" Not when I'm the pray. How different is their DNA? " Pace asked.
" In a lab, very different. From a distance of few hundred yards, not very. " OM answered.
" What about a virus? " Thought Pace.
" The autopsy we performed shown no viruses. Their immun systems and basic chemistry lead me to believe the only effective termination method is to place them in possession of dramatic trauma. " Thought OM.
" Anybody seen any young Celder? " Pace asked the Hoyla sitting near by.
They looked at each other then one answered, " No. I never thought about that. "
" How about you OM, sensed a baby Celder out there anywhere? " Pace asked.
" No. Now that you mention it, the autopsy did not reveal recognizable reproductive organs. Therefore they are clones, their species has more than two sexes, they change at some point in order to reproduce, or maybe they have a queen like some insects. " OM stated.
" Could they be singled out by their pheromones? " Asked Pace.
" Yes, but not in a timely fashion. The best method at the moment is inspecting the inside of the mouth. The extra teeth are necessary for the Celder to survive, therefore they will not change that aspect of their physiology. " OM replied.
" I wander if Trent has found out anything at Ulura. " Thought Pace.
" Not as of yet. Once I arrived three Celder attacked me. There are no small mammals, birds, or Hoyla. There are a great many insects however. The Hall of Records is a pile of rubble, even the basement has been trashed. Ask Mr. Himm if he knows of another possible storage site. " Trent thought back.
" He says no, but you could check the customs depot twelve or so miles out of town. " Pace thought.
" How far does this thought transfer work? " Pace asked.
" About ten thousand miles without increasing your devices capability. " OM answered.
" We should do that as when possible. " Pace replied.
" There are a few dozen beings approaching. I can't tell which are the Celder. " Said a voice from the front of the building.
" These guys are persistent. I'll go see what they have in mind. " Pace said as she walked throught the gate.
" Wait! You'll be killed! " Shouted one of the Hoyla.
Pace turned slightly and smiled.
" Stop or I will fire! " Pace with a tone of defiant anger.
It was obvious that the being at the back of each of those in front was pushing forward.
" As a friend of mine would say, your actions are poorly chosen. " Pace said in soft smooth voice as she opened fire with her particle rifle.
Only six of the Celder moved toward Pace. They were cut in half. The others decided retreat was preferable to being segmented, but Pace got'em anyway. The Hoyla lead by Mr. Himm ran out to help hostages, but as they reached them several turned out to be Celder who began savage assaults. Pace ran through the crowd taking them out as fast as she could.
" Stop! Check their mouths for extra teeth. Yell if anyone refuses to open up. " Pace yelled from the roof of an old transport.
From the left side of the attack a Celder came running toward Pace, a Hoyla standing next to the transport Pace was standing on seen the Celder coming and got it with a club as it passed him.
" Wait! We might be able to make use of it. " Pace said as the Hoyla raised his club to finish it off.
The Celder tried to stand, but was clearly dazed. Several of th Hoyla held it down while someone brought a roll of wire to secure it.
" Do you have chloroform or some other way to keep it unconscious? It will kill it's self if we let it revive before Handy and OM get here. " Stated Pace.
They injected the Celder with a sedative and strapped it to a table.
" I believe they want their buddy back. " Said a woman looking out a standing in the with a night scope.
" How many? " Mr. Himm asked.
" Looks like a hundred or more. Their cave network must be much more extensive than we thought. " The woman replied.
When the alarm sounded the Celder changed in what appeared to be the hope of overrunning the compound. Pace had a feeling the Celder were not that dumb so she ran to back of the compound through the corrals holding the livestock. The Celder had killed the rear guards and were absconding with one of the herds. Pace could not let the Celder take the animals, so she had no choice but to slaughter them with the Celder. A dozen or so Hoyla came running up and said those in the front of the compound need help. Pace ran along the side of the compound and found tree Celde sneaking along the fence. When she moved to take them out they were gone.
" Himm! Where is Mr. Himm? " Shouted Pace.
" They grabbed him. I think they went that way. " A man pointed just before being tackled by a Celder.
Pace halved that Celder.
" They have a tunnel near the east side of the main building, pass it on. " Pace shouted as she set out to find Mr. Himm.
Pace found Mr. Himm laying in pieces not far from the outer fence.
" You were the second Mr. Himm I have met. Things ended badly for him too. " Pace thought looking at a trail made by the Celder in the dewy grass leading to a sudden end, " There be tunnel. Back in a bit to say good night. "
" We mount a rescue for Mr. Himm? " A man said standing in shredded clothing covered in blood.
" There will be no rescue for Mr. Himm. However, those who killed him left a trail to one of their tunnel entrances, and there is another near the side of the main building. When things calm down here we'll go on the offensive. " Pace said as she ran into the battle.
As the fight continued it became apparent that the Celder numbers were increasing.