The upgrade to Ven’s ear bud was a quick and mostly painless procedure. A small injection of nano probes and the upgrade was complete.
Next she would be paradropping in to Arzat territory near the prison. This time though, she’d carry no disguise, and no muscle suit. They didn’t what the tech falling in to Arzat hands.
She would be disguised as a pilot. She’d take a quadrocopter down low, then bail out seconds before it exploded.
The Arzat would assume she had a mechanical failure and had no choice but to eject.
Boarding the quadrocopter she thought what a shame it was that it would be destroyed. They were beautiful machines, with one rotor on each corner, a flat bottom, and a smooth rounded top.
This one had no weapons, there was no point wasting them.
Captain Yang was beside Ven as she boarded it. “Good luck boss.” Yang’s tone was serious, there was a chance Ven would simply be killed and they’d be left with nothing but the data.
Ven’s mind wouldn’t entertain the idea. As always she was determined, allowing only thoughts of success.
The ejection and explosion went exactly as planned, and Ven was parachuting downward to the ground where she saw a squad of Arzat awaiting her. She touched down and was immediately swarmed.
Two Arzat were quick to grab her arms, and the rest stood around her. One stepped closer to her face, clearly in charge.
“Loookkssss like you haaad an acccidentt.” The awful Arzat laugh. He then used his upper left hand to punch Ven in her right temple. The world went black.
She was bound at the wrists and ankles. A hood over her head. At least they hadn’t killed her. That was probably good news. She could tell she was in some sort of box. Small and confining.
She could hear no sounds, but she felt motion. She was being transported. Then suddenly the motion slowed with a lurch. Ven imagined how the buggy had slowed when they entered the water.
So there was water blocking this tunnel as well. At least command knew to expect it.
She wasn’t sure how much time had passed, but eventually the motion stopped and she heard a whoosh of air as the box she was in opened.
Arzat hands reached in to pull her out and she was walked a long ways, making turns now and again and up a flight of stairs.
At last she was sat down, and tied to the chair, which she could feel was bolted to the floor.
She heard a door close and then felt a hand pull the hood off of her. Her pupils closed in at the sudden light and she squinted to try and see around the room.
Soon enough she saw that there was nothing to see. Nothing but a door, and the Arzat who had pulled the hood.
This one was tall, and wore no armor. But had numerous scars and missing patches of hair on his black and white scales. He formed a wicked grin baring his yellowed teeth.
“Don’t tell him anything. I know you can’t respond.” It was Tirus’ voice in her ear bud. The Arzat was looking at a table of implements trying to decide what he would do to her.
Ven wanted to shout out that it was her. To thank god that he was alive. But she couldn’t let the Arzat know about the earbud. It was their one advantage, so she remained silent.
“This is going to be bad. But he won’t kill you. With any luck they’ll give up quick and send you to the mine. I’ll be here the whole time.”
Here she had come to rescue her adopted father but it was now him comforting her. What’s more he didn’t even know it was her, he just knew that he was picking up someones signal.
The Arzat had chosen a knife with a short serrated edge. He walked over to Ven and squatted in front of her.
One of his hands pulled her legs apart, as another reached in with the blade and sawed a chunk off her calf. She winced, and agonized over the pain, letting out noise but not screaming.
The Arzat stood back up. “I can do faaar worssse than thattt. Why don’t you telll me sssomething ussseful.” And he began to lower down.
This time he took the blade to Ven’s inner thigh, sawing another chunk of flesh out. Again she didn’t scream or cry out, but groaned with the pain.
“Rrrrrrr.” The Arzat was clearly frustrated by her silence. “Think youuu’re touuggh dooo you.” He went back to his table looking for another tool.
This time he came back with a hammer and swung it into the cut on her thigh. The pain was excruciating, and she finally cried out. “Sssooo youuuu dooo make noissse.” The wicked grin returned.
“Now you telll me sssomething ussseful.”
Ven looked at the Arzat slowly. “You’re ugly.”
“Grrrrr” he grabbed table and flung it at her. She got hit with all manner of objects, leaving her with bruises and scars, but nothing she couldn’t handle.
He glared at her for a few seconds more and then turned to leave the room.
As soon as the door closed her earbud went ballistic. “Ven what the hell are you doing here. Gods how could they send you? Are you okay?”
Ven could finally respond. “I’ll survive. And I chose to undertake this mission. Oh and command is on the line, you should say hi.”
Tirus gave command a quick update. They had attacked the ship in the dark and overwhelmed them with superior numbers.
Then they had brought him here, where he’d been tortured for what he guessed was a week before being placed in a squalid cell, completely isolated from the rest of the prison.
He was informed of the attack plan. Now all they had to do was get Ven in to the general population so she could incite the riot.
Ven was in the torture room for three days before they finally gave up and sent her to the mine. She was assigned to work with a man named Fet.
The mines were dimly lit, there was nothing to keep them safe, and they spent virtually every waking moment working.
Ven waited for when the guards were not around to start telling the inmates that an army was ready to save them.
She just needed to ensure that Tirus would be safe before they could attack, and that was where the riot came in. With a riot and an attack simultaneously Tirus would become an afterthought.
Most of the humans didn’t believe Ven and assumed she was crazy. These were people who had never seen human technology. Who had no idea that humans even controlled their own territory.
All technology was magic to them and the Arzat were like gods. But they had agreed not to say anything to anyone else about her ideas. Unfortunately one did.
He was a friend of Fet’s, Ven kicked herself for trusting him, but he went straight to the guards,
and when Ven saw one walking over to her she knew that they would put her in solitary and the plan would be blown. It was now or never. Her hand tightened on her pickaxe.
The guard grunted and hissed as it walked over to her. Closer and closer. Ven’s pickaxe was resting on the ground on the right side of her.
She held the handle and waited, trying to look innocent. Trying to time it perfectly.
Right as he stepped close, getting ready to grab her, her right hand swung upward, pulling the pickaxe with it. She swung it with all her strength and her aim was perfect.
The point traveled directly in to the side of his head and his body fell to the ground.
Ven looked at Fet who’s eyes were wide with fear. “Come on!” She yelled at him as she yanked the pickaxe out and began to run toward the other guard.
The other guards gun had been slung on his back and he was trying to get it ready but Ven covered the distance too quickly.
This time she raised the primitive weapon over her head and brought it swinging down.
The Arzat tried to move to the side, but he didn’t move quick enough and the point came down ripping off an ear before driving into his collarbone.
He fell to the ground, blood pouring from the wound. In too much pain to move. Ven grabbed the gun and motioned Fet to grab the other right as the alarm started blaring.
They ran down one tunnel while Ven told Fet how to use the gun but they were stopped by a cliff that dropped off into pitch blackness.
Turning back around they saw three guards coming toward them. Ven had her weapon drawn and opened fire. Fet did too, though his aim was terrible and Ven ended up taking out all three.
Ven picked up all the weapons and slung them on her back then looked at Fet, “Where are the most humans?”
Fet didn’t hesitate and that pleased Ven. He’d seen enough Arzat die now that he was starting to actually hope he could get free. “This way!” He took off in a different direction.
They ran down a long tunnel that wove back and forth but soon came to an end where there were at least a hundred humans slaving away and only five guards that Ven could see.
The guards stood on an upper level watching the humans below. Ven used their own weapons to start picking them off.
As soon as the gunfire erupted most of the miners dove to the floor, but a couple close to Ven ran her direction.
They reached forward indicating to throw them a weapon, Ven tossed one and the inmate caught it. The other inmate was taken out by Arzat fire.
Ven then took the last two guards out, and suddenly it was only humans remaining.
She shouted out, “They are called Arzat. They are not gods.
And we can kill them! Are you with me!” There was a moment of hesitation followed by an eruption of cheering, Ven was quickly swarmed by the miners.
“Command,” she spoke into her bud, “the riot has been started.”