get to the house without having to flee across the ground. Hold them off for a second..." With that he tossed his weapon away, and walked over to one of the green canisters next to their water tanks. He began loading water balloons from it and putting them into rockets similar to those he had defended Marcus with the day before. "What are you doing?" asked his friend. "Setting up a more reliable defense system for you to use on them while I'm over checking out the house. And this," he said, indicating the canister, "is my own patented stink juice, made from a combination of rotten egg essence, heavy perfume, ammonia, and swamp water." Jason had by now finished loading the rockets, and was juicing up his Aqua-Obliterator. Then he hooked up a hose, with one end attached to the stink juice tank and the other to their largest water cannon. "Here, Marcus," squealed Jason, passing him the cannon and rocket launcher. "Fire away!" Just in time too, for Marcus had finally run out of ammunition. Below, Paige and Nicole were slowly advancing on the tree fort. It was easier now that they only had one gunner to contend with. They kept firing on the tree house, but with no results. If only they could see where Marcus was standing! Paige, her heart beating with anticipation, had almost reached the tree when something exploded right next to her. Both she and Nicole were splashed with some foul liquid, and nearly fainted at its noxious smell. The girls looked around in panic. Where had the explosion come from? A moment later they were caught in a deluge of the stink juice, definitely coming from the tree house. Jason smiled as he heard the girls' screams. It would be a while before they would be up to another attack. And even if they were, Marcus had all the weapons he could want to hold them off. He took both his reloaded Aqua-Obliterator and his dart bazooka with ropes attached to the suction darts (with which he frequently used to play "Spider Man") and climbed out of the tree house and onto a branch of the tree. Just a few yards away from his tree was another, from which one could reach the bathroom window, and thereby enter the house. Jason shot his dart bazooka at the tree. It took several times before all the suction darts stuck. He then tied the bazooka itself to the branch he was on. Strapping his other weapon to his back, he took hold of the many ropes, and carefully climbed across the distance between the two trees. After what felt like an eternity, and almost falling a few times, he reached the other tree. Now for the easy part. He pried open the window, and quietly slipped into the house. Paige and Nicole didn't suspect a thing. Neither did Peter, who was sleeping soundly in the house, recovering from yesterday's wounds. "Home, sweet home," he cackled, preparing phase two of his new plan...

Death Fox: Chapter 10, The Temporary Hostage
Author: Eagle of Austria

Jason surveyed the house. Everything was dark and quiet. Okay, so not all quiet. He could hear Peter snoring in the next room. And he could hear the sounds of battle outside. Okay, it was as loud as Hades! Slowly he sneaked down to the kitchen. He found a Sears/Roebuck sack, and began filling it with all the food he could, for if the siege was to continue, he and Marcus would need sustenance. They would also need something to drink. He reached for a soda bottle, and stopped. Someone had told him that soda can actually make you more thirsty, because companies put salt in it. He reasoned that water would be a safer bet, plus it could be used as ammo in an emergency. He emptied the bottle, and several more, and filled them with tap water. Jason slung the bag over his back and sneaked upstairs, to Peter's bedroom. He charged in, and fired off all his stink juice bazooka's weapons at once, right over Peter's bed. "Wha-what?!" screamed Peter, leaping up in shock, tangling his feet in his blanket, and crashing to the ground. By the time he was on his feet, Jason had reloaded and aimed his weapon. "You're coming with me!" he told his brother. "Wait a minute. Jason-" "Oh, my trigger finger is getting itchy..." Jason warned. Peter nodded dumbly and followed his younger brother. Meanwhile, Marcus was growing desperate. Although he and Jason had thought the stink juice cannon and rockets were foolproof weapons, the enemy was swiftly proving them wrong. Paige and Nicole, despite having been drenched with stink juice, were putting up a heroic fight. If Marcus fired on one of them, the other was halfway up the tree. He usually didn't even hit who he was firing at. They kept running back and forth. Also, the sun was beginning to rise in the sky. The only thing that protected him from the girls' deadly Super Soakers was the darkness. Marcus was down to one rocket. He would have to use it wisely. When both the girls came within splash range of each other for a split second, he saw his chance. He fired the rocket directly in between them. Paige just managed to dodge the explosion, but Nicole was drenched. She leapt up onto one of the dirt walls Paige had constructed the day before, to avoid being further drenched. That was the wrong move. Marcus fired the cannon directly at the wall. It gave way, burying Nicole in a colossal heap of mud. As she struggled to get out, Paige sprinted across the yard, hoping to get another shot at the tree house. Suddenly, in the light of the rising sun, she saw two figures climbing a thin rope suspended along two trees. They were headed for the tree house. "Peter!" Paige yelled, so shocking her older brother that he lost his grip on the rope. He careened towards the ground, grabbing at thin air. And Jason's foot. He held on for a second, before the rope snapped. They both fell straight into a soft-floored trench, sparing them a few broken bones. Jason's weapon was smashed, spraying him with stink juice. As Paige and Peter lunged toward their opponent, Marcus saw his chance. He fired the cannon, hitting both Paige and Peter. He kept on firing, not pausing for a moment, leaving his enemies writhing on the mud-caked turf. Nicole had still not managed to get out from under the mud slide. She had, however, extricated her head and Super Soaker. And she saw what was happening to her friend. Anger boiled inside her, and she took aim at the tree house. She could vaguely see Marcus in the growing light. Knowing she would only get one chance to hit him, she fired. It was a bull's eye! Marcus yelped in shock and dropped the cannon. It would have crashed right to the ground had there not been a hose attached. Instead, it snapped back up like a bungee jumper, and slammed into the tree house, leaving a sizable dent in the walls. As it fell again, the hose snapped, and the cannon was smashed on the ground. The hose sprayed stink juice everywhere, blinding Paige and Peter. This gave Jason the chance to take hold of the broken ropes at the side of the tree, climb up, cut them loose, and enter the tree house via a window. A moment later, the last bit of stink juice was gone, and Marcus quickly pulled up the severed hose. "We're out of stink juice," he gasped, "and we lost the cannon." "That's not all we lost," said Jason grimly, looking at Peter and the girls returning to their camp to reload. "Now what do we do?" asked Peter, handing Paige a reloaded Super Soaker. "INTO THE WALKIE-TALKIES!!!" screamed Paige. "First, you find some suitable military clothes in place of your Babe Ruth PJs. Then, you can get ready to accept those rodents' surrender." "What do you mean?" asked Nicole. "We haven't won!" "Not yet," answered Paige. She walked into the battle zone, took aim at the crack in the tree house wall, and fired. Squeals of indignation could be heard from her enemies, as they were squirted through their own walls. The crack also got a little wider. "I'll have that tree house in pieces before they know what's hitting them," she told her friend and brother. "Now get moving."

Death Fox: Chapter 11, Victory! Or is it?
Author: Eagle of Austria

Events had taken a dangerous turn for Jason and Marcus. Paige, her words proving prophetic, was devastating their stronghold. A heavy deluge of perfume was rapidly splitting the tree house's north wall. The two friends knew that if the wall fell, the war would end - and they would have lost. But they were not ready to accept defeat, not yet. Jason paced madly. "There has to be some way we can disable that Super Soaker. There just has to be!" "Jason," countered Marcus, "You know there's no way. We can't use any of our weaponry without getting wasted by Peter, not to mention Paige. Unless we can dump a lot of water on one spot, we..." "That's it!" Jason exclaimed. He rushed to the computer console set into the tree house wall and began entering commands. Marcus saw web sites for the Department of Defense scroll by, followed by an obviously classified link. 06sparky05, 08black_dog07. Jason whooped with victory, then spun to face Marcus. "We have two minutes until it deploys. Get ready to rumble." Seeing Marcus's inquisitive glance, Jason told him, "I've prepared that water satellite I told you about." He set to work arming their top-of-the-line armament. Marcus loaded the last dart clip into a repeating dart rifle as the tree house wall collapsed. Jason, filling water balloons beside him, dropped to the floor. Marcus immediately followed suit, counting the seconds until Jason's plan went into action. 10... 9... 8... Paige felt a rush of satisfaction. She had knocked through the walls. It was now just a matter of time. She'd flood the little buggers out, then make short work of them on the ground. Suddenly, though she never did quite find out why, she was engulfed in a huge column of water! It seemed like she would drown standing. But as the deluge slowly began to lessen, she fought her way out. Paige looked down, and saw her greatest weapon was ruined. No matter, though. Jason and Marcus were still... The thought was cut short as the two boys leapt from the tree house, dart guns blazing. Peter, until then on patrol, swung into action with his Super Soaker XP15000 loaded with Tommy Girl. Paige, grabbing a stray water balloon launcher, rushed into the fray. Nicole, cut down by a balloon cluster bomb, thought frantically of a way to tilt the battle - Paige could really use the help. Jason and Marcus would probably have won the day, if it hadn't been for that infernal mud wall. As Peter fired on Marcus, he ran behind the wall. At the same time, Jason leapt on top of it to get a better view of the field. It gave way under him, causing him to fall, and Marcus to be swamped by mud, as Nicole had been. From there, it was only a matter of time before their defeat. The long, drawn-out battle resulted in a prostrate Marcus, and Jason on his knees in the cold mud. Paige, savoring the taste of victory, told her allies, "Peter, you can take Nicole home. I'd like to finish these locusts off on my own." As Peter and Nicole left in the car, Paige turned to her opponents. "Come on, off to the prison camp, AKA basement!" she barked. She didn't hear a rustling in the bushes behind her. However, she heard a voice from behind shout, "Drop it!" Paige, gun in hand, spun to face the newcomer...

Death Fox: Chapter 12, New Allies
Author: Eagle of Austria

Paige stiffened. Another newcomer to the battle, this time coming to the aid of Jason and Marcus. Would this war never end? Single-shot dart gun in hand, Paige turned to face the new assailant - and found herself looking down the double barrel of a powerful dart shotgun. Her reason clouded by her recent victory, Paige readied her weapon. "Wrong move," stated the ambusher simply, then delivered a shotgun blast that blew her several feet backwards. Paige struggled to her feet, wanting to see who had felled her. About Jason's height, red hair, freckles... A girl? The new opponent turned to Jason and said, "I got your message." Reaching for a Super Soaker, Paige watched in horror at what happened next. In the blink of an eye, Jason pulled the dazed Marcus out of the line of fire, then caught the two dart pistols thrown by his new ally. The situation looked grim for Paige. Outnumbered two to one, with no aces up her sleeve, she was finished. Unless she could call Peter, there'd be no way to take down both. Rolling over to surrender, Paige felt something sharp in her pocket. She then realized it was her walkie-talkie, which she was so adamant about Peter using. A plan began rapidly formulating in her mind. She spun, then leapt to her feet and ran, sending a message on her walkie-talkie. Peter's walkie-talkie crackled to life. "All Eagle units, please report." Spraying Paige with darts - and dodging her attempts at a response - Jason turned to his savior. "Eileen," he said, "thanks." "Don't worry about it," she replied. The battle, though one-sided, was fierce. Paige, though now a living dart board, madly battled on, pulling herself closer to her attackers. Pummeled by darts, Paige was no longer beyond physical violence, not that she ever was. A sudden stream of Tommy Girl cut the air, and reshaped again the outlook of the battle. Peter and Nicole had come. Jason focused on his elder brother, while Eileen held Paige at bay with heavy salvos of darts and Marcus engaged in a battle with Nicole. Chaos reigned for several more minutes, until the fighting was suddenly broken up by a deluge of water from the side of the yard. Several more followed, all aimed at Jason. A moment later a tank-like object (except it was gray, open topped, and had water canisters on board) rolled into the yard. On either side, Steve and Peter's girlfriend Denise were manning two water cannons. At the controls sat none other than the high school genius, Morton Goldthwait. "It's a trap!" cried Jason. "Follow me! Retreat to the hills." Off Jason and his friends sprinted. No one was in a mood to give chase... yet. "I got us some back-up," said Steve, jumping down from the water-tank. "How'd he get you over here?" Paige asked Morton. "Well, about the upcoming prom..." "That's not for two months! And no, I am not going with you!" "Oh," he answered. "Well, see, if you were to go, I might have two more WATs (that's Water Attack Transports) out back." "That's taking advantage!" screamed Paige. "Go on, say yes!" urged Peter. "We need all the help we can get!" "Hey, who made you field marshal!?" demanded Paige. "I can do whatever I want! Okay Morton, I'll go to the prom with you." "Then let me show you how to operate one of these," their new ally began... Fleeing into the hills, Jason Marcus, and Eileen soon realized that they were not alone. They were surrounded by five other 5th grade boys, armed with Super Soakers. "I forgot to tell you," said Eileen. "I wasn't the only one who got your message." The boys grinned as they looked around at their new allies...

Death Fox: Chapter 13, A New Front
Author: Eagle of Austria

Paige test-fired one of the three WATs. "How did you build these things?" she asked Morton.

"I constructed each of them by hooking several sets of bicycle wheels and gears to a rotating motor. Then I covered them with some metal sheets my dad was going to throw out, and hooked up two water cannons, some laser sights, and a semi-open covering to protect them. Then I attached a basic switchboard and lever setup for controls. By the way, I think I've figured out what those deluges from the sky you described were. Looks like Jason got access to the NASA prototype SDI satellite via internet."

"So can you stop him?" Peter demanded. "Even if it's a satellite, it's a real pain!"

"Nope, I've been trying to find the access code for two months."

Paige was appalled. "You mean Jason's better at computers than you are?"

"No, but when I was a counselor at Camp Bohrmore, that summer camp where Jason went, I met some kids who were. One of Jason's cabin-mates, Eugene Wu, springs to mind. I have a hunch that he told Jason the code."

"Well, maybe we can get him to work for us!" suggested Nicole.

Morton agreed, "Yeah, he didn't like Jason much. But the problem is, I don't know where he lives, except that it's on a street called Madison Avenue."

"Hey," piped up Peter. "That's in a really nearby town! I've driven through there."

"Great!" squealed Paige. "You can go get him for us. Go on, get moving!" As Peter drove away for the second time that day, she addressed the rest of her army. "Okay, here's the plan. We bring our WATs into close range of wherever they are and drench them with perfume. The lead WAT will be manned by Morton, and the others by two of us. Remember, we have to surround them, or they'll just run away again."

"May I make a suggestion?" asked Denise, who for some reason had a great knowledge of military history.

"INTO THE &%@# WALKIE-..."

"I know, I know," said Denise into the walkie-talkie. "Listen, I really think there might be a better way to do this. Whoever controls the house is gonna win, because that's the only place to get provisions. So why don't we use all this artillery to protect the house from them? Then, if they don't show their faces for the rest of the day, we'll sneak up on them, and-"

"How dare you interrupt me!?" demanded Paige. "And how dare you question my strategy? We'll crush them in battle!"

Suddenly, her yelling was cut off by an enormous gust of wind. And extraordinarily, for it had been a remarkably clear morning, heavy rain poured down from the sky.

Jason and Marcus were camped inside a small hole in one of the hills. Four more (Eileen's best friends) had arrived, and were keeping watch with Eileen outside. The cave was jam-packed with water and dart weaponry. "Why did you build this?" Jason asked Marcus.

"Remember when Peter chased us up here for spraying him with darts? I thought we should have a stronghold up here in case something like that ever happened again."

"Hey!" called Eileen from outside. "I think you had better come see this." As they rushed out, they were shocked to see a full-scale deluge of rain. "How did this happen?" Eileen asked. "A few minutes ago, there wasn't a cloud in the sky!"

"You'd think our last battle would have launched enough water into the air for a few clouds," Jason joked.

"That's it!" said Marcus. "When you used the water satellite, some of the water must have sprayed off into the atmosphere as it came down. That water's now coming down on us! Too bad it isn't snow. Then we could use it as a weapon."

"That gives me an idea!" squealed Jason. "Finally, we'll have an impregnable fort." His excitement mounted as he said, "Remember that snow cannon I got for Christmas, the one that can dump fifty pounds of snow in a shot? I'm sure I can modify it to shoot water. Between that and the NASA satellite, we can smash Paige and her army. And we can tap the rain for ammunition."

One of the recruits called out, "Enemy has been sighted advancing up hill!"

"Okay," said Jason. "While Eileen, her friends, and I sneak over to the house to get the snow cannon, you keep them occupied here." Handing Marcus a walkie-talkie, he went on. "I'll inform you over this when we're coming." As Jason, Eileen, and four kids sprinted off, Marcus grimly looked down the hill, and saw the enemy advancing on the war's new front.

Death Fox: Chapter 14, The Dark Figure
Author: Eagle of Austria

In the heavy rain, it took the WATs 3 minutes from when they were sighted to come within 200 yards of the stronghold. They then unleashed a brutal barrage of water and perfume.

The barricades surrounding the stronghold shuddered under the force, as did the army behind them. The range of the WATs' weapons gave them a huge advantage, since they were able to launch volley after volley of shots without coming into range of Marcus's artillery. The ramparts and barricades slowly began to crumble and disintegrate.

"Jason!" screamed Marcus into the walkie-talkie given to him. "These guys mean business. We can't hold out much longer!"

"I'm in the modification phase of Calamity Jon."

"The what!? Oh, the snow-water cannon. You found it?" Marcus asked urgently.

"Yes," came the response, "and much more."

"Okay, but... oh my lord, I've gotta go!" screamed Marcus, for the whole top sections of his fortifications had suddenly collapsed.

The WATs were finally moving in closer. "FIRE!" he screamed to his five fellow soldiers. They released a barrage of water balloons and water on the WATs, but this ammunition was useless against the WATs' combat armor. One kid fired a shot directly into a chink in a WAT's armor. It was answered first by a squeal of indignation (barely to be heard in the roar of the battle), and second by a blast of perfume knocking the boy senseless, and blasting away yet another section of the fortifications.

Marcus, a fine strategist, saw that he would have to use a different approach. "Break out your dart weapons, boys!" he cried. He almost didn't hear his walkie-talkie crackle out the message, "Calamity Jon will be in range of opponents in five minutes."

Paige was ecstatic! The WATs were moving in completely unopposed. They were almost in front of the final fortifications. After blasting those, she and her friends could flood Jason's last defenses. To add to her good spirits, she had looked back over the hills and seen Peter's car returning. She knew that Eugene was in that car. She had not, however, noticed a shadowy figure leap out of the trunk of the car, and vanish into the hills...

Suddenly her thoughts were interrupted by a loud explosion. Just as Marcus had hoped, a suction dart had struck home right on the muzzle of the perfume cannon on Denise and Steve's WAT. In a matter of seconds, the pressure built up to such a degree that the cannon exploded. The force of the explosion split the WAT's armored covering, rendering it practically useless. Well, no use crying over spilled milk. By now, the other two WATs had reached Marcus's final barricade. "CHARGE!" Paige screamed, delivering a final shot from her perfume cannon that shattered the barricade and almost buried two kids under it.

"Jason, we're under attack!" Marcus screamed into the walkie-talkie. "Now what do we do?"

The only response he received was a monotone, "Calamity Jon will be in range in two minutes." Paige's forces, armed with the finest Super Soakers and dart bazookas on the market, charged into the cave, unleashing a devastating barrage of perfume and darts.

Marcus and the other fifth graders didn't stand a chance, though they fought amazingly well. "Get back to the heavy ammunition!" he screamed. The fifth graders retreated about thirty yards, to the back of the fort. They seized the heavy-duty dart bazookas and opened fire.

A dart struck the ceiling, bringing a clump of mud down, which knocked Denise to the ground. This momentary distraction almost gave Marcus and his soldiers the time to regroup and charge the attackers, whose prime advantage lay in keeping them scattered. But before they could, Steve charged forward, screaming a war cry. But over the war cry, a sound of joy and hope crackled over Marcus's walkie-talkie, no longer monotone, but squealing with excitement. "Marcus, Calamity Jon is now in range!"

Scarcely were these words heard when a devastating blast of water ripped through the cave, nearly drowning those at the front. Paige and her friends fled, panicked by the deluge. Marcus and the fifth graders charged after them, but could not find them in the lessening, but still pouring rain.

Paige and her friends had made it to the foot of the hills. Before they had time to reflect on their defeat, however, a voice came out of the rain and mist. "Hey," said Peter. "What did I miss?" Behind him, they all noticed Eugene. He had indeed come. No one, however, noticed the dark figure, not 10 yards away, taking note of everything they said.

Death Fox: Chapter 15, Desperation
Author: Eagle of Austria

Marcus met Jason at the edge of one of the two hills between which his fort was placed. "About time!" yelled Marcus. "They almost killed us! Look at what happened to our fortifications. And look-" He stopped suddenly as he saw what Jason had with him. Not just the ex-snow-now-water cannon, but several full water tanks, five hoses, a sprinkler system, laser pointers, and some of Jason's patent TCCs (Trash Can Cannons, where you fill the can with a hose through a hole, rip off the lid, and drench your target). Jason and Marcus lost no time in installing the weaponry. The rain had stopped, but they managed to collect enough rain water to fill four more tanks just the same. Jason and his friends rebuilt the fortifications, reinforcing them with the rapidly drying mud. They also cleaned out the mess of a cave, and lined the floor with some plastic tarpaulins. Jason had also brought his laptop and a power generator. "What's that?" Marcus asked as he brought the last thing down from the hill.

"This is my dad's Mobytel cell phone. Huge, isn't it? Well, it should have just enough power to link me to the internet and access the water satellite from inside our fort. I brought the power generator for it."

"Oh, but where are Eileen and those other girls?"

"They stayed behind to fortify the house. Whoever controls the house will win the war, right? Hee-hee, I bet Paige's side will never even think of that!" Jason squealed.

Meanwhile, at the foot of the hills, Jason's enemies were re-mobilizing. "All right," said Paige, "here's our plan. With Eugene on our side, we finally have some power against that water satellite. He will take control of it-"

"No, no, Paige. How many times do I have to remind you?" Eugene piped up. "I'm going to use another satellite against him. A military one."

"Oh, right," answered Paige. "But don't be so patronizing. I'm the general here. Anyway, while Eugene sets up the portable laptop he brought, and uses his antennae to link to the internet, we will lead another direct assault on their base.

"Last time our defeat was due to a failure to locate part of the enemy, and also, they had an element of surprise," Paige went on. "As our trusty scout Steve has told us, they are now all in their fortress. With the rain over, we should be able to keep them in sight. Peter and Denise will man one WAT, Morton and Nicole the other, and Steve and I will be on foot. Any questions?"

There was no response. The six troops armed themselves, and grimly set off. As they approached the fort, no opposition was apparent. Suddenly, Paige heard a sprinkler system turn on. She and her friends were sprayed with water. Although it wasn't in any way as devastating as a Super Soaker, it served another purpose. It worked like a smoke screen.

Suddenly Paige and her army found themselves hit on all sides. Water balloons and darts flew, striking Steve down. At the same time, high pressure jets of water were shot down on them, nearly overturning Morton's WAT. The water cannon blasted away, turning the hillside into a swamp. More and more ammunition hit home, for Jason's laser sights allowed flawless aiming on the part of his troops. For Paige, it was a different story. She could hardly see through the barrage of artillery fired at her.

"Retreat!" someone screamed. Paige grabbed the almost-unconscious Steve, and began to fall back. The two WATs followed as best as they could through the mud. Just as it seemed that the party was out of range, a spiral-like coup-de-grāce was delivered by the water cannon, washing the ground out from under Peter's WAT. It fell onto its side and was smashed, spraying water everywhere. "Forget about it!" screamed Paige. "Run!" After a cold, wet half-hour of retreating, they finally reached their camp. They had been through another savage battle, and had nothing to show for it.

Jason and Marcus were ecstatic. Paige and her grenadiers had fled for their lives, without even being hit by the water satellite. This was too easy to be true! "We beat them!" Marcus shouted, gloating over the victory.

Suddenly, one of their troopers walked in. "A girl outside says she knows you and wants to see you."

"Send her in," said Jason, "but under guard. This could be a trick." As the girl in question walked in, Jason was flabbergasted. "Phoebe!? What are you doing here?"

"Jason!" panted the flustered Phoebe. "No time to explain. Peter brought Eugene over here, promising him part of your allowance if he helped your enemies win. Now he's gonna use this military satellite to bomb your fort. I hid and heard every word of his plan. He's gone nuts!"

"Marcus!" said Jason, his face dark with rage. "Arm Phoebe with a Super Soaker and a dart gun. Paige is now using diabolical means to win. She'll stop at nothing. I'm calling in Hawkins and the NASA water satellite now!"

Death Fox: Chapter 16, The Ultimate Struggle Begins
Author: Eagle of Austria

Eugene had hooked his laptop to the last surviving WAT. Paige was planning yet another direct attack on Jason's fortress. He was to take part, while operating the military satellite he had accessed control to. Denise was horrified by Paige's strategy. "We've lost two battles and two WATs successively. We have no control over the house. And now you want us to attack again, and blast the hills with a cosmic flame-thrower!?"

"You're right about everything except the house," answered Paige. "I intend to seize control of it. You and Nicole will come with me. When attacking the fort, Morton and Eugene will man the WAT, and Peter and Steve will fight on foot. Peter, I'm leaving you in command. Remember, as soon as the military satellite has fried their fort, you are to take them in charge."

With that, she, Denise, and Nicole left. Peter turned to his friends. "Well," he said, "let's rumble."

Back at Jason's fortress, Phoebe's warning had spread panic. Almost everyone was strengthening the fortifications. Jason had learned a little about the military satellite over the internet. It used flame-throwers, with a 3,000-mile range. Jason had also been frantically trying to contact Hawkins over the net. The problem was, he could barely remember Hawkins' 50-digit encryption key, so it was very hard to find his friend's e-mail. Fortunately, when he did find it, he got an immediate response in his private chat box.

- Jason, it is I. I think that the only way Eugene can be stopped is with the use of another satellite.

> That's what I thought too, but we can't access another military satellite on short notice, and what can a water satellite do against Eugene's?

- Well, you said it used flame-throwers, didn't you?

> Yeah, but... oh, I get it! Hawkins, you're a genius.

- I'm accessing the water satellite now. I'll bring it right over Hillsdale, and access the view screen so that we can see Eugene's military satellite approach.

Suddenly the chat box moved to the bottom of the screen, and at the top, Jason saw a spectacular view of space, and the Earth below.

Peter and his small army were again moving into hostile territory. Their enemies were still bustling through the fortifications, trying to reinforce them. Nobody noticed a WAT and two ground troops hurrying up the hill. Well, nobody if Phoebe counts as nobody. Just before the fort came within the WAT's range, she alerted the fifth graders. Suddenly, Peter found a barrage of water balloons coming very close to hitting him. Darts flew, several striking the WAT. "Run!" he screamed. "Spread out and run!" Peter frantically screamed into the walkie-talkie. "Paige, hurry up and send reinforcements. We're almost dead meat!" There was no response. His walkie-talkie had been drenched, and was broken.

Paige was having troubles of her own. Her advance into the yard had been greeted by a surprise blast of darts. Her advance across it, to her house and camp, was meeting with stubborn resistance from Eileen and her four aides. Paige, although she may have paled as a strategist next to Denise, was a brilliant field commander. Screaming, she urged Denise and Nicole on. They hurled themselves at their opponents, unleashing a deadly deluge of perfume. The enemy broke and ran in terror. "Don't let them regroup!" hollered Paige.

Nicole and Denise threw themselves between the five fifth graders, and as two paused momentarily, Paige tackled them. Two others were separately chased down and taken prisoner by Nicole and Denise. Eileen, being brilliant in the field too, had fled inside the house, locked the door, and was firing down at Paige from a window with her dart pistol. "Hey, Eileen," yelled Denise, fed up with the whole fiasco, "come down here or we drown your friends in perfume!"

Eileen looked down sadly. She couldn't bring herself to sacrifice her friends, or to surrender. What could she do?

Death Fox: Chapter 17, 1998: A Space Battle
Author: Eagle of Austria

Jason had been on chat with Hawkins for almost ten minutes now.

- All right, I see Eugene's satellite coming up on our monitors.

> Will you look at the size of that thing?!

- Patience, it's not in range yet.

> I'm arming the water blasters, and rotating our satellite to aim at it.

- Okay, but be careful. If we use too much fire power, the force could throw us out of orbit.

The military satellite moved within about thirty yards of the water satellite, and unleashed a blast of flame towards Earth.

> Fire!

Before the flame even made it five yards, it was put out by a five-foot jet of water. It was followed by a larger blast of water aimed directly at the satellite. Down below, Eugene observed this, while Morton frantically tried to avoid the artillery being fired by Marcus, Phoebe, and others. "Looks like Jason brought his water satellite into play," muttered Eugene. "Unleash the xenon-propelled space fighters!"

Suddenly, Jason saw four small spherical objects fly out of the satellite. Before he had time to think about this, they unleashed a barrage of bullets at the water satellite. The hull groaned and cracked.

> Great! Now what?

- We'll have to use the rotating mini-water jets to stop them. Put them on high pressure!

Jason did so, and he and his friend each took command of two small water jets. Hawkins was the first to hit one of the spheres, which were still blasting away at the satellite's outer shell. The pressure sliced it in half, and disabled it. One by one the spheres were picked off. Just as they had destroyed all but one, Jason noticed flames streaming down on his fort. &%@#! He had forgotten about Eugene's satellite itself. He frantically shut off his two water jets, and unleashed a full power shot at the military satellite. The fire streaming down had stopped, but the roof of his fort had been singed.

- Watch out!

At that moment, the last of the space spheres flew right in front of the satellite view screen, and blasted it to shreds. At the same moment, one of Hawkins' water jets destroyed the sphere. Jason and Hawkins now had no way of aiming at the flames the enemy satellite unleashed. Fire started raining down on Jason's fort again.

> We have to destroy the satellite itself. Does our cannon have enough power?

- Maybe, but we'd be shot out of orbit! And we're low on water.

> Wait a minute, that's it! Rotate the satellite 360 degrees.

- Okay, but why?

> Now, give full fire power!

- But... oh, NOW I get it! Your turn to be the genius!

Eugene felt triumphant. In another few seconds, the flames falling from the sky would torch Jason's fortress. The enemy had all gone for cover, and stopped firing. Everyone clustered by the WAT to watch him. "All right, full fire power! Hey, wait a minute. What the heck?!" On his view screen, he suddenly saw the water satellite getting closer and closer. It was hurtling out of orbit, towards the army satellite! Then his screen went blank. Up in space, the two satellites crashed into each other and exploded. The fire raining down on Jason's fort ended once and for all.

Death Fox: Chapter 18, Peace
Author: Eagle of Austria

The rain clouds had dispersed, and the sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky. Below, there were Peter and Jason's armed forces, separated by a wall.

"No, no, no!" howled Eugene, beating his fists on his laptop. "I can't believe Jason did that!"

Peter looked at him with contempt. No one, not even Paige, was this obsessed with winning. He looked up at the sky, and muttered something unprintable. Then he saw a piece of red-hot scrap metal plummeting down towards them.

"Forget that!" he screamed. "Everyone, off the WAT!" Just as they jumped off, the scrap metal struck the WAT's deck. It was, of course, a piece of one of the satellites. As it fell to the Earth, it was shrunken down almost to the size of a pebble. But its impact was with such force that it smashed the WAT, burying Peter, Steve, Morton, and Eugene in its wreckage.

Armed figures clustered around the fallen party. "Hey, Jason, I think we've got ourselves some prisoners!" yelled Marcus. Jason, who had previously been thanking Hawkins over chat, rushed out of the fortress.

"Ooohhh boy! I think when Paige sees this, she'll finally be willing to surrender. Where is she anyway?!" Jason demanded.

"Um, she's back in the hills. She was planning a sneak attack on you," replied Peter.

"Hah!" answered Jason. "We'll just go fortify ourselves in the house, and tie you guys to the water heater."

Peter and the other troops rose as prisoners, and were marched to the house by Jason and Marcus's grenadiers. As they arrived in the yard, Marcus jeered, "Won't Paige be happy when she finds out we went back home. With all these prisoners too!"

"You're right, she will!" came the answer. Suddenly Jason and Marcus saw not Eileen coming to greet them, but Paige, Nicole and Denise approaching them, fully armed.

"Don't you try anything funny. Half your army are our prisoners!" said Jason.

"Ah, but half of your army are ours," gloated Paige. Jason noticed for the first time that behind Denise and Nicole stood the disarmed Eileen and four friends.

"Why, you-" Jason muttered, and aimed his dart pistol. Paige, almost simultaneously, aimed her Super Soaker. The two adversaries glared into each other's eyes. There should have been a showdown between them long ago. This was only the third time since the war began that they had been face to face on the battlefield. Their friends had been doing all the fighting they should have.

Amidst all the tension and irony, someone laughed. It wasn't a hearty laugh, it wasn't very loud, but it was a laugh. That laughter spread through the ranks of the troops on both sides. It spread to Marcus and Nicole. It spread to Eileen and Peter. Even Jason and Paige burst out laughing. What were they fighting about, anyway?

After all the laughter died down, the opponents cast away their weapons. "I can't believe we got into that war!" Paige giggled. "Say, Mom and Dad will be back from their vacation soon. Methinks we'd better get this yard cleaned up."

"Fine," said Jason. "Peter can lend a hand after taking all the other kids home."

"Hey, wait a minute!" protested Peter. "This was your war, not mine!"

"Peter, if you want to avoid another war..." Paige threatened.

"No!" said Marcus. "Let's never have another war. Look at what it does."

"Yeah," Paige humbly agreed. Then she broke out in peals of laughter again. "But wait, we already are at war again! The sequel's already being written!"

This peace would not last long. By September, Jason and Paige could often be found quarreling. In October, Paige slapped Jason, and Jason sicked Quincy on her. By November, everything in the Fox house was back to normal.

But let us for the present allow them to revel in peace. As they walked through the yard, laughing and chatting, the mud hardened into soil, grass sprouted, flowers bloomed, and the sun shone ever brighter. It was as if the world had been hiding during the war, and had come out to celebrate peace.