Jamison was again staring across the table at the Captain. Something about her drew his attention in a way he didn’t understand. But now his view was obscured. At the center of the table a dark purple-blue cloud was forming.
Most of the men recoiled away from it. Johnson, standing guard behind Jamison, had grabbed him and pulled him straight backwards, toppling the chair. They landed on the floor. Around the table only one of the rescued men remained.
The purple cloud quickly took shape, and a different type of alien stood in front of them in the center of the table. It was in shape a lot like the Kilkians, but it was bigger and its color was dark instead of light. It drew a large axe-like weapon back and swung it at the head of the seated man. It impacted its victim between the neck and shoulder and divided the corpse downward from there at an angle.
Someone yelled, “No!” A couple of people screamed including Jamison. One man was weeping.
Crewmen scattered. Jamison felt everything in his stomach jumping around. The new alien looked his way and raised the weapon to kill him. But as he did so Colofer drew her sword through his arm and the majority of it fell to the ground between them. The Dibolocos warrior screamed.
It spun around and faced Colofer just in time to see her sword sweep cleanly through his neck.
Jamison looked at the severed arm in front of him. It looked totally different now. The arm, the weapon and the severed portion of uniform all looked a little like grape jelly. This mass of goo, slowly pulled itself together into something like a ball and moved of its own power toward the lifeless body. Coming from the other direction the head and helmet had morphed into a similar shape and also moved to its source. When they arrived a straw like shape emerged and touched the body. And the goo seemed to inject itself in. Then a new head and arm quickly grew out of the body, it breathed back to life, axe in hand.
Colofer stood over it with her sword raised and said, “Put the weapon away.”
The Dibolocos answered by swinging it at her leg severed the limb. She let out a guttural moan, but at the same time used her sword to again separate the enemy into several parts. But while this was going on two more Dibolocos materialized in the room. One of their axes struck down into her head in a deadly blow.
Several more Kilkians materialized around the room and the Dibolocos were quickly reduced to piles of grape jelly. Jamison noticed they kept the parts from uniting for a while kicking them apart when they got close. During this time they lifted up the fallen body of Colofer. But as she was lifted up she returned to her feet and all injuries, including the cuts in uniform were restored.
Then the Kilkians formed a circle around the Dibolocos and allowed them to return to shape and life. This time they quickly cooperated by sheathing their axes. And after pointing at the humans and making some threats they left in a similar way as they had arrived.
Jamison was still laying on the floor where he had landed when Johnson had pulled him back. Most of the crew and rescued men had fled the room. The rescued man who had been struck down by the first blow of the axe was still sitting in the chair. The back of the chair and the body cut at the same angle. Jamison vomited.
The Kilkians gathered somberly around the fallen man and cried quietly. The sight was more than Jamison knew how to process. He stared as Kilkians grieved for a human they didn’t know. They showed deeper emotions over this human loss than humans would.
After a moment Colofer stepped toward him and with telepathy offered to escort Jamison back to his quarters. As they walked they had an entire conversation in their minds. Never was a word spoken aloud.
“Do you know who that was?”
“I assume they were Dibolocos.”
“Why did they not die?”
“Kilkians cannot kill Dibolocos. And Dibolocos cannot kill Kilkians. We both exist at a cellular level, so we simply reconstruct our injured mass and return.”
“How can you be at war if you cannot kill each other?”
“We certainly can cause each other pain, and we have a cause worth fighting for.”
Jamison noticed but didn’t want to pursue the reference to their cause. Instead he asked, “Why did they kill that poor guy back there?”
“Because they could. Because they knew it would cause us pain. And because they knew it would frighten many humans away from aligning with our cause.”
Jamison felt heat rising as his thoughts began to come together. He knew Colofer would know what he was thinking but in anger he didn’t try to hold back. “So you brought us into a war with you where you have nothing to lose, but we have everything to lose. Thanks a lot. And I am sure the family of the dead man will be very happy to know he died for nothing.”
“I am glad his death hurts you so deeply. This is how it should be.”
“So you are glad for our pain? What kind of monsters are you?”
“We are not monsters. If we were, we would join the Dibolocos and wipe you out.”
Colofer allowed Jamison to go into his quarters to rest with the remaining rescued men. His anger slowly faded, as he puzzled over the details of what he had seen. Aliens appearing and disappearing at will. Aliens made out of blobs that could not be killed. Kilkians wailing over a dead man. Dibolocos killing humans.
He had so many questions. Could they back out of this war? How many Dibolocos were there? How many Kilkians were there? Could a Kilkian kill a human? Would they?
He was getting tired when he wondered if there was anything stopping a Dibolocos from materializing in their quarters. He didn’t get any sleep that night.