Despite the hard Russian's utter despising of all things Romulan Nikolai reached forward and patted the boy reassuringly on the shoulder."There is nothing to be sorry for medvezhonok. You are brave and have done more than a child could be expected to." he said to him with just a touch of pride to see how the boy had acted in the face of this stressful situation.
As he was speaking he felt the ship surge forward and the massive Marine steadied himself as well as Nveid and looked at him."We are being towed by a tractor beam it would seem." he said after a few minutes noticing that the engines had not powered up."It is likely we are being brought to the Demon's world as a prize to their leaders." he said explaining the situation to the child. Sure he could have spared him that thought but he wanted Nveid ready for whatever may come.
"It seems we will need to work faster than we would have if we are going to join with the rest of the resistance fighters. But first things first we will hide this information of Sakarra's, then we will do what we can to free our comrades from the vile creatures holding them."
Prize. No, no, this was wrong, so terribly wrong.
For a moment, the horror seemed to creep into his bones again, the paralyzing fear of the trapped animal. But with no small amount of wonder Nveid realized it did not have the same power as it used to. Nor nor had he flinched or jerked away from the intimidating soldier's touch, or found the anger in his voice frightening. Perhaps he simply had no fear to spare with the demons so close, or perhaps he was willing to trust the human because his thaessu did.
All that Nveid knew for certain was that he had not realized how alone he had been, not until now. Ah, to have another living, breathing being you could speak to as fond as the boy was of Nohtho, the Fvai was not exactly what little Jessica called 'The brightest crayon in the box'.
"Yes, we must hurry." He shook off the impulse to simply curl up in a corner and let sleep claim him, make himself believe this was no more than another nightmare from which he would wake to look into dark, dark eyes, a bottomless ocean that radiated warmth and hear a voice that chased away the terror and the shadows.
Crawling back to his stockpile, Nveid stuffed whatever food tidbits he could into his shirt and pant pockets, fighting off the Fvai's cheerful attempts to snatch any crumb that might escape and left the matter of the datachip to the marine. He would know how to best hide it, or destroy it if need be.
When he was satisfied there was nothing more of immediate use he could take, the Rihannsu boy turned around and pointed at the nearest hatch. "This will take us to a ladder. But I don't know where to start searching the others, they hide well. The only trace they leave is death."
Nikolai nodded to the child and moved toward the opened hatch. He was still off balance from the blow he had received but he knew now he had to be strong not only for himself and the crew but this child as well. It was an irony of sorts that he had been rescued by the boy... a Romulan and that he shared his hatred for his greenblooded kind. "Then we shall follow the path of death back toward them little bear. Stay close to me I will move fast and quiet." he said to the child as he reached out and grabbed the rung of the ladder.
Upon stepping out Nikolai gathered their bearings from the darkened interior walls of the Jefferies tube. It was most likely that the Romulans held all the key positions on the Charon and the rebels had taken an easily defended and hard to access area, and that meant the bowels of the ship. Very few airlocks to decompress and several choke points. Carefully the massive Russian started his descent down keeping a watchful eye and ear out for Romulan Patrols.
Following closely, the Rihannsu boy did not so much worry about Nohtho who had already developed his very own way of diving head first into any vertical tube in his path, using his massive paws to prevent a fatal plunge, but the noise. Every breath, every soft padding of feet on the rungs, every claw scrambling for purchase on the smooth metal seemed to echo loudly enough to be heard by the entire ship.
Of course Nnihkolh'ai would know how to find the others. It made sense. She would even call it logical. They had to be soldiers. Perhaps even voices. Ah, hateful, harsh, and oh so familiar. Below. Searching. Had they heard?
Nveid froze, clinging to the rungs, his heart thundering in his ears. No, not yet. They were moving too cautiously. Six no, eight. He looked down at the massive human who was as still as he. Listening. A small wave of his hand caught the Russian's attention, and he signaled in the way another soldier had taught him, playfully at the time, his deep ocean gaze twinkling with mirth. Hear. Eight. That way.
And then Nohtho growled.
Nveid's hand was trembling when he reached into his shirt, but he managed to pull out the biscuit and wave it before the Fvai's nose. Closer. They had heard. They were coming.
He dropped the food, praying to his Element that it wasn't too late.
The Gai'Shian didn't notice a tiny piece of biscuit bouncing off his helmet. What he did notice was the Fvai dropping onto his head a split second after he had sighted boots above that were decidedly Starfleet; and aimed his rifle.
Nikolai reacted almost instantly when he heard the Fvai growl and fall to the Gai'Shian's head. The massive Marine let go on the rungs of the ladder and fell into the midst of the Confused Romulan warriors. As Nohtho clawed and bit at the Soldier Nikolai pulled the knife that Nveid had given him and rammed it hilt deep into the first Soldier of the eight man team, green blood washed over the bearded face of the marine as he tore the throat out of the soldier making sure he couldn't fight back.
Several of the Romulan warriors finally snapped out of their daze and raised their disruptors to fire on the massive Marine and the wild uncontrollable Fvai.
He clung to the ladder, hearing Nohtho's yelp and the demons' shouts of surprise. Ah, what had he done, putting his four legged friend into harm's way like that? But the Fvai seemed unhappy enough all by his own about the rude people who frightened his little giver of food and made the rumbling scratcher of ears so angry. Truly, never before had Nveid believed the tall beast to be capable of actual violence. Unintentionally running people into the ground out of sheer enthusiasm well, yes. Or cheerfully tearing apart a crewman's quarters because a piece of sandwich had fallen behind the couch. But not this.
Finally, he managed to loosen his grip on the rungs, frozen in terror as he had been, and with one last plea to his Element let go. As she had taught him, the sword was out even as his body twisted in the fall, the skillfully crafted steel blade shimmering ghostly in the maintenance corridor's dim lighting. To his own surprise Nveid landed on his feet, and immediately thought himself to have landed in hell itself as well. Green beams tore through the air that already smelled of ozone and hot metal and the sharp, coppery scent of blood. Before his eyes, a rifle swung around to aim at the new foe and had it not been for the Fvai getting severely impatient with the cramped quarters and resorting to simply running everything into the ground, this might well have been his last sight. As it was, the Gai'Shian already hindered each other in their efforts to get to the sudden threat, the corridor being barely wide enough to let two of them stand next to each other in their armor, and the annoyed Nohtho did the rest.
The demon had not even fallen down yet, his arm still reaching for the wall, something to steady himself but Nveid had seen the one point, the one Nnihkolh'ai had shown him. In his panic, he nearly missed it but the body remembers motions repeated over and over again, even if it had been in peaceful quarters where warm copper light shone eternally and the air was balmy, filled with the scent of spices and exotic herbs; even if the mind was clouded with terror and couldn't call upon the things learned. The demon died silently, and Nveid barely had time to raise the sword again before another stepped over the falling corpse.
As far as possible, do not kill. Can you return life to what you kill? Then be slow to take life.
The words echoed in his mind, just as the sobs wanted to erupt from his throat, break free in an eruption of grief and anger. But he went on, driven by fear for his human friend, for the innocent animal that even now snarled and clawed at the demon trying to shoot the Marine was faster. Like a Sehlat roused to fury, the massive, furry animals she had shown him in the library, so gentle with their friends but fearsome in their anger, Nnihkolh'ai barreled into his enemies. Already he was bleeding again, the warm red such a stark contrast to all the vibrant green, but it did not even slow him down. And had not a terrified child sliced through another neck, moving through the stench and chaos with a dancer's grace, it might well not have been enough in the end.
It was Nohtho's whimper that told Nveid it was over. For now. Chewing on the Marine's uniform sleeve, the Fvai seemed to be worried about his friend's injuries, or perhaps simply wanted to get away from here as much as the boy.
"We must go, Nnihkolh'ai. They will have heard. More will come."
[to be continued ...?]
MCapt Nikolai Chernienko
Nohtho the Fvai