Evil premonition filled Egilka’s gut. He looked in the direction the Tragooms headed. Sure enough, he caught sight of a familiar steel-haired head. Clajak stood in front of the performing Duhi, a big appreciative smile lighting his face. He had no idea doom was coming on him fast.
Egilka shoved his way through the crowd, panic making his heart hammer. The congestion closest to the stage thickened, holding him back. There was no way he’d get to the prince before the Tragooms slipped the noose around the Dramok’s neck. But he might be able to reach the Tragooms before they got Clajak.
A battle-trained Kalquorian could take on several Tragooms in hand-to-hand combat. Egilka was not battle-trained. He was a research scientist, an Imdiko who had taken a few fighting classes with self-defense in mind. Egilka would be no match for the pair of aliens that towered over him, each weighing twice as much as him.
His frantic brain could think of only one thing to do. He pulled the needle with its vial of sedative from his pouch, the one he’d intended to use on Clajak. Egilka had no idea if it would be potent enough to take out a Tragoom ... and he could dose only one.
There was no time to deliberate over his chances. The broad backs of the Tragooms were right in front of him now. Rents in the hides they wore showed him the thick, rock-like surface of their gray skin.
Only three places on a Tragoom’s thick hide were vulnerable to a stabbing attack. Egilka’s aim would have to be accurate. A miss would probably get him killed.
With the needle in one fist, he pounded on the closest Tragoom’s shoulder with the other. The rancid stench of the creature filled his nose and mouth. Egilka did his best to ignore the reek, though his guts gave a heave. “Hey!” he shouted at it.
Cheers shattered the air as spectators urged on those having sex on the stage. With all the noise, the other Tragoom didn’t note Egilka’s presence. He clumped on towards Clajak while Egilka’s intended victim slowed and began to turn. Its triangular ears swung like satellite dishes on top of its boulder head.
Tiny, muddy brown eyes set deep in the Tragoom’s skull peered around as it swiveled its head before its body. Tragooms had awful eyesight, but their sense of smell more than made up for that shortcoming. Egilka’s target’s nostrils flared, getting a good whiff of sweating Kalquorian. The hulking body tensed. The Tragoom’s arms bunched, readying to attack.
Releasing September 18