That was when the imagined resemblance to
historical creatures was reinforced, as the injured animal, we are all basically
animals, roared in despair. Dragon maybe because he revealed an immense gape,
jaws that could sever limbs with greater ease than any Earth bound predator,
even a Great White shark. That coupled with a thick hide and organs protected
by copious layers of body fat no doubt helped compensate for the lack of agility.
At least he was right about the hands.
The second figure extended an arm, reaching for an elaborate panel. Eager
for a little communication no doubt, maybe a few friends with weapons.
But the console was not designed for a single task even for speed of operation
and dumpy arms were slow to react. Griff realised his mistake and rapidly
slid the blood drenched alloy free. Then using his weight to increase
the momentum arced the blade across to perform a simple amputation. Suddenly
there was a realisation, Griff recognised these beings as Vallan, feared
throughout the galaxy. Yet they were not exactly in their element, behind
the controls of a fighting machine. A second momentous downward stroke
cut deep and parted ribs of the cumbersome being, an action so strenuous
it brought a sweat to Griff's forehead. At least it was a sufficient injury
to cause gravity to toss the thing to the deck where a decisive blow to
the head was possible.
Watching his colleague with little emotional reaction the remaining occupant
of the small chamber questioned his attacker.
"If you are not from Alsaris, then where? You have their appearance."
"A blue green rock, way back across the galaxy. Somewhere you clearly
should not have missed."
So, gripped by the night, Griff had clearly sunk deep into the realm of
fantasy, science fiction. Amidst the stars anything would be possible,
his soul perhaps even immortal.
So what was the point of making a mock whale meat shish kebab?
"You may have sneaked in, though I fail to imagine why, but you will
not escape." The creature was remarkable relaxed for something skewered
so deeply. Though the piercing had not achieved the required effect it
was a sizeable wound and bled freely.
"I can't see you raising the alarm."
"It surprises me that you even have an understanding of our language,
that you speak it so fluently is incredible. But what do you hope to gain?
This is nothing more than an ancillary control station. If you wish to
take command of the ship you have chosen the wrong location."
Another snippet of information, they were on a vessel of some kind, from
the appearance of the lift shaft, rather a large one. So why had he started
the adventure mid way through an epic?
Probably because he couldn't remember the beginning, after all we have
a poor demented soul suffering from comprehensive amnesia.
Griff had almost incapacitated his opponent, breathing so difficult it
made movement virtually impossible. But he needed to complete his intended
"Something to puzzle over on your way to the other side. I'm afraid
it's time for lights out."
As the lifeless blob slid from his heavy duty seat Griff moved close to
the equipment, running fingers over the surfaces at almost lightning speed
causing lights to flash in ornate patterns. Something that was inevitably
not going to escape the attention of others.
"Section eighteen. Respond."
The strangely metallic voice echoed around the small chamber, it seemed
his antics although being noticed had not aroused too much suspicion.
Griff looked at the blood stained uniforms, searching for evidence of
rank. Strangely he recognised insignia.
"Thrall Kattock here, I am detecting a cascade failure of the seventeenth
level energy containment protocol. Am attempting to compensate."
"Kattock? I do not know of you."
"I am not usually responsible for this level. I have traced the problem
through the hardware to this station. The command Thrall has taken his
minion to the conduit. They are attempting a by-pass."
"I do not understand why this malfunction has not shown on our station?"
"There may be a phase modulation or an overload pathway on your monitors."
Clearly it was some dream, Griff appeared to be talking gibberish, meaningless
strings of techno-speak words that had no derivation or logic in his world.
Yet they had in the images of the night, as the invisible figure behind
the voice seemed to accept them.
"Continue then, keep me informed."
"Yes sir." Griff's tone was almost condescending, he could quite
easily have told the truth. Somehow a pitched battle deep inside an alien
vessel did not seem entertaining.
It rapidly became apparent that there was a limit to what he could accomplish
using the software technology at his disposal. However there appeared
to be a quicker way. Pressing a finger onto each corner in turn popped
off a face panel.
"Time for the necessary remodelling I think."
What seemed out of place to a mind where conscious thought was hovering
in the background trying to make sense of images, was the way Griff performed
electronic surgery. Simply squeezing wires between his fingers seemed
to sever them. Resoldering, for want of an understandable simile proved
just as easy. Touching delicate silicon pathways with single strand of
excess wire for accuracy, destroyed or rerouted them. Almost as though
Griff was his own tool.
Time seemed to have stopped, yet his elaborate manipulations must have
taken more than a few minutes, then the panel was back in place. An appropriate
moment for a little housework.
Griff labouriously hauled the two technicians in turn to the access shaft,
struggling with immense weight. Eventually he managed to roll them both
into the void. Briefly he returned to the relative safety of the chamber,
he needed to use the communication panel before he left.
"The lead Thrall has been injured by a falling ceiling plate, we
are assisting him to level twelve, to an aid station. This section will
run automatically until a reserve crew is allocated."
"Have you solved the cascade problem?"
"All work has been carried out to my satisfaction."
"Very good. Inform me of the level of injury once you have had it
assessed. It needs to be documented."
"Thank you, sir."
As Griff turned away he gave the silent speaker the single finger salute,
an unseen gesture. Removal of lifeless shapes may have prevented discovery
by casual glance, but the floor was almost swimming in a strange looking
liquid, the severed arm had fallen out of sight. Alien blood. Mop and
bucket? No, so Griff slipped back into the corridor. Thankfully the floor
was so dark the thin layer of body fluid that had been dragged along with
the carcasses was virtually invisible, it was impossible to see footprints,
though obviously they were there. Briefly he looked into the dark shaft,
the whale meat was not hanging just a few metres down on a ledge. Then
he stepped onto a platform and rose through the vessel. Maybe he was more
than a little relieved that it was still operational, it would have been
dangerous to move towards another lift, as there was an ever increasing
risk of detection. Level four and the lift halted. Swiftly Griff stepped
off, just as an alert sounded and the flimsy metal that acted as a transporter
descended at maximum velocity.
Clearly an authorised entry into the shaft had detected a blockage far
below. That or blood had found its own level and oozed out into a corridor.
That was the last scenario he wanted to envisage, because it might lead
to the discovery of his handiwork.
Silence on his floor though, at least for that moment in time. The interconnecting
door to the main corridor hissed open, three long strides and once again
Griff had access to a weapons locker. Time for something more effective
at a longer range, stealth was no longer the buzz word. Somehow he had
to rise two more levels.
Why should that matter in a mere reverie? Yet the feeling, the knowledge
was intense. Factual.
As he hurried along the metal passageway the repetitive pulse of the alarm
became irritating. It was clearly a Vallan ship, no manual access corridors
as the life forms were far too obese for anything so exhausting as climbing
stairs. The lift was the only means of travelling between decks. No doubt
each was now security locked and to by-pass the code would alert those
who sat and watched. Yet although the blocked shaft was now of little
use it did not take long to reach another. A slightly smaller carrier
plate that failed to respond to an initial request to rise. Definitely
on some form of serious alert then! Another chance to play with skilful
fingers, to manually by-pass the lock out code. After all there was no
other choice. Go for it!
Safe on the required level he moved away from the void, the lift corridor
door automatically shut almost silently behind him.
An almost matching pair of figures waddled along the corridor like two
legged hippopotami. Four bursts of laser fire later and there was no doubt
as to the location of the intruder. Sensors instantly detected weapons
use and an illuminated strip the whole length of the passage rippled red
continually. Luckily that near the upper skin of the craft, far from technology
and sensitive areas they were few patrols to stand in his way and no automatic
It didn't pay to let concentration lapse or get over confident. A laser
burst seared along the passage wall at his side, slicing open the metal
like paper. Griff turned, dropping down to one knee to return the compliment
and popped a Vallan skull apart inside an ineffective defensive helmet.
"Two sections, then I'll be too close to the outer skin for them
to use anything other than concussion blasts."
It was a strange type of dream as Griff was analysing his own actions.
It puzzled his enquiring mind why he had not travelled those additional
levels while he was in the first lift, but the reason escaped him.
But when you hurry to escape it is a little difficult to look behind you
all the time.
Searing pain ripped through Griff's arm, causing him to drop his weapon.
Backing into a recess, one hand wrapped tightly around his wound, he drew
breath. Vision was becoming blurred, as if he was in mortal danger.
"We have you now, weasel. Do you want to step out and die swiftly
or shall we creep up and wound you further? Perhaps you would like us
to eat you alive? After all that is our nature."