Echo-1: Part 27
“Your whale has now been safely transported off our ship.” Faye smiled a smile that would make the devil blush. She was pleased with the situation.
Baba and Yaba walked over to me and leaned on me from either side, running their hands around on my body. They tousled my hair and whispered that I was a rather cute fellow. They pondered aloud just what was inside my head. Faye slid her legs off the couch and made as if to stand.
“Now, about this girlfriend of your’s, terrorizing around the ship in her indestructible motorcycle. We’d like you, her, and this rust bucket droid off our ship. Our business with you is complete.”
Mox had done it. He had successfully traded with the Vedma. I had a whole new level of respect for him. I was feeling incredibly optimistic about everything. Hell, I had two beautiful women hanging all over me. We had got the whale off the ship and with any luck, the Brick had picked them up, already. All was right with the world.
Mox took a rather bold stance in the center of the great hall.
“She is on her way presently. If you just return my right-hand man, we’ll be on our way.”
It began to dawn on me that I was suddenly on the bargaining table.
Baba whispered in my ear. “We’d like to keep him.”
Then Yaba in my other ear. “Yes, we’d like to see what makes him tick.” She flicked me on the side of the head.
“What secrets do you hold?”
“Yes, wouldn’t you like to stay with us?”
I had to admit the thought was very tempting, but I could tell by the look on Mox’s scaly brow that it wasn’t a good idea. He shot his tongue out in Faye’s direction.
“My dear Faye, he is not a negotiable item.”
She stood up. “I’m sorry to tell you that he is staying with us. He will even stay freely.”
She shot me a glance that bowled me over. Her radiant bright blue eyes lit out of her dark sculpted face. She was like a Bernini statue carved out of black marble, a perfect physical beauty in motion. I didn’t protest.
Mox glanced at the Sentinel droid. Its axes lit up with red lightning. It advanced on the altar and slammed an axe into the force field. Bolts of red electricity shot out across its surface, but it did no damage. The Sentinel swung with its other arm, crashing the second axe into the invisible barrier. Besides putting on a light show, it did nothing. It then went into a wild windmill assault on the shield, smashing down axes again and again. Arm over arm it pummeled the shield to no avail.
Baba and Yaba were jumping up and down again taunting the Sentinel droid. Standing directly under the impact point sticking out their tongues. They walked a few meters out of its reach and stuck their head through the field, only to quickly pull back to the safe side before the droid could lower an axe on them. They did this several times until the droid stepped back and stopped.
Faye walked over to me, took my hand and addressed Mox. “Leave now while you can, or you will share his fate.”
She squeezed my hand with considerable strength. She was strong for her size. Her aggressiveness somehow broke her spell on me for a moment and all I could do was think about getting out. One half of the bronze door opened. Not enough space to get the scout ship through, but it was a way out.
X came sliding out of the right hall with a pack of Mega Therion wolves on her tail. The Sentinel’s thunderous red eye lit up with bloodthirsty bolts of lightning and it stepped between X and the oncoming wolf pack. They came to a scratching growling stop. Their fur raised straight up on their backs. They paced around looking for a way past the droid. It raised up its axes and they pulsed with red lightning. Not the kind of thing a wolf would like to get hit with.
Baba and Yaba ran over to the right side of the altar to egg on the wolves and taunt the Sentinel droid further. They wanted them to fight.
Four of the wolves charged the droid head on. The first two were split open by the axes and the next two clung to the droid attempting to bite it or tear it apart. The droid hit them with the axes stunning them slightly. When they fell to the floor it crushed them under two simultaneous blows. The Sentinel raised up the blood-soaked sizzling axes again and the wolf pack stepped back, growling and barking.
Faye’s attention turned toward the fight. I reached down into my boot with my free right hand and grabbed hold of the bone knife the Inuit had made for me.
I could hear the Inuit’s words in my head. “The weapons of the ancients will be your protector.” Would it ever.
In a flash, Faye’s beautiful face was staring at me with glowing blue eyes. I clasped her hand tight, pulled her to me and put the knife to her throat. The ivory blade in sharp contrast to her ebony skin. I pressed her body against mine, wrapped my arms around her and dove us both through the force field. I was lucky. We passed right through.
I had seen Baba and Yaba move through it with ease and I assumed it would be the same for Faye, but I was taking a chance with myself going through also. I figured at best Faye would go through and we could do a hostage exchange. But we were both out and I scrambled to get up off the floor. Mox was right next to us. He grabbed Faye’s other arm and we pulled her between X’s Robo bike and the Sentinel droid. The bronze door slammed shut and all hell broke loose.
Faye dug her nails into my hand, which was still firmly locked on hers. She lifted her face toward the ceiling and let out an ear-shattering screeching cry that shook me to the core. The entire wolf pack jumped the Sentinel droid at once.
Baba and Yaba screamed like wild witches in the night. “Kill them! Kill them! Kill them all!”
They both ran back to the couch to get something.
We stepped back and butted up against X’s Rust-a-gogo. We climbed on top of it and pulled Faye up with us. X fired the mounted cannon and blasted a momentary path through the advancing wolves and drove through them. We shot off down the right tunnel. It was dark and long and I had no idea where it led.
The flash of the light beam lit up the hall behind us. I saw Baba and Yaba standing at the edge of the altar, one with the light beam wand in hand the other with some sort of handgun. She fired. The blast hit the back of the bike. Then the tunnel entrance was blocked by the Sentinel droid. It still had two wolves clinging and clawing at its body but was moving fast and following us. I saw phaser blasts erupting as Yaba fired into the droid’s back.
I turned my attention to holding on and to what was coming ahead. I had let go of Faye. Both she and Mox were holding on for life. X was not going slow and the rusty metal bike wasn’t designed for riders on the outside. We all did our best to just stay on the thing.
X via the transmitter from within the bike: “Get that bitch out of my line of site. I know the way back to the hangar.”
Mox: “No, head to the central corridor we need to get back to the Sunshine scout. The diamond ship is only way out of here. It resists the beam.”
X: “You mean I could have brought my diamond bike instead of this hunk of junk?”
Mox: “It would seem that is the case. Now don’t kill us on this next turn my darling.”
My eyes could hardly make out the upcoming intersection. I pulled Faye up further on the top of the bike. X slowed to a reasonable speed at the corner. The Sentinel was nearly on top of us and the wolf pack was on its tail. We made the turn and there were two Mega Therions waiting for us. One jumped on the nose of the bike. X hit the accelerator as the other managed to climb on, its huge body hovering over Faye and myself.
In a magnificent feat of movement and balance, Mox stood up and stepped onto the biting head of the wolf hanging on the nose of the bike. He pulled out his fencing foil and with two thrusts and a slash blinded the wolf above us. It stood up, paws reaching for blood-filled eye sockets. Mox lept off the first wolf’s head and kicked the other, knocking it off balance and sending it flying into the oncoming path of the Sentinel droid. It was crushed with a howl under the advancing robot. I turned around and narrowly avoided losing my leg to the jaws of the Therion still hanging on the front of the bike. Mox advanced on him, but rather than becoming blind the wolf jump clear of the bike and the following droid. It stumbled to his feet and joined the rest of the pack in pursuit.
Faye hissed and screamed at him. “Coward!”
She stood up on in the center of the bike, firmly placing her feet and raising her arms up and out to her sides, she made her body into a big x.
“Come for me, my followers, great rewards await the ones who save me from these infidels.”
Her voice was heard throughout the ship. Her hands became engulfed in flames and she lowered them toward me. Fire shot out from her hands like a flamethrower. She swiveled at her hips and the flames surrounded Mox. He crawled wildly down the side of the bike on all fours and hung on the undercarriage out of her range.
I didn’t really feel any pain. I reached up to my hair and it was still there, though slightly singed at the ends. My leather clothing was blackened and smoldering. Apparently, we synthetic beings are flame retardant.
Suddenly, we slowed down and for a moment we were a giant fireball. We took another corner and X sped up again.Faye stumbled slightly and righted herself.
I stood up, knife in hand. “I don’t burn so easily.”
She reached forward and tried to knock me off the bike. I grabbed onto her with one hand and the edge of the knife in my other hand raked across her left arm. Her face distorted into a hideous creature with a huge mouth full of razor fangs. Then she faded for a moment into a cuttlefish type creature, just like Professor Mildabbar. Her tentacle hands grabbed the collar of my jacket and ripped it open. Was that her true form?
She let go and hissed at me in an unknown language. She was staring at the whale pendant around my neck. She changed back into the beautiful dark skinned human and slumped down to a squatting position on the bike. I leaned forward and fell on my knees steadying myself on her shoulders.
The whole time we were racing down the dark hallways of the Magus interior. Behind us, the Sentinel droid was catching up again, racing backwards and fighting off Mega Therion wolves. Its red axes lit up the tunnel behind us. I was aware that it was getting lighter. I looked forward over my shoulder and we were approaching the main hallway. The walls were now flying by in a blur of gray instead of total blackness. I looked back at Faye, who appeared sad in her slumped silence. I put my knife away in my boot.
“We won’t hurt you.”
Mox slithered up the side of the bike, climbing on all fours like a gecko.
“Speak for yourself. Varan or not, she never had any intention of letting us off this ship. She’d take the Brick too if she could.” His eyes glanced past us looking ahead. “Ah, our chariot awaits.”
I turned to see the Sunshine scout hovering at the intersection ahead. It fired repeatedly down the opposite hall, we could see the explosions in the distance. The scout rotated and held its position at the center of the intersection with its door facing us, just a meter off the ground.
X: “Hold on, we are going in.”
I screamed aloud and over the transmitter. “Styx, open the hatch!”
We were slowing, but not enough and the Sentinel droid and countless wolves were right behind us and closing.
Faye stood up smiling. “Until we meet again.”
Fire burst out of from her, only slightly frying me this time and mostly directed at Mox who again scuttled out of the way around the bottom of the bike. Faye took this chance and jumped into the air, fire still streaming from her fingers. She did a backward swan dive off the bike. For a moment I saw the metal devices on the tips of every other finger, producing the flames. She landed square on the top of the Sentinel droid’s head, which was facing the other direction. She jumped again into the arms of the wolf pack. I whipped my head around, saw the scout door open and we came to a slamming stop inside. Both Mox and I were flung against the interior wall. The hatched closed. There was no way we could fit the Sentinel droid too.
Mox scurried to the front. “Let’s get out of here. Blast the doors. Go!”
We took off moving in the direction of the hangar. I got to my feet, I was slightly dazed from the impact and for the first time in this body felt somewhat injured. I got into the cockpit. I could see the door to the hangar coming up quick. It had blast marks all over it. Styx had already tried to blast his way out.
“Ineffective. Weapons. Solid. Structure. Negative.”
I looked at his hand. “Give me your arm.”
He reached over with his other hand and detached the arm with the self-destruct device built in.
I took his arm and walked over to the hatch.
“Get me right up there and ahead of the pack.”
Styx shot us down the hall and stopped right at the door. I popped the hatch and jumped out. The small door was still open. I ran through. The hangar was devoid of life. The blasted control robot was in pieces on the floor. I went over to the door controls. I tired. I tried again. The door opened. I got lucky again. The Sunshine scout flew into the hangar and turned around to face the tunnel. I could see the Sentinel coming full speed. He was not fighting anymore, just trying to catch up with us. I opened the inner airlock door. The scout flew in. X backed her gogo out of the scout. She raced over to the control panel. The Sentinel droid roared past us and into the airlock.
I looked down the hall. A wall of giant wolves was charging less than 50 meters away. Faye was riding the lead wolf. They would be on us in seconds. I hit the inner airlock door close command and jumped onto the gogo. X gunned it into the airlock, scraping the door as it closed. I tumbled to a rolling stop on the floor of the airlock. I ran to the outer door and jammed Styx’s self-destruct arm in the space at the bottom of the door and twisted it. A small red light activated in the rust. I ran back to the scout.
I saw Faye enter the hangar atop a Mega Therion wolf. Her hair moved in slow motion filling the air above her head. A look a sublime joy, lust, and murderous intent bloomed from her perfect oval face. I swear her teeth were as pointed as the wolf she rode. Others were at the control panel and the main pack was charging on the airlock. X had her bike aboard and I jumped in on top of it. The arm device detonated. The scout hatch door closed just as the atmosphere was sucked out of the airlock.
Styx fired on the weak spot in the outer door and it opened. We launched out into space.
Mox looked back at us smiling. “The wolf was literally at the door on that one.”