The next morning, when Liriellin came to say good morning and conduct Winchell to his interrogation session, she found his enclosure empty. Checking the trapdoor, she found it closed and locked. Sending a telepathic notice to Betamina, the facility's head of security, Liriellin began a systematic search of the building for the wayward prisoner.
The chances that the human had found a way out were slim, even if he had attempted the air ducts or waste drains. The anti-vermin systems were quite efficient and deadly and she doubted that a lone human without tools or weapons could get past them. Unless he had managed to stow away aboard one of the civilian workers (an amusing thought), the prisoner was most certainly still inside the building.
The first thing any sniper needed to know was the territory in which he operated,
therefor Winchell spent the first few hours of his freedom exploring the building. All
the obvious means of egress were blocked, necessitating a place to bunker down and hide. Before he did, Winchell gathered a few items that might proved useful but wouldn't likely be missed.
Winchell's estimation of the Alareen went up a bit as be looked around his hiding place. He had hidden himself in the building's pumping station for their waterworks, which was amazingly clean, well-lit, and almost elegant in its arrangement and construction. Any similar Human station would have been dark, damp, and brutish in appearance, but the Alareen had managed to make plumbing into yet another art form.
Putting it out of his mind, Winchell set to work with what had gathered. Stripping parts from two writing implements, several Alarie versions of a staple remover, and whatever the items were that he had taken to thinking of as rubber bands, he cobbled together a working 'crossbow'. Adjusting the spring tension until he was satisfied with its performance, Winchell nodded to himself and began considering ways to exit the building.
The word came in an hour before noon, the war was over. As part of the peace agreement, all prisoners of war on both sides were to be repatriated as soon as possible. As the infiltration force sent to scout the city had not responded to the recall signal, the Tyrinaleiris matriarch had been advised of their presence. She immediately assigned Kyrie and Liriellin to locate them.
"You'll have to leave finding Lt. W'nsill to the security staff here." she informed the
Psion when the latter protested the order. "I'm certain we can handle a single Human."
At half and hour past noon, Lt. Winchell found himself stumped. he had expected security to be stepped up upon the discovery of his escape, but posting a guard at every building exit and a roving patrol through the corridors was a bit much. The Alareen obviously took their jobs seriously. Thinking himself well hidden behind a potted plant, he was surprised to hear a familiar voice call out from very nearly on top of him. Damn it, these aliens could be quiet until they wanted to be!
Patemi had been somewhat despondent when the Human was reported missing, having hoped to get a chance to hold him herself this time around. She was on her way back from lunch when she heard a strange sound coming from behind one of the decorative plants and sneaked over to investigate. Smiling broadly when she saw it was the Human, she called to anyone that might be within earshot.
"Hey! I found him! The Human's over here!"
When she turned to look back at the Human, she saw he was pelting down the corridor as fast as he could leg it. My, Humans could be fast when they wanted to be! She took off after him.
Discovered, Lt. Winchell wasted no time in making a run for it. Sticking close to the
wall, he took off down the corridor with the Alarie right behind him. He'd reckoned she could outpace him easily, so set up his attack as she gained on him. When her hand came down to scoop him up, he pivoted on his heel and rolled back between her legs. Her greater mass and momentum carried her farther than he had anticipated, but he adjusted his aim as the rounded to come back after him. His improvised weapon wasn't much, little more than a distracting tactic, but Winchell put it to good use.
Patemi muttered under her breath when she missed and scrambled to a halt and turned back to where the Human had gone. She had only a moment to notice that he had an object resting on his shoulder and pointed at her when something firmly packed flew out of it at her.
The wadded bit of writing sheet scored a perfect bullseye between the Alarie's eyes with a 'fwap', and Winchell took off again while she was distracted. Ducking around a corner, hid himself behind the huge door of what turned out to be an office, and took the opportunity to reload. The noise of the rest of the Alareen in the building leaving their posts could be heard easily, having doubtless been alerted that he had been found.
Several of them rushed past the office where he hid and an argument ensued when they learned he had been lost again. Moving as quickly and quietly as he could Lt. Winchell looked for an alternate exit to the office.