Monday, April 21, 2008
Qli-2 and I kept to the smaller corridors, seeking to avoid further contact with the Steel drones. Wlie Qli-2 still had her Talons installed, they would not be adequate for this mission. With my blaster gone, I was limited to my augmented strength and reflexes. As we passed by a greenhouse, the hot, humid air from within drafted around us.
We both realized that the greenhouse would be an ideal hiding place. The microclimate would mask our presence from heat sensors, and the vegetation would provide ample cover. A prismatic serpent with wings more vibrant than any Earth butterfly leapt from its nest in the tree that stretched to glass ceiling a hundred feet in the air. It fluttered siliently and circled overhead as we crept into the massive structure. I gestured towards a small round structure, unobtrusively places behind a tree with globes of bright red fruit. The tree's blossoms hissed at us protectively as we made our way past, and withdrew its red clusters into its trunk.
The winged serpent gracefully perched on the spire of the round structure as Qli-2 used a claw to pick the notebook-sized padlock that held the chains wrapped around the door handles in place. The serpent hooted and flapped in alarm as the metal fell to the pavestones with a clatter.
As I had hoped, we had unlocked a gardening shed. Qli-2 gasped and took a step back as she scanned the dizzying array of alien tools. I saw her start to tremble.
"Qli-2. Focus on the mission. There must be something in here we can use as a weapon."
I rummaged through the implements. Some I could barely recognize as spades and saws and axes. Others were specialized for xenohorticultural purposes upon which I could not even postulate.
"Qli-3! I found some wheeled machinery behind the shed! Perhaps one of these is..."
The serpented bolted into the air with a shriek, and the tree hissed towards the quadraped galloping towards us. I readied the largest implement I could find and prepared to meet the charge.
The beast stopped in its tracks, and began to shrink in size and assume a bipedial shape.
"Kiralette? Is that you?"