He never thought his love for the extraordinary would take his life. Captain Hank Myer's love of the aether and flying the latest sky ships, his love of the best of everything and working for Rock and Cross science group changed his life but had not taken his life. And now, this beautiful demon girl in his arms was extraordinary and the moment he laid eyes on her, she took his life.
He raced down flights of stairs only to stop for a moment to hear their pursuers still in pursuit. Leaving the Rock and Cross building was a necessary move if they were to survive. Each step down was opposite of his preferred means of escape which would be from the roof and an airship.
"We should find the tunnels. The mole halfling was trying to get me to go there. We might find help with the under city creatures," said Areanne.
"I am an aether flyer not- well, I know you would too-" started Hank.
"Yes, the sky calls to me, but today I think the tunnels are our best bet."
Hank slowed down to think about about his academy lessons.
"In my training before being chosen to fly, we studied the city on all levels. Whenever the tunnels were mentioned, I didn't pay attention. I didn't give a lick about the creatures beneath my feet, but I do remember that each building had one entrance."
Hank's breath was normal even though he was carrying Areanne down flights of steps and talking at the same time. He was fit and she was light. The adrenalin was pumping through him from the fight and the escape. He knew he needed to find a place to rest soon because he would sleep like a hibernating bear once the adrenalin stopped pumping up his flight response system.
"Second basement level, third door to the right," he mumbled when he saw they were on the first level stairwell. "Two more flights to go."
"Is it the same for every building?"
"Yes, it is the only thing I remember about the tunnels, though. I had to know it for the test."
He glanced at her face and a stream of tears flowed from her face. The paralysis from the biomechanical spider venom had worn off, but two of the legs, one in her neck and one in her chest were still attached by their needle points sticking into her flesh. She could have walked, but the jostling of the needles was painful and carrying her cause the needles to move less than walking. They still were causing her pain.
"You're crying silently," he said and opened the door to the tunnels. Blackness was before him.
"The needles are deep and when I breath, it hurts." She tried to breathe shallowly and not think about how helpless she felt. She controlled her destiny not overly bulked out men.
The dank smell wafted over them and Hank spotted a stream of light. He walked over to the door and opens to blindingly brightly lit room.
"Who are you? And close the door." They heard a high pitched nasal voice, but could not see who was talking. Their eyes start to adjust. "Are those spider legs from the model vx35 venom pumping and gray matter extracting bio spider?"
"I don't know," said Hank. "They are hurting her."
"Of course they would be. You came to the right bio-machine technician," said a mole halfling dressed in a stunning and obviously expensive red velvet waistcoat and breeches. "And set her down on the duvet. You're about to drop from adrenalin rush you big brute. I can see it in your complexion, so you better sit down somewhere. I'll get my leg extracting surgery kit."
"What do you mean he's going to drop? He hasn't breathed heavy carrying me down flights of stairs or fighting or-"
"There he goes."
Hank slumped over to the ground. He had chosen to sit on the ground because all the furniture was halfling mole size. The couch Areanna laid on only accommodated her torso. Her legs dangled over the arm.
"How long will he be out? Why is he sleeping?"
"When an aether captain chooses to fly for Rock and Cross, there are some biologically changes they undergo. Nothing too harmful. ahh, here's the kit," he came back, sat next to her and started to dig through a dusty box. Everything else in the room was meticulously kept. Along the wall were boxes of mechanical bio-creatures. One wall was all spiders. "They don't need much sleep and there is this adrenaline side effect. But, most never have an adrenaline rush, cause a lot of the bio changes deaden the response."
"Are you going to cut them out?" A panicky squeak came out of Adriana who was realizing that the cauterizing of her nose had worked. Not even a trickle of blood had fallen out of her face.
"The legs are purely mechanical. I will activate the release switch and they will leave your body on their own. Who sent me to you? I mean you to me."
"No one. He rescued me from the penthouse lab. I was betrayed by my captain and crew. A mole halfling had tried to warn me and also commanded me from my airship."
The mole halfling out on a pair of spectacles and held a minute teasers and screwdriver in one hand the spider leg in her chest with the other. He counted the hairs along the leg and while pulling the third one from the top of the leg, he stuck the screwdriver in a hole.
"Five, four, three, two, one," he counted and then did the same to the one on her neck.
Areanna started to ask, "How long-" when she felt the needle move.
Hank jumped to a standing position and said, "Ready!" He studied the room and then finally at Areanne, "You. You're real."
"Sit down, brut," said the mole halfling.
"I'm Hank, not Brut."
"And I'm Riginal. You take up too much space in here. Sit down." Hank sat back down on the floor. "Payment, of course, for the extraction should have been discussed before the removal, but I don't often have a Cross and Rock Captain, I mean Rock and Cross Captain and a Skyship Ranger asking for my help. What are you going to do for me?"
"What do you need, Riginal?" asked Areanna knowing A. that she had more dealings with creatures; B. the spider legs had been sticking out of her. and C. that the captain would want to get back to his life as Airship captain and a thug.
"I am always in need of, well, there is this one, and then-"
"What a minute," interrupted Hank. "We need a plan, Areanna. My life, my old life is gone. We need to get back to the aether. We need out of this city. I need to get some things from my apartment before dispose of my things."
"As far as I'm concerned, you can go back the flights of stairs, tell them you had some sort of temporary mental break down and get back to your old life. We aren't doing anything," said Areanna pacing the small space.
"You need my help. I need your help. My love for the extraordinary got me out that world," he waved his hand above his head. Araenna and Riginal stared down at Hank and understood the brute needed them. Each calculated what they needed from the brute.
Lina for a terrible minds challenge wrote the opening sentence, thank you. This addition of the Areanna/Hank story was written for the following challenge -flash-fiction-challenge-pick-an-opening-sentence-and-go