Just then the noise of the door down the hallway came. It was followed by a single set of footsteps.
Ven felt her heart fall in to her stomach as the uniformed Arzat from earlier approached the cells. He slowed his walk. Twenty minutes Tirus had said.
Ven didn’t dare hope, but a small part of her wondered how long it had been.
When the Arzat stopped in front of her cell Ven felt herself wanting to scream and break down in tears. But she resisted the urge, she was too angry to give in to it.
Instead she simply glared at the thing.
It glared back at her for a few moments before it’s wide sharp tooth mouth opened in an evil grin. For a moment Ven thought it might speak, but it said nothing as it opened the cell door.
She felt her eyes start to sting with tears as he walked slowly toward her. She did not move, but felt her body tense in anticipation of whatever pain was coming.
She thought about backing away, but she would only end up against the wall. Instead she just stood.
With a bolt of speed the two lower clawed hands grabbed her forearms while the upper grabbed the sides of her face.
He held her with such strength that she would have significant bruising, and her feet were no longer fully on the floor.
Her face, inches from his, she could see with detail the reptilian skin covered in coarse hair.
He smelled like a combination of mold and vinegar, and his largest teeth were nearly an inch long. Ven felt herself nearly pass out in anticipation of whatever awful thing was to come.
“Hey fuck face I got your fucking map!” Tirus’s voice was the last thing she expected. The Arzat froze.
It continued to hold her arms and head but its eyes lost their focus as though it was elsewhere.
After a moment it released its grip on her and she nearly fell when her feet weren’t expecting to catch her.
In an instant it spun and marched out of the cell, swiftly turning to lock the door behind it.
After locking her cell it walked toward Tirus’ instead and began to speak in the low hiss voice, “Human, you bette.......
” Suddenly the floor beneath the Arzat was launched upward with such force that he smashed into the ceiling. His six limbs yanked in awkward angles at the same time as his head was crushed in.
Whatever had destroyed the floor had come spinning up through it at the same time. While the rubble began to pour into the hole the thing stopped spinning and hung in mid air briefly.
It was in that moment that Ven realized it had a human shape.
Before it could begin to fall back through the hole flames erupted from its feet and it was able to stay in place before launching itself to the side of the hole and landing on two feet
in front of Tirus’ cell.
Ven couldn’t see the cell itself, but she could see the things profile, and it was like nothing she had ever seen before. About the same height as a man, it was a metallic dark grey color.
It’s legs, arms and torso looked like dark muscular human ones but its head, and hands were clearly mechanical.
It had darkly glowing blue eyes at the front of its otherwise featureless and smooth face. It’s torso was also smooth and featureless.
As it had come through the floor its hands had looked like giant shovels that it had been pressing together over its head,
but they quickly collapsed and folded into its forearms to be replaced with more normal looking “hands.”
While Ven was trying to process what the thing actually was, she saw that it was reaching toward the bars of the mans cell. “Good timing Felix.
” Right as Tirus finished saying the words the thing yanked its arms back in an effortless motion that brought two bars with them,
each had hunks of concrete and metal on their ends from where they had been secured.
The thing threw them into the hole in the floor and they were quickly swallowed by the ocean water beneath them.
“Glad to be of service sir.” It had an odd voice also not like that of any human Ven had ever heard. It was strangely pitched and had a buzz to it.
She could see the thing open a hatch on its chest and pull what she thought was a gun from it, though it too was like none she had seen before.
It handed the thing to the man as he stepped from the cell. Tirus and the thing he called Felix skirted their way around the hole in the floor until they were in front of Ven’s cell.
For the first time Ven was able to really see him. He was older than she expected, but not terribly so.
He had a neatly trimmed short beard and hair that was dark brown with the slightest hint of grey hairs hear and there.
His clothes were dark and plain but in good condition without the usual wear and stains of those living in the villages.
His eyes were deep dark green color, similar to Ven’s own eyes, and his expression was a kind one.
Looking at Ven an expression of sadness crossed his face. He looked at Felix and without uttering a word Felix seemed to understand him.
Tirus stepped back as Felix yanked two bars out of the front of Ven’s cell with as much apparent ease as before. The opening was big enough to get through but Tirus motioned at Ven to wait.
Ven heard why. Footsteps were coming from outside the hallway. Many, many footsteps. Felix made an immediate lunge toward the door, yanking a second gun from it’s chest as it did so.
He positioned himself in front of the doorway, holding the weapon in one hand while his other hand formed back in the shovel type shape it had before,
though this time he held it in front of his body as a shield for his head and upper torso. A similar but smaller version appeared in the hand holding the weapon as well.
Tirus ducked into the cell and moved toward Ven. “Quick, get back against that wall.” He said while indicating the same with a nod of his head.
Ven did as he said and he positioned himself between her and the entrance to the cell, pulling his rifle to his shoulder in the same instance as the swooshing sound came of the door opening.
From where they were, neither Tirus or Ven could see Felix or the hallway door, but the sound was deafening.
Ven had to use her hands to cover her ears and found herself clenching her eyes shut as though that could help block out the sound. It was a cacophony of gun fire.
The steady thuds of the weapons that Arzat typically used, and a louder rapid high pitched whirring and banging that Ven thought must be Felix’ weapon.
There was also the metal on metal plinking of bullets bouncing off of metal and cement.
The noise carried on for nearly thirty seconds, Tirus remaining in his protection position between Ven and the Arzat, should they overwhelm Felix.
But it was unnecessary, as at the end of the thirty seconds, the only noise was the quiet whir of Felix weapon spinning down. His voice came next. “Nine Arzat down sir.
” It came across as a report, rather than a boast.
“Nicely done.” Tirus had finally lowered his weapon. He turned and crouched in front of Ven who stood dazed and in shock from everything that had just happened.
Looking into her eyes he waited for them to lock onto his before speaking. “In about thirty seconds that hole in the floor is going to get plugged up.
Some more friends of ours will come up through it. One of them is going to take you back down into our ship where you’ll be safe. Okay?”
Ven looked into the mans eyes and felt herself start to cry. “There there sweetheart,” He pulled her into a hug as though he was her own father, and squeezed her tight.
“When all this is over I’ll come see you and make sure you’re okay.
” Ven’s tears continued to pour, but she nodded her head in acknowledgement, wiping a sleeve across her runny nose as she did so. After a few seconds she managed to squeak out, “Thank you.
” And with that Tirus gave her hand a last squeeze before turning to run out of the cell and after Felix.