Neira to My Heart – Part 2
by Vicky Morgan-Keith
Spawnguard No Longer calmly awaited its fate. Absently running two tentacles along the cool sandstone walls of its dark cell, Spawnguard No Longer probed the alien minds it sensed around it while the suckers along its tentacles searched for weak points in the rock. It didn’t hurry. It felt no need to. It moved about with deliberate purpose, devoid of panic or desperation. Those feelings were not part of its genetic makeup, denied Spawnguard No Longer since it first emerged from the spawning pool of its birth long ago.
Its methodical drive was probably what fated it to complete its development cycle as a Spawnguard rather than an Edo Leader. Spawnguard needed to be physically strong, reliable, efficient, ruthless, and unfaltering in their protection of their fellow brood members. Spawnguard No Longer had been all these things and more. While a strong affinity to The Deep was not required of its caste, Spawnguard No Longer could activate its psychic abilities more frequently and successfully than many of its peers.
A member of the Edofleini, an alien race originating from a galaxy far from the Milky Way, Spawnguard No Longer had emerged from the icy grasp of stasis along with several others of its brethren. Ignoring the ravenous hunger resulting from its long sleep, it obeyed the psychic directives of its Edo Leader, joining others of its clutch for a mission to investigate a promising planetoid. The scouting party was to determine if the Edo could use the small planet to start a new spawning colony. Unfortunately, other creatures had claimed the planet as well. Tall, spindly beings with minds like iron, willful and resistant to the psychic intrusions of the Edo. These competitors fought ferociously, and the Edo, perhaps relying too heavily on their psychic connection to The Deep to ensure victory, were defeated.
Spawnguard No Longer saw its comrades overrun and slain. It, too, expected to be killed on the spot as well, for it did not relinquish its weapon, a mighty halberd that employed the Edo’s Arc technology. Spawnguard No Longer had brandished the polearm as its enemies surrounded it, their own weapons poised to fire. It wasn’t that the Edo refused to surrender, Spawnguard No Longer was unable to surrender. The normal bio-engineered genetic pattern of spawnguard did not allow them to consider capitulation. Death or victory were the only combat options their minds could grasp. Therefore, Spawnguard No Longer prepared to fight to the last. It opened a psychic link to its weapon, causing brilliant fingers of electrical current to arc and snap around the surface of the polearm’s blade. As it did so, it realized with a sort of mild surprise that the thoughts of its enemies clamored not for its death, but instead were tinged with…admiration?
Before Spawnguard No Longer could make sense of the situation, one of the beings surrounding it boldly stepped forward, gesturing languidly with a limb as it did so. Almost instantly, the Edo slumped to the ground, darkness abruptly descending over its mind. When it awoke, Spawnguard No Longer had found itself in the cell it now occupied.
Its weapon had been taken, although it could sense the halberd’s psychic signature somewhere close by. It was punished when it attempted to assault the minds of those who first came to feed it and refrained from further attacks afterwards, content to gather its strength and bide its time. It sensed something was to be required of it. The thoughts of its captors fairly dripped with excitement and anticipation. The Edo could easily sense that much. Spawnguard No Longer remained vigilant for an opportunity to escape and perhaps retrieve its weapon. It would need to sift through these alien minds until it found one with the authority to take it away from here. The target’s mind would then need to be dominated and the being forced to assist Spawnguard No Longer to escape.
Hinges groaned as a barred gate on one side of the Edo’s cell swung open. Spawnguard No Longer peered into the dark hallway beyond. No one awaited it or blocked its path. The Edo moved into the hallway, seeing only a tunnel bordered on both sides by cells similar to its own. The floor sloped up a slight grade to another barred gate through which bright sunlight shone. It moved toward the sunlit gate, ignoring the occasional occupants in the adjoining cells. As it neared the opening, it increased its pace. Spawnguard No Longer’s halberd lay on the ground beside the metal portal. It picked it up, running tentacles across its smooth metal surface in an almost reverent fashion.
Spawnguard No Longer peered out the gate, its quartet of eyes squinting and blinking in the powerful glare of the arena. The roar of the crowd washed over it as the gate opened and it moved through. It required little effort to sense the overwhelming desire radiating from the multitude of spectators.
It was a directive Spawnguard No Longer found much to its liking.