There was an incredibly loud mushy wailing behind Jambo, and he turned to see it.
The large man with the belts and the badges was holding two of them up and pointing at him.
The small little thing Jambo had been following rushed away, and he sighed.
From behind the large man, Jambo saw a sight he couldn’t believe. Him.
He’d been gone for years, and there he was – brazen as you like, spines writhing and smiling softly (Rezzik smiles were a delicate angling of their tail, which was simply the tapered end of their singular, knot-like existence)
Beside himself, Jambo started to yell.
Tayre didn’t know what to do. Stabby was clicking and scratching the floor and the blue guy wasn’t listening to any of the clicking sounds the computer turned the words into – it and stabby were an inch away from each other, making their nonsense sounds progressively louder as their stand off excalated.
The communicator wasn’t helping at all, it just kept grunting at him.
He nervously tugged his badges into place, lifting his fists and ready to punch if he must.
“Your walked out on your wife without a word and you just want to slide right back into our lives?!” Jambo roared, prodding the Rezzik in the chest with his slimiest tentacle.
“I fight, I lose, I back.” Mister Flubbings replied, snubbing Jambo in broken Squammish. The guy hadn’t even learned the common tongues, how inconsiderate was that?
“You think you can just visit the gym for a decade?!” Jambo asked, leaning back from the sheer audacity of it.
“I stuck, room not open.”
“The rooms open if you walk towards the door, simpleton!”
They started yelling at each other even louder, and all of a sudden they were a ball of combat.
Tayre couldn’t tell who was winning. The blue ones tentacles werent getting cut by the thick slabs on Stabby’s tail – which was just about all Stabby was, a big edged tail – and the constricting little bits of the blue one werent seeming to bother Stabby in the slightest.
Wakefield looked down at his badge-weapons, and felt a little bit inadequate. Still, if there was going to be violence, it was humanity’s job to win.
The fat man stumbled and then rolled into the battlepile, scattering everyone. Jambo wrenched up in horror as he saw the pink man fall, and rushed over. “Is the baby okay?!” he asked in a panicked tone, guilt sapping all the anger from him and leaving him feeling tiny.
“Baby? Baby. He used to be much smaller. Baby?” Mister Flubbins added, his thoughts confirming the pregnancy. “I thought he was just fat.”
Jambo shot him a glare, but worked on settling the struggling man down. He looked distressed, and was rapidly patting Jambo’s hide with his paws. Jambo held him in place with his tentacles so the poor dear wouldn’t hurt himself, like you are probably supposed to do with these sorts of spasms.
“WAKEFIELD!” something yelled, and Jambo turned to see a horrendously big man. He must be carrying octoplets, and he’d taken off a shoe.
The shoe thunked against Jambo’s, and he tumbled to the side.
Stabby rushed off.
Annie rushed back into the hall when she heard the bounty hunters name, her feet pounded off the floor with surprising resilience. She didn’t know she had it in her!
She gasped when she saw how it had gone down. Wakefield was crumpled in a ball, the Overseer shoeless and tending to him. The walls were riddled with deep gouges and layered in slime.
Neither monster was nearby, so she rushed over. Wakefield looked stunned, looking very confused altogether. The communicator round his neck had been crushed and he had a few cuts here and there, but was otherwise intact. He’d be fine in an hour.
The overseer was whimpering and shaking him, probably adding to the confusion and maybe the injuries if they werent too careful.
Her job was done for now, but that didn’t matter.
She shook the overseer, and he turned his sniffling features towards her.
“We’ve got to lock ourselves in a room, leave it to the professionals.”
The big man nodded, and fuddled with a keychain at his side.
She bend, and gave the confused Wakefield a quick kiss.
“I believe in you!”
Jambo rushed after Mister Flubbins, watching as the knotted, vile man slithered with ease through the corridors. He’d been here a while, so he surely knew a way out, and Jambo wasn’t asking, so he just stuck behind and followed.
“They’re chasing each other! Help!” the blonde woman from before yelled, her chunky necklace beeping as she spoke.
“We’re just heading out now!” Jambo assured her, hopefully telling the truth.
They seemed to have taken an awful lot of left turns.
Why did she have to make it even worse?
She believed in him, so he had to go and try again even though he was about as effective as a potted plant against them. He could handle Stabby when he’d been all muscle, but keeping up a muscle-building diet after you drop the exercise has terrible results, at least in his one man case study.
He followed the trail, feeling his brows knot together as he thought. They were going in circles, but he was pretty sure they were ambling towards-
He swore again.
Even though they’d rushed the whole way down, somehow the pregnant fellow had beaten them to the exit.
They were in an open-faced atrium, a beautiful glass lobby which was much prettier than the suddenly disapointing steel insides. The carpet was plush, and Jambo felt his tentacles sinking into it. He purred, despite himself.
Mister Flubbins kept rushing for the door, but the pregnant fellow leapt in whichever direction he did, and they were at a comical standstill.
Jambo was fairly certain that streneous stuff like that would be bad for the child, so he scampered forward and tried to deter the big one with the gentle and re-assuring kind of patting everyone loved.
He found himself lifted up into the air, and felt quite tall.
Wakefield threw the two of them into the back of his car, and leapt into the frontseat. People poked their heads out of windows in the building behind him, gaping open mouthed as he drove rapidly away from the evil-assessment facility and towards the fields where he’d found these two.
It really wasn’t worth it, you know. Maybe if it all went a lot more slowly, then sure, but while capturing them for identification might help explorers and set them more at ease, it didn’t seem to help anybody get along. It’s not worth it if it doesn’t help, he thought assuredly to himself as he patted himself all over to make sure he wasn’t scratched too badly.
He’d actually competently performed a heroic duty. Technically he was unleashing monsters into the wilds, but eh. You couldn’t have it all.
He flicked a dial and the plexiglass between the front and back seats shot up, and secured him from harm. He was safe.
He passed his badges through the thin slot in the bottom of the glass.
“Those are for you two. Go out there and explore, it sure hasn’t helped us!”
Four years of bounty hunting and the entire facility had wrangled exactly two unknown creatures. He laughed and thought about it as the wheels on his car angled up and they broke through the stratosphere.
Jambo moped as he pinned the badge to his piece of cloth he’d strung around his belly. It was a nice keepsake from his trip, but he was still sort of confused.
Mrs. Flubbins and Mr. Flubbins had been one big knot since he came back. It was heart-warming to the exact degree it was heart-breaking, but it couldn’t be helped.
Life back home was good, even if now and then a critter did scatter at the sight of his bellybadge. It was good to meet new people.
“For your exceptional service in the face of peril and willingness to run into the breach again and again-” the overseer spoke, his voice lilting high in an audible smile “the association of evil measurement has decided to reward you properly!”
Tayre blinked, fussing with his belts. He hadn’t thought he was going to be paid after setting the things free!
“As such, we would like to present you with your reward!”
All eyes turned to the side, as the crowd mingling outside the EAA a month after it’s ‘incident’ dispered just enough to let a man wheel something towards the centre. It was a big pile of something under a curtain, and the pile clinked.
Tayre’s eyes lit up at the thought of money.
They wrenched the something up and dragged the curtain away.
It was Tayre Wakefield, immortalized in stone. A big statue, and they didn’t even trim down his weight, which was nice in a very accepting sort of way.
It wasn’t money, but he smiled.
Annie shuffled forward and took his hand, beaming up at him.
Being a hero suddenly felt wonderful.
I hope you guys enjoyed the worldbuilding, up late because of my 21st birthday party!
I was also hoping there’d be more views between chapters, but I guess I’ve gotta start advertising again!