Thursday, July 10, 2014

February 21, part 2



My heart was drumming so fast that I thought it might fly right out of my chest.  A million thoughts went through my head in a single second: turn off all the collars.  Kill Finiuld.  Get to Oses.  Free the rest of the prisoners.  Fly the ship to our vessel, the Pussy ‘Porter.

A small voice in my head counseled caution, however.  Take your time, it urged.  Think things through.  Don’t squander this opportunity because it might be the only one you get.

For once, I listened to that mote of reason.  After all, Finiuld was down for the count here.  I had time to make sure we could all be freed.  I was not going to be stupid, not now, not when so many lives counted on it.

First things first.  I needed to get rid of the biggest threat to me and all the rest.  I had to kill Finiuld.

I stared down at him.  Damn it, he looked so small and helpless.  He was.  His only control over me had been through the collar and what he could do to Oses.  He was utterly at my mercy.

I looked around the room for some kind of weapon.  There was nothing that resembled a blaster or a knife.  I saw no stabbing or shooting implements at all.  Nothing I saw in the room seemed heavy enough to bash him with either.  I had no quick and simple way to finish this.  I would have to go hands-on.

I looked down at Finiuld again.  I felt how much I hated him.  I had killed before, killed those who had threatened me.  It had been awful taking the lives of others on Earth, something I still had nightmares about.  Those men’s faces haunted me, and it didn’t matter that they had left me no choice but to do it. 

The Tragooms I’d been ready to kill on the transport wouldn’t have been so bad, I thought.  They really did seem more animal than sentient, like rabid dogs needed to be put down for the protection of all.  Maybe killing Finiuld would be like that.  God knows, I despised him enough.

Yet I would be killing a helpless man.  Could I be that cold?  That brutal?

I thought about Oses.  I thought about my unborn child and what it would mean to have it caught here with Finiuld.  I knew I could do it then.  It would haunt me for the rest of my days, but I could do it.

I squatted down on the floor next to him.  I rolled him over.  I thought I would sit on him, pinning his arms and keeping him down while I strangled him.  I hoped he would not wake for it.  If fate was kind, he would slip away unknowing of his life leaving him.  I may have hated him, but I still had an aversion to him suffering.

As I straddled his body on my knees, arranging him so he couldn’t fight if he did wake, I noted the little device on his belt.  It was the phase converter, the tool that allowed Finiuld and anyone he was in contact with to pass through solid objects. 

I suddenly saw a way out of the horrible duty I had to perform.  I could go and get Oses. I could let him kill Finiuld instead.

I was so relieved by the idea that I didn’t consider at first how monumentally stupid it was.  I knew it was cowardly, but I am not a killer.  I can do it when I have to, but if I can find a way out of it, I will.  I thought this was such a situation.  It only occurred to me later that I didn’t know my way back to the containment where Oses was.  I could have wandered lost for hours for all I knew.  Meanwhile, Finiuld could have recovered consciousness, discovered I was loose, and regained control of our collars.  Then there would have been real hell to pay.

That didn’t occur to me right then.  All I cared about was that I could get out of murdering someone in cold blood.

I grabbed the phase thing off Finiuld’s belt.  I needed to figure out how it worked so I could get out of the room.  Then I would turn off all the collars and get Oses.

I looked it over.  It really did resemble a kazoo, except there were no openings.  Smooth and gold, it also possessed no controls or buttons, at least none that I could see.

I’d never heard Finiuld say anything to activate it either.  Perhaps it was enough to simply be contact with it?  Maybe Finiuld touched it with bare skin, like his fingers, when he wanted to phase.

I stepped to a nearby wall, clutching the phase controller in my hand.  If it worked, I should be able to walk right through.  I went for it.

Thank goodness I’d been careful in my approach, because the wall was as solid as ever.  I bumped into it gently but could not go through.

Okay, so something was needed to activate it.  I mused over the gadget, turning it over and over in my hands.

“Activate phase,” I said, hoping that would somehow get me what I wanted.  But no, when I put my hand against the wall it still wouldn’t let me through. 

Finiuld never spoke to get his phase on.  Maybe one simply thought at it?  I gave that a try and still came up empty.

I puzzled over the thing for a long time.  I remembered Finiuld's conversation with the other Ofetuchan at the party, the one when they'd discussed how someone had been overcome and killed in an Adraf's containment. They'd said the prisoners had gotten hold of the phase converter and taken over the ship. So there had to be some way to activate it.

I tried every idea no matter how crazy to make the converter work, becoming more and more frustrated every second.  Here was the means for escape, and I couldn’t use it!  No matter what I did or said to the thing, I couldn’t phase and I couldn’t get out.  I was stuck in Finiuld’s bedroom.

An hour slipped by and I couldn’t solve the riddle of my escape. I started to panic.  Eventually, I would have to deal with Finiuld because he wasn’t going to stay unconscious forever.  Killing him was out of the question as long as I couldn’t get out of the room.  Being stuck in there with his rotting corpse and slowly dying of starvation was not on my agenda.

Yet I had an opportunity to do something.  But what?

I eyed the collar controller device.  If I turned off all the prisoners’ collars, I was sure Finiuld was bound to notice.  At the very least, I could turn off Oses’.  But no, Finiuld had said he’d give me control over Oses.  So maybe he’d be able to read the funny blinking lights and know that both our collars were off.  Even if he didn’t see anything amiss, he’d be re-activating the Nobek’s controls when he made me able to command him.

I was in an extremely sticky place.  It got stickier as Finiuld began to shift and mutter in his sleep.  I guess Ofetuchans threw off the effects of drunkenness faster than we Earthers do.  It became apparent after a few minutes of this that he would be waking soon.

What was I to do?  I could try to overcome the Little Creep physically and make him turn on the phase gadget so I could move through the ship.  The trouble was, he could turn my collar back on with just a voice command.  There was also no guarantee I could compel him to use the phase tool on my behalf or tell me how to use it myself.

With a sick feeling in my stomach, I realized my best hope was to keep my own collar turned off and pray Finiuld didn’t catch on.  By pretending it still worked, I could hope to somehow catch the Little Creep off guard sometime soon and conjure an escape for me, Oses, and everyone else.  It seemed stupid to not make something happen right then and there, but I am no tactician.  I don’t fight battles and wars or even crazy alien leprechauns.  Figuring out the best way to escape this mess I was in was so far out of my realm of knowledge.  The only thing I did know for sure was I couldn’t afford to fuck up this little bit of an advantage I had gained.  To implement it effectively I needed Oses, who was trained to get out of tight and dangerous spots. It was the best I could do.

I told the control gizmo, “Disappear.”  I had no idea what the correct command would be to make it look like a desk again, but my order seemed to suffice.  It reverted to a blameless bit of furniture, no blinking lights to be seen.

Finiuld was beginning to stir in earnest, and it was then that I realized I still held the phase gadget in my hand.  An electric pulse of terror coursed through my body.  If I was caught with it or trying to put it back on him, he’d know I’d turned the collar off. 

I crouched next to the Little Creep.  My shaking hands turned dumb as I tried to re-attach his phase thing-y to his belt.  I must have tried to make it adhere as it had before three different times.  All the while, Finiuld muttered louder and louder, shifting about.  His eyelids began to flutter.  At last the controller stuck, and I sprang back, getting clear.  My ass fairly bounced on Finiuld’s little bed as I sat down.  I tried to arrange myself to look as if I’d been lounging bored the whole time he’d been crashed out.

He sat up and blinked at me.  “What – what happened?”

Hoping my booming heart wouldn’t tear right through my chest, I scowled at him.  “You passed out.  You left me here with nothing to do but pace the room and wait for you to come to your senses, you jerk.  By the way, I pissed in your drinking cup.  Next time, show me where the toilet facility is or I’ll shit in the middle of your bed.”

Finiuld stared at me for a moment.  His eyes strayed over to the collar control panel, now cleverly disguised as a desk.  He looked at me again.

I used bravado to its fullest extent in that moment.  I felt anything but the dominant female he wanted me to be, but I played the bitch for all I was worth.  I didn’t want him to check to see if I’d figured out how to turn off my collar. 

I glared at him.  “I am not pleased, Finiuld.  You have made me wait uncomfortably while you slept off your moment of weakness.  I am sick of the sight of you.  Take me back to Oses now.  At least he knows how to treat a woman.”

Finiuld slowly stood, wincing and grabbing at his red-tufted head as he did so.  “I am sorry, Shalia.  I don’t know what got into me.  The last thing I wanted to do was make you unhappy.”

I crossed my arms over my chest, still convinced my pounding heart would break through at any moment.  It took everything I had to calm the shaking that wanted to take over my body.  “You do not deserve my company.  I want Oses.  Now.”

Perhaps if he had not been hung over and probably still a bit inebriated, Finiuld would have noticed the tiny tremble in my voice.  That would have most likely done me in, but luck was on my side for a change. 

Looking like a kicked dog in his shame, Finiuld held out his arm to me.  “I will take you back to your Nobek.  I promise to make this up to you, Shalia.  I will.”

I said nothing.  It occurred to me that this might have been a test. Maybe he hadn’t thought the collar’s pain mechanism off. It had been on when I touched him before while he was passed out. Taking his arm and not reacting would tell him that I’d turned my collar off.

If Finiuld figured that out, he’d kill Oses. Terror filled me in an instant. What should I do?

The Little Creep’s face bunched up at my hesitation. He looked as if he’d crumple in grief. “I really am sorry, Shalia. Please. Don’t be angry with me.”

I had no choice but to play along and hope for the best. I had to hope Finiuld had telepathically commanded my collar off and did not suspect I was free of his control.

It seemed to take forever for my hand to leave my side. I watched as it drifted towards Finiuld, praying with all of my being that it would be okay. I couldn’t feel my arm. It floated away from me and reached for destruction.

I put my hand on Finiuld’s elbow. He gave me a tremulous smile and tugged me to the wall. I nearly fainted in my relief that I hadn’t been found out.

We passed through the wall with no trouble at all, along with all the others that lay on our path back to the containment area I shared with Oses.  I was too thankful that my ruse had gone undiscovered to be pissed off that the phase changer worked now.  I was also focused on marking our route in my memory for possible future use.

6 comments:

  1. Okay, well I think I would have spent more time with the computer trying to determine where everything was including the other containment zones and Tragroom guards. Or even see if I could raise communication since the computer appeared to be voice activated. I know Shalia is not a tactical expert but I felt she could have done more.
    But she is under extreme stress and it is hard to think under pressure sometimes.

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  2. Yep she is making head way but dang I wanted her to kill him

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  3. Yeah I agree, my first thought would have been to bind and gag him after stripping him naked. We will see how it goes. Grumbles over having to wait again.

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  4. Ya I agree with her not being able to think under pressure but it would have been nice for her to have done somthing to little shit, anything

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  5. She should have tied him up with strips of the bed sheets and gagged him so he couldn't use voice commands. Tell the computer to release her collar then put it on the Little Creep Ask the computer for a tutorial on operating the phase controller or make the Little Creep tell her how it works by giving him a zap of his own medicine!

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  6. OMG Lauri that would have been great.

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