“I want them found and killed,” General Harrier ordered. “I don’t care who you have to eliminate, or what you have to destroy in the process.”
Twenty Asiddian special-ops warriors stood at attention in makeshift rows like an honor guard at a ceremony. Dust from pock marks in the walls and ceiling caused by disintegrator fire clouded the corridor in a smoke-like haze. Dark eyes filled with murderous determination were the only common thread visible on the stone-like faces of the soldiers.
“Whoever finds the Princess and kills the Humans and their Chrysallaman collaborators will be rewarded,” Harrier continued. “Anyone who does not show the appropriate dedication to saving her will receive this.”
With no emotion, the General lifted his sidearm and shot the third trooper on the left between the eyes. A hole large enough to pass a closed fist appeared, and the dead body toppled forward. Not a single other soldier dared blink.
Harrier swiveled his gaze from face to face and asked, “Do you understand the depth of my concern?”
Muddy water ran down his forehead as Doug Jenson watched the Asiddian search team march by his hiding place. He’d lost count of the number of times he’d crawled beneath filthy, water-soaked vegetation and garbage to avoid discovery. Becky Chang lay next to him, her breathing shallow but regular. Her body warmth was the only thing keeping his shaking fits under control. Cold, hunger and fatigue were his constant companions the last few days.
Access to the Chrysalis catacombs was nearby at last. Cherree Brookkss had been quite positive about its location, but she’d decided a circuitous route was best to confuse the dogged pursuit of the Asiddian search parties. If it wasn’t for Whatsit’s confidence in her, Doug would’ve lost all hope of ever being rescued.
A couple of minutes after the Asiddians walked by them, the rag-tag group arrived at a gurgling drainage pipe. The pipe was almost three feet in diameter, and rain water from the storm filled with nasty debris sluiced into it. The native Chrysallamans ducked down and crawled into the dark pipe. Sighing with resignation, Doug and his companions followed them.