Silent Death part 3
It had been six local days since Lt. George Winchell's capture by the Alarie, in which time the giant aliens had attempted to interrogate him. The Psion, Liriellin, was very determined to crack his resistance to her probes, but thus far the mental conditioning he had been subjected to in basic and sniper training was holding firm. As things stood, he was fairly certain that Liriellin was close to giving up.
That last bit he knew to be wishful thinking on his part, as the matriarch of
Tyrinaleiris wanted answers from him, regardless of how long it was likely to take. The fact that none of the UEC troopers that had landed on the planet with him had been captured was troubling, as it meant that they had either been wiped out or were unable to advance to the infiltration part of their mission. Either one was bad in its own way, as it would mean total mission failure.
Stretched out on his bed, he realized that he had been absentmindedly humming as he ran these possibilities through his mind. Flicking a glance at the door to the chamber where his enclosure was kept, he spied several pairs of eyes peeping in from the hall beyond. They all vanished with a swirl of hair and long legs as he brought his humming to an abrupt halt. Whatever else the Alarie were, they were weird. Shaking his head in bemusement, he turned his thoughts to considering ways to escape and contact his comrades.
"I told you he'd hear you!"
Several of the personnel at the city's administrative center had access to the hall
outside the room holding the human. Over the last four days, odd sounds had been discovered emanating from him. The sounds were fairly pleasant to the ear and at times became a soft crooning. To their astonishment, they realized he was harmonizing.
Taking it in turns, they had worked out a schedule to listen to him whenever he started, which was just about every time he was left to himself for any duration. To their knowledge, this was the first time he'd caught any of them eavesdropping. The object of their displeasure was a new addition to the staff.
"I'm sorry! I didn't know his hearing was that good! And his crooning was so... !"
The rest of the staff had to admit that she was right. The human's voice was deep and rich, his timing impeccable, and the range of melodies encyclopedic. None of them had guessed that humans were even capable of music.
"Aright, ladies! Back to work!" the office supervisor called, catching the gaggle of
music-lovers away from their desks. Reluctantly, they returned to their duties, all the while wondering if the human could actually sing as well as hum a tune. As they went through the remainder of the day, several privately made plans to get a chance to find out.
Time told. The human was permitted two hours a day outside of his enclosure for exercise and fresh air, and it was after he was returned to his transparent box that the office staff made their move. Going to the their supervisor, one of them asked to be permitted access to the server closet to retrieve a bit of backlogged data she had 'misplaced'.
Once inside, she did a quick search through the security videos and found footage of the human resting. Pausing the security feed for the enclosure room, she set the older footage cycling so that there would be only a momentary loss of time in the security feed and returned to her desk. Once she signaled her co-workers that the way had been cleared, the staff went through their day in silent anticipation.
Shortly after the end of the break for their mid-day meal, the delinquent enthusiasts gathered in the room holding the human's enclosure. One of them stood watch in case the supervisor showed signs of coming out of her office, while the others gathered around the human. He appeared a bit on edge at having so many of them this close, even with the walls of his container between them and him.
Lt. Winchell looked up at the gathered Alareen with an uneasy feeling in his gut. He could tell they were up to something from the way a couple of them kept glancing back out into the hall, and came to the conclusion that whatever their interest was it had nothing to do with the information the matriarch wanted from him. It dawned on him that these were probably the ones that had taken to staring at him from around the door.
Chattering at each other for a moment, a decision appeared to be in the making, resulting in one of them leaning down toward his enclosure. He was mildly surprised when she started vocalizing one of the songs he had been humming to himself over the last few days, the Marriage of Figaro. There were no words in it, just a harmonic repetition of the song. After a few bars, she stopped and looked at him, nodding expectantly.
Wonderful!, he thought to himself. They think I'm a canary.