“Listen, it looks bad but we really don’t know what we are looking at,” said Steven, attempting to reassure the couple. “We can’t have E.I.S. turn on his light or they will locate his position. We’re thinking that we need to contact the authorities before we do anything else.”
As Elizabeth sunk into his chest and sobbed, Jim turned his head back towards them. “Do you have the exact location pinpointed?”
“Yes. It is a few miles within Timber Park, close to the northeast entrance. Why?”
Jim stood up slowly, bringing Elizabeth up with him. He whispered into her ear and she began to walk with him toward the stairs, leaning heavily upon him. “Look, you guys do what you think you have to do,” he turned and shouted back to the news guys, “but we can’t wait around any more. If there is any chance that Clarissa is alive we have to go now.” He began moving up the stairs with Elizabeth.
“You’re fucking crazy.” Ron was flabbergasted. “Did you see how many of them there are? You’re dead meat you walk in there.”
“We don’t have any choice, there isn’t enough time. I’m going to put Elizabeth to bed and then I’m heading out.”
Ron turned to Steven. “Crazy bastard.”
The images assaulted him in waves. Dead infants of both his and the human’s race encased in pods and fed into the orifice of the Riachen Mother, sounds of the infants’ cries as they were devoured. Riachen tendrils wrapping about his neck and legs, pulling at them until they are ripped off, white fluid spurting out. His mental barriers kept them at bay, exposing them for what they were and failing to fool him into believing that they were really happening. The Riachen surrounded him, squirming across the floor, writhing along the wet, translucent walls, wiggling along the ceiling overhead. He activated the devices within the grasp of his smaller legs. A multitude of tendrils exploded toward him from all angles. They shot through the air and met a dome of electrical current surrounding the intruder; each tendril burned and was violently forced back with bolts of current. He fired his pistols, targeting the fleshy humps in rapid succession. He knew this would only deter their advancements for a few moments. He activated another component of the devices. The dome surrounding him became solidly visible and bursting with energy. As moments passed it became brighter and brighter into blinding white light until it shot out a solid current of explosive energy in every direction, burning the Riachen as it contacted them until they were charred black pieces of dried meat. This lasted mere seconds and then the dome flashed out, devoid of energy. It would need some time to recharge. This was a dangerous time when he would be without his shield and would have to rely solely on his abilities as a warrior. He put the devices back into their pouches on his belt and dropped the pistols from his large legs to his now empty smaller ones. His two larger tarsi reached to the side of his belt and each drew a small square box with an indented area that was lighter in hue. He rubbed these areas simultaneously and a thin triangular energy beam spread out from each box, the bottom was wide and the beam thinned out to a sharp point at the top. He held these out to his sides as he slowly moved deeper into the den.
The den slanted down beneath the planet’s surface, which was where the Mother sat, feeding. It was dark down there; no light was able to enter from the outside world. Immediately his antenna picked up the presence of Riachen moving toward him, about thirty or so. They would soon be close enough to shoot their tendrils at him, and he prepared himself for the coming battle. As soon as they were within firing range, he began to blast them with his pistols. He was able to target about half of them, successfully keeping them from shooting the purple rope-like tendrils inlaid with red branching vessels, but the others did not hesitate. The grotesque rope-like extensions shot toward him again, and with deft slashes he cut them out of the air with his energy blades. He could hear the Riachen cry out in pain, a combined sound that overloaded and assaulted his antenna, as they swiftly drew their tendrils back. He had never stopped firing blasts from his pistol during this assault and soon he had this wave stunned and immobile. He then targeted them one at a time and shot blast after blast into their fleshy hides, taking huge chunks out of them as purple and green fluids spurted into the air and ran upon the ground. When he felt sure that one was dead he would repeat the process on the next one. When he got close enough he began slashing the bodies with his energy blades, cutting them in half and assuring that they would never move again.
He was close now. The slick translucent walls, ceiling and floor began to run together into some clear thick syrupy fluid that made up the entire inner sanctum of the den. He paused here. A hundred or more Riachen slithered about within the fluid and he knew from experience that the Mother was right behind them, along with any babies still alive and encased in pods. He holstered his pistols and drew the two devices he had previously been holding. They had fully recharged by now. He activated the energy dome and strode into the fluid. The energy burned and forced the fluid to push out and around it, unable to penetrate the protective dome. The Riachen seemed to know not to shoot their tendrils and instead hit him with a psychic blast that stunned him and froze him in place. He was reluctant to use the energy blast; he needed the energy dome to last as long as possible. He withstood the psychic blast as it nearly caused him to lose consciousness. But he fought through it and pressed on. A Riachen got brave and approached the dome looking for a weakness. A bit of it brushed up against the energy and it was instantly burned. It hastily retreated by wriggling violently through the fluid. He knew that he could keep pushing foreword until he reached the Mother, the Riachen would keep their distance knowing that attacking him would prove futile.
Jim parked his car nearby the only other car in the lot. He had driven to this part of Timber Park purely on guesswork and feeling. The presence of this other vehicle seemed to substantiate the likelihood that he was close to where Clarissa was being held, but that wasn’t exactly a sound conclusion. It was probably a hiker. He got out of his car, his boots pushing into the small wet stones, the rain washing over him like heavy mist. After adjusting his ball cap, he lifted the hood of his rain jacket over it and tied it securely. He then walked around to the cargo hold and opened it. Inside was a high-powered pulse rifle complete with scope and Bull energy amplification unit. He had carried it with him during his days of exploring the park. He picked it up and toggled a sensor located over the small of the stock. It clicked, whirred, and then settled down to a low vibrant hum. He picked up the amplification unit and locked it into the accumulator located behind the firing chamber. The humming got louder; it could now knock over a large animal with one blast, where as before it would have taken two. Unfortunately, it will also deplete the energy supply twice as fast, and then will take several minutes to recharge once it is powered down. He didn’t know how many of these things there were, probably more then he had energy blasts for, but he had to risk everything and try and save as many children as possible.