The void shields encircling Daul dropped once a stray electroshock flail from Dorn overloaded the power supply. Daul hastily issued the command to subdue the servitor. Dorn jerked to a halt and relaxed back into his state of blissful simplicity.
There were times where Daul envied him.
Dorn had made a bloody mess of things, though he only actually killed a handful of the men in the room. Once the furious servitor had been unleashed in their midst every man had grabbed for his side arm and started firing wildly in the direction of the arco-flagellant. Confined spaces and firearms was a recipe for disaster, one that Daul was very grateful for as he stepped over a bullet-riddled corpse.
A groan came from the ground near to the ornate raised seat in the middle of the room. Daul walked over and came face to face once again with Prost. Porst was using what was left of his arm and his one good hand to keep his guts from spilling on to the ground. Daul smiled grimly, “Clotting accelerants. Very expensive but a good way to keep from dying, that’s good. I need you alive for what comes next Porst. Are you going to tell me why Faust is here or will I have to take it from you?”
Porst spat bloody phlegm up at Daul’s face, “Just do it already Hilder we both know what comes next.”
“To the point as always Porst,” Daul winced to keep the blood out of his eye, “Very well, I haven’t much time anyway.”
Porst curled his lip, shouted, “Burn in hell you bastard,” and then the started to scream. Taking information from a man’s mind psychically was a delicate process. Any mistake would leave the informant crippled, gibbering, simple, or dead. Daul was not worried about mistakes, he tore into Porst’s mind ripping anything that looked remotely useful from it and digesting it wholly. Porst’s thoughts were crisp and orderly in spite of giving him the distinct sensation of filth on the back of his hands. Porst was putting up a decent fight, tossing up walls of extraneous thoughts and disgusting compulsions in the hopes of distracting or delaying him. Daul’s sheer force of will ripped through those walls till he reached a great inky black walled off section of Porst’s mind.
A barrier, put up by Faust himself no doubt. Well, it was too late for finesse.
Daul plowed forwards, tearing though the wall and grabbing as many thoughts and ideas as he could before the walls came crashing down, and Porsts head came crashing along with it. Faust had apparently included a failsafe in addition to his walls. Within seconds of Daul breaking the barrier of his thoughts a fist sized section of the back of the thick man’s head exploded outward. Daul gagged at the recoil from touching a man’s mind in his dying moments and emptied his stomach onto the floor.
He spat to get the taste out of his mouth and looked up at Dorn. The servitor was staring at him with a giddy smile of contentment, “What are you smiling at you vile creature?” he spat again, “Throne that hurt.”
He straightened himself and turned to the armored door just beyond the raised chair, “Come Dorn, I say it’s time we see what’s behind this door that was important enough for Faust’s countermeasure.” He walked forward at a brisk pace, making no effort to walk around the bodies. Flesh and bone crunched satisfyingly beneath his feet.
The door was easily overridden by the security crystal he’d used on the elevator. It opened with a deep whoosh and a thin fog of cold air wafted out. Daul recognized the table sitting in the middle of the room and the hanging tool setup immediately. An imperial vivisection table was difficult to mistake for anything else, especially one with a live specimen strapped to it.
“It seems the Belzafest colonies were not totally devoid of native life after all Dorn,” Daul slowly approached the creature, being careful to keep his distance. Only a fool got too close to an unknown xenos, even one strapped down to a table. Daul prided himself on his knowledge of xenology and xenobiology but could not ever remember hearing tales of this creature.
It had a graceful serenity too it and a dignity in spite of its predicament. Silvery flaps of flesh that might have once been wings were torn to shreds and it’s arms showed signs of recent injury at every joint. That made sense; procedure dictated that any creature taken in for vivisection had to have every tendon in its extremities cut to prevent the specimen from contaminating results by jerking around. This was especially important with sentient species. However it seemed that after the use of the automated systems to disable the creatures arms and wings Faust had gone for the old fashioned touch. A small pile of bloodied scalpels and tools sat on the table behind Daul.
“Strange creature this one,” Daul said as he approached the table. He eyed the creature with mild suspicion then considered the deep pools of blood on the floor and ceiling, “Pity it’s dead.”
“Not dead,” It raised its head sightly, eyeless sockets filled with gauze looked towards Daul, “Not yet.”
Daul’s body tensed and he eyed the tools on the table speculatively. Would he have to use them or would he be able to entice the creature into simply telling him why Faust was interested in the creature? For that matter could he find out what the creature even was? The creature solved the problem for him.
“So full of anger. They young are so full of anger. They ask the how but have forgotten what and why. Do you remember what and why?”
The damned creature was delirious, at least it spoke something resembling gothic, “I only seek Faust the one who did this to you. Tell me where he is and what he looks for you and I will promise you revenge.”
It sighed, “So young. So angry. You have forgotten. He has remembered. Sometimes the mistake is to forget. Ours was not. Ours was to remain. Ours was to remember. Ours was to fail.”
“Where is Faust.” Daul started to circle the table impatiently. Recovering reliable intelligence from a victim of torture was imperfect at best. That was one of the main reasons he preferred to take the information from the minds of others without resorting to it. It left even the strongest in fits of delirious useless ranting.
“One finds now when one finds when and how.” More damned riddles, it was a small wonder that Faust felt the need to slice into the creatures wings so often.
“What does Faust seek?” The knives kept looking better and better to Daul.
“Knowledge of what?” Daul wiped the blood off his face onto the sleeve of his cloak.
“Light and Shadows once fought each other till death woke. The circle was broken and the path led astray. The ones before consumed. The ones after lost. All lost.”
Daul ground his teeth, “Where is Faust’s ship?”
“Where shadows slept, no shadow remains. Deep, deep down. Only light, only me. Only Kosh.”
“Who is Kosh?”
“We are all Kosh.”
Daul grabbed the creature by the neck, “You will speak plainly or you will die. Where is Faust? Where is he right now?”
“You are so lost. The young are lost. All are lost. Pain, loss, you lost him. The loss of family is always hard,” Daul flinched and slammed down on his mental shields as he felt a thin tendril of awareness snaking its way into his mind. It slowed but he could still feel it wriggling in his head.
Daul saw black, “You dare to intrude in my mind you xenos filth?” His hand closed around the creatures neck and head, cutting off the creatures airflow and crushing It gasped and screeched before collapsing in death. As it died Daul shuddered as a warm paternal feeling washed over him and a single word reverberated though his mind, “forgiven.” The creature had truly wanted to die. Far be it from Daul to deny a xenos’ death wish but he was no closer to finding the ship.
A great booming crash echoed through the air. For a second Daul feared that Faust had rigged the command center with explosives till he realized that the roaring rush was the equalization in air pressure between the poisonous atmosphere of Belzafest and the oxygen rich atmosphere within the dome. Cairn had done it. Carin disabled the generators. He could only hope that they were picked rescued before Sánclair deployed the powerful explosives upon the city itself. Rescue depended on Kerrigan’s speed in fixing the great machine. All that was left was to sit and to wait.