Gorris parked his car at Aztalan State Park and got out to walk the three miles to Rock Lake. He had about 30 years of training in Dim Mok under
Master Quan in a small town 200 miles west of Golmud, China. As a result, he was able to slow his metabolism to the point of not needing air for about
Gorris came to the lake in a secluded section. He stopped and concentrated for a few minutes. As the minutes ticked by, his breathing slowed until it
stopped all together. He dove into the lake and started swimming to where the topographical maps placed the base. It was a short swim, and he got
there in about a half hour.
Since the water was so murky, he didn’t notice the structure until he was just about on top of it. He started swimming around it looking for a way
in. He came across a section that appeared to have a door in it. Feeling around, looking for a catch or something to trip to open the door, it just
slid open. “This can’t be good,” Gorris thought to himself as he stepped in.
The Ansethor had developed forcefield technology to an art over 5000 years ago, and this doorway was evidence. Though the door was open, no water
passed into the building. Gorris, however, had no problem entering.
Fully expecting an ambush, Gorris burst through the failsafe airlock to surprise his attackers. He burst into an empty hallway, looking in all
directions at once. Nothing.
He could tell the base was active. The life support was working, and all the lights were on. He could also hear the dull rumble of the generators
pumping energy into the building through water fusion. PSA had lost more than one operative trying to get their hands on that technology.
It did, however, appear undermanned. Normally someone, at least, would be walking through this hallway, and he should have been able to hear
footfalls. This may not be as difficult as he had first thought.
Gorris reached into his breast pocket and pulled out his PDA. He tapped into Xander’s tracking signal and got a readout on his position. Xander was
still alive, but barely. The words, “rescuing Xander is a second priority,” echoed through Gorris’s mind and a wave of anger washed over him.
Securing Xander was his first priority, PSA be damned. They were keeping him alive for something, and Gorris wanted to know what.
It appeared Xander was about 4 floors higher up. Gorris started looking for a stairway. He had long since stopped trusting elevators, especially when
he suspected he’d been discovered.
He found a stairway and started to work his way up. The stairway had fallen into disrepair. Rust had claimed most of the railing, and in places there
were complete holes where metal steps used to be. The humidity regulators should have prevented this from ever happening. More evidence this base was
just coming back online after years of disuse.
As Gorris crested the final stair that brought him 4 floors up from where he began, he heard a scuff. According to his PDA, Xander was only about 40
yards down the hallway.
Gorris quickly peeked around the corner of the stairwell down the hall and saw a lithe figure standing in front of a door. It stood about 5 feet high
and looked extremely fragile, as though its arms and legs were made of gray twigs. It’s head was overly large for its body, and they eyes in the
head took up most of the face. A small slit of a mouth and two tiny holes where a nose should be were the only other facial features.
“What the heck is an Elorn doing in an Ansethor base? They hate each other even more than they hate humans,” Gorris thought to himself. Anyone
else would have been discovered by the Elorn through it’s telepathy. However, Gorris was able to effectively block any probe into his mind, and
didn’t appear to be there to the Elorn at all. Gorris was sure the room the Elorn was guarding held Xander. Now the problem was getting there.
While he knew he could snap the Elorn in two in less than a second, if the Elorn saw him coming it would send a message into the minds of every alien
in the ancient base that there was an intruder, what he looked like, and where he was.
Gorris envied the Ansethor’s morphing ability for a moment before remembering how abandoned the base appeared to be. There was a good chance that
this Elorn was the only guard on this floor, judging by the other floors he’d passed on his way up here. Gorris smirked and reached for his gun,
planning on shooting the thing with a silencer attached.
His hand hit his empty hip. He’d forgotten his gun! Thoughts of Betty tried to push their way into his mind, but he quickly suppressed them. This
was not the time for stray thoughts, but it was too late. He could feel the Elorn probing right in his direction. It had detected the stray thought
and was now trying to pinpoint what it had sensed.
Crouching down behind the corner, Gorris waited. He hoped the Elorn wasn’t a very disciplined soldier and would leave its post to find out what this
oddity was that it sensed for a split second. Most Elorn didn’t work well with a military structure as the Ansethorians did.
Sure enough, he heard the soft plod of unshod feet stepping across the steel floor towards him. He tensed, preparing to deliver a lethal blow, then
thought better of it. Instead, he lashed out with everything in his mind trying to form a psychic shell around the mind of the Elorn. The Elorn were
powerful psychics. Gorris was taking a large gamble, but he needed answers.
He surprised the Elorn and felt the shell fall into place. He had effectively muted the little alien from communicating with the rest of the world.
Gorris stood up and started walking over to the Elorn. As soon as he took his first step, he felt the shell pressing out with such force it almost
shattered. How was this possible? Getting the shell over someone’s mind was always difficult if they knew you were trying to do so, but after it was
in place, there was nothing the victim could do to remove it. Yet, this Elorn seemed to be able to fight it, and it was winning.
Gorris stopped moving and concentrated only on the Elorn. He was in the fight of his life, yet, to an outside observer, it appeared as though this
alien and human were just staring at each other very intently.
Again, the shell seemed to stretch to its limit, then fall back into place. It seemed as though this alien was just testing it’s constraint, not yet
fighting against it. Though the Elorn did not express their emotions on their faces, Gorris was sure he saw a smirk emerging on the things face.
Suddenly she shell expanded with much more force than it had before, and the shell snapped. Gorris flew back about 5 feet from the unexpected recoil
as the thing started walking towards him, never taking its eyes off of him.
Gorris threw up every mental shield he’d ever learned to create, expecting an attack of epic proportions. He was going to have to handle this
quickly, since there was no doubt guards were now on their way down here. Yet the attack never came, just a probe that Gorris wouldn’t have noticed
had he not been searching desperately for anything. The thing was toying with him.
Gorris turned over and pulled himself up to his hands and knees. The force of the Elorn’s attack had completely drained him. The only reason he was
still alive was because the alien hadn’t chosen to kill him yet.
“How…could…a Gray do…this?” Gorris uttered out, adding extra emphasis to “Gray”, knowing the Elorn hated being called that.
A wave of contemptuous amusement washed through Gorris’s mind as the Elorn began communicating with him. Though the Elorn didn’t use words in
their communication, the human brain’s inner monologue would automatically translate the images flashing into the mind into English words. An image
flashed into Gorris’s mind, and the three most terrifying words he’d ever heard came to his mind: “I am Lirr.”
Gorris’s skin went cold. Lirr was the psychic technology director on the Elorn home world and widely accepted as the most powerful Elorn psychic by
a long shot. He had lost his position for leaking information to the Ansethor during the Orion wars, thereby allowing the Ansethor to develop the
technology to create crossbreeds of Elorn and Ansethor. Only one of these cross breeds had ever been created and allowed to survive, though, and that
one had been killed by Xander 5 years ago. The crossbreeds had an unfortunate tendency to go insane after puberty.
The true implications of what had just happened hit Gorris. Despite all of his mental shields being up, Lirr had still managed to get inside of his
mind to communicate with him. “I won’t need my gun to fight the undead,” he mocked himself in his mind.
The thought, “you are mine,” came to Gorris’s mind. Using a trick he had learned in his first operation against the Elorn, Gorris appeared to
lower his mental shields. Yet, as he did so, he brought up another shield over a small portion of his mind that was actively searching for some way
out of this situation. If all went well, Lirr would assume Gorris had surrendered and lower its own defenses. However, this was the most powerful
psychic in the known galaxy. Though Gorris didn’t expect it to work, he had no choice.
“Good, you see that you have been beaten,” the thought drifted through Gorris’s mind much more loudly than the previous ones had. The images
were much more vivid and clear being projected into his mind. “You have quite a bit of psychic ability for a human. Still pathetic compared to my
“What are you doing here,” Gorris demanded.
“You’re in no position to be asking questions,” came the reply in his mind. The image in his mind showed him being tied in the shape of a
pretzel with his hands and feet shoved into his mouth. “What are you doing here?”
Realizing he hadn’t shielded that part of his mind, he knew he would have to be honest. “A PSA agent came out here and we never heard from him.
I’m investigating why he never checked in,” Gorris explained.
“Ahh, of course. You PSA agents are like the roaches of your planet, where you see one, there are many others around. But wait…You came here for
more. You’re to eliminate everyone in here. Where’s your team? PSA never sends a single operative to…No, you came alone. Your pride will be the
end of you.”
“Where are the guards,” Gorris asked.
“Why would I call guards for a single pathetic human? I am Lirr!” Gorris’s mind raced. If Lirr wasn’t going to get any reinforcements, this
Still on his hands and knees, he looked up at the Elorn and asked, “why am I still alive?” He slowly started to stand up, thinking where Lirr
could read that his knees were very uncomfortable and he needed to change positions.
“You are no threat, and are obviously weak. Besides, Karam’nor has plans for you.”
That was one too many coincidences. Lirr created Karam’nor, and Xander had, Gorris though, killed Karam’nor. If Karam’nor were still alive, it
would explain why Lirr was here in this Ansethor base, as well. Gorris decided it was time to act.
Gorris’s gaze snapped over the shoulder of Lirr while thinking, “what is that?!” Lirr took the bait and turned to see what Gorris was looking
at. In one quick motion, Gorris swung his hand around and smashed the back of Lirr’s head against the steel wall, shattering its skull. At the same
time, he slammed the psychic shell around Lirr’s mind at the same time. Lirr went down, crying out an alarm in shock that only Gorris’s mind could
hear. Then Lirr’s mind was silent.
Not wanting to take any chances, Gorris twisted Lirr’s head, snapping the fragile neck like a stalk of celery. He stood up and walked over to the
door the Elorn had been guarding. Pressing a button, the door slid open to display a horrific sight.
The room was stainless steel all around, and well polished. In the center was a steel bed with a sorry looking figure strapped to it. Rust colored
blood stained the ground around the table, and there were many sharp medical tools around with little pieces of gore on them still. Whoever had done
this didn’t bother to clean up.
Gorris ran to the bed and his worst fears were confirmed: Xander, beaten and broken, was who lied in the bed. Gorris checked for a pulse and was
shocked to discover one. He ran to a wall and pulled a lever, releasing Xander from his bonds. Slowly, Xander’s eyes opened.
“Wow, they sent in the big guns. I’m honored,” Xander said when he saw Gorris. Reaching into another pocket, Gorris took out a chip that was
about 2 square inches. He placed the chip on Xander’s head.
“You’re going to be alright. With the healing accelerator, you should be healthy enough to walk in about 15 minutes,” Gorris explained. Xander
just closed his eyes and appeared to fall asleep. Gorris moved off to a corner opposite the door and sat down, waiting for Xander to be healthy enough
to come with him.
Oh jeeze, To be continued... again?