"What's going on?" Salina whispered hoarsely in the Primiad tongue, her eyes wide with wonder as she looked at the big creatures escorting them.
"I've just had a conversation with an entity that calls itself 'Qu'en'ak the First Observer'," van Joss whispered back, turning his head slightly. Other than a look down to see what they were doing, the Sea Wolves now ignored them.
"And it has agreed to help us by staging an assault on the Primiad fleet."
"What? How did you manage that??" the princess wanted to know.
The slender operative shrugged as they came around a final pile of concrete pieces to find themselves facing a large pool of seawater that came in under the wall and into the building itself.
"Other than the fact that the Cetacea, Qu'en'ak's people, have a moral problem with sapient beings trying to dominate other sapient beings instead of everybody being equal, I have no idea why they're going to help. Or how I managed to convince them to help."
"A stroke of good luck," Longspear husked and van Joss had no choice but to nod in agreement.
The surface of what looked like a very, very deep pool began to ripple as something underneath began to move. The ripples grew as that something approached the surface. Then, with the soft tinkling of falling water, a full dozen smooth gray heads pushed out of the cool liquid.
"What is this?" Longspear husked, having noticed the heads first. Van Joss turned to look, his eyes narrowed.
At first glance, he thought they were just like the Sea Wolves that still towered around them, black and white towers of menace with their oversized halberds. But a second look quickly yielded the difference. For one thing, they were much smaller, almost human sized, though they had the same dexterous fins as the Sea Wolves, which quickly came into focus as they began to work. They used their broad, flat hands to pull off pieces of wood from a pile that sat nearby, using rubbery looking seaweed to lash them together.
The gray heads were almost much sharper in profile than the bulbous ones belonging to the Sea wolves. It was almost as if they had beaks, like a duck or some other waterfowl. However their eyes were also on the sides of their heads and they spoke to each other with low toned series of clicks and whistles.
"Workers?" Longspear asked softly and van Joss nodded, having come to the same conclusion. Considering how fast they were putting that platform together, now easily recognizable as such, it only made sense.
- It will take a while before the dolphins are finished their work. - Qu'en'ak indicated into van Joss's mind, both explaining what the workers were called and what they were doing. - Perhaps you and your people can take a rest and eat some food. Once we are out on the water, it will be much more difficult to do so. -
"A good suggestion, Qu'en'ak. Thank you," van Joss responded, turning to indicate to Longspear that they were going to build a fire and have something to eat. She immediately nodded and took hold of a couple smaller pieces of wood that the dolphins had ignored and began assembling a fire pit. Again the Sea Wolves looked at them to see what they were doing but beyond that, did nothing.
Using her knife, Longspear quickly whittled some shavings off the wood chunks and made a small pile of them behind one of the concrete slabs set close to the pool. Considering that these creatures were water dwellers, seeing fire might just be a little traumatic. And so she tried to shield it from the dolphins as best she could.
Once her heap of shavings was big enough, the female human operative fished her flint and steel from her pack and sparked a fire, quickly adding larger pieces as the fire took hold. Van Joss joined her at that point, pulling a small pot from his pack and adding water from his water skin to it before putting the pot over the small fire to boil. Between them, the two operatives then retrieved a number of ration packs, slipping a couple of the dried bricks into the hot water to make a soup.
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Hand Over FistScience Fiction
Like a phoenix, they arose. From the ashes of a world burnt by massive nuclear holocaust and frozen by a millennia of nuclear winter. They are the Fisted Races and they struggle against the tattered remnant of Humanity for what little resources ar...