Day 77. 58 pages, 23,021 words.
Odium, Predericon reflected, may have been accustomed to dealing primarily with humans – may even have suffered as a result of having been one at some point. They were sentimental and emotional creatures to a fault.
“Go ahead,” Lelhmak said. “We already said there’s no way for us to harm you.”
“And the Destarion’s security measures were about to kill us all anyway,” Gyden added, “in case you’d forgotten.”
“You know,” Odium said, “you’re right.”
Moving almost too quickly for the eye to follow, Odium strode forward with a bang of displaced air, grabbed Gyden by the neck and lower left arm, pulled her to her feet and marched her straight at the wall where the doorway had been. All three Molren attempted to grapple with the Demon but were dragged along as though they were infants clutching to Odium’s uniform.
Gyden hit the wall face-first with a muffled crunch, and Odium pushed.
There was a moment of silent but intense struggle as Predericon and Lelhmak each tugged at an apparently human arm as unyielding as an imperium bar, Odium stood with a serene but determined expression on its face, and Gyden groaned as the pressure first bruised, then crushed her flesh and began to make her bones flex and distort against the hard white enamel of the platform’s interior.
“Passenger injury detected,” the Destarion said, and the door irised open. Odium hefted Gyden’s limp form in its hands, gave Predericon and Lelhmak a cool stare, and strolled through into what appeared to be the brig antechamber. The Molren followed hastily.
“Alright,” Lelhmak growled, “I think we’ve all made our points. You want out, the Destarion wants to let you out, and we want to stop you. And we can’t. Now put her down.”
Odium shrugged and let Gyden slither heavily to the floor. Predericon and Lelhmak crouched over her.
“She’s alive,” Predericon reported, moving her fingers delicately over her companion’s bruised face. Her skin had split in several places, around skull prominences and some of her bead implants, but the bleeding had already stopped and the splits swelled shut. Gyden groaned, raised a hand to her mouth, and wiped blood from the corner where her eye tooth had cut into her lip. “Med pack,” Predericon added, and Lelhmak put the emergency case into her left hands.
“I was extremely careful,” Odium said. “You’re my only three bargaining chips at the moment.”
Predericon applied some numbing agents and stimulant gauze to assist in the healing process, and ran a quick scan for internal swelling or damage. There was a small stress fracture in her prodorsal skull plate but it would heal without assistance. She helped Gyden sit up.
“I’m alright,” she reported. “Feel like a bit of a fool, but if that was fatal…” she chuckled shakily. “I’ll live.”
“Provided there are absolutely no further exhibits of childish defiance,” Odium said sternly, “yes.”
“Fine,” Lelhmak stood and glared at the Demon, then turned his disapproval directionlessly towards the walls. “Manual command override station, then,” he said. “Show us the way.”
“Acknowledged,” the Destarion said calmly, and a doorway opened in an adjacent wall. “Access granted to lower archives.”
It took all of Predericon’s willpower not to react, or to look at the other two – or the Demon. She concentrated on steadying Gyden as she pushed herself back to her feet, grimaced, and nodded her thanks.
You sly old monster, Predericon marvelled to herself.
“Right then, my organic friends,” Odium said. “Where were we?”
– Posted from my Huawei mobile phone while sitting in the carpark.