Week 8, Fight in the Ruins
We left our heroes in the basement of the alien ruin, having gunned down the first half-dozen Kendorini in the outer chamber. They must now cope with the two dozen Kendorini in the inner chamber.
Cantrel leads a surprise charge while we still have any surprise left. He bursts, flying, into the inner room and fires at the most dangerous-looking Kendorini presented. The alien is largely protected by a personal force field and fires back. (Cantrel was right; it WAS the most dangerous.)
The rest of us follow Cantrel's example, throwing laser beams and arrows at the Kendorini, receiving blaster fire in return. The room contains large, convoluted crystal objects, intermingled with Kendorini apparatus. One of the aliens dives toward one of these boxes and vanishes. Tom notes this and, not wanting more foes to teleport IN where one 'ported OUT, starts firing at the box and the others like it.
Shortly thereafter, the psi-storm resumes. Damn. The Kendorini must have noticed the psychic aspects of our attack and taken steps against it. Our Deryni magicians can still take some telekinetic action, though, and Cantrel TKs a blaster out of one alien's hands.
A massive force field then springs up around the crystal machinery of the Elders, impervious to our attacks. Tom glances at the diadem detector and notices it looks fainter, as if the force field were damping the signal. Then it goes quite dead.
The Elders' machinery is gone, and so is the diadem segment, teleported out by the Kendorini.
After a few moments of stunned dismay, we polish off the Kendorini left behind, then start moving. Sophie calls Victoria to bring the ship over to the ruin, and calls the starbase to tell them of the fight and theft. The starbase tells us they have just spotted a Kendorini ship ten astronomical units out and moving slowly. They also give us full permission to pursue and tell us they are scrambling the fighters now. They will also pick up and imprison the Kendorini casualties we've strewn in our wake.
How nice to have official support for a change.
We do a scramble of our own, into the ship, taking with us the top Kendorini marksman. We then retreat into the pantope and stop exterior time. After patching ourselves up in the sickbay, we have the autodoc analyze the Kendorini for general information and for possible weaknesses, while we look at the weapons we've confiscated. Cantrel finds out by painful experiment that the personal force field pack isn't entirely reliable. It has to be tricky and computerized to let OUT the wearer's own fire and NOT let IN exterior fire. Sometimes it goofs. You get hit about 25% of the time.
Meanwhile, Tom has the autodoc keep the Kendorini in an unconscious state while he probes its memories telepathically. He learns that they are taking their booty back to Kendorini space. They took it, not because they were looking for anything special, but because it was Elder technology, which is always worth collecting. The ship has a total crew of about 120. The Elder machines would probably be stowed in the main hold.
The Kendorini has never heard of Henderson (Remember Henderson?) and considers it quite absurd that the Kendorini should hire a human agent. Tom tries to find out why and learns that the Kendorini are enormously competitive. They feel that the most urgent thing in the world is to stop the universal decay of entropy. The most efficient way to do that is to concentrate all the resources in one place and work as hard as possible on the entropy problem. Only one race should have all the resources, and of course the Kendorini feel it should be them, especially since they are the only ones who appreciate the urgency of the entropy problem and see clearly what to do about it.
Tom asks the alien what would be the best way to stage a surprise appearance in its ship, and this apparently triggers some defense mechanism. Suddenly, the creature is much less conscious than before, perhaps something like a coma. We put it into stasis, intending to dump it back outside the pantope and ship when we're ready to start time up again and go off in pursuit. But meanwhile we have some plans and preparations to make.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.