What’s Down in the General’s Dungeon?

I poked my head out, expecting the worst. But there was no water seeping in, no lava, no wild animals had attacked me yet. In fact, I soon realized that we weren’t outside at all. We were in a dark hallway with a mustiness that made me realize we must still be underground. “Where are we?”

“We’re where you told me you wanted to be,” Na Fru said.

“He’s right,” Tilly said, checking her own personal GPS.

“You mean…?” I asked.

“Yes.”

“We’re in the dungeon of the General Zlodeyskiy’s Palace?”

“I think so.”

I nodded. I hadn’t expected this to go so well. “No one seems to be trying to attack us yet, so so far so good.”

“I’m getting no alarms going off. I don’t even see any surveillance equipment in the area,” TIlly reported.

“He doesn’t know we are here,” Na Fru said, “then we should attack. Take advantage of the element of surprise! We can crush him!”

“We can’t just attack,” I told him. “If the General finds out we’re here before we reach him he might be able to change things, make it so we’re not here, make it so we’re somewhere worse, or just make it so we don’t exist.”

He didn’t stop the assassin’s bullet,” Tilly pointed out. “He didn’t change anything there, didn’t undo it. Maybe he doesn’t know how to alter anything.”

“I’d rather not chance it. We don’t know that he didn’t subconsciously alter the direction of those bullets. Or, to be honest, we’re not sure the whole thing wasn’t staged.”

“You think the General was responsible for his own attempted assassination?”

“I don’t know. He seemed genuinely angry, but it’s been made pretty clear that he wasn’t being very honest with me. He might not have trusted me at all and been putting on a show or he could’ve been trying to convince his staff. Who knows? I’d rather not take my chances. The General conceivably has nearly limitless power, so let’s try to get as close as we can without him finding out about us as possible, ok?”

“I find your plan flawed and weak,” Na Fru replied.

“Well, I’m in charge, so for the moment we’re going to follow my flawed weak plan, ok?”

“That was a wonderful job selling your plan there, Frank,” Tilly said.

“Plus, I’d rather not hurt anybody I don’t have to. How’s that?”

Tilly shrugged. “Slightly better.”

“It still seems flawed to me,” Na Fru said.

“Tilly, what’s the surveillance situation?”

She looked at the display projected from her arm. “We’re clear. There’s actually surprisingly little of it down here. I guess the General wants to make sure no one finds out what’s going on in his dungeon of horrors. I’m only picking up a couple of feeds down at this level and…” Tilly flicked through them. “Oh, wow, I did not expect to find that here.”

“Find what?”

“A friend of yours.”

“What? Who?”

But Tilly didn’t answer, instead she waved me on. “Come on.”

I followed her down the hall and passed several turns. She popped open a door and led us down even more hallways. The General had quite an intricate underground system down here. “Where…?” I started.

She shushed me. “This is it.” She pointed at a sealed door. “We’re here.”

“Where? What’s in there?”

“Just follow my lead, Frank.”

“What’s in there?”

“Right now, you just need to be thinking about the guards. Take them out, then worry about what’s in there.” Without waiting for me to reply, she swung the door wide open.

Inside was a laboratory. I had seen its like before more times than I’d like to count. I had even seen similar places in the palace, above ground. The General loved his genetic experiments. This was the type of place that had brought us the Dracs and all his other monsters. I was not surprised by his depravity. Even when I was his brainwashed wife, I was put off by what he did here. It makes me ill that I never did anything when I was that woman, but he had programmed me well. For all I had experienced and all I had been anticipating, I was prepared to see a lot of horrible things. But the one thing I wasn’t prepared for was seeing one of my friends being experimented on. What I wasn’t at all prepared for was seeing the Sharkwoman.

to be continued…

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