Drawing his tangler, Harv leaps for cover behind the Utility Bot [Machine Empathy cannot be used to seize control of the bot] and manages to fire a shot at Ekkub. The sticky mass is flies past the marine and impacts against the crawler’s wall.
Lalei, eyes blazing, turns toward Commander Nek. “You will not move, Commander Nek, unless I, and only I, give you a direct verbal or telepathic command to act!” In the space of an instant a psionic battle of wills is fought and Lalei knows that her efforts to mind bar Nek have failed as he, snarling with veins bulging from his forehead beneath his space helmet, turns the disintegrator rifle toward her.
Dr. Mors finds himself between Ekkub and the Marine Commander and hastily decides that the tranquilizer he has readied would more likely penetrate the skin suit of the sub-commander than Nek’s space armor. He lunges toward Ekkub using all his strength to penetrate the skinsuit with the hypo but the wiry Ekkub dodges and raises his raygun.
Evidently under the control of Deeds, the Mk 2 warbot and two of the smaller combat bots have moved forward in the cabin. The Mk 2 swings the butt of his disintegrator rifle and connects with Commander Nek. The other two robots move to surround the shaken commander.
Ekkub fires his blaster, hitting the utility robot positioned in front of Dr. Mors. A smoking fist sized black hole is burned through the little robot. It falls over beeping in a shower of blue sparks. Nek manages to fire his disintegrator at Lalei , the black beam threads between the robots but misses the Captain and strikes the hull behind her.
Lalei, Dr. Mors, and Harv each feel the horrific invasive presence of an alien mind attempting to penetrate their own minds but each manages to repel the dreadful psionic tendrils.
By this time, Payaker has seated himself in the cramped turret atop the armored crawler. He sees that the vehicle has come to a full stop on the ice and sights the two alien life forms approaching. No longer in the guise of a human and Pei Choi, the creatures, obscured by the blowing ice, appear as horrid fleshy masses with flailing tentacles. The Páchi Léi fires the lightning gun…
In the dim red glow of the shuttle bay’s lighting orbs the standoff with the evidently injured alien continues. The android and the utility robots hold their positions directly before the Mihaili and Sunpletl, Vlelezh and the XO step backwards and lower their weapons, but maintaining readiness.
The lieutenant attempts to contact Deeds and the away team but receives no response.
After a few moments, Hale kneels and opens her medkit on the floor but at that instant the alien gestures and a crackling wall of force rises in the space between it and the android…