We rejoined our heroes in a darkened passage following the fight with the martian hunters. Two figures lurked in the shadows down the side passage. Percy tried out his expanding language skills and tried to convince them to come closer. They slowly edged toward the light until Joe presented them with food, which promptly convinced them to come out.
The were even more welcoming when Charlie used the name “Clarence Dally”. The two groups briefly checked each other out, the newcomers were frail and dusky with shoulder length cropped hair. They were very concerned about the evident wounds on our heroes and encouraged them to seek “Bauer-Black.” After a brief negotiation the couple — Aoifa and Messe — agreed to guide them back to the encampment to find help and Dally.
After quickly removing the weapons from the martians and failing to extract the power sources from their armored bodies they stuffed the corpses in a side chamber and moved on.
A few more hours winding through the stage plant brought them to the entrance of an office complex, which was at the end of three layers of laddered tunnels. Crispin wondered aloud why people with tentacles would build things with ladders. The escaped slaves said the heroes use present themselves to the guards. Percy stepped and grandly introduced the party in the Coptic language, ending with a flourish and and Dally’s name. The guard behind the desks immediately dropped their weapons and heralded the earthlings. It was immediately apparent that these guardians ware in much better physical condition that the slaves.
Our heroes were taken to a large chamber were nearly 50 humans were gathered about. While Frankie tried to capture the moment, Crispin unveiled a few choice illusions to the marvel of the collected group— who were largely thin, frail and undernourished. A middle-aged balding human with a gray fringe of beard approached them in broken English and welcomed them, saying that Clarence Dally would be glad to see them but first they needed to be tended to.
While Penelope, Les, Charlie, Frankie, Percy and Opal stayed with the humans, the others were taken to a medical area and placed into fluid-filled tabs. Dash quickly checked with his portable device to see if they were indeed medical, and learned enough to deem it safe. So they entered the tubs and drifted off to sleep.
Both Crispin and Dash were troubled by dreams of lightning, flashing lights and cables wrapping them up. Dash was jolted awake by one of his, and found himself in the darkened chamber. Nearby he heard Joe muttering about the generator in the basement of his school, and Crispin quietly talking about movie screens overtaking vaudeville halls. He relaxed his head back into the tub and heard a voice in his head asking Wall Street and major corporate players. He tried to answer simply, but when questions become broader he added a bit of wild conspiracy to throw off his interrogator. He quickly decided that whatever was questioning him was not reacting to his answer immediately.
He decided to let this play out— answering questions and waiting to see what happened next. He soon became aware of rising indicators on a panel near his head. He tried to stay calm but the needles continued to raise. Not long after, he could hear someone enter the room and a dusk face appeared over his tub. The stranger pressed some buttons on the panel, and Dash lunged up — grabbing the stranger and pulling him into the tank. The stranger struggled free, but seemed a little dazed by the contents of the tank. Dash climbed out and tried to bring him down, but the guardian managed to reach a device on the wall and activated it. Before he could speak into it, Dash grabbed a loose piece of equipment and brought it down the stranger’s head, dropping him to the floor.
He quickly work the others and tried to track down where the information gathered was going. He could not, but did earn that it wasn’t going far. They crept out of the sick bay and into a central station, with a guards to their left and an office suit to their right. Crispin and Joe snuck across the central chamber and down into a dimly lit hall. INside the room, they could barely hear Joe’s own voice talking about his fear of electricity and how the school was wired with AC. Dally’s gravelly voice was heard saying “The old man lost that one, my friend.”
Joe burst into the room, demanding to know why Dally was poking around his head and what his plans were for the school basement. He was immediately taken aback by a martian squid head in a tank next to the scientist. He tried to throttle the creature while Dally tried to calm the pair.
Apologizing profusely, the deformed man tried to explain that he had so many questions about what was happening back on Earth that he thought this method would be faster and less intrusive. He added that for proper healing the brain must be stimulated as well as the body. In good faith, he called off the guards and welcomed dash to join them in his study.
Once together, he explained that the martian — Kanaloa — had been shunned by his people for questioning the cruelty to his slaves. He found his way to Dally and had taught him many of the secrets of the martian technology. Together they had built this place, treated Dally condition and helped others escape the slavery of the martians. He explained that this slavery was soon to end, and that his fellow countrymen (and a couple of limeys) would destroy the martians permanently and end their threat to mankind.
He noted that he believed that the octopods were not the original martians, but that they were ‘created’ by humans as slaves. But the slaves rose up and took down the human civilization. He was not sure what, or if, the martian humans were related to the earthlings.
The trio demanded he explain his plans to their entire group, so they went to gather up their friends.