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Yaltrax strode purposefully through the dark hallways in the Altronia-based Hokanuka tunnel network. He had a lot on his mind, which was a nice change. His thoughts were of defense and strategy and keeping secrets, ones that Zalkatrex, his employer, was ever so nice to share with Yaltrax.

He was thinking these thoughts because of reports of a Chilas breach in one of the tunnels. The ape-like creatures liked to dig and they dug either tunnels in rock or in the sediment to make their burrows. The problem was that sometimes their colonies were too populous, and they had to dig more and more to accommodate their increasing numbers. This was only an issue if one of their colonies was near a Hokanuka tunnel. Then the beasts would bore through and start pouring through into the open space, claiming it as their own. The Hokanuka, like Yaltrax, being territorial by nature, didn't take kindly to this, and would quickly drive the beasts out and plug the hole, if they didn't first kill every single Chilas in the colony first.

The idea this time, however, was to get rid of the beasts quickly. Yaltrax knew why, and he was going to put all the more effort into it. If the Altronians find her, they'll try to take her in for study, but that's what we're doing. They must not know anything we don't, he thought dutifully.

He continued his slightly rushed pace, anticipating a battle. Oddly, it was tough to get Yaltrax to run, but his loyalty to the Hokanuka and especially Zalkatrex was his driving motivation. They shared views and he appreciated that. Also, when Yaltrax anticipated a battle, he usually was pretty confident. He just had to defend a stasis tube in the heart of the Hokanuka's laboratory sector, keeping it from being broken and keeping the room it was in in good shape. This would only be difficult if there were multiple Chilas by now. Slaryka had reported that he had only seen one, and he had driven it back up the tunnel, but they all knew that Chilas, and Hokanuka, were too stubborn to leave it at that.

Yaltrax rounded the last bend and found that this, indeed, would be difficult. He had no doubt he could survive this fight, and was practically guaranteed to, but he was to defend the stasis tube, which made it harder. One Chilas was easy to keep tabs on, but several were a major issue. He just really had to act fast and only pummel each a little at a time, so he wasn't distracted from one for too long. There was only one visible, but Yaltrax could hear at least four more coming down the tunnel.

Better end this quick, then, he thought, as he charged. He slammed his horns into the first Chilas, sending it flying. He then ran down the hall, picked it up by its head, and dragged it back to the lab door. He then shifted his grip lower on the animal and drove its head through the door with one hand. That'll keep it still. More piled into the hole after their brother's defeat. Yaltrax hit two simultaneously, one with his tail club, another with the back of his right hand. As another poked it head in to look around, Yaltrax grabbed its head with his hands and squeezed. It didn't take long for the creature to go.


Now Yaltrax got a reprieve. The mangled Chilas was blocking the hole, stopping more Chilas from coming in. The two he had smashed aside were trying to help their brother. They succeeded in getting its head out of the lab door, then they started working at it with their claws, trying to enlarge the hole to gain access. They could smell stasis fluid and didn't like the smell. They wanted to kill whatever was making that smell, and this door was in the way. Yaltrax smashed into the thick of them, and batted one aside. The other two ducked under his swiping claws and around the back of him. As one was claimed by his sweeping tail club, the other jumped on his back, trying to take him down. Smiling as best he was able with his strange mouth, Yaltrax fell backward, allowing the venomous spikes on his back to work their magic. The creature would never rise again.

The other two Chilas were still at work on that door. The door was quite wide, so Yaltrax had some room to smash two more heads through different spots on the door, which he did. The two Chilas were trapped, but not gone. Yaltrax changed that by slamming open the lab door as hard as he could. The Chilas were almost completely flattened, and what wasn't flattened was stuck in the wall.

Now two more Chilas managed to remove their brother's corpse from the hole and drop through. Yaltrax had more difficulty now, since the door was stuck open. He had to swat the beasts back, trying to block the door as best he could. With the agility of the beasts, this was no easy matter. Finally, another overly brutal idea came to Yaltrax's dim mind. He grabbed one of the beasts as it tried to rush him, and threw it headlong at its partner, who was also rushing the door, hitting with the combined force of the rushing beasts. Both Chilas were down, but not out, so Yaltrax now prepared to make them and their brothers stop being a problem altogether. He shoved them back up the hole, and, taking dirt and plugging the hole with it, he pressed a horn-generated force field into the ceiling by jumping, compacting the earth and sealing the hole for good.

There! he thought. That's all of them. Or was it? There was one more, the second one to be struck with his tail. He hadn't done that one in completely. Lame! Very, very lame, he shouted to himself.

As Yaltrax scanned the hallway looking for the primate, he heard a crash and tinkle of crystal from the other room. The stasis tube was no more. The Chilas would be immediately slain, but he wasn't sure what to do about the stasis tube's contents. Before the Chilas could eat the little blue figure kept in the tube, Yaltrax rushed into the lab, grabbed it and ran out. Still holding the beast, pulled a shelf into the doorway to block it, and threw the Chilas with all his might down the hallway. It instantly disappeared from sight, and Yaltrax heard a satisfying smash of metal on the far end of the hall.

The hall was filled with the stench of prolonged stasis, leaking into the hall from the lab. It was a smell Yaltrax was not supposed to have smelled, but he was, and he would have to report his failure right to the Big Cheese himself. Yaltrax was hoping those tales of Zalkatrex's temper were false, for, even though he wouldn't admit it, Zalkatrex was perhaps the only foe Yaltrax wasn't sure he could beat.

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