Five people left the Indian restaurant rubbing stomachs contentedly and smiling after a wonderful relaxing evening. Tinned music being the only part of the experience they would have left out. They walked the relatively short distance to their car almost oblivious to their surroundings chatting about nothing in particular, on casual observation five perfectly average people. Maybe two couples, parents, daughter and husband, the other woman conceivably the younger man's sister even though they were not visually similar. The way the conversation casually meandered it was obvious that they were relaxed, though as they neared their vehicle perhaps there was a little tension rising. There were half a dozen figures congregated close to their destination. Young males, a multi ethnic group, maybe smart casual, expensive trainers, puffy looking jackets, an excess of chunky gold jewellery. Only the way they virtually blocked the pavement seemed almost menacing.

"Nice women," remarked one quite loudly, almost at no one in particular.
"Yea, I really fancy the younger one."
The group formed an arc alongside the wing of a car, preventing the party moving further. "Fancy a decent fuck?" asked one, grabbing the youngest woman by the arm."I strongly suggest you release my wife and disappear under the rocks you came from."
"Shit, she's too gorgeous for a pissant like you."
One of them had broken away and moved around the back of the car so there was no easy retreat. "This one has a neat arse."
"Well, we can take turns, I dare say we'll be entertained most of the night."
"I won't tell you again, walk away. While you can."
"Like we give a shit what you think. We do what we want around here." The youth, he barely looked eighteen, skin so smooth it appeared as though he hadn't even started shaving, pulled a handgun from beneath his jacket. "Give us your car keys, if you wait here we'll bring the women back when we get bored."
The husband turned his palms upwards looking at his fingers thoughtfully. "Well Princess, this is one reason why I don't like Earth."
"What?" questioned the armed interloper.
"Leave now, before I lose my patience."
"Are you exceedingly stupid, this is a fucking gun."
"Do I look frightened?" There was always going to be a chance that a weapon was only a threat. But significantly it was a question of hostility, not wanting to draw first blood. Only standing in front of a belligerent youth with a gun was likely to cause distress. Just for whom would rapidly become apparent.
The gunman glanced past his target. "Waste the bastards, we can get away in their car and fuck the women in the flat until we get bored," he said rapidly. Five shots rang out, echoing in the confines of the side street and a man fell to the floor.
One man fell.
"Dad!" screamed a woman, collapsing to her knees, wrapping her arms around an all but lifeless figures freely issuing blood at her feet, coughing feebly and struggling to speak. Through her tears she managed a few distinct words. "Griff, make it painful. Very painful."
The initial gunman had a rather blank expression on his face, he was two feet from his victim and had placed three shots into the chest, but having staggered back a short distance and buckled over the ‘corpse' straightened almost calmly. The expression on his face was not one of imminent death, it was intense anger.
"Be afraid, be very afraid." Then he turned to the young woman beside him. Having wrenched her arm free she had moved almost behind her husband where she felt more secure. "Catch me Vai." As his body went limp his wife reached out to support him.
"Afraid of a dead man," laughed the assailant, confidence restored.
"You fool, he is not dead, he is behind you," Vai roared.
The other men turned and suddenly lost all colour from their faces, the one that had shot Jane's father dropped his gun in shock. "What is it?" Whatever was behind him seemed to have terrified his friends.
"You don't really want me to answer that," said one of the others.
The figure twisted around, there was a dragon standing on the pavement, a ghost of a dragon anyway. Its jaws agape it shook it's head slowly.
"What the fuck is that?"
"The last thing you will see," said Vai bitterly.
The smoke launched forwards, enveloping the gunman and closed it's mouth slowly. As teeth entered flesh the street was filled with a horrendous scream. The figure bent forwards a little as blood gushed from numerous openings, then the dragon's head whipped up so legs shot into the air.
"Kill it," squealed another figure, pulling a gun from beneath his waistband and firing six shots into the strange slightly transparent head. No doubt some hit the moaning limp form hanging in the air. As the gun clicked on spent rounds the lifeless body flew into the group, knocking most of them to the ground. The repeated gunfire had drawn pedestrians to the end of the street. But they were confused, unsure what was happening, they saw what appeared to be a figure falling rather rapidly from a wall having been shot. There was smoke in the air, it was difficult to be certain what was going down.
The dragon swirled around the side of the car, a vapour foot reached out and crushed the paralysed figure that had killed Jane's father. Dragging him into the street claws ripped him apart, leaving a bloody trail. The other armed figure was reloading, while the young man next to him was backing away in fear. The advantage of being an immensely strong dragon is that you can attack on several fronts, his tail whipped out and flattened the figure against the wall, shattering countless bones, probably destroying most internal organs and knocking the nervous one to the pavement.
The two remaining attackers were running, in opposite directions, one had picked up a gun from the floor, just in case. A police car, blue lights flashing, squealed to a halt as it turned into the end of the road. In seconds figures were crouched beside it.
"Armed Police. Stop."
The air seemed to clear. Griff stiffened, reached out and pointed, allowing a quite fine pulse of blue light to shoot into the darkness. The disappearing figure left the ground briefly before he crashed down to the tarmac, lifeless, give or take. As Griff turned he could see the remaining antagonist motionless about twenty metres in front of two armed policemen.
There was one more within easy distance. "Are you afraid now?" The man nodded fervently. "A pity you won't tell anyone." Griff flexed his fingers sharply and the man's neck snapped like chalk.
"Put the gun on the floor," demanded an officer at the end of the street.
"Once more time Vai," whispered Griff.
"Do it now," shouted the voice of authority, the sound reaching the stricken figures without comforting them in any way.
The youngster was terrified, caught between a dragon and the blue meanies. Suddenly he felt something grip his gun arm. "No!" he offered.
"Drop the gun!"
As the pistol rose sharply towards the officers, four shots rang out and the helpless man fell dead onto the dark asphalt, the gun highlighted by a white line. By then the main road was awash with light, a second wave of police vehicles was driving slowly up the side street from the other end. One car stopped beside the crumpled almost prone figure virtually wedged, head down between two parked cars, another two came to a halt alongside the stricken group.
Griff had leant across without getting up and had his arms around Jane, comforting her a little as she sobbed profusely. Against a wall her mother was too shocked to move, tears flowed down her cheeks but little sound left her body.
"What happened?" asked an officer as he stepped out of a car.
What does it look like, pillock?
"They wanted the car keys so they could take the women away and rape them," Griff said blankly as he tried to make a little sense of things.
"But what happened?" probed the man anxiously.
"I asked them to leave. Then without warning they just opened fire, two of them."
"They killed my father so they could rape us," screamed Jane.
"But they are all dead," said a policeman quietly, looking at the mess. "That one over there looks like he was bitten almost in two by a shark, and this one has been spread onto the tarmac like fish paste." It was a reasonable description, the rib cage had been torn open, and all internal organs were rather enlarged in surface area and well distributed over the street. Maybe a spring roll then. "There are four dead men here." Obviously being little more than an untrained civilian in uniform he couldn't count.
"Asshole," spat Jane. "There is one dead man and the remains of four useless vermin that should have been drowned at birth."
"You haven't suggested what happened yet," he replied quite calmly.
"You wouldn't believe us, we don't understand it." Well, it was beyond the understanding of most people on the planet after all. Whether the character standing above them, who appeared to be a lobotomised uniformed twit, would even hear the truth was debatable.
"Try me," the officer replied wearily.
"A vapour dragon materialised from nowhere and ripped them to shreds. It must have objected to the gunfire." That and the obvious pain.
"No, you are right. I don't believe it. You said they opened fire at point blank range. Why aren't you injured?"
"Blind as well as stupid," sighed Griff. "What does this look like to you, lipstick?" When he glanced down, for the first time since the incident had begun he realised his chest was completely red. It made him feel quite strange.
Jane looked up. "Jesus, Griff!"
"I'll be fine." Hopefully. Turning to the figure in blue he offered an plausible explanation. "I had major surgery after a crushing injury, I have a metal plate in my chest, luckily he hit that, three times. Pure fluke." A pity that wasn't true as he was starting to feel breathless. It wasn't worth trying to imagine just how much tissue damage there actually was, while he could distance himself from what his brain was struggling to understand he was at least able to appear calm. After all he had already been able to vent most of his anger. Just so long as the tedium didn't begin to annoy him.
"The bodies?"
"We told you, what you believe is up to you but use your eyes and apply a little common sense, if that isn't beyond you. Jane's father is dead, she's wrapped around him wishing we had never come out. Vai is holding me tightly because she's worried I'm on the way out, I collapsed the moment I was shot, obviously. That leaves Jane's mother, I don't think she is here mentally. Then there is a slight anomaly over a mechanism. Look at that body, I can see teeth marks from here. Something bit him hard, something huge so it obviously wasn't any of us." Griff breathed in slowly, aware that blood was still flowing from his wounds, something the police had yet to even notice. Obviously they trained to fight crime, not have any regard for critically injured civilians. The fact that it would take more than the odd bullet to place Griff at death's door was irrelevant.
The uniformed figure looked up. "Here's an ambulance."
"Can they bring the dead back to life?" asked Griff.
"Well that sounds about par for the course. God, I hate this planet."
"Someone will accompany you to the hospital, just to get the truth." Griff shook his head slowly, at least they were not attempting to handcuff him, that felt like progress in the right direction.
"Vai, I feel faint," Griff whispered.
"It's alright my love, I'm here."
Griff closed his eyes and let his dragon walk once more.
"Sarge, what's that?"
A three metre tall vapour dragon, what does it look like? Stomping down the road, the rather ethereal form crushed four cars and uprooted a small tree with its tail, then appeared to roar, obviously silently, soared along the street through several officers and spiralled into the sky.
"Fuck me," hissed the questioning officer.
"Hardly," snarled Jane, tears still pouring from her face.
Two policemen were quivering, prostrate on tarmac, sobbing softly.
Griff opened his eyes. "Did I miss something?"
"Griff, can we take mother home? I mean our home?"
"What about your father?"
"You can come back for him as a gas giant," she said bitterly.
Griff struggled to his feet, fighting against the waves of pain, holding his chest and wheezing a little. Maybe he should have waited, let an ambulance crew put him on a stretcher, only Earth medicine was rather pathetic and would only draw attention to the fact that it was impossible to X-ray any part of his body.
"Are you alright?" asked Vai.
"I don't know yet, bloody primitive weapons."
"What drugs are you on? Primitive weapons?" sneered the policeman.
"You take your mother," Griff said, ignoring the officer. "I can carry your father now, otherwise it may prove tiresome."
"Where do you think you are going?" asked the policeman stepping forwards in an attempt to stop movement. Vai blocked him as Griff moved closer to Jane. Forcing a smile he activated a voice link which looked a lot like a hearing aid. "Al-lisia Code Red."
There was a momentary delay. "Griff what is wrong?"
"This planet, as usual. Track the signal, visual at one hundred metres, scare hell out of the bloody monkeys," Griff spat, trying to hold back the growing rage at the idiot's attitude.
"Jane's father has been murdered."
"How is she?"
"You work it out."
"Two or three minutes."
"Make it five, there's no rush, we need to walk to the end of the road, this side street is too narrow. I don't think we can move that quickly, obstructions." he said, trying not to alert Al-lisia to the fact that he had been injured.
Griff leant down and hooking an arm over his shoulder lifted a limp form from the floor. It was a struggle carrying the lifeless parent but Griff was eager to distance himself from more than just feeble authority figures.
"You can't take the body away, sir."
"That is my father, he's coming with us," Jane sobbed, leading her rather robotic mother. A group of uniformed figures moved with them unsure quite how to react. When they reached the main street there was a sea of vehicles, hordes of curious onlookers. Probably morbidly curious.
"I am the God Bach-ael," Griff shouted. "Belligerent pathetic people on this planet have angered me immensely. I may just kill you all." Not that he meant it, he just needed to say something to vent some anger.
"Jesus, what a fruit cake," laughed a nearby policeman.
"Is there enough room Al-lisia?"
"Yes, structurally, what about any vehicles?"
"Crush them," he sneered.
"Anti-visual off."
"Careful who you insult, you feeble creature," mocked Griff nodding towards the sky. "Is that likely to have been made on this spinning rock?"
At that moment the ship became visible, it came down slowly, powerful floodlights blinding those in its path. There were no substantial wings, no engine noise, just a massive vessel dropping out of nowhere. Al-lisia attracted everyone's attention by playing the computer file of an old record, The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, I am the God of Hell Fire. That seemed to make them scatter. Even if they were too young to remember it, in that particular context the words alone were almost frightening.
"Oh shit!" said the sergeant softly.
Several police and civilian cars were wrecked, no uniformed figures moved as the family boarded and the ramp closed behind them.

Jane was stroking Griff's forehead when he awoke. "I hate it when you do that. It worries me, it was a premonition wasn't it?"
"Yes, I'm pretty sure about that, rather explicit too."
"Tell me about it."
Griff rubbed his chest. "I don't think bullets will kill me. But we are never going to Earth again."