The Hero From Meridell: Part Eight
Also by bestpet21
A tiny little Buzzer alighted on Zamrin's eyelid and startled him out of his slumber. He jumped into a sitting position and waved the Buzzer away from him, all the while wondering where he was. Kade's quite, inquisitive face appeared in front of him, and he remembered it all in an instant, though he was certain it must be a dream. He pinched himself, and winced at the resulting sting. It definitely wasn't.
“How are you feeling?” Kade asked gently and laid a paw on his shoulder.
At this mention, Zamrin realized the shooting pain in every extremity of his body that the numbness of sleep had partially hidden. “Not really sure,” he said with a short, light-hearted laugh. He rubbed each arm alternately to return the circulation and blinked a couple of times to aid his sore, tired eyes. “How long was I out?”
“Only a couple of hours, but that Poogle doesn't look like she's going to wake up anytime soon. She caught a really heavy hit from that blaster.”
At this, Zamrin glanced to his side and saw Zee resting on her back, breathing deeply. “Do we know what's going on at the other base?”
Kade shook her head. “No... you probably know more than I do.”
Zamrin rubbed his aching head and then proceeded to tell Kade about all of the events that had taken place since they had last seen each other. Kade understood Rylar's negligence towards freeing her, but she was angered by his hasty, poorly-thought-out plan. She understood some of the logic behind it, but surely there could be a better option to take the base. “Do you think they've already sent their army in?” Kade asked when Zamrin was finished with his synopsis.
The Kacheek drew in a breath. “I don't know. They were going to get to it as soon as possible, so I would think that they're already there.”
Kade's head dropped. “We're probably too late then.”
“We still need to try to get out of here.”
“Yes, we do,” Kade agreed. “But what about Zee? If we're going to escape, we just can't carry her all the way out. She has to be awake when we do it.”
“Good point,” Zamrin said, “but in the meantime we could try to figure out a way to get out of here.” He glanced around the cell. There was basically nothing to glance at. Nothing was inside it except for a few basic necessities. The rest was just bare metal floors and bare metal walls. One wall, however, was different. It was made out of a semi-transparent blue energy, and it was probably to ensure that the guard could keep an eye on the prisoners inside, for at this very moment, the stout Grundo that Zamrin had seen before strolled by the cell and cast an evil eye in their direction before continuing forward.
“He comes by every fifteen minutes or so,” Kade explained in a whisper. “It makes the whole idea of escaping even harder.”
“You think he's listening to us?” Zamrin echoed his friend's tone.
“There's no way of knowing that he's just a couple of feet down the hall, overhearing every word we say. We need to keep it quiet from now on. If we whisper, I don't think he can hear us.”
Zamrin resumed his inspection of the cell, and saw a small slot on one of the walls. “What's that for?” he asked his friend.
“That's where they drop off our food. Or, at least, what they would call food,” she said. “It's really a bunch of sludge in a bowl, but it's all they'll give to prisoners.”
Zamrin walked over and peered through the little slot, seeing that the inside extended for a long distance before it disappeared into darkness. “Where does it lead to, do you know?”
“No idea,” Kade answered, “I would assume some room in the ship where they store that stuff. There might be some other branches off of it that lead to other cells, but it's just a guess.”
“Well, that doesn't help us much, I guess. Even if we could get something through there, it wouldn't do us any good.”
At this, a stirring was heard from the other corner of the cell. The two friends turned to see the Poogle turn over on her stomach and resume her sleep uninterruptedly. Soon after, she began snoring incessantly.
“When do you think she'll wake up?” Zamrin asked, reminded of Zee's presence.
Kade approached her and knelt beside her. “There's no way to guess. Could be any minute now... could be a couple more hours.”
“If she's an agent with the Space Station, she might know something about this type of cell that could help us escape. What do you think?”
“Maybe,” Kade replied.
The Poogle's snoring suddenly stopped with a snort, and she rose up from her sleep, inhaling deeply. Her eyes shot wide open as she stood on all fours. The same eyes leapt around the cell, examining every detail before finally resting on the other two occupants.
“Are you alright?” Kade asked, startled by her sudden awakening.
“Yeah,” Zee said. “Just a bad dream.”
“Oh? What happened?”
Zee rested her long ears on the sides of her head, and closed her eyes. “Never mind,” she said. “Nothing important.”
Silence echoed through the cell for several uncomfortable moments before Zamrin decided to speak. “We're glad you're up. We were hoping you would have some ideas as to how we could get out of here.”
Zee shook her head. “I've already examined the cell thoroughly. There's no way out. This is one of the most impenetrable prison layouts I've ever seen. Not to mention they took my communication device from me. I have absolutely no way of contacting the Space Station or anyone else for that matter...” A distant look came over her face. “They're probably engaged in battle right now. And to think I can't help them.”
The Grundo guard strolled by again and peered into the cell. “Glad to see all of you sleeping beauties are awake.” He smirked. “You guys made excellent target practice a while ago.”
The Poogle stared back at him defiantly. “I'll tell you who's going to be target practice when I get out of here.”
The Grundo threw his head back and laughed. “When you get out of there? Keep dreaming, sweetheart. Many better than you have tried, and none of them have ever escaped.”
Zee just stood, gritting her teeth slowly. He would get what was coming to him, she told herself. “Don't get too overconfident,” she said as the Grundo turned and continued on his route.
“That guy's been a real menace from day one,” Zee explained to her two companions. “Even before the territory dispute arose between us, he's been capturing everyone he finds on Kreludor that doesn't happen to be an orange Grundo and throwing them in here. We at the Space Station have been having quarrels with him for quite some time.”
“And no one's stopped him? What he's doing can't be legal!” Zamrin said.
“Nope. For some reason he's always able to evade us. I guess everything has been building up to this war for a while now. Before, we were just too timid to initiate a confrontation. Things were so fragile between us that we knew it wouldn't take long to send us into full-scale war. It was really only a matter of time.”
“Do you think we have a chance in this battle?” Zamrin asked.
Zee shook her head. “I have to admit, I really don't think we can pull out on top. The Kreludans vastly outnumber our little army, and half of us are here in this prison anyway. If I were Rylar, I would have made some effort to free everyone first. Unfortunately, Rylar is so thick-headed and stubborn that it's hard to suggest an idea to him that he agrees with.”
“I hear that,” Zamrin muttered.
“A lot of his bravest soldiers are here in this prison,” Zee continued. “They were the only ones bold enough to venture into the disputed territory, so they were the ones captured. The men that Rylar's left with are either inexperienced or incompetent... a few of them are both. As soon as he sends them out there—if he hasn't already—they're going to run around like scared little kids and let the Kreludans pick them off one by one.”
Zee made things sound pretty grim, but at least she was honest. There was really very little that could be done now that the battle had probably already started. It might only be a couple of hours before Kreludor took the territory and left only a shell of the Space Station and what it stood for remaining. The humiliation would be unbearable, and the Station would probably never recover from the loss.
Zamrin stared at the ground, in utter despair. There was no hope that the Space Station would win the battle. There was no hope that he and his friends would escape. There really was no hope at all.
To be continued...