Chapter 5: Cetacea

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Grimly van Joss marched through the building, his hands on his head, while his massive captor kept the halberd close to his back.  Silently the wiry operative berated himself on the ease of his capture.  But, as he stepped around a rather large heap of concrete rubble to find both Salina and Longspear on their knees, hands on their heads, he could only shake his head in wonder at the creatures that stood behind them.

They were well over three metres in height apiece, massive, streamlined forms with rounded corners and edges.  There were no visible shoulders or hips, things that marked Fisted bipeds.  If anything, they seemed hunched over, holding their great weapons almost awkwardly with broad, flat limbs.  The creatures also seemed to walk somewhat awkwardly, waddling, not striding like humans did as if it were difficult to separate their legs.

But there was no mistaking the look of purpose on their strange faces, their broad, lip-less mouths opening to reveal sharp, conical teeth in grimaces of determination.  And, as their eyes were on the sides of their heads, they were constantly shifting from side to side to keep both eyes on their prisoners.  'What manner of creatures are these black and white monsters?' van Joss couldn't help wondering.

Orca Orcinus. - A soft voice clearly spoke in answer and van Joss glanced around to see if he could see who was talking.  The movement, however, cost him.  The butt of the halberd's haft caught him just behind the knees, sending him sprawling.

The slender operative immediately tucked into a roll, coming back to his feet with a twist to face his captor.  Only to find the halberd's point pressed up against his sternum.  He swallowed tightly and looked up into the creature's grim face.  For such awkward looking things, they moved unnaturally fast, he coldly noted to himself.

- Oh, there's no point in actually trying to find me, van Joss. -  The voice lightly suggested.  This time van Joss didn't move a hair, staring instead into his captor's eye.  A gaze the creature coldly returned.

- I am physically quite distant from your location there, in the city. -

"Then how is it that I can hear you?" van Joss quietly asked even as he unconsciously braced for more retaliation from his massive guard.  But, other than keeping the halberd's point firmly pressed against his chest, the creature didn't move.  So either they couldn't hear.  Or they simply didn't care about him talking.  Van Joss mentally shrugged.  Either way, it was an advantage he intended on exploiting at a later date.

Salina and Longspear, however, did hear him.  At the sound of his voice, they looked up and over at him.  And the Primiad princess' face immediately fell upon seeing him captive as well.  Longspear, however, looked thoughtful.

Ignoring them both, van Joss focused on the voice.  It seemed far more friendly than their grim captors.  Perhaps it would let some important information slip that he could use.  Then it was talking again.

- Well, to be frank, you aren't actually hearing me at all. -  The voice said, a touch of humor in each word.  - My thoughts are touching your thoughts. -

"Your, . . . thoughts?"

- Yes.  I extend pure thought into your mind and your own frontal lobes interpret into words that you can understand from the concepts and imagery I project. -  The voice explained.  Van Joss frowned.  He knew nothing of such things.  Yet it was obviously happening.  He opened his mouth to ask why it was putting thought into his mind.  Only to have the voice beat him to it.

- And now you are going to ask why. -  It said, more humor coloring the words.  - You see, I can take thought from you as easily as I put thought there.  I will address your question. -  There was a slight pause as if the speaker was marshalling it's own thoughts.  Then:

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