"I am taking the tunnel with no activity," Trent thought as he moved deeper into the complex.
"There are fifty-three Celder entering the tunnel you presently occupy," OM thought.
"Can you cause a cave-in?" Trent asked.
"Yes. Would you like me to do so now?" asked OM.
"If it looks like there will be no more of them entering it," Trent thought.
There was a short sharp vibration and the tunnel collapsed.
"There are two who left the tunnel and are laying at the entrance," OM thought.
Trent walked a few yards to a few planks of wood covering the entrance to the first chamber. The smell of decomposing flesh was quite strong, and much worse when he removed the one of the planks. The sounds of beings crying led him through another plank covered passage.
"I am here to rescue you," Trent said to the Hoyla who were wired to heavy metal objects.
They all began to scream for help. Trent looked around for the source of the smell of decay. To the left was a dimly lit cavity with a table in the center and a body wired firmly to the top. There was a pile of bones against the wall.
"Free us please. They will soon be back," cried a voice.
"Do not be in fear. They will not be able to hurt you. OM, which is the quickest way out of here?" Trent asked.
"Stay to the right. You have a one-hundred-yard journey. There are at least fifteen Celder moving your way. They are deep within the hill so it is difficult to make exact readings," OM replied.
Trent made a quick survey of the captives. Only one could manage the escape without assistance, and relayed that to OM.
"I detect no other Celder in the immediate area. Stop those heading your direction thought the tunnels and you should have no interference. I have terminated the two by the collapsed tunnel entrance," said OM.
"I will bring them one by one to the exit, and you guard them until I have brought them all to the surface," Trent ordered.
"Understood," OM replied.
Trent found the tunnels leading deeper into the hill split into many, so he decided to stay near the captives and draw the Celder to him. Trent pretended to be close to defeat in hand-to-hand combat until he had all of the Celder within his shielding range, then electrified them all.
"Ok, all of the Celder in this tunnel system have been killed. I will carry you to the exit where my ship will protect you. I am very strong and I will be moving quite rapidly, so please do not be afraid," Trent explained.
The Hoyla could not stop crying and shivering from fright of having watched their loved ones and friends being eaten alive, and knowing they would be next. It took ten minutes to bring them all to the surface. Trent relayed the event to Pace.
"Another reason to stay out of the tunnels." Trent thought.
"A real good reason not to be taken by the Celder for sure," replied Pace.
"They are in no condition to fend for themselves, can the Hoyla at your location care for them?" asked Trent.
Pace looked around and thought back, "Sure. They can deal,"
"Ship is on his way. Expect beings traumatized more than you have ever seen. They will need constant attention for a while," Trent thought.
"Ready," Pace replied.
As Ship delivered the former captives, Pace and the Hoyla at her location helped them out of ship, and into the main building. Few of them could do little more then make faint screaming noises. One said his name was Emoln through clenched teeth. Several could not stop convulsing and six were unconscious.
"I'm a doctor. I was told there was urgent need at this settlement," said man as he stepped through the doorway.
Pace razed her rifle and cut his in half.
"What are you doing? Why did you do that?" yelled a Hoyla standing next to her as he pushed her rifle toward the floor.
"He's Celder. Check his mouth," Pace suggested.
"How did you know?" asked Hoyla peering inside it's mouth.
"No one has left this settlement for help or sent a message. Mostly because there is no one who could come to aid us regardless. Plus there is fresh blood on its shoes and sleeve where it would have wiped blood from its mouth. Plus, I remember seeing it during the last fight," Pace explained.
"Listen up! Time for another mouth check," said a Hoyla standing next to Pace with his mouth open.
Pace took a step toward the doorway when another one made a dash for the Celder being held captive. Pace got it just before it made contact with the captive.
"Line up. Let's get this over with," said another of the Hoyla holding her mouth open.
Two more Celder who had been lingering in the back took off, but Pace could only get one of them.
"You three come with me, time to check the perimeter guards," Pace said as she looked around at the help being given to the former hostages.
The three chosen by Pace looked out the window at the black of the night then at the former hostages then at Pace.
"We stay close together," Pace said, adding, " If I didn't have this rifle, there would be no chance I'd go out there.
They made their way post and found all well, but the next post was empty. From the dark came the low growl sometimes made by the Celder.
"In back of us," Pace shouted.
Two wheeled around with Pace, but one ran toward the main building. He was grabbed about half way there. Then came the silence, and a num feeling that accompanies fear.
"To the next post. Stay sharp, no noise," Pace ordered.
There was a sudden and profound barrage of yelling and clanging of weapons. The first post was under attack. The Hoyla turned to join the fight.