by Travis Perry -
Each movement brought a spasm of pain to his back and his left ear felt like a hot poker had been shoved inside it. In the angel’s chamber, Ernsto maneuvered the robotic cart carrying the portable pressure tank to the circular lock near the floor, below the transparent wall that physically separated him from the angel.
Two doors entered this room; the one behind him he felt confident was secure—shut tight, its locking mechanism damaged. His left hand held the plasma blaster, covering the door in front of him as his right hand worked the controls to the circular entrance into the angel’s tank.
Waves of comfort and empathetic caring emitted from the angel, reminding him of his grandmother’s touch when he’d been sick as a child, a warm soothing blanket and hot honey tea from her gentle hands, her voice telling him she loved him. The angel’s care probed not only into the suffering of his body, but reached deep into hidden parts of himself, working to soothe the damage he’d done by destroying other men.
The light near the door flickered and he fired on the entryway, a plasma bolt peeling the blue paint on the metal sliding door. Easy, easy, said the warm embrace of the angel’s mind.
He replied, “Babe, the lock’s ready. You needa come out so I can transfer you to this tank, so I can take you back where you came from.” His voice rasped in a whisper, but he knew she understood him. He hadn’t actually needed words at all.
She came out and he physically pulled her from the lock and briefly her body was in his arms, wet and rubbery. Now she suffered the pain of low pressure and his mind clumsily tried to comfort her with it’s okay, it’s okay. But then she was in the portable tank, the lid sealed shut, and the rising water pressure returning her to normal.
At that moment the door snapped open and two enforcers scrambled into the room, plasma pistols raised, shouting, “DROP YOUR WEAPON!” He was ready to kill or die trying—the angel flooded his mind please please please, begging him to stop. His left arm twitched to raise his weapon but he found his hand had let go of it. It dropped to the floor and his heart accepted what the angel wanted. He would allow himself to be captured.
Behind the first enforcers came two others, and then another two. The first pair threw him to the ground and handcuffed his wrists together. They hauled him to his feet and he saw there were now at least ten enforcers in the room and a plainclothes peacekeeper and some firecrew. Among them, in the safety of their numbers, stood Hobson, a triumphant smile on the wizard’s face.