Original Content Bought and Sold. Chapter 44, Arc 3

MyNameMeansBentNose

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Wheee~ What's going on behind the scenes?

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Previous | Beginning | Technology | Wiki | Next
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Chapter 44
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Her vision, and the vision of all Kraltnin really, was wired for quickly deciphering a landscape and spotting prey on the move. It was more due to her physiology than her training that Minmint was able to spot and slap the control pad to the door with her tail.

But now she couldn’t see any way out of this mess. The door had only been open because of that technician… Luren? Because Luren had been working on something, then Lopulm had called the Kashto away. Not that being in here did her any good. Everything was locked. The weapon racks were sealed by cages and the console at the end had refused her access. If she touched it, the console noted ‘wrong bio-print’ then shut down.

Minmint had been in here for a couple of minutes after the door sealed, but it was probably only a matter of time until they were through.

As if on cue, a burst of energy blasted through the upper left corner of the door. Minmint flinched, covering her head and eye with her hands. Her tail curled around the foot of one of the racks reflexively. Another blast went through the opposite corner. Several more pierced the wall until the border of that door was more hole than wall.

She could hear the grunting conversation of those on the other side now.

“Ready, go!”

The first impact caused the badly damaged door to shift. The second one knocked it loose from the right side. The door swung open, stuck to the last fragments of its frame on the left. Minmint fired on the first thing to step through the doorway with her gun.

The Monos stepped through, shouting angrily, but he was unharmed by the bullets of the kinetic rifle. The Monos had entered the room with due caution, his arms guarding any shots to his face. Minmint backed up awkwardly as she fired until the gun clicked.

Now laughing, the Monos stomped forward and wrestled her to the ground with ease. She flailed, but he had no trouble. Happily going into a grapple, he grabbed her neck, right arm, left arm and swiping tail all in series, then bore her down to the floor. She couldn’t bite or tail whip nor try to claw at him with her feet with any proper effect either, his armour and his weight completely overwhelmed.

The bird, Lopulm squeezed into the room afterwards with another Monos behind. The first had been wearing a grey armour, but this one had a red helmet with matching red stripes decorating the whole set. The Monos was holding a red object… a limb, a hand and attached forearm.

They had lopped off Nualula’s arm!

The Monos walked forward to loom over Minmint. The helmet gazed down at her and she could just make out his eyes squinting downwards at her through the dark visor. His lower left hand reached out and slapped her head aside.

“She will be our bait. Tie her up.”

The first Monos in grunted his affirmation and bundled Minmint away. It took her a moment to recover her senses past the shock of being smacked by that heavy hand. The last thing she saw of the room was the Monos placing the hand of the severed limb on the console.

Outside, everyone else was gone. Stacey, Tsury and Aurula had been taken away. The only sign of Nualula was the pool of blood near where she had been standing before Minmint had ducked out of sight.

Not long after the emp pulse blew up many of the objects within the workshop, but not before weapons started being handed out from the once locked racks in the storage.

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Otto
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The door slid open and Matchka pulled her connector from the circuit. There was no way they’d be making any progress without Matchka’s help. The Monos expected them to bypass the doors, of course, judging by the patrol they were sneaking up on.

Matchka’s ears twitched and swivelled. Her tail floated back and forth ever so slightly but remained entirely at waist height. Her waist height at least. Otto was close enough that her tail occasionally batted against his knee.

Otto quietly followed right behind her, ready to cover her in case of discovery. That wasn’t terribly likely, at least according to Matchka’s estimation. Supposedly the Monos were too simple to remain still and quiet. They shuffled and talked, making all sorts of little noises to give themselves away. Otto had the feeling Matchka was enjoying this.

Mike and Daniel were next in line with Tank right behind them, but he had his socks on again so his talons wouldn't click on the hard floor and give them away. Mike and Daniel had pulled out suppressors to put on their guns then loaded subsonic rounds. Less stopping power overall, but the brothers purposefully didn’t use the things all the time. They wanted their weapons to be associated with noise. Otto certainly wasn’t going to argue the idea. They didn’t have many of the subsonic bullets either.

Piderby and Crawk were in the back. Crawk was built to handle EMPs, so he was moving about with no problem, but he was heavy. As for Piderby, aside from his bright purple suit, the otherwise dignified Gerlen was essentially a non-combatant.

Otto had started out their little exploration holding a rifle like a club, but he had given up on that idea. The brothers and their guns were the real power here, and Otto’s hand wasn’t feeling well. The new hand The Mother Mote SI aboard Harley’s unusual ship had made on the spot. He hadn’t seen the process, but after the conversation with Harley about returning to the crashed Manifestation, Harley and her SI had ‘gifted’ Otto with a new hand and a small friend. Which was… handy, in its own way. Otto was pretty sure the old one would not have survived the blast.

Otto slowly flexed the fingers on this new ‘hand’. It was strange communicating with the Mote. It didn’t speak, not at all. Its communication arrived as a sort of ‘knowing’. It knew Otto didn’t have the strength needed to handle that gun like a club for instance. Because Grips knew that, so did Otto. It knew when other Motes were nearby and had a mission or a goal and by extension, Otto knew as well. It was much like when Otto came to a barely conscious decision of his own. Sorta how a person would realize they were hungry and went to go find some food. And he didn’t know how it worked quite yet, but he knew when it was Grips that was bringing the piece of knowledge to him. He also knew when the Mote was enjoying itself or unhappy with a situation. Grips had enjoyed Otto’s presence so far, but now, now Grips was really unhappy.

His stomach had dropped when the harness had fizzled out.

In hindsight, Otto felt better about his first concern being for Grips, the Mote serving as his right hand. As soon as the electronics started popping, Otto was afraid for Grips and its health. Did that mean he was more concerned with SIs? Otto shook his head, he couldn’t let his mind wander too far.

Matchka’s tail slapped extra hard against Otto’s leg. He paused and everyone following paused as well.

The building was actually larger than it needed to be, intended to be a difficult fight for any invading group. Most of that had gone to waste. Hatherkey had found a way past the defences, cleared out the people and then left a trap.

What they were really afraid of was where Aurula, Stacey, Tsury and Minmint were at. They had already found some old residents of the base. There had been no fight. Otto had been grateful for the implant manipulation upon discovering that one room...

Matchka lifted her hand and counted out on her three fingers how many Monos were ahead of them. She raised each little finger in order, counting one, two, three, then lowered a finger to count four. She then pointed to the side to show they were around the left corner.

Otto looked back to see Daniel and Mike approaching, guns ready. Their faces were grim and had been since they’d arrived at the trap.

Mike poked a little mirror around the corner first, then pulled back and returned to the group. “Four of them, yeah,” he explained while whispering, “They are facing in different directions. We can probably only down two of them easily.”

“You can’t shoot them all?” Tank asked.

“Maybe?” Mike whispered back, “if they’re dumb they’ll leave themselves open, but if they were paying attention in shared space like they should’ve been then they’ll guard their faces.”

“Hmm,” Tank grunted quietly.

“Will lure,” Matchka suggested, drawing their heads around.

“Lure?” Otto asked quietly.

“Yes, they see, chase,” Matchka explained, then pointed across the intersection, “I run, that way.”

Otto reached out and thumbed Matchka’s burnt ear, then scratched around the base. She enjoyed it for a moment, then flinched back, giving the Mote a look. Otto grimaced, “You sure you want to make yourself a target?”

“Monos, bad shot. Easy.”

Crawk and Piderby had joined the little pow-wow. Otto and the brothers exchanged looks with each other and Tank. The four of them nodded in agreement. Crawk and Piderby managed to look confused in a way that Otto recognized.

Tank had learned that quiet sort of communication Humans causing trouble could use. Now it was the Ytheon and the Gerlen on the outside. Mike was standing next to Crawk and gave the big guy a pat on the shoulder. That didn’t clear up the look of confusion.

Moving to prepare for the fight, everyone bunched up against the wall, nodding when they were ready.

Matchka jumped out and yowled at the Monos, staring at them for just a moment. Otto's stomach clenched up, at the sound, not just because he couldn't see the patrol. The shared space had spoiled him. After a moment that felt far too long, Matchka ducked away and escaped to the far side of the intersection.

The incoming pulse rounds knocked fragments from the wall, scattering dust and chips of shrapnel. The Monos shouted as they pursued.

“We were ordered to retreat!” Yelled a voice.

“It's just a four ears! Kill it!” Yelled another.

'Interesting,’ Otto thought to himself.

There may have been a voice of reason in that group, but it was quickly over-ruled. The approaching group made plenty of noise, their rough paws slapping in the floor. The first appeared from the corridor, an arm out, his hand on the intersection corner to help him maintain his momentum as he ran. The next pair were only moments later. The brutes took aim as they ran.

The brothers took aim as well, they fired at the legs of the Monos. There was only mesh on the back of their armor there. With howls of pain, the first two dropped their hindquarters awkwardly turning to face the ambush. The third’s armour protected his legs allowing him to turn around faster and bring his bulky weapon to bear. He didn’t get a chance to shoot anyone with it. He did try, but the effort was futile.

While the brothers had stepped away from the wall to take shots at the Monos, Otto had charged in after that first volley with Crawk and Tank right behind him. It was Otto’s shield that absorbed the shots from the pulse rifle. Otto’s shield smacked into the third Monos as the fourth came into view, holding a larger bulkier square framed gun. Otto hadn’t seen one of those in quite some time.

“Concusser!” Mike shouted.

Tank was there first. The Green Kraltnin had only been a step behind Otto. He caught the barrel of the gun and forced it upwards as it fired. A whump and a wave of force sounded next to Tank’s head and he stumbled backwards. The gun whined as it cooled down after the shot.

Crawk arrived next, his big fist smashing into the head of the Monos with bone-breaking force. The augmented Ytheon’s punch threw the Monos against the wall, the concusser falling from his numb fingers.

Otto flinched when he heard the impact, then he found himself in his own trouble. Three hands gripped his shield and yanked, pulling it out of his grip. Otto let go and the Monos reared up, holding the shield up high. He brought his pulse gun down, but Otto had already accounted for that, jumping forward to tackle the arm with the gun.

One of the first two Monos hesitated as he was unable to fire, the Monos Otto wrestled with blocking any clear line of sight with which to use the pulse rifle.

Mike and Daniel toggled a switch on their guns, switching to burst fire. Short, controlled bursts to the head of the other Monos brought the big grunt down in moments.

With a grunt and a heave, Otto turned the gun sideways and ripped it out of the Monos’ grip, falling sideways just in time. As Otto fell away the edge of the shield slammed back into the floor.

The tussle had blinded the third Monos to what happened to the fourth, who was now splayed out on the ground, his head bent at an odd angle. The shield coming down gave the Monos just enough time to realize he was in a great deal of trouble as Crawk came for him next.

The shield dropped and the Monos brought his upper arms up just in time to catch Crawk’s own hands. Suddenly they were grappling, testing each other in a contest of strength The pair of them grunted, then the Monos brought his middle arms up to catch Crawk’s wrists, his face snarling with pain. Crawk’s face remained impassive as he slowly bent the arms of the Monos backwards.

The pop sound wasn’t much to speak of, but the shoulder of the Monos dislocating earned a much more impressive grunt of pain. The Monos tried to disengage, to step backwards. Letting go only allowed Crawk to strike the Monos in the neck with a vicious chop.

His windpipe crushed, the Monos fell to the ground, gurgling in pain.

For a moment, the last Monos froze. He was in serious trouble and he knew it. Sure he had armour, but that hadn’t helped his three companions as much. But with his hind legs injured, he wasn’t running anywhere. He unfroze and took aim with his rifle. The pulse rifle never fired a shot. His head jerked back as the brothers didn’t hesitate to shoot.

“... I’m happy he didn’t actually shout,” Otto noted as he looked down on the Monos Crawk had struck in the neck.

“I agree,” said Crawk.

Tank was crouched against a wall, clutching his head. A trickle of blood seeped from his ear. Otto didn’t blame the Green. He’d experience being close to a concusser wave before. Otto to had learned you didn't have to be struck directly by a concusser to suffer some real damage. Daniel was the first to help Tank.

“You okay man?”

“Nnnrrr… I will be,” Tank replied, his hands covering his fully closed eye. Slowly that eye opened, then the membrane underneath retracted. “Good, I can still see, but there is some blur at the edges.”

“We should keep moving,” Otto warned, “they were supposed to retreat, to lure us somewhere I bet. If we take too long they may change their minds.”

Everyone looked at Otto for a moment. Mike broke the silence. “Yeah, and we should see how those brown fuzzy mantis guys are holding up,” the older brother noted as he approached Tank. “Some help would be good right about now too.”

Mike and Daniel helped Tank up, then provided shoulders to the still woozy Kraltnin.

“Follow,” Matchka told the group. She had the map after all.

The area they had just entered was general quarters, the private rooms of those who had lived in the base. On the way through they found a large room. With numerous stools, couches and bowls with monitors on the walls and tables with small gaming accessories, this was clearly a public recreation room. It was also an execution site.

There were bodies tossed in a pile, perforated with plasma rounds and parts crushed, burnt and broken by point-blank pulse rounds. At a glance Otto could spot Kraltnin, Kashto, Veprutasians and a couple Ytheon.

“Fucking terrible,” Mike commented, his voice void of emotion.

They wouldn’t have spared it another thought if they could have helped it.

Matchka came to a halt, her two right ears flicking back to face the open door. “Heard voice,” she explained, turning around and coming back to the entrance to the rec room.

Matchka went in first followed by Crawk, then Otto. There was a very subtle sigh of disgust from Piderby.

“Hello?” Otto called, looking around. “Where did it come from Matchka?”

Machka walked directly to the pile of bodies. “Underneath,” she declared, pointing at the pile.

“Under that?” Daniel groaned. His reluctance was clear.

Otto felt a clench in his stomach and purposefully activated that suppressive routine of the neutered slave package. His disgust deadened, Otto grabbed the first body on the pile and tossed it aside. Crawk joined in half a moment later, tossing someone aside one-handed then tossing another aside with his other hand. The Ytheon’s strength was impressive once again.

“How can you…” Mike breathed from the doorway.

Even with the implant suppressing his emotions, Otto could still feel his stomach fluttering.

They all heard the voice this time. A muffled complaint that barely registered and failed to trigger the implant it was so faint. Without that trigger, they couldn’t recognize what was being said. All but one of them anyways.

“It’s Tik,” Tank mumbled from where he stood between the brothers. “Let me go,” Tank asked and the brothers let him go. Tank was still wobbly, but he was strong enough to help move the last couple bodies. They found Tik, with a burn on his neck, cradled under the corpse of a Ytheon who had managed to prop himself up with an arm to leave a little shelter for Tik.

The small blue and white Kraltnin blinked at them and spoke, his voice frail and strained. The burn on his neck seeped fluid.. “Green Tanktantun, you’re alive?”

Otto grabbed Tank’s wrist and placed the nanofix tin in his hand. “Here.”

Tank didn’t hesitate to pop the lid from the tin and slather some of the grey paste on the the young Kraltnin’s neck. Tiks eye was as wide as it could go as he looked up at Tank.

“You are fortunate to survive,” Tank noted, “she protected you?”

“Yes,” Tik replied, his voice gaining a bit more strength already. Otto didn’t miss the Kraltnin’s careful effort to look at anything except Tank. Tik had started to look at the Ytheon they’d lifted aside, but that eye quickly snapped away.

“We should keep moving,” Otto suggested. No one wanted to be in this room longer than necessary.

No one argued the point.

They came close to meeting up with another patrol, at least by Matchka’s estimate. With her ears leading the way, the group made it to the far side of the base hidden in the apartment complex without trouble.

Piderby and Matchka opened up the door and Otto stepped outside without hesitation.

“What are you doing?” Mike hissed.

Otto raised his right hand and waved.

Two armoured Tak’tin dropped to the platform before them.

“Is everyone okay?” Otto asked still holding Grips up. “You were close enough for the pulse to hit you I assume.”

“We were, our Motes experienced heavy damage,” the speaker waved one of his armoured blades, “We took the time to swap motes and create full suits.”

“Swap motes?” Mike asked.

The Tak’tin tilted his wedge-shaped head. As he did so his helmet came to life, opening up and separating into separate limbs and body. It waved a limb, then closed back up on the Tak’tin’s head.

“Oh,” Mike answered. “Your armour is all different pieces?”

“Yes,” the Tak’tin replied.

They stared at each other for a moment.

“That’s fuckin’ sweet!” Daniel exclaimed, interrupting the staredown.

Before Mike could start fishing for information, Otto made sure to keep things moving. “Are you still up for combat? Even with some of your party down?” He looked up to see two other Tak’tin standing on a ledge, mostly unencumbered. Their bodies weren’t smooth like the tiny mantis he remembered from earth. These ones were furred with an earthy brown with swirls of darker and lighter browns on their bodies.

“They remain to protect the injured Motes,” the leader explained as Otto looked, “the risk of discovery is great.”

“Then let's not waste time.”

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Otto
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The Monos patrols didn’t get any smarter, but with the dangerously equipped Tak’tin, two more patrols went down with very little effort. With Otto’s suggestion, they left the last patrol for the moment and went to check on the likely hold out spot.

But with three of the patrols taken out, that gave the crew a couple concussers and pulse rifles on top of the weapons the Brothers already had. Not that the pulse rifles would do much good if the rest of the Monos had deviation fields. The weapons were notably bulkier than previously seen weapons, probably due to the hardening necessary to protect the gear against that EMP.

It wasn’t hard to figure out where the boss of the Monos was stationed. Him and his goons were almost patiently waiting in the cafeteria. With a little extending camera to peek around the corner, Matchka reported on what she could see down the length of the hallway. Or at least as patiently as the Monos seemed to get. More than a couple times the obvious leader with his red striped armour barked orders to stay put.

Even from the hallways, Otto could make out the barking voice clearly. “I know that shout.”

“Yeah, that’s the dumb captain,” Daniel agreed, “didn’t learn the lesson last time.”

“What’s the plan?” Mike asked.

“An ignorant soldier may suggest taking the three shields and charge head on,” Crawk noted, “I assume we will be attempting to attack from all sides?”

“Yup,” Otto agreed, “Makes perfect sense, but we can do better yet.”

“Is that why the last patrol?”

“Yup, if we make the last patrol retreat, then all eyes will be on that side.”

“Allowing the rest to attack with impunity.”

“That's not the most important thing,” Otto replied, looking to Tank. “First is Minmint.”

“Yes,” Tank replied, joining the conversation. “How will we save her?”

Otto looked at Daniel, then smiled. “These guys are big, but they seem to have a really thin skin.”

Daniel grinned. “They do, huh?”

“What do you two still have for gear?” Otto asked Mike and Daniel directly, “We can sort out the plan from there.”

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Minmint
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The arriving soldiers made her shake and shiver despite being securely held by the Monos. The had tied up her arms behind her back and pulled her tail up to add it to the binds. It was revealing and terribly embarrassing, but none of the Monos cared to look.

“Hold, you understand their orders,” The leader ordered as the thugs became agitated at the sound of distant weapons. He had been struggling to keep them in line, everyone was clearly impatient with the wait.

Minmint tried to shift around and look at the noise and mess. The Monos was holding her like some common bundle across his chest. She felt the body of the Monos shift. It became clear what he was doing when a third fist lightly punched into her side. Minmint grunted in pain, resigning herself to her current position. The movement did shift her around so she was facing downwards. This let her look at the group of Monos.

The leader was still talking, “Without their gear and a corresponding map they will be vulnerable, easy prey if we can lure them here effectively.”

She heard the arrival of one of the patrols and the shouting that accompanied that arrival. With the two new arrivals, that made eighteen of the Monos waiting for Tank and the Humans. Minmint let her head hang.

“Report!” the boss ordered.

While they yelled back and forth Minmint could only regret the whole situation. She knew the Monos had activated the EMP, she’d seen a bunch of gear pop when the device went off, then a couple Monos had run back from the vault she’d attempted to hide in. The advantage of the kinetic guns was practically nullified by the armour, and now her friends and lover didn’t have any real defence against the weapons of the Monos.

“Then they will hit their companion!” the leader shouted in response to a complaint from one of his lessers. Minmint flinched as the boss pointed at her. Then there was a ‘bang’ and his head shifted as something struck the side of his helmet, all heads turned to look at the hallways where the shot had come from.

Minmint couldn’t look. Her Tanktantun would never be able to charge down that hallway with all those guns facing him.

Then she went as stiff as a board. She was seeing movement from the opposite side, from the corridor opposite to where everyone was looking. Someone had stepped out! Minmint shifted her head ever so slightly to see a second body come around the corner.

Otto and what looked like an armoured Tak’tin were approaching, quickly, but carefully. The way Otto walked was a bit strange. Careful, but confident. She certainly couldn’t hear him. The Tak’tin was a naturally stealthy creature, so it was no surprise to see it moving towards them without making noise.

At the shout of the leader, “Shoot them!” Otto and the Tak’tin twitched but kept their pace. Then Minmint’s world shifted as the Monos moved her around until she was hanging from his upper right arm. He had freed up his left arm to take aim with the pulse rifle.

The weapons of the Monos weren’t nearly as loud as that of the Human brothers, but they still zapped and whined during firing cycles and recharges. When all the weapons stopped firing, the two froze for a moment. Another rifle fired down the hallway. She saw a puff of material as the round struck the roof above Otto and the Tak’tin. As soon as the Monos opened fire again the two resumed moving.

Minmint flinched when the leading Monos yelled at the far hallway. “Come out here and fight!” he shouted. “Coward!”

And then she heard Daniel’s voice. “I know you are but what am I?” The ensuing conversation was so ridiculous her mind blanked out for a moment. Then she realized that she had been listening to Mike, Daniel and Otto for so long she’d become used to their banter. The Monos had no frame of reference for their general irreverent conduct.

The Tak’tin arrived first, with Otto just behind. The armoured blade of the Tak’tin scythed overhead, the noise lost in the firing plasma cannon of the Monos leader. Otto arrived in the next moment, catching Minmint and bracing the falling body of the Monos. Otto grunted then, just as the cannon the leader Monos was firing beeped.

“I think you made him angry!” A new voice yelled.

Otto let the Monos fall all the way to the floor. She could clearly look up at Otto from where she was laying, he had a shield strapped to his back.

“I’d be angry if I was that ugly too!” The first voice replied.

The Human picked up Minmint in his arms. Where was Tanktantun?

“Ah! That’s why he doesn’t wanna show his face!”

Otto turned and started heading down the hallway, the Tak’tin already ahead of them. More rifle rounds struck the ceiling above them. The brothers were firing above the heads of the Monos to avoid hitting allies!

Then she heard the voice of the Monos leader “What?” He shouted and everyone stopped firing. Minmint turned her head to look.

They were all turning around. “They spotted us!” she hissed. Otto didn’t respond, he just started sprinting. His feet striking the ground were jarring, but she did her best to pull her head and looped tail inwards. She whined when an errant bolt of plasma skipped past Otto’s shield and singed her tail.

Then there was an explosion. She was too busy sheltering as much of herself behind the shield as possible, so she didn’t see where it came from. There was shouting and then more explosions.

-----
Prock
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He climbed to his feet, a sharp pain in his right hind leg causing him to grunt with pain. “You, you, you! Get them!” He ordered to the first three of his grunts to get up, pointing down the hallway the Human had taken the hostage. “The rest of you, on me!”

Eighteen to start with, three were down and unmoving, two down and injured. The thrown bombs had done their work.

Then a shuddering whump of force passed through from a side corridor. Prock shouted out in pain as the concusser struck a bunch of his crew just in front of him and he suffered the effects of being too close to the passing of the wave. Another sounded from the opposite side, downing more Monos. They had the concussers!

“Retreat!” Prock shouted. A crossfire! His patrols were all dead? They must be! “After him!” he shouted again as he chased after the Human who had taken his hostage. He turned and galloped down the hallway, pushing to catch up the the biped. Bullets pinged off his back as he turned and ran. The shield of the so called rescuer disappeared around a corner to the right.

After a moment Prock was quickly running full speed. He held his cannon with both upper arms and his back feet and mid limbs hit the ground in pairs as he launched himself forward. He could hear several of his grunts following close behind. He would catch up with that Human in a moment.

Prock arrived at the corner, but as he began to turn right, a bar swung out from the left. He recognized the blast spear and reflexively threw the cannon at the weapon to avoid the inevitable burst of energy. The spearhead struck the cannon, and nothing happened. Nothing but the Green Kraltnin taking the plasma cannon.

The following Monos arrived just in time. Prock was already stumbling away from the Kraltnin, he steadied himself to keep moving forward rather than test the stolen deviation field against the cannon.

They would need to regroup! Then they could try again! Prock had the reinforced gear, he referenced the map of the base. He would try again another time, they wouldn’t take him down this easily!

-----
Tanktantun
-----​

His father Tingtantun had always said the typical Monos was better at putting on a front than they were at actual combat. The fleeing backside of Prock did much to reinforce that statement. That Prock had switched from shouting at Daniel to fleeing for his life quite quickly.

He heard the cooldown alert ping and Tanktantun fired one last time at the four retreating Monos. Another field popped and another Monos was transformed into a smoking corpse like the one laying on the ground next to him.

They rounded the corner, disappearing out of sight. Tanktantun rushed over to where Otto was standing with Minmint and the two Tak’tin who’d been waiting in case the Monos were braver than expected. The group had taken a risk splitting up like they did.

Mike and Daniel at one end to draw all the attention. Crawk at one side with a concusser and Piderby at the fourth side with the other concusser for the crossfire. Then finally Otto who had snuck out to grab Minmint despite the risk.

Tanktantun had wanted more than anything than to save Minmint himself. He sunk to the ground, dizzy and weak from the damages he’d received. The feedback from the harness popping had hit him particularly hard. Being on the edge of the concusser wave had hurt much more. Scaring the leader into fearful escape with the blast spear had been another clever trick hatched from the mind of Daniel and it had worked. But that was as much as he could handle. Tank put a hand on his head, then Minmint knocked him over.

“You’re safe!” She cried out in relief, her eye closed. He felt the tip of her tail curl around his wrist.

Tanktantun put an arm around the shivering woman. “And so are you.”

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End Chapter
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