(The story so far resides here: ofourmaker.com/2023/10/17/adolphus-search-and-rescue )
Number One bowed her head in affirmation. Gibbsen could not tell how affected she was by the prospect of her previous kind and companions being hailed with bullets, but no doubt it had happened before. She followed without hesitation when SAC Gharial beckoned her to come with him closer to the silk screen, while movement could begin to be seen on the other side, connected with the nearing cries and breaking of undergrowth.
“Turn on the floodlights,” the SAC ordered.
“It will enrage them, sir,” the aide-de-camp said as he jogged to the light controls.
“She needs to see,” the SAC said. “Only long enough for that.”
As expected, when the blackness turned to the various shades of dust and dry growth, and the devilish gang stood out suddenly like huge, badly made puppets without a stage, they reared in anger, and their chorus was like an avalanche of slate. Their darts, hurled stones, and javelins striking the silk screen made it ripple like water; however, this did not affect the visibility nearly so much as seeing through water would.
Number One was about to point out one of the beasts, when there was a sharp clink, and one of the floodlights blinked and flickered, no doubt struck by one of the gluckast projectiles (these were not great cat’s eyes, but of some yet larger, reptilian creature). When Number One again found the one she had chosen, she pointed.
“There, is with the broken horn on his head, the left side. That one is my brother. I like him more than my mother.”
“Do you wish to leave before we begin?” the SAC asked. She said simply, “No.”
SAC Gharial gave his orders – the blackness returned, and was perforated with gunfire (the bullets peering from the goblin-arm-wielded guns could see in the dark).
An oblong cage rolled on wheels through the left-hand barricade. This cage’s operation could not clearly be seen, but Gibbsen knew it well: its open end was mounted with several long appendages, like cougars’ tails but at least twice as long. These pulled it forward, and it would snare the limb of a gluckast, holding it to be shot, or catch hold of any that came to succour the first. This it carried on until it reached Number One’s brother, when it employed all its arms to drag the creature inside the cage and immobilise it. Cables hooked to the rear of the cage began to draw it back to the barricade.
A gluckast managed to evade the wall guns, and charge the silk screen with an axe. On the inside Gareth walked to meet it, and when within five yards he put a rifle bullet between the beast’s eyes. The silk had followed the bullet the entire way, and when the fiend stumbled to the ground, the light from the bay glinted off the bullet, dangling from the exit wound in a transparent bubble of the silk amidst the hair and scales. The great ripple was still spreading across the screen. Gareth’s lips, grey as gun-smoke, did not move in the slightest smile.
The survivors became disgusted with the contest, and made off, cursing and gnashing their fangs over their shoulders as they went.
Yet the battle did not feel over, as the caged prisoner, shrieking and yammering, was now inside the barricade. It was a frightening thing, though the gluckast was enveloped in iron bars and pinioned by many living ropes. SAC Gharial’s horse wheels carried him across the bay towards the loud cage, with Number One and Gareth and Gibbsen behind him.
“Now,” he said with simplicity in the midst of the tumult, “let us see what we have for Dr. Kilver.”
#DailyCreatedOOM #WrittenOOM #AdolphusSearchAndRescue 2023/10/29