Alien Relations - Part VI

August 2942
Xi'an Commerical Quarter
Virtus System

"Hello Photeus." An unfamiliar voice got his attention. He spun around and faced the human trader who greeted him. Photeus pulled his laser pistol and pointed it at the man.

"Who are you?" He trained his weapon on the man's head.

The man's lips cracked into a thin smile, "I would be a, shall we say, custodian. I'm here to clean up a mess."

"I hope you're good at it, because you're about to be a mess." Photeus pulled the trigger and the gun clicked.

A small chuckle emanated from the trader and echoed around the room. It wasn't just an echo though, Photeus could hear twelve distinct voices. At least the parasite was good for his hearing.

"So that's how you got through the door. Electromagnetic jammer?" Photeus' left hand was working his explosives trigger, spinning the dial with his thumb and pressing various buttons for no effect. It was some type of general jammer.

"Yes. The trap was smart, but ours was better," he now spoke to the room, "Take him."

The other men exited the shadows. The afternoon light streaming through the big windows in the upper walls of the storehouse revealed their traders clothing. Several of them were men Photeus had asked about Wohevt earlier. He realized then he was ensnared in a trap before he knew there could be one.

As they all revealed themselves, a blast of laser fire rocked through the warehouse and cut one of the men in half near Photeus. At first, thinking there was a sniper, he aimed his weapon back to the origin. It was then he realized it was Reef firing from top of some shelves. He must have followed Photeus in through the windows or rooftop access.

The remaining men seemed surprised by Reefs introduction, but not terribly so. One man switched something off, and two nearby immediately returned fire. Photeus clicked his trigger.

A blast across the room blew three of the assailants off their feet and staggered several others. A fire started among several of the crates. Photeus saw the man with the jammer switch it back on just before he could pull the trigger on his pistol stop him. Click.

"No guns!" shouted the first man, obviously the man in charge.

"Target is down," replied one of the men who shot at Reef.

"He must have neutralized Tuvera. We'll get him back to the ship," said the man with the jammer.

"No. Leave Tuvera," man-in-charge said and pointed at Photeus, "Take him, now!"

In the confusion two men had snuck up on Photeus and lept out at him. Photeus responded by counter-tackling one and throwing him into the other. Another man joined the fray and received a haymaker. Photeus took a sucker punch to the jaw, but responded with a kick to the groin that bowled the man over, causing him to vomit. A heavy metal object, likely a pipe, smashed into Photeus' back, knocking the air out of him. As he fell to his knees, a flurry of punches and kicks from six men pummeled him. As he was gasping for air and reeling from pain, two of the men picked him up by his arms.

A slow, but steady series of punches was delivered into Photeus' chest and stomach. The chest blows caused the most pain, knocking around the alien infection and pulling around his internal organs. As his vision became blurry from both blood and fading consciousness, he noticed a dark green and black clothed Xi'an standing among the flames of the burning storehouse.

The Xi'an moved with incredible speed and grace, dispatching the attackers with single strikes to pressure points, disabling them immediately. The attacks to Photeus ceased and he was dropped into a heap on the floor. The four that moved from him to the Xi'an attacked the fighter all at once. He sidestepped the first, making him look like a fool. The next two were swiftly dispatched with a set of lightning-fast kicks. The final did grab the Xi'an, but was impaled by a blade through his stomach. He screamed and let go of the black-clad warrior.

He approached broken mess that was Photeus. He stooped down and flung the beaten man over his shoulders like a sack of grain. Photeus in that moment recognized Krandul, the old man from the bar earlier. He had a million questions that ravaged his foggy mind, all were choked out by the gathering smoke in the warehouse. All except one, the most important one, "Reef?"

"I have him," It was all Krandul said as he and Photeus escaped the burning building. Krandul ran quickly, making Photeus feel strangely light, carried like a baby. He thought then of Bris, his son, and how much he had enjoyed carrying him. Photeus blacked out just before the heat detonated the remaining explosives the bomber had placed.